Interview

Straight from the horse’s mouth: an interview with DotaCinema’s SUNSfan

Kathryn Boehmer
Graphic Artist
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Last week we got the chance to sit down and talk with SUNSfan, the voice of DotaCinema and half of TI4's Noob Stream casting crew about Dota and beyond. Here's what we found out...

ESL: Hi, SUNSfan! We know you’re no stranger to introductions - care to share a few details  about yourself for those who are new to what you do?
SUNSfan: Hello. My Facebook says I have big testicles and am accidentally racist, which in addition to your lovely intro, pretty much sums me up :D

ESL: Starting off, we are very curious about your most recent work at TI4 for the Noob Stream. You and Purge did a fantastic job and received very positive feedback. Was this idea something you two pitched to Valve or did they approach you? What kind of work went into preparing for this type of casting?
SUNSfan: Thank you! This idea came from Valve (as far as I know). They asked me if I'd be interested in doing it, and I was honored at the thought. I mean, let’s be real here: I would have accepted janitorial duties if it came to that. They told me the basic concept of the stream and then proceeded to ask me who I thought would be good alongside me. Obviously, my first thought was syndereN as I've worked with him a lot in the past. But since he was a shoe-in for main casting duties, I immediately thought of Purge. Not only was he made for the job, but we are friends as well, which always helps with chemistry. As far as what prep work there was… there was none. For all intents and purposes, we were thrown to the wolves. But after some feedback from Valve from the first couple days of casting, we started to get the hang of it and before long it became second nature.

ESL: Well we certainly loved it and hope to see this type of casting implemented into more events! On a similar note, DotaCinema hosted the XMG Captain’s Draft about half a year ago, as well as The Rosh Pit. Is there any more competitive content we can look forward to from you guys?
SUNSfan: Of course! We are currently planning a second rendition of the Captain’s Draft tournament. We're hoping to have it sometime this year and have a lot of cool things planned.

ESL: Great to hear - we love the forced variety this mode offers! With casting so many games for TI4, any thoughts regarding strategy or gameplay during the tournament? What are your expectations and hopes for the competitive scene following such a record-breaking tournament?
SUNSfan: Casting games, especially for the Noob Stream, can be quite a bit different than watching them as a spectator. But all in all, I'd say I was a little surprised as to how little hero variety we saw at the main event itself, especially considering the opposite was true during the group stages. It seemed teams were pigeon-holing themselves, trying to copy what worked for other teams, instead of using things they were more comfortable with. As far as expectations are concerned, I think we're all just waiting for the next big patch to come along. It’s funny, though, because even though a hero may be buffed or nerfed, it doesn't necessarily mean they are over or underpowered at all. Sometimes the perception (even by professionals) of a hero could warrant a change of some sort. I have no idea what to expect, but I'm looking forward to being surprised.

“We're all just waiting for the next big patch… I have no idea what to expect, but I'm looking forward to being surprised.”


ESL: Speaking of surprised, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Fails of the Week returning after a fairly long break! How does the process work for this type of video? Where can people submit their clips in hopes of being featured?
SUNSfan: The process is pretty straightforward. People send us submissions, our awesome community team will go through them, and then Reaves, Neil, and others will proceed to pick the final ones for the episode. Neil will then edit the video and send it to Reaves and myself, and we will then record. Most of the hard work is done by our community team, for which we are truly grateful.

Submissions can be sent to dotacinema.com/top10 or dotacinema.com/fails.



ESL: We hope to see our readers owning and/or failing soon on DotaCinema! Now we’re familiar with Reaves from the Fails, and SyndereN’s casting, of course, but there’s always the behind-the-scenes guys, like w200me, who does a lot of editing for you. Who exactly are the people behind DotaCinema?
SUNSfan: As bad as this sounds, there are far too many people to list. I'll try and keep it short. Neil is the owner and main editor at DC. WME, as you mentioned, does a lot of our other series as well. For the website, Pietro, bukka, Pact, and Imaester do a lot of behind-the-scenes work.  And anybody we collaborate with, whether it be for an SFM-related video or workshop submission, we consider them a huge part in the success of DotaCinema.

And of course, most importantly, Sajedene (my girlfriend), who keeps me in line when I get stupid… which is often. Oh wait, I can't forget about my kittens, who are the official cats of DotaCinema. They are the MKB Cats! Monkey and King B (also known as Owlie) have been an amazing addition to the family. I have also officially become an old cat lady. I am truly obsessed.





ESL: Props from us to the entire DC staff, and we’ll have to somehow introduce ESL Cat to Monkey and King B! Is there anyone from the Dota community that you and the team would like to collaborate with?
SUNSfan: We love collaborating with all kinds of people, whether they are video editors, content creators, or workshop artists. If I had to single one thing out, I'd say we're super interested in pursuing more Source Filmmaker (SFM) related videos. In the past, we've had some made for us, but they are never really released on a consistent basis. But now that more SFM artists are coming to Dota 2, we can make several high-quality videos simultaneously.

ESL: We know your favorite team is the Phoenix Suns. Based on your name, you’re clearly a diehard fan, but is there another team you could find yourself rooting for as well? We also know you love Centaur Warrunner - what are your other favorite heroes to play? Any that you just hate playing?
SUNSfan: Aside from bleeding Purple and Orange (the Suns colors), I will root for any team playing against the Lakers and Spurs. The reason I love Centaur is because he is a piece of meat. Being a meat eater myself, I enjoy other meaty heroes, which usually reside on the left side of the picking screen (Strength heroes). As you might imagine, I can't stand playing (most) intelligence heroes - they aren't beefy enough for me.


“A Centaur for SUNSfan” by jouste

ESL: Whether you love them or hate them, we love the library of Dota Hero Spotlights that you’ve been creating since closed beta. Since then, it seems you have endless ideas and collaborations being added to your site and YouTube. Do you have any advice for upcoming content creators?
SUNSfan: There's always room for more content. If you aren't getting the views you think you deserve, you should try contacting one of the larger YouTube channels and see if they'd be interested in a collaboration of some sort. We've done that with many people before, some of which have very large YouTube channels now.

ESL: Dota 2 SFM artists, you know who to contact! Anything in the works you could hint to your fans and followers to look out for in the future?
SUNSfan: Oh boy. We have a lot of projects in the works, some of which may never see the light of day. As some may already know, we have a hero set chest in the workshop right now. We're also creating a second chest that will be something nobody has seen yet on the workshop. Unfortunately I can't really give any details on that just yet.

For video content, we're also in the early stages of creating an epic series (partially made in SFM) named Radiant vs. Dire. It will be a serious show with a deep storyline, voice acting, and as I said, Source Filmmaker. We're not 100% sure if a series like this is feasible, but we're going to give it a try.

ESL: We will try to not overdose on suspense regarding that second chest! Thanks again for taking time to answer our questions! Any shoutouts? Let us know where we can follow you for the latest updates.
SUNSfan: Shoutout to all our viewers out there. Without you there, would be no DotaCinema. I am very privileged to be in the position I am today and that is all thanks to you. The official DC Twitter/Facebook/YouTube is DotaCinema. For myself, you can find me at SUNSfanTV for Twitter and Facebook.

Check out more of our Dota 2 content, including an interview with community artist Diredude, here.