Interview with Apollo
Fri 9th Dec 2011 - 6:10pm
Shaun 'Apollo' Clark is a player, commentator and coach for Team Dignitas. He is a world champion on Command and Conquer 3 and retired in 2009, switching to StarCraft II. He currently plays random to have a good knowledge of the game for both his coaching and casting and has been with Team Dignitas since 2007.
We decided to have a chat with him and asked him about esports in general and also about his expectations of 2012, enjoy!
(Apollo casting the SCAN Invitational)
What was your favourite event of 2011 to cast?
Apollo: My favourite event to cast was IPL3! It was my first time to commentate a SC2 tournament in America, so I was little nervous going into it not really knowing how well I would be received and I put a lot of effort going into the tournament hoping to do my best.
It was also my first time working with somebody else aside from Totalbiscuit or Day9, so I was a little wary about working with djWheat wondering if we would work well instantly on a big stage because casting teams need work to gel correctly.
After getting up on stage, everything went so amazingly well and djWheat is an awesome guy to work with, the best within the industry for sure! IPL treated us extremely well, looked after the commentators, looked after the players which made the moral incredibly high for everybody involved! The tournament was a blast and for being their first live event, it went so well and I'm so excited for IPLs 2012, great for eSports!
Why did you decide to become a caster instead of focusing on becoming a pro gamer?
Apollo: I was playing fulltime from the release of the beta and continued playing until after the actual release of the game. I was actually living with Tasteless in Korea during the summer of 2010 and he had a big influence on my casting, pushing me down that direction rather than playing!
My initial plans were to try and get into the casting scene and go back to Korea to commentate the GSL with Tasteless and Artosis. As soon as I got back home I applied for a position commentating with Day9 at IEM cologne 2010 and was lucky enough to get it after this, Dreamhack sure potential in me as a commentator and picked up me up for their 2011 circuit and things grew from here.
(Apollo casting Dreamhack with Totalbiscuit.)
Will you ever play the game at events such as MLG?
Apollo: I would love to, not sure how far I would get though lol. I would much rather commentate at the bigger events if invited to do so! I play the game daily and even compete in some online tournaments here and there when I have the time but I don't intend to play professionally, I just play to keep my knowledge high for my commentary.
Who is your favourite player to watch?
Apollo: Recently? I am very excited to watch Hero play and oGsFin aka forgg, my two favourite Korean players! I also love watching Select and Stephano play also!
Will we see the casting archon of you and TotalBiscuit continue or will you try to mix it up with other casters?
Apollo: Depends on if we are hired together or as single commentators but what usually happens is that if either one of us gets a job offering, we give our recommendations to commentate with the other half! As long as Totalbiscuit stays in SC2, we will continue to work together!
We have changed up here and there, I commentated IPL3 with djWheat because TB couldn't attend and at Dreamhack Winter 2011 I actually did a few games with Tasteless while Totalbiscuit was with TLO :)!
(Apollo casting i44 with Totalbiscuit)
What does the UK need to get more StarCraft tournaments over here?
Apollo: Great tournaments which Mulitplay have been providing recently and then with the IPL support, that’s definitely the right direction to grow from. Multiplay know exactly how to run a SC2 tournament, and run it well now, they just need some player booths :D!
You have been coaching lower league players, is that something you enjoy doing, have you had any great results from it?
Apollo: Yeah, I coach from Bronze league to Masters. I really do enjoy doing it actually, the greatest enjoyment from it is actually seeing results, I have had some students with amazingly potential and talent and see them pick up the game, listen and put it into practice and benefit from it, only better feeling is commentating at a large event!
The biggest example was I had a guy in gold league who after 4 lessons together or something shot straight up into Masters and started to rival me :D!
(Another TB and Apollo shot from the SCAN Invitational)
What advice would you give an aspiring caster if they wanted to become well known?
Apollo: Hard work! Lots of it! Commentating at the lower level is very much over saturated, lots and lots of people have channels and are trying to become casters. You need to shine above the rest, so really focus on your game knowledge and player base knowledge because there are lots of play by play casters out there right now, if you can impress people with what you know and say, you can rise fast!
What do you look forward to in 2012?
Apollo: The entire year, SC2 has come so far so fast and 2012 will only continue with this rise! I am a little scared about the expansion coming out only because I feel that we haven't gone deep enough into Wings of Liberty yet and I still feel there is a lot to learn and develop but I have trust!
Do you want to give any shoutouts?
Apollo: Thanks to ODEE and Team Dignitas for supporting me from 2007 with playing and commentating! I also want to thank Reddit and Teamliquid and everybody who has given me fantastic support for my commentary, even though I don’t really post publicly thanking you, it really does mean a lot. I will continue to produce the highest quality of commentary for you guys going into 2012! Also follow me on twitter @dapollo1337 and check my coaching out www.team-dignitas.net/apollo