The Nationals, the Philippines’ biggest esports tournament, has allowed quite a variety of talents to show the nation what they do best. From the different players to the VJs, correspondents, and casters, each have shown their passion and love for esports and their respective craft.
One of these is correspondent, Eileen Shi. While still quite new to the esports scene, she is no stranger to being in front of a camera. She began her media career, as she put it, as a courtside reporter for De La Salle University in the UAAP. Prior to this, she was a cheerleader and a dancer but ultimately auditioned for the courtside reporter role because she wanted to try something new.
“I first started in the media industry mainly because I auditioned as a courtside reporter for the UAAP. Prior to that, I never did anything close to media. It was really about trying out something new, that’s why I got into media.”
As she settled in her role as a courtside reporter, she found comfort in telling the stories of the behind-the-scenes. She took the role of a storyteller of the stories that would never have been told otherwise. The story of the struggles, the triumphs, the turmoil, and everything in between on the team and their players.
“Being a courtside reporter is all about story-telling. You always have to look for something that the audience would listen to. I guess that’s more or less my area of expertise. It’s just really bringing the stories of these people, these players. What really goes on in the back and bringing to life and letting our audience know what really happens aside from what they see on the broadcast.”
The process of writing a story, for Eileen, is getting to know the people; both the audience and the players. From there she goes by what piques her interest and builds on that. It’s about putting herself in the shoes of the audience and going from there.
“I guess it’s really getting to know the people. Getting to know the players, the team. But I think it’s really what sparks my curiosity as an audience. Like I ask myself, “What do I want to know personally?” and then I think that’s also what other people want to know.”
One big difference though between her role as a courtside report and her role as a correspondent lies in focus. While she will continue to be a storyteller for the teams, this time around, it’s about five different teams [and growing] and their various rosters (Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Tekken 7) rather than just one team (DLSU) and their two rosters (basketball and volleyball). The broader view, for her, will allow her to compare and contrast the inner workings of the teams and help her find what makes each team unique.
“I think the main thing that’s nice about the UAAP is that you get to follow a single team. You’re able to tell the story from start to finish. On the other hand, what’s nice in The Nationals is the fact that you get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on. So, you can compare and contrast what’s really happening with these teams and what makes the team distinct.”
The transition from courtside reporter to, later on a host for a tv show and now a correspondent for The Nationals won’t be easy. While she focused solely on developing as a reporter for DLSU and giving herself a crash course on media, The Nationals calls for a crash course in the different games as well as getting know more about the industry.
Not one to back down on a challenge, Eileen looks to indulge herself with the world of gaming and esports just for The Nationals and beyond.
“The biggest challenge is knowing about the games and of course getting to know the industry; using the jargon, knowing the people that you should know, and keeping myself updated. Especially since I have a lot of years to make up for. I know esports is nothing new in the Philippines. I really just have to pick up the pace and give myself a crash course on the industry itself.”
“Now I have to channel all my time and energy to really know the game and doing my best to ensure that whatever I deliver, it’s really going to help the audience. It’s really going to be something that they enjoy.”
Watch Eileen Shi and the rest of the DOTA 2 casters and correspondents at The Nationals, the biggest esports tournament in the Philippines. Catch the action on 5 Plus, the home of esports on free TV every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can also watch the livestream via the 5 Plus website, and on OneSports via CignalTV for paid TV.