Reason I'm not doing VCT EMEA

Warning: long thread.

I believe we need more transparency and better communication in esports. This is what happened, and why I am not observing VCT EMEA this season (which is the last season of the year).

When we first were signed on to do VCT EMEA in 2021 we were a group of 5 observers. We had a healthy observer rotation in each week. I firmly believe this is the best way to handle observers in VCT. A rotation allows for competitive nature, where everyone feels like they must improve and will improve. Unfortunately observing bookings rarely happened, and if it happened, it happens just a few days before matchday. Such short notice made all 5 of us clear our calendars for VCT because we would never know when our time would be.
Starting 2022 many of us were disappointed to hear or actually not hear at all, that Freaks4U have decided not to run observer rotations anymore and run 1 POV observer for the whole year, and 1 Cinematic observer for the whole year.

In the beginning of the year, I was asked to fill in for the cinematic observer as they weren’t available for a certain week. All good, told them I had no experience in cinematics, but that I would do them anyway. After this, they regularly booked me to do VCT EMEA (a consistent amount), but always last minute. It even happened where I was already in Berlin to do VCT, and on one of the last days of that week, they asked me to stay longer in Berlin to do the following week of VCT EMEA. I could’ve said yes, but I was still in university during that time, and I already sacrificed a lot of university classes to do VCT EMEA.
This is where my pressure started to begin. I was asked by my production manager (who is also the person that directly hires me) why I couldn’t study in Berlin, or why I couldn’t just move to Berlin. As things would be much easier. They would ask me every single time whenever I would be in the studio in Berlin doing VCT EMEA. Because of this, I had dropped my university to do more of VCT EMEA.

I am quite vocal about my mental health on the internet and even my production manager knew about a disorder I have (which has an increased s**cide rate). They know a lot about this disorder a well, because they were also diagnosed with this disorder. This did not stop them from making s**cide jokes. One day Freaks4U booked the wrong flights for me, they asked me to adapt to that flight schedule, but I couldn’t have made the flight. I was up all day doing VCT Game Changers NA till 4am and Freaks4U wanted me to fly at 7am. They were already aware that I could not fly in the morning yet still booked an early flight for me. I only received my flight details 2 days before matchday. I asked my production manager if they could give me another flight, they said no. Then I asked what would happen if I cannot make the flight.
They said and I quote: “if you cant make the flight we need to fly you in last minute somehow and waste a million euro and cry and I might commit s**cide finally :)))))))))))) so nothing of interest”.

I didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t. Instead, I took a screenshot and sent it to higher ups, and maybe I shouldn’t have done that, but I really did not know how to handle that situation. The production manager was then told off to not make any death jokes anymore. After this the production manager started being cold with me, which I understand, they started writing in the VCT Discord channels to Riot’s language partners that he was having a shit day because he got told off for making death jokes. They wrote all of this in the presence of me, right next to them in the studio.

Now in the present, I keep trying to contact my production manager asking for dates, because I know now from experience that if I don’t ask about it, I won’t know if I’ll be booked until a few days before the event. I was asked to do 3 days out of a 23/27day VCT EMEA. I was gutted, am I a bad observer? Then I thought, it must probably be because the cinematics observer couldn’t do those days. Everytime I asked why I am not getting certain dates, they would tell me they couldn’t tell me but it wasn’t because of the lack of quality of my work.

Yesterday when I expressed my feelings about everything I have written in this TwitLonger to my production manager, we had a huge fight about it. They denied of ever asking me to move to Berlin or drop out of school, and that it was just a suggestion to have it potentially easier. They got mad at me for going to the higher ups talking about me feeling uncomfortable with this person as they were just ‘joking’ about death and that I should have known it was a joke. I asked for a fair rotation between observers, if there’s 2 observers, then a rotation of 50/50. Or if there’s 3 then a rotation of 1/3 of VCT. They said I should be happy that I’m doing Game Changers EMEA. That comment made me feel like a diversity hire, because I know for a fact that they were initially going to hire someone else I won’t name, but that person dodged the offer and requested for me to be on.

I told my production manager, if there is no fair observer rotation, then I will refuse to work on VCT EMEA. And so here we are, I am not doing the next VCT EMEA.

I have never had this experience or feeling about VCT when I was working in NA on their Open qualifiers, or their Game Changers. Maybe I’ve gotten too cocky, maybe I don’t even deserve to do VCT EMEA at all. All I know is that I felt like I was used as a substitute, and a diversity hire for VCT Game Changers EMEA. Especially after they make a content piece about me, specifically for Game Changers.

TL;DR, Lack of communication resulted in poor scheduling, pressuring me to move to Berlin and drop out of school for VCT EMEA, my hirer threatening to commit s**cide if I did not adapt to their mistakes, I was only booked a few days before matchday making me feel like a substitute, was told I should be happy to just have Game Changers, making me feel like a diversity hire.

Last thoughts: am I mad about the whole thing? Yeah, I feel pretty pissed off and taken advantage of. I don’t agree with the decision making, but that’s not up to me. I know I am a good observer, and I know I can bring quality to a broadcast. Unfortunately I don’t feel appreciated.
A friend of mine told me, “our work doesn’t define us”, but I can’t help but feel it does for me. So maybe this is a good thing.

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