I had the pleasure of getting a few minutes to catch up with esports sensation Frankie ‘GetFrank’ Ward, nominee and winner of the 2018 presenter of the year award from UK Esports Awards. Join me as I gain a little insight into what makes a successful esport personality and how you can get involved in the industry that you love. Join me as we get franky with it!
Starting her career as a producer for the BBC for four years, Frankie stumbled across esports after covering a League of Legends event in 2015. “I’ve always been a gamer,” explained Frankie; “people where not necessarily taking notice of [esports] in that older demographic”. After having so much fun at the event, she perused a career in Twitch while taking up hosting on the side. She started off “on stage filling in for one of the hosts”. After leaving Twitch and gaining an understanding of the industry, she decided to make the leap and became a full time stage host. Her first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive hosting event was the Gamdom premier, as well as prior experience in game titles such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. “I have been watching Counter-Strike since getting into this industry, it’s one of the games I’ve watched the most.”
“The community needs to change.”
After winning the prestigious UK Esport Award, Frankie submitted a public video on Twitter thanking everyone who nominated her. In her video, she touched on topics such as positiveness and inclusiveness in the games industry. She used her video to highlight the problem of homophobic and misogynist language in the esports world, explaining that she needs to help by setting an example. I asked her what changes are needed to be made within the industry. She told me that “I don’t think it’s the industry’s fault as a whole. I think it is an attitude that is embedded into the community. […] The community needs to change.” She went on to say, for example, if your friend said something that was wrong, “We have to be a lot more vocal and calling people out when they use language that’s outdated. […] People on pedestals aren’t getting called out.” Frankie is clearly passionate about making everyone feel comfortable and valid, especially within the bounds of competitive gaming. “…we need to take responsibility and educate each other.”
I wanted to hear what Frankie thought about people getting into esports as a potential career path. “Firstly decide what you want to do; if it’s production, on screen, et cetera. Then do your research.” She explains how all the information is online, suggesting you get “transferable skills you can bring into the industry. […] I can imagine a lot of people are trying to get into esports quite young; so if you’re not, and you have work experience, great! Transfer that in.” She also recommends volunteering at esports events as well as starting small, such as casting tournaments that allow co-streamers on your own channel – “it takes practice and it takes self commitment.” Frankie has only been in the gaming industry for less than two years and has already bagged herself an award, so if you want success, the path is there. You just need to bring the enthusiasm and effort. Esports is a place of teamwork, too – “I’m really interested in new talent and helping other people.”
“it takes practice and it takes self commitment.”
I asked her if organisations should start introducing mixed gendered teams. “Mixed rosters are going to make a huge difference and I think we have a chance with PUBG”. Being a newer style of game, everyone’s skill has been reset and we’re seeing more and more players bringing new talent to the table; “because now, I think it’s more acceptable to be a woman playing online. […] Now, you can find more like minded people online.” adding “we can shoot people in the face with the best of them!”.
Frankie Ward is fantastic to work with and a real joy to see on screen. We hope you follow her in her antics as she continues to host and work on more and more shows in the coming years.