“If I wasn’t a streamer, I’d be a Tesla-driving Uber driver,” said Chun Lin, or better known to his fans as VeryTJ (飛常天真) on Facebook Gaming. There was something about driving that fascinated the Taiwanese streamer as it became his go-to answer for a few questions we had throughout the interview. When he wasn’t being serious, his fun and jovial demeanour brought a lot of laughter to the conversation.
“My nickname, ‘Fēi cháng tiānzhēn’ is a reminder myself to not be naive. It’s a name I’ve used for a very long time. However, I am still a naive guy,” he said when asked about his nickname. Based on the success he’s had as a streamer so far, it doesn’t look like he’s as naive as he thinks.
The 33-year-old Facebook Gaming Creator, who has been streaming for many years, worked a lot of different jobs before transitioning into a full-time content creator - his last job being a security guard. When the opportunity came knocking, he accepted without hesitation, said the long term gamer who remembers playing Stone Age Online (the 1999 MMO) as one of his first games. He then transitioned to other games like Lineage and League of Legends as he grew older and it was the former title that helped him kickstart his streaming career.
Being part of the service industry, he felt that he had the skills for the task. “Both jobs require you to connect with people, and since I was good at that, I felt I could be a streamer.” He wasn’t wrong, people instantly noticed how charismatic he was. Unlike streamers who get recognized for raging, it was his positivity that helped him build a fanbase. He attracted folks who enjoyed his jolly vibes. “In the beginning, I had a lot of viewers who told me that I had very positive energy and they encouraged me to go keep streaming.”
“The best part about streaming is when I pull off skilful moves or outplays, emotions are high for me and my viewers, and we get hyped together!” However, the good comes with the bad and it’s not always rosy in chat. “Once in a while, I’ll get passersby who watch me fail and flame me or compare me to other streamers - I hate that!” Fortunately, since switching to Facebook Gaming, he’s been dealing with a more peaceful and less toxic chat.
Some people have even insulted him for his appearance, which has led VeryTJ to turn off his camera for most of his streams on Facebook. Fortunately, he doesn’t need to rely on his looks to keep his audiences’ attention. “When there is no camera, the quality of the stream is not dependent on my looks. Viewers will watch because of the gameplay.”
And it’s no coincidence that gameplay is the main focus of VeryTJ’s stream. The former League of Legends player who switched to Arena of Valor is good at what he does. If he’s so good, why doesn’t he go pro then? We asked and he joked that he felt he was too old to play professionally and he would starve as an esports athlete - apparently, they aren’t paid well enough. Fortunately for him, he has his streaming career and a loyal fanbase to keep him going.
“When I started, the most difficult part was finding out what was special about myself. How was I going to catch the attention of viewers? I had to discover what was my selling point.” Eventually, he discovered he had the knack to make people laugh and the skills to outplay his opponents - which has carried him thus far.
Chun Lin intends to keep streaming for a very long time - until people don’t want to watch him anymore. Then he’d start anew as an Uber driver or launch a talent agency to help streamers grow their career. He wants to help people out with all the knowledge he had to learn on his own - like figuring out how to grow an audience.
“For people who want to start streaming on YouTube or Twitch - as long as your family is rich enough, you can do it,” he said in jest and promptly followed with sincere advice, “if you want to stream, think of it as a hobby. If you stream as a hobby, you’ll be more passionate about it and you can go further. If you do it for income, you will take it as a job, which will negatively affect your stream.”
To his fans, he concluded the interview with a message of thanks, “if there is no them, there is no me.” And though he might not get recognized in public right now, he might be a familiar face in the rearview mirror of a rideshare car you get in next time.