A New Career, A Similar Goal
For Henry, his transition from player to caster has presented him with many different challenges, but the end goal remains the same: to become the best in his craft. Despite retiring from competitive play almost 8 years ago, Henry still attends almost every single event and watches as much CS that he possibly can. It all contributes to his skill as a caster. His role as an in-game leader during his playing days has also been beneficial.
“I used to watch a lot of demos back then, and I liked to understand how people see the game when I watch them,” Henry explains. “I can actually analyze how a team is going to operate at the beginning of a round, and see whether they are doing a set piece or a default even before the round begins.” Years of watching demos has equipped Henry with the foresight to read nuances that few others notice, from the grenades a team is holding to the way they face in their spawns.
By being able to predict rounds before they happen, Henry is able to usher audiences into rounds and prepare them for the action to come. Each round, in a way, is like a short story, with an exposition, a conflict, a climax, and a conclusion. Pulling audiences into each chapter is essential for all would-be casters.
“Part of the job is entertaining people in the quieter moments. It’s helpful to have a good personality, and I like to have fun with it as well,” Henry elaborates, “I take the game really seriously and I have a lot of passion for it, but for the full eco rounds and situations like that, we’re allowed to have some fun and have some banter during the game.”
Certainly, having a dry British sense of humor adds a different dynamic to the equation. So far, audiences have taken notice, though Henry confesses that his hype game still needs some work. “I’m learning from Matt every day how to become a better commentator. Sometimes you’re in the moment and you just have to go with it and thankfully most people seem to think that I nail it. It’s definitely not one of my strengths, it’s definitely something I’m working on.”
Henry is the first to admit that he isn’t perfect, and that mistakes do happen. As a caster, his opinion is amplified with hundreds of thousands of people listening to his every word. “Everything I say is purely opinion — what I think is about to happen, and what I think is a good or bad play,” Henry clarifies, “I have zero seconds to think about what I’m about to say, and everything happens immediately. Most of the time, I’m on the money.”
In the rare instances where he does get things wrong, he already knows that his Twitter feed will be full of fingers pointed. Criticism accepted, but Henry isn’t fazed by these occasional blunders. He understands that his position attracts scrutiny, and his responsibility as the voice of his game does not escape him.
Words of Advice
As a senior figure in the world of Counter-Strike, HenryG has a simple message for those aspiring to follow in his footsteps: tread lightly.
“It’s a really competitive landscape right now, and it’s difficult for even the most established casters to get gigs,” he concedes without a pause, “So don’t quit school.”
Starting as a hobby is something Henry recommends for the aspiring caster while they build their reputation. Start doing it for fun online. Whenever there’s a GOTV release and there’s a chance to run a stream, practice even if it’s only in front of friends. And most of all, listen. Listen to the best. Listen to Sadokist, Anders, and find out what makes them so good.
A lot goes into becoming a successful Counter-Strike caster, and Henry is frank about the prospects of breaking into the business. “For someone with no casting experience,” he offers bluntly,” I wouldn’t recommend trying to get into CS:GO, at least.” With a talent pool that’s among the most abundant in esports, opportunities are few and far between.
“There are so many great casters already out there, and there’s a limited number of gigs available. We’re so far into the life cycle of Counter-Strike that everyone is already so established. It would be easier to wait for a new game and try to make your name there,”
Harsh words, perhaps, but Henry wants everyone to know that passion alone isn’t enough. There’s a lot of hard work — and whole lot of luck — involved. He minces few words and stresses, “My main advice would be to stay in school and have a job you can fall back on. If you can do this in your spare time, give it a go and see if you can make a stable income from it. Only then can you consider going full time.”
It’s a familiar story for Henry, because that’s exactly how he started. When Henry began his casting career, he was living with his partner at the time, and he promised her that someday, it would become something. Back then, he and Richard Lewis were casting a week’s worth of matches for a measly 50 pounds, up to 10 maps a day. Henry knows what kept him going through those difficult times, “You needed a lot of f***ing passion to make it through the day.”
Needless to say, Henry Greer made it.