Calvin Williams, better known as gotbooze on Twitch and Twitter, has loved gaming since he was 5 years old when he first played on his father’s Sega Genesis.
This interest became a hobby which turned into a passion. The Michigan native and former bartender started streaming in early 2020 to help fundraise for animals in shelters, and now he’s fundraising to help his own dogs, Toby and Dagny.
He streams from 9:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Can you explain what's going on with the dogs’ medical issues?
Two of our dogs, Toby and Dagny, are currently getting treatment from the vet right now. Toby was a rescue from the humane society and has bad knees. His issue came out of nowhere and he now just limps a lot as well as has to sit down very frequently. Dagny had a tumor show up on her foot and ear about 6 months ago and we had them removed. One just showed up on her toe in a place that made the vet have to remove her toe. This has led me to having a donation goal. All of the money from donations and Twitch payout are going toward their treatment.
What got you into video games?
My dad would get done working and throw on some of his games when I was very young and when I was old enough I asked him if I could play. He showed me the ropes and then did the "I can't beat this level will you help" thing which got me hooked. We used to play Shining Force 2 and Master of Monsters which really taught me a lot about strategy as a 5 year old.
What draws you to gaming?
Years ago I wanted to just be the strongest person in any given game. Then I wanted the most challenging experience I could find so I would play incredibly weak characters or hard games. Now, I just like the community building outside of the game itself. I have met some amazing people that I would have never known if I didn't get into gaming. That is what draws me back each night.
What tips do you have for new streamers or people thinking about getting into the field?
My largest tip would be to do as much work up front as possible. A lot of other people will tell you to build up your platform as you grow, but I highly recommend to every new streamer to do five simple things.
1. Create a business email.
2. Create a business paypal.
3. Create a name that you can have on every social media and content platform.
4. Create a discord server.
5. The final thing is to do research. You don't want to start up your first stream and spend three hours getting your audio right or wondering why your capture card isn't working. You really do not want to waste money on equipment you can't return if it ends up not working. I spent hundreds of hours looking into other smaller and larger streamers to find ideas for emotes, branding, management, etc.
What was the hardest part about starting to stream?
Honestly, the hardest part is consistency. Not just with sticking to a schedule, but so many other things. You have to stream a specific genre of game to get people to come back. You have to stream at scheduled times or people won't be able to plan their life around watching. You need to make content outside of the stream itself to promote. This all in itself is a lot of work but being consistent with it for months is the important part.
What skills have you gained from streaming?
Oh goodness, there are so many. I don't know that many of the things from gaming translate to the real world aside from coordination and collaboration but with streaming it helps me speak in front of people and entertain whether it is making cocktails, chatting, or progressing in a game. With streaming you really have to multitask and be able to focus on so many things or else the audience loses interest.
Who are your favorite streamers?
This is a loaded question with the more I think of it. Everyone in my community who I have helped along the way? Does that count? I typically watch smaller streamers. I like to talk and with a smaller platform you get more of a conversation from a streamer. Porchums, CxRyze, KittenBree are some of the few I will say hi to whenever they go live. Two big streamers who have inspired me along the way that I love are Dakotaz and SypherPK. Those two have amazing energy in their own ways and I think my own personality is a blend of the two.
Who has motivated you over the years?
I grew up pretty poor so my main motivation was to get out of that lifestyle. In adulthood, it has really just been my partner and son. All before that, I was just coasting by and doing what I could to get a little bit further ahead. Since they came into my life, I actively try and be better in my professional growth so they can have whatever they want.
You have a full time job as an engineer and a family. How do you balance all of that?
It all starts with a great attitude. I know that my duties as a partner don't end when my stream starts. I always make sure to take care of anything I can before I go live. I always double and triple check with my partner that there is nothing she needs. Communication is key with making sure your family is fine while you are streaming.
The full time job is a whole different story. When I first started to stream, it was after everyone fell asleep and only for a couple hours a night because I would have to wake up at 6 a.m. I was tired but the games I played were fun enough and the people that stopped by were always friendly. Eventually I started to live a little earlier each week until I got to where I am now.
My tips for any new streamer in a situation that I am would be to just talk to your partner. There are times my son is awake when I go live and he may come hang out with me for a bit or when they get home from grandma’s midstream, and I will go brush my son's teeth and put him to bed. Making sure my partner is okay with this is the best thing I can do for my streaming career.
Did you have to convince your significant other that streaming was a worthwhile endeavor?
At first she was fine with it because I snore pretty loud so it gave her some time to fall asleep first. Then I started to get paid a little bit more each month and even now we are raising money for vet bills. After all of this I think we still have some convincing to do if I turn this into a career, but for now she is pretty supportive. There really was not a lot of convincing needed since it gave me my own personal time, and if our son is away then it gives her some time to herself as well.
You're an engineer. Do you think being an engineer causes you to approach problems in gaming differently? Does it influence the way you play or think about games?
Absolutely. This might be my favorite thing about gaming itself. Streaming is all about talking to people and entertaining but gaming is so dependent on decision making. When I play a solo game, I will make sure I have all the resources I need to complete a task well in advance of even getting to the task.
With multiplayer games I take on the role of "In Game Leader" (IGL). This is single handedly the most rewarding thing gaming has to offer. I somehow convince up to four random people to listen to my every word and when it works out, which is more and more as I get better, they are so grateful and I get very excited.
As an engineer, I feel it has trained my mind to think of all the little things that can happen in a game and break it down into steps. Do this then this and repeat. Engineering school teaches you a lot about fundamentals, but the largest thing most engineers take away from it is an advanced problem solving mind. One of my streamer friends, CxRyze, is in engineering school and he studies the games and characters to make sure he always plays them the best he can.
It is really a lot of fun and adds a lot of depth to games that otherwise could get stale quickly.
What are your favorite games to play?
Growing up, I was always into role playing games and making a cool strong character and progressing through challenges. Since I started streaming, I wanted to get into more multiplayer games to be able to play with real life friends and meet new internet buddies. These last few months, I have been completely obsessed with Valorant. The game is not very advanced or technical but the community is great, you can have five people on a team, and other streamers can team up to do custom matches. This makes the game so fun and friendly.
What do you think of video games as a storytelling medium compared to TV, movies and books?
It is funny you ask this because I just spent a lot of time thinking about it the other day. The first game I played on stream was a Star Wars game about a guy who fell from Jedi graces when his master was attacked. I spent around 50 hours playing and exploring the game, visiting different worlds and meeting new characters.
By the end of it, I was comparing it to other movies and comics from the Star Wars franchise and saying how well the story was put together. Even games like Dark Souls, which are notoriously hard and vague, have so much to offer that it has inspired thousands to explore lore and make other content about it.
Gaming has the ability to do things that traditional storytelling mediums can not do. It lets you drive the story. It may be a linear path, but that character is who you made them to be. There is something rewarding about your favorite character in a show doing something great that is enhanced in gaming when you are that favorite character.
TV is even adapting gaming into it with things like Black Mirror creating a choose your own adventure movie. It is marvelous what effect gaming has in the space of driving a plot and story.
What are some of your favorite trends in streaming right now?
It has been a trend for awhile now, but doing TikTok trends or singing songs. There are so many people on TikTok but still so many more that are not. When we make references to certain TikToks, it has a lot of people speechless and honestly I love that.
What trends would you like to see disappear?
If ASMR could never show up again, I would be okay. I have gone to streams who have raided ASMR streamers and I do not know why, but it makes my skin crawl. I have nothing against any of the people, it is specifically just the sounds. It is so personal and it makes me so uncomfortable.
You used to bartend. What's harder communication wise- streaming and entertaining people or bartending and entertaining people?
Frankly, they are even. When I bartended, I took care of the bar and my coworker took care of the service for the rest of the restaurant. This means my main focus was talking to the guests and keeping them entertained from behind a bar. Now I am doing the same- making drinks and entertaining, but from behind a screen instead. I still have that immediate interaction with people who chat and still have a lot of loud music. The goal now is to make myself drinks instead though which is wonderful.
What was your favorite drink to make?
Lately, I have gotten away from too fancy of drinks but I really enjoy making shaken drinks. Something about throwing it in some tumblers feels wonderful. I would say espresso martinis are my favorite drink to make right now. Vanilla vodka, Kahlua, Baileys (if you want creamer), and some cold brew coffee. I also make it with espresso tequila which is wild. Add some coffee beans on top and you have a beautiful cocktail.
What's your favorite part about streaming?
Something I say in my streams often is this- I game so I can stream and I stream so I can talk to people. I could sit here all day and just talk to my chat. They get wild sometimes but are always so friendly and wholesome. We tell dad jokes, drink together, laugh, cry, and so much more. They are an amazing group of people. The vast difference in person to person is amazing as well. I have a very diverse community and they are by far, my favorite part of streaming.
What are three interesting things about you that not many people know?
My initial goal as a streamer was to raise money for dogs at animal control to have their adoption fees waived, and now it has come full circle since my dogs who came from animal control are older and needing medications and treatments.
Another interesting thing is that I have an expansive "Twisty Puzzle" collection that I will break out on stream every now and then. The most popular twisty puzzle is a Rubik's Cube but there are so many variations and advancements made to the ideas behind that specific puzzle that have really intrigued me.
The final interesting thing that many people don't know is that I do small woodworking projects whenever my partner wants something. I have made ladders, dog bowl holders, and other little things.
Blog posts by Hannah Ball, journalist and writer