JoeR247 Interviews... MAZ Gaming UK!
1. What is the story behind your channel name?
I originally started the channel with my best friend Zak and growing up together playing two player games that would only ever let you put three characters into a save slot it was always saved as 'MAZ' (Mark and Zak).
The name seemed like the perfect choice and although Zak isn't involved with the channel anymore he'll always be a huge part of our legacy and hopefully will be on the odd video when he can.
2. What is your video game history/background and all time favourite game?
My first exposure to video games was when I was given a hand me down Commodore 64 as a youngster and wasn't remotely impressed with that at all. Thankfully a few years later I was then given a hand me down SEGA Mega Drive II and the rest is history.
My favourite game of all time is still Shining Force 2. It's the first RPG I ever played and is easily the game I've ploughed the most hours into (Which is saying something with the 250 hours a year on Football Manager :D).
I would give my right arm for a true Shining Force sequel and with the amazing work SEGA are doing on the Road to 2020 plan, I think we're probably closer than ever to that potentially becoming a reality.
3. What/Who inspired you to start creating content on the internet?
Weirdly for someone who is so massively into the gaming scene, I came to YouTube REALLY late. YouTube for me was something I used to listen to music on but that was about it. A few years ago when I became semi-obsessed with the Dreamcast again, that's when I really started searching out content online.
The two biggest inspiration for me were Adam Koralik who has some of the best videos on YouTube in relation to console reviews and heavily researched gaming articles and is basically an encyclopaedia of gaming knowledge. The other big inspiration for me was Tom Charnock, the creator of the Dreamcast Junkyard.
His articles and work we're essentially a bible for me when it came to came to getting back into the scene in general and the Dreamcast Junkyard 'Dreampod' Podcast is still my favourite Gaming Podcast of all time. If you haven't checked either of them out I would highly recommend it :)
4. When did you start creating content on the internet?
We registered the name of the channel in January 2017 but then didn't actually start creating content for a few months. March 12th 2017 was the real day MAZ Gaming was born :)
5. How did you find the first few weeks/months of content creation? (any funny stories/mistakes/highlights?)
The first few weeks consisted of videos of me sat on a chair against a white wall looking largely terrified :D
Thankfully we've come a long way since then. I was told by a friend who had been doing YouTube for a while "You're not a real YouTuber until you've had random death threats online" For us it took 2 days after the first video haha.
The video in question was released just before the launch of the Switch and was a discussion about whether the console would be a success or whether it may struggle to overcome the bad taste left by it's predecessor in the same way the Dreamcast had to deal with the fallout of the Saturn.... it was quite a balanced video but it certainly incurred the wrath of a small group of hardcore fanboys.
Thankfully it didn't remotely put me off and we're still going strong today
6. How did you grow your channel? How did you network?
Slowly at first. For myself, I hadn't really used Twitter much before, save for a personal account and even then hadn't really paid attention so utilising Twitter to promote the channel was my big priority. Sharing content around friends and family on Facebook helped for a little while but eventually you do need to get out of your comfort zone and push things a little further.
We also had a few amazing people reach out very early on such as Ash from EightNineOne who offered to make us a real logo etc... which massively helped improve the overall look of the channel.
Networking is definitely a huge part of this whole YouTube thing :) Thankfully we seem to have a really good group of YouTubers in the UK who are happy to help push each others content and cross promote.
I'm always happy to share things on Twitter from anyone I know and make a point with the recent addition of things like the 'MAZ Gaming Seal Of Quality' to try to get as many eyes on friends channels as possible. The community itself is easily one of the best things about the YouTube journey.
7. What has been your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment so far is a bit of a no brainer for me. Our Interview the amazing guys behind Two Point Hospital was a dream come true and very much the biggest possible bucket list tick I could imagine in relation to gaming related goals.
Not only were they amazingly lovely on the day, their complete passion and love for that project shone through and I'm proud to say that we managed to push a lot of pre-orders for the title too :) The ability to head to SEGA HQ and meet up with the nicest guys in gaming blew my mind and I'm proud to call Lauran and Craig friends today. We've also developed a really good working relationship with SEGA moving forwards and continue to work with them when we can. The whole team at SEGA Europe couldn't have been more supportive to us as a channel and we're unbelievably grateful.
8. How did you find the technical side of content creation? Setting up your channel, etc?
I was quite lucky in that I'd been to film school myself and so the recording and editing side of things wasn't a problem at the start. The only issues I had was largely around a lack of equipment and a lack of a location.
Thankfully I took the plunge and cleared out what is now known as the 'MAZ Gaming Studio' with the wall mural. I'm really happy with how it's all turned out by graphics are still my kryptonite and not something I've ever done before so that's something I need to improve even now.
9. What do you enjoy most about your content creation hobby/career?
For me it's the community. We have built a really great set of followers on both YouTube and Twitter and knowing that people actually look forward to your next video still blows my mind to this day :) We can't thank everyone enough for that. I was hopeful that we might hit 100 subs by the end of year one and we were actually over 500 so we're doing better than expected. Hopefully we can keep pushing ahead.
10. What don't you enjoy so much about your content creation hobby/career?
I'm massively passionate about MAZ Gaming and trying to constantly push forwards with our content so I do put a lot of pressure on myself generally. It's pretty normal for me to spend most of my weekends dealing with MAZ related things and Jo (The other member of the MAZ Team and my girlfriend) does occasionally need to tell me to take a breather.
It's probably not normal to feel guilty about not putting a video up after a few days but I'm working on that :)
11. What are you short term and long term goals for your channel/s?
Our short term goals are to continue to push the envelope in terms of the type of content we're creating and investing in ourselves to make sure our production values are always improving such as with our new camera and lighting set up which we bought recently.
We've also had a few 'special' videos filmed recently that have had a real budget and involved a team of people on the day to try to keep doing things that I personally haven't seen being done on YouTube before. The ability to be different is really tough nowadays with so many similar channels out there so we're trying new things to allow us to find our niche.
Long term we just want to keep growing and hopefully keen fostering the relationships we have within the gaming sphere to become a well known name in the scene in the UK and abroad.
12. What advice would you give anyone looking to get into content creation?
Just make content. Put it out there. Learn from every video and continually try to improve. Oh and don't be afraid to ask people to collab and get involved.
I've never had a request to collaborate that I've been offended by :) I can't always do them due to time commitments but some of my best friends on Twitter have come from those kinds of conversations.
13. Finally, what other content creators do you enjoy watching and recommend people check out?
As I'm part of the Ministry Of Retro Gaming I really do love all the creators within our network :) You can check them all out at: http://ministryofretrogaming.co.uk/
If you love SEGA related content then check us out and a huge thanks to Joe for asking us to chat here! :)