Jaasuzuran: An actor in both real life and video games
Largely recognised as a face of the popular Malaysian radio station of Era FM (which he left last year), Jaasuzuran is determined to carve out a name for himself by exploring new career paths that intrigue him. His pursuit in acting and hosting may have taken off, starring in TV films such as Korban Penunggu Hospital and Suka Dia Ya Suka Dia Tak, but there’s one little known side to the former radio presenter that the general public isn’t aware of: he’s an official Facebook Gaming Creator who streams video games.
Streaming in the name of art
“I see streaming as a form of art,” said Mohamad Faizal “Jaasuzuran” bin Ahmad, affectionately called as Jaa. In a world where streamers are usually known for their gameplay and personality, one may be baffled by his interpretation of video game streams as an artistic medium, but hear him out. “I come up with storylines to act out in Grand Theft Auto Online, much like a TV drama series,” he explained his regular content.
Beyond roleplaying in GTA Online (which the Rockstar game is known for), Jaa includes a long string of local streamers (around 20) as actors in his project, all in the name of art, good viewership and entertainment. The Kelantan native usually looks to real-life stories, current issues and specific films sequences for inspiration, injecting them into the melting plot. “The first storyline I did centered around the life of a Chinese gangster named Jaakie Chan, which I acted as,” he recalled. “There were elements of romance, crime and drama in it, which attracted a lot of viewers because they are eager to know what will happen next.”
On top of controlling his in-game character, Jaa also has to voice act as the characters he embodies. “It takes a lot of effort, because you have to change your voice and keep at it for hours,” he remarked, saying that he has stayed in character for a long time every single night of his streams - it took him three months to conclude Jaakie Chan’s story. At least the workload is lessened by the absence of scripts.
Instead, Jaa prefers to list down important plot points with a number of details as reference for the whole crew and ad-lib the rest of the way. This improv method runs the risk of being messy, but is resolved by planning out the storyline over a few days and organising frequent pre-stream discussions. “It helps everyone remember their roles so that the story goes smoothly; otherwise, all the dialogue is spontaneous.”
Climbing the ladder
However, Jaa didn’t start his streaming career right away with such ambitious content. In his first few weeks of trying, he was still shy of pulling off his storyline concept, opting to stream plot-focused games such as Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4, which he still does from time to time. It was after two months of streaming irregularly during his free time that he started taking his streams seriously. He began coming up with stories, gathered his close friends and streamers, and acted them out in GTA Online, which caused his viewership count to “boom giler (like crazy)”.
Naysayers may attribute his surge in popularity to his celebrity status, but Jaa said that isn’t the case. “It doesn’t matter who you are outside of Facebook Gaming. I still had to start from zero like every other streamer and work hard to grow my viewership.” With the amount of work he has been pouring into his video game streams as an actor, director and story planner, Jaa clearly didn’t exaggerate when he said gaming and acting are his passion.
Leaving no stone unturned
Although juggling between acting, hosting and streaming seems too much for one person to handle, the full-time Facebook Gaming Creator assures that he doesn’t have issues managing his workload. Aside from having the flexibility to choose his own streaming schedule, his acting and hosting endeavours usually happen in the day, leaving his nights free to do as he pleases.
“I play games a lot when I’m on break or at night, to the point that I’m just lost in my own world and stay up until morning.” When he found out there was a platform on Facebook for anybody to stream their gameplay, he decided to make full use of his time to kickstart his streaming career.
“I can put my gaming time to good use now, not to mention that I’m also growing my career by streaming,” Jaa expressed, saying that he also enjoys interacting with his viewers. “I view them not as random strangers, but as family; who would want to spend so much time with a stranger like my fans do?”
From the immense support of his fans to the fruitful collaboration he has with his friends on stream, Jaa has much to be grateful to get here. Back when he was with Era FM, unbeknownst to many, the radio presenter was given additional responsibilities as a digital content producer to drive Era FM’s social media pages. “I had to think of what content would resonate well with fans, even pitching ideas to my superiors by acting in mock videos and editing them,” which inspired him to pursue acting and gave him a head start as a video game content creator. Thanks to the skills he learned and mastered throughout the years, Jaa is able to bring together both acting and gaming in perfect harmony with his live streams.