The Godmother of Exile5: An Interview with Dot
Behind the Username is an interview series where I ask some questions of the people I meet in and around the SEA region and local tournaments.
Today I have a chat with Dorothy 'x5 Dot' Tran, manager of Exile5 and known affectionately within that organisation as 'The Godmother'
Crescendo: To ease us into things, how long have you been involved with Starcraft, and do you still get much opportunity within your busy schedule to play?
Dot: Hi Crescendo
I have been involved with Starcraft for as long as I've known Jared. It started off non-existent. That is, I had no idea what it was at all. With time, however, I've not only come to understand more of the game, I also enjoy watching it.
To be honest, I've never fancied myself much of a gamer. I have something like 600 games in total for sc2, well beyond any other game I've played. I find that I usually have sporadic bursts of games, followed by long months of nothingness due to both my schedule and the fact that I'm not much of a gamer.
Crescendo: Sounds like my gaming history in a nutshell! You are known to have a keen eye for photography, and for camera work in general. Please tell us a bit more about that side of your life
Dot: I have always loved being behind a camera, capturing (what I think are) cool moments. For me, its a very expensive hobby which naturally found its way into my involvement with Jared's StarCraft career. Videography is also highly interesting to me. Moving from one medium to another, even though they are related, they bring out different creative focuses for me. More lately, making cheesy videos has brought me a lot more joy, though I'm never quite happy with how they turn out. The vision never matches the execution, unfortunately.
Prior to all of this, I really enjoyed doing cricket photography. I find sports photography to be amazing. Its fascinating being able to capture an athlete's body in the middle of some crazy motion that seems bewildering and impossible!
Crescendo: Now, while I know it can be difficult to narrow these things down, what has been your favourite eSports event to carry a camera to thus far?
Dot: I'm going to cheat and say: my trip to Europe with Jared last year. It was technically 5 events, but the trip itself was the focus of a lot of my photography and videography efforts. Sadly, I haven't had the time to piece together a video of it all. It would have been pretty cool! The DreamHacks were amazing to witness, Europe itself isn't too shabby, and Jared did many little funny dances wherever we went. I was going to name it "This little Piggy went to Europe".
Crescendo: Drats, I would have loved to have watched that! Bonus interview points if you can link us to your favourite eSports shot thus far, and favourite video too
Dot: I can still make it one day! Maybe..
My favourite shot is still this one: BigBird knocks Iaguz out of WCS 2012 and all of his mates come up to hug him!
My favourite shot by someone else is Helena Kristiansson's shot of Jared fist pumping
My favourite video has to be my DH Valencia one:
Lots of thought and editing went into this, and I am just a little proud of how it turned out
My favourite video from someone else is Richard Li's EVO Moments 2014. Brought tears to my eyes and inspired me greatly
Crescendo: It's lovely to see parts of gaming history saved in this fashion. If circumstances allow, which future event would you most like to take footage of? What would be your dream shot?
Dot: I would love to take footage at BlizzCon!
My dream shot would be one of Jared doing a back flip on stage after winning BlizzCon :P
Crescendo: Has PiG been practicing his backflip? Any chance for footage of his recent progress?
Dot: Both the winning BlizzCon and back flip are dreams, of course :P
Crescendo: Just ask him to add it to his running regimen. I'm sure it will work out!
Moving from the camera, and shifting focus more directly on yourself: Please tell us how you got the nickname 'The Godmother', and will we get to see you in a pinstripe suit at events?
Well, at present, only one person calls me that so I doubt I'll be going that far with it. You'll need to ask him why he thinks it's an appropriate name. I assume its related to "The Godfather" in some way, but having never watched it, I'm not sure how.
Crescendo: From 1 to Mafia hit squad, in just how much trouble is the person who revealed this nickname to me?
Dot: He's going directly to hell! Or Mafia hit squad, that's fine too
The OSC hired a private detective to follow the infamous Dot and her goons to the x5 headquarters.
We were able to obtain this rare photograph of the Exile5 Godmother in her normal attire
Subsequently, the private detective vanished and has not been seen since.
Crescendo: He sacrificed himself for eSports journalism. Press F to pay respects.
On to the topic of Exile5 itself, would you please share with us a bit more about your current role within the organisation. How has it evolved over time?
Dot: I have been a team manager for a while now. I started off doing my bit of photography, then helping Jared with his various esports tasks. When he joined x5, I started to have a bigger voice and opinion on what could be done in the team, so much so that I became a manager and helped Bard overlook the SC2 division. Today, I overlook most of the organisation, not just SC2.
Crescendo: For those curious about how the organisation is run, would you be willing to share some of the day-to-day aspects of arranging and preparing for events? How much is involved?
Dot: There is a fair amount that can be done in an organisation, especially one as large as ours. It ranges from things like ordering jerseys in time for LANs, to interviewing prospective players/staff, to maintaining a website, updating social media, fulfilling sponsorship duties - the list goes on! My duties as a manager takes from 5 to 30 hours a week, depending on what's going on and whether we have certain "projects" we are trying to get the better of.
I'm sure every organisation is different in how they manage their own affairs.
Crescendo: Which aspects of your role do you find the most enjoyable? What has been the best thing to happen in the past month?
Dot: I love working in a good team, so getting to work with other passionate people is great. I also love seeing my team win. It is something I carry over from my watching more traditional sports. If the Swans win, everything is great! But if they lose... or get smashed like they did this weekend and last.... then I'd rather not talk about it. :P
The best thing to happen in the past month? Honestly, there's so many awesome things happening in the team and I am so grateful for each members' contribution!
I could talk about ACL Sydney, how I finally got to meet our CSGO team, how I cheered hard for them playing a game I don't know much about - but I cheered at the numbers anyway! I could talk about how amazing I think our Academy is, how I love seeing their bond and seeing them resolve to better themselves after each and every tournament. I could talk about singing karaoke badly and witnessing Namakaye take his very first drink! I could talk about how our Heroes squad were so excited after playing in the MSI MGA tournament, despite losing in the semis. How they grew in confidence after playing the best teams SEA has to offer. I could talk about how our BF4 squad are sooooo damn pumped to go to Gamescom next week for ESL One. I could talk about how Baxter got to go to EVO and how jealous I was of him. I could talk about how Jared is settling in nicely to his #casterlyf. I can even talk about my shameful attempt at making a meme.
All in all, there's a lot to be happy and thankful about
Crescendo: Those all sound brilliant! However, I think we need to hear about this meme
Dot: Next question, please!
Crescendo: Hahaha, alright. Are there any sneak previews you can give us of what Exile5 has on the horizon? Any announcements of an announcement?
Dot: Haha nothing that needs an announcement of an announcement. Our horizon is filled with continuing whatever we're currently doing and improving ourselves, bit by bit.
Crescendo: What are you most looking forward to at Gamescom? Do you have any specific plans for the event?
Dot: Unfortunately I'm not attending it, but I hope to see our BF4 division do well there. This will be the third time an ANZ team is going to these ESL One events. I hope they surpass their last results there and do the whole region proud!
Crescendo: I'd like to throw in some questions about the Oseanic Starcraft 2 Championship series. Firstly, taking a look at the current rankings, what are your thoughts on them? Any favourites or early predictions for the grand finale this year?
Dot: I'm not sure of what the format will be like this year, but there's quite a number of non-SEA names in there! My predictions are that it will be a repeat of last year. A Korean will win. My hope is that someone like Snute will come out of nowhere and snatch it from their grasps!
Crescendo: Of the various partnered OCS tournaments, which do you get a chance to keep up with/enjoy the most?
Dot: Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of watching more SC2 these days, but I do really enjoy watching WCS. There's always so much on the line, it's a great event for the scene.
Crescendo: Looking to the future, with Legacy of the Void on the horizon, what are your thoughts on what you have seen of LoTV thus far?
Dot: From a low league player point of view, it is much quicker! The game sets off pretty much from the get go and I have to expand very quickly. I still have as little idea of what I'm doing in LotV as I did in WoL and HotS :P
I haven't watched enough Archon Mode stuff to make a judgment on whether i like it or not, but the idea of something like that being an alternative competitive option for pros is intriguing to me.
Crescendo: The idea of PiG and KingkOng in an Archon together excites me to my zerg core. Please make that happen one day! Although the switch to LoTV is still a long way off, has any thought been given to the kind of preparations Exile5 might make for the eventual changeover?
Dot: To be honest, no one in x5 has made a serious attempt to change over yet. It simply does not make sense given ALL tournaments still use HotS and WCS, the biggest tournament there is, hasn't changed over - yet.
Keen to know when the launch date is announced though! And doubly keen for a big celebration in Australia somewhere... preferably Sydney
Crescendo: Melbourne has awesome dumpling houses though. Think about it For a bit of fun: if you were supreme dictator of the eSports world, with the power to arrange any event and publicity footage, who would be in the video, and what kind of event video would it be?
Dot: I should probably use my power more wisely, but what better fun is there than a parody video full of pro gamers lip syncing to a k-pop song?
Crescendo: Which song, and who are the lead dancers/singers?
Dot: The only k-pop song I know is Gangnam Style lol
But I guess the lead singer can be MC. The dancers around him are everyone in Code S.
Crescendo: I'd watch that.
On a more personal note, is there a moment in your career which you consider particularly important or formative for who you are as a person and as someone in the eSports community?
Dot: Haha "career" is a bit strong of a word for what I do :P
Every major phase in my life has helped shape who I am today - and I consider esports to be another one of those. I suppose stepping up to be a team manager was a big thing for me. I never want to put my hand up for anything if I don't think I'm up for the task. I hate letting people down or promising more than I can handle. My time here has taught me a great deal about loyalty, compromise, sacrifice, incentives, perfection vs getting a job done. And much, much more.
Crescendo: Finally, feel free to self-promote, give sponsor shout-outs, and drop some links here if you want folks to follow you on the various social media/streaming sites
Dot: Thank you for spending time on this interview.
Of course, thank you to NVIDIA, without whose support x5 would not be able to send people anywhere or do awesome things. Buy a 980 Ti.
Follow x5 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teamexile5 where we are giving away a LotV pre-order!
Lastly, congratulations StarCraft for 5 years of glorious-ness!
Crescendo: Thank you kindly for having a chat with me, it has been wonderful!
On a related note I just want you to know that, by the time you see the photoshopped image I made to celebrate the new Meme 'Dot: The Godmother', I shall be in hiding.
Dot: Oh shietttt
Crescendo: And on that note, I have a plane to catch, and a bunker to decorate. Thank you again!