Chris Wittine, Celebrity E-Sports Agent at CAA | The Future of E-Sports

 

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Chris Wittine is a Digital Media Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Wittine is based in the Los Angeles office and represents many of the world’s leading content creators and pro-gamers, including DrDisrespect, Sam & Colby, and Nick Eh 30.

Wittine began his career at William Morris Endeavor in 2014 and joined CAA in 2018. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Masters in Entertainment Industry Management. Wittine works to secure business opportunities for the agency’s clients across the entertainment and digital landscape, focusing on brand partnerships, platform strategy, and business development.

Show Links

linkedin.com/in/chris-w-b0141825/

https://www.businessinsider.com/top-talent-agents-of-youtube-creators-influencers-uta-wme-caa-2019-11

SUCCESS STORY PODCAST

The Success Story podcast is focused on speaking to incredible people who have achieved success through trials, tribulations, wins and losses. In each episode we sit down with leaders and mentors. We document their life, career and stories to help pass those lessons onto others through insights, experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, business, folks, sports, esports, clients, gaming, talent, podcast, space, audience, YouTube, career, entertainment, artists, personality, agent, platform, traditional, twitch

SPEAKERS

Scott D Clary, Chris Wittine

 

Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Thanks again for joining me I am sitting down with Chris Wittine Ki is a digital media agent at the leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency, otherwise known as ca. Chris is based in LA he represents many of the world’s leading content creators and pro gamers. So his nine to five what he does is he works to secure business opportunities for the agency’s clients. He works in entertainment and digital verticals, focuses on brand partnerships, platform strategy, a little bit of business development, and, you know this, this is all well and great, but I want to just highlight some of the talent that he works with. So specifically, the Dober brothers, Dr. disrespect, Sam and Colby, Nikki 30. So Dober brothers 7.9 million subs on YouTube, Dr. disrespect, and these are outdated numbers, by the way, 1.2 9 million subscribers, Sam and Colby 3.7, Nicki 34.6. So these are, I guess, YouTube royalty, so to speak. And I’m really curious as to the life of somebody that manages the careers of these people that are massively successful on a platform that for some individuals is relatively, they don’t understand the concept of how YouTube is successful content creation, basically, career defining platform for some of these people. So thanks, Chris, for joining, I’m really excited to understand your background, how you even get into this kind of work what, you know, what drives you your passions, and let’s speak about some of I guess, the realities that you face managing these people. So thank you.

 

Chris Wittine  02:13

Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’ve been on this journey. Now for a little bit since I guess my career in entertainment started before it was on the business side, it was in a punk rock band in Cleveland, Ohio, which we don’t need to credit or have any kind of ceiling of information for listeners to follow up, because I will spare them the pain. Needless to say, not a successful entrance into the music space, but enough to incite the passion to follow the threat of what would be my career in digital media today. That probably coupled with too much entourage for one’s own self good. So I started my career actually at a competitive agency to see a William Morris Endeavor agency, as it was called when I started there in the mailroom, finishing up my graduate program at Carnegie Mellon University who has a really, really different sort of program that essentially an MBA meets the world of entertainment. It’s called a Master’s of entertainment industry management program, where they have several professors that are active in the entertainment industry, and they encourage graduate students to either work full time or get an internship throughout the program, so you can get a taste of the different facets of the industry. I was one that always kind of sided with artists and was excited at the prospect of becoming an agent and trying to figure out, you know, the landscape of representation and, and how that stuff actually worked beyond what I’d seen on the HBO show, right? And so I came to quickly realize that one, you know, even back then mail rooms are still a thing. And there’s a incredible amount of mail that is being circulated beyond what is, you know, pushed into our personal mailboxes from flyers and grocery stores that we never intend to visit. And the second thing is that the perception I had of being a rep is quite different than the reality. So as I kind of learned from some great mentors and, and built my way up in that system, eventually I left that firm joined another firm called full screen, which is still in business today as part of the Warner Media Group in full screen, was one of those early companies that started was called an MC n or a multi channel network. And so if you think about YouTube, as kind of a vast ocean, the multi channel networks are these subsets within that ocean, fullscreen been one of the most successful ones. And so there I really kind of learned what would be the fundamentals of digital media representation, partnerships, kind of business models, and how that applied to talent artists, content creators today, spent time there and multiple different sides of the organization. Eventually was fortunate enough to get a call from ca who I’ve done some business with at full screen, and took an opportunity and came over as an agent in the group to focus on servicing the agency’s clients at large, but also to build out my own direct clients. And then eventually, we all really, really wanted to take a foothold in gaming and eSports. So I’ve been supportive on that business and alongside one other agent to date, or representing the endemic gamers, on the talent side of the business, CA had always been in gaming to some degree. So they have partnerships from League levels with groups like riot, they help build games of developers and studios. But previously, we hadn’t represented any actual gamers, whether that’s a streamer or content creator in the space, someone that was day to day on the frontlines making stuff as a personality, or, you know, through gameplay or commentary on the gaming industry. So now we are certainly in that business and have put a big foothold there, and only plan to grow it and I’m fortunate enough to be part of the ride.

 

Scott D Clary  06:15

That’s a I find all of the eSports digital sports quite interesting. I think that even before our current situation where regular regular you know, the regular leagues that we know are all canceled, for the time being, we’re already getting much of a foothold, like it was already getting massive momentum. So these personalities that you represent, are these excuse my ignorance are these, these are personalities, these are not leaks, per se correct?

 

Chris Wittine  06:45

So, personally, I don’t represent any leagues. But on the CAE level, we do have some of those representation relationships, my clients focus on the individual level, that is the so by means of example, Dr. disrespect, who’s one of the largest characters and personalities on Twitch and in the gaming world, as an individual, that’s a client versus, you know, someone could represent a particular team like TSM, or liquid or a league like riots, League of Legends. So yes, our focus is on the actual talent themselves. And so for most of those folks, you know, there’s not an exact playbook for what everyone’s trying to do the strategy. And the priorities are really based on the individual artist or artists. And it totally evolves over time, much like the spaces itself. You know, previously, you didn’t see people striking partnerships with Hollywood production studios in the space or, you know, working with kind of the high end book publishers to release novels, or stories or graphic novels, whatever it is, we’re seeing a ton of that kind of crossover and intersection of traditional media and digital media, which kind of goes with our philosophy out of my group is that we don’t kind of put the filter on these guys as being and gals as being, you know, digital specific, that’s just, you know, what they’re endemic to and where they start. But we believe firmly that it’s talent outright, and that, you know, if they were born in a different era, you know, if this was a different time, they would have rose up on whatever medium was popular then, right now Twitch, you know, maybe the home for someone, but previously, it could have been somewhere else.

 

Scott D Clary  08:31

And do you find that you mentioned something that was interesting. So you try and true, you do eg treat them and they are true talent? But do you find that when you’re looking for all these opportunities for them? Are you selling the like? Is has eSports taken enough of a hold where you don’t have to sell the concept before you sell the talent? Or is there still that pushback in the industry? That I don’t want to perhaps align with something that’s so new? And I don’t understand it?

 

Chris Wittine  09:05

Yeah, it’s a good question. So first thing I’ll say is, and I only jump on it, because I had to take the Crash Course myself is eSports is a very specific subsection of gaming as a whole, when we think about gaming, at least how I talk about it, how my team thinks of it. You know, I’m considering folks from the casual mobile gamer to someone that plays monopoly. It’s very broad and vast. And therefore, when you look at the markets as an entertainment, vertical, it’s absolutely huge. It trumps you know, film, television, music, and many of the ways you can measure those markets so so that opportunity is quite large. Esports is something that gets a lot of attention. deservingly so, for you know what it’s doing to captivate audiences that aren’t probably watching traditional linear sports, the ones that we think about baseball, basketball, etc. And for the mass appeal of it, but it’s a pretty small, even still today a small sample Section of the larger gaming audience. So it you know, when we think about it, it totally varies.

 

Scott D Clary  10:09

And how do these you know, all the all the individuals that I have on this sheet here? The names that I dropped in NZ represent? What what made them popular? What made them what what brought them to some level of fame where you can now champion them and take them and turn them into a personality. Because I don’t think that many of these people and I could be wrong did this purposefully. It seems like a lot of the early just started playing video games, they posted it and then all of a sudden, is it just the is it truly the personality that takes over when? And that’s what sort of propels their career? Um,

 

Chris Wittine  10:43

I can tell you I think about it. I don’t know the answer is just the short one. The truth is that I see it as you know, people vote primarily in two ways with their time and with their money, right. And time and attention viewership, what you consume as entertainment content is certainly an indicator of that. So even if I, as a representative personally don’t get something or you interact with someone on the street, who isn’t the consumer, of this particular talent, or this particular media brand, if there’s enough scale, and people that are witnessing it, there’s probably something there. I think often it’s what you said, it’s personality that really cuts through a lot of the clutter, the blessing and the challenge with the internet is it’s really lowered the bar for content creation. So there’s just a large influx of that. So it’s even more difficult for certain folks to break through that noise. When there’s so many different people creating personality tends to be a big driver of that. A bit of it is opportunity, you know, something that has been fantastic for the gaming community at large is fortnight, right? It’s still so relevant today, it’s had a really long run, if you look at the cyclical nature of titles, it’ll forever have a community and people playing that game, with its popularity, rose the attention from what some people used to consider, you know, gaming as being a niche, a niche kind of subject of pop culture to mainstream pop culture. You know, you heard stories, certainly for my colleagues in the sports group of NFL players that maybe slightly tardy to practice, because they were playing fortnight, right. You know, so so that stuff, cultural moments, and timing can also break artists and help them cut through, you know, maybe there’s a little bit of luck to it sometimes. But then boiling it down and getting rid of, you know, the gameplay getting rid of YouTube, I think there is a natural talent, it’s kind of that X factor, beyond personality, that really draws people and it’s one of those things that is hard to define. It’s hard to be tangible. But you know, when you see it, and the investment by an audience, the exchange from that artists and their fans, to me is probably the strongest indicator of how you can, you know, quantify something like that. You know, going back to the initial prompt here, you said, you know, do people set out saying, hey, I want to be, you know, the biggest or I want to be successful, or make this a business. Some have. And what’s interesting is that now, if you survey, young folks, that that’s an option, right? That is a career path. And it’s really hard to make the argument to mom and dad that, you know, hey, putting in the hours in this video game, you know, might have some significant ROI, it’s probably not a waste of time. Look at all these examples. There’s a case to be made. I have a client fortunate to work with a young man of the name goes by Nick a 30, who’s a large content creator and streamer on Twitch, Nick tells his story very publicly that he had a conversation with his folks setting out a timeline to create content and give gaming a real go to see if that could be a career path. It’s something that he really enjoyed. Unfortunately, enough, you know, all those elements, to to identify him as talent and to really break through the noise and to gather a community, we’re certainly there for him incredibly talented individual. And that’s become his career. You know, there’s going to be people I’m sure that that give that a go that don’t have the success, there’s going to be people that, you know, probably try and manipulate and play the algorithms on platforms to see if they can conjure up the audience. I find that most of them kind of fall into it, it turns to be a hobby or a means of expression that catches and really resonates with folks and at some point hits that tipping point to become to become the means to the end.

 

Scott D Clary  14:38

That that, you know, I just find it so interesting, because all the things that you’re discussing, are parallels to, in my opinion, very personal opinion. But the parallels you’ll see if an agent is working with a young athlete, that is going to be in some sort of in some sort of sporting, you know, an NFL NHL, baseball anything really MLB like, it doesn’t really matter. I think that there’s that there’s a there’s, of course, there’s some people that are going to be pushed, and I think a little bit more forced by their parents than they probably would in in gaming and eSports. And seeing some of those crazy, crazy sports parents. Yeah. But, but still, it’s also like, at the end of the day, it has to be like that intrinsic motivation? Um, do you notice? Is there anything that that you have to be mindful of? It could be very similar to working with young athletes, when you’re managing the business, or the, I guess, the financial future of people that could be relatively young. I don’t know how old these people are. But I know that I’ve seen some of them. And they’re, they’re very young. So how did that like that’s a that’s a responsibility? And how do you how do you manage that as the agent, like the person is bringing the business, I guess, vetting the deals? That kind of thing?

 

Chris Wittine  15:49

Yeah, you know, and I think it’s really, it’s really thoughtful commentary. When you think about the nature of a lot of my clients in that ecosystem, where, you know, previously, we lived in a world where if you wanted to be an actor, there was a very defined system, how to approach that, you know, whether your child actor up to to an adult in the digital ecosystem, so long as you’re following the terms and conditions of platforms, right, you could find success at a relatively young age. So it’s a pretty practical concern or a question mark here, what I would say is that, regardless of age, you know, we work on behalf of our clients. So at the end of the day, we are here to empower them, help them make the best decisions, but it is just that it’s their decision. And I think one of the things that we strive for is surrounding those clients with a bunch of thoughtful people with expertise, and quite frankly, that don’t all think the same. So you don’t follow that kind of groupthink that can have blind spots, but people that are able to engage in thoughtful dialogue of the pros and cons to, you know, certain opportunities, whether that’s with the brand, or it’s a question of the individual artists brand building, you know, what do I want to be known for, I can go left, I could go right, both ways, have their merits, you know, what’s the best choice for me? When it comes down to it, it’s, you know, doing kind of the thorough, deep dive into getting as much information as you can, based on the opportunity at that time, the institutional knowledge that a place like CAE brings to the table certainly adds a lot of comfort, a lot of customary behavior that we can use to suss out bad actors or opportunities that may be, you know, not the best choice for someone regardless of their age bracket. You know, the other thing is, I think, having a true sense of self going back to that origin of like, why did they get into this, you know, something I kind of tried to instill in my clients and layout and a lot of successful folks, whether in sports, or acting or gaming have done is you really dig into the why, you know, why are we here? Why am I doing this thing, what gets me out of bed every day, use that as kind of the compass to business to help guide you in decisions. Because the reality is that a lot of things are only clear in hindsight. So it’s about gathering that information, having a trusted group of advisors, and empowering that artists to make the best choice they can. So even at you know, if you’re underage, typically you have a legal guardian or someone that’s, that’s there, that’s, you know, helping you through this stuff alongside any agent or manager or lawyer. The team can be different depending on who it is. But that’s generally kind of the rule of the road. And the other part of it is we really think long term at my firm, in the sense that, I would say and acknowledge there’s a stigma to a lot of folks that pop up to success on the internet, is that it’s to short lifespan, right? You don’t, you know, you see some folks that are really popular for six months, and then you can’t find them the next. And there’s a long track record of burnout too, I would say that, you know, people don’t realize that a lot of these people are super entrepreneurial, and they’re working all into the funnel. So they’re, they’re filming, they’re editing, they’re the on screen talent they’re writing they’re producing, it can be quite fatiguing, and certainly at the frequency required to be successful on a platform like YouTube or Twitch. There’s a real sense of burnout and draining from the artists themselves or the folks working on that. So we tend to look at things from, you know, a really long term perspective striving to have lifelong careers. And sometimes the short term money for what could be a lucrative opportunity isn’t worth the long term costs. And that can be practical from just a human perspective and a business perspective. So those are some of the kind of evaluations we put in place when advising clients and helping them make the right decision for themselves.

 

Scott D Clary  19:49

Yeah, that’s a it’s a really thoughtful approach. And I think it should definitely be noted and appreciated because that’s something that the longevity of a gamer is crucial. I personally, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand where they end up like, I don’t I don’t get it. Like, I see these content creators, and I see these people that are, for example, live streaming. How do you how do you build a career? How do you have kids? How do you go on vacation if your sole income is live streaming? And I guess the question is, how do you what is the end goal? I’d be curious to get your opinion on that. But also, what are the business opportunities outside of the actual content? Their name their brand? What’s the end goal? Have you reached that point with anyone? Or is the industry still very like if you’re a if you’re a if you’re a sports, if you’re if you’re a, you know, a noted sports figure, you know, maybe coach, maybe you buy a restaurant? I don’t know. But like, what do you do as a gamer? When when you’re when you’re done gaming? Or are you done gaming?

 

Chris Wittine  20:53

Yeah, I would love to have the answer that if you have any ideas, Scott, please pick up my way. I’ll give you my email. Look, I think it’s it’s an evolution. But generally speaking, you know, there’s a saying that, and I would misquote, if I try to attribute it, it’s certainly not mine. paraphrasing, but you know, art is never finished, it’s abandoned, which is something that I believe is true with the process here, not to say that people been in their career, but to say that it’s not done. It’s an evolving to living, breathing thing. One of the generalities I’ll use is that we encourage diversification for clients across the board, no matter what stage they’re in, because if you think about the ecosystem, you know, you take someone that you mentioned, a group of guys, I got the pleasure of working with for a long time, the Dobro brothers did have a massive YouTube business, and they’re, they’re some of the best at it. And the audience’s is, you know, incredibly passionate and loyal. But those those boys don’t own YouTube, right? Like, that’s their business. And while they have a great rapport with the folks that create on the platforms, and they have infrastructure and teams in place, and they’re very thoughtful, when it comes down to it, the end of the day, it’s, it’s a separate entity. So you know, if YouTube was gone tomorrow, you know, what do you have left? If you are a YouTube creator, you got to think that way, and be proactive in your business to say, well, you know, what, I’m active on these variety of channels, you know, I’ve got, maybe I do have a restaurant business, right, I’ve got a client that has invested in something like that, and is able to pollinate across his digital business and his offline business in a really, really meaningful way. It’s that diversification, I think, what we commonly see is folks that break into consumer products, right, you have a great audience, you do a lot of time in the endorsement space, often through marketing and branding partnerships with advertisers. At some point, many people go, Well, hey, you know, what does it look like to have my own? Or should I start my own merchandise line, or maybe, you know, make a brand of hot sauces, whatever it is, that’s a commonplace, I think traditional media still has a lot of credibility and appeal. And so branching into books or comics, or live touring, or podcasting, you know, these different buckets, create diversity in the business lines. And ultimately, that turns into a bit of stability for the talent to so that’s one of the kind of the short term things that leads into long term endeavors. As far as like an end point, you know, it’s certainly case by case but the folks that we’re able to work with, I can tell, you’re so passionate about what they do that there’s not really like a sunset look to what their businesses meaning that, you know, they don’t say, Hey, I’m gonna clock 20 years on Twitch, and then I just kind of want to ride off and, you know, have people wondering where I went, I think they kind of see things as we’ve observed in traditional sports, and or film and television, that there’s different roles that can play, that are probably more appealing at different stages in life, right? expertise and knowledge of what the gaming community wants, it’s gonna be just as powerful as a content producer, as it’s going to be, you know, being in front of the camera. So, particularly right now, that’s a huge area of opportunity, where people are trying to learn about the space navigate it. And so the best kind of sources to defer to those that are active in it and living it day to day, they’re the ones on the on the ground boots on the ground that are going to know what communities love and what they don’t like and in areas that are underserved, you know, potential opportunity.

 

Scott D Clary  24:30

And do you think that with you mentioned something that was really I found it to be very, very important for the I guess the future of this industry? It’s there’s a lot of noise out there. There’s there’s tons of noise when it comes to content creators now. Do you think that it’s too late or just very, extremely excruciatingly difficult to build out yourself from the ground up starting today in 2020 to put yourself onto YouTube. Is it too late already?

 

Chris Wittine  25:02

It’s not too late. But it’s certainly more challenging, I would say, just because of the volume of content and people in the system than it was five years ago, you know, or at the inception of YouTube. So I think, you know, the advice to those folks are, you know, places like you is to become gold standard for social media. And it’s kind of the buzz and the table stakes of where content creation is, however, keep your eye out for emerging platforms, new opportunities, you know, being first to market is generally great business concepts, whether you’re selling toilet paper, or you’re publishing videos, you look at the amount of careers that have been started on a platform like Vine that’s no longer active today, whose talent and businesses are still very active and real. We represent a young lady by the name of Liza Koshi, who has transcended media and has a thriving digital business in traditional media business. That was a platform that she was fairly early on. And her talent was exposed to that audience. And she’s been able to make something, you know, exceptional off of it. So I encourage folks to keep an eye out for those things. Because, you know, from an investment standpoint, and from an audience standpoint, everyone’s trying to find the next Facebook, they’re always trying to see, you know, what’s going to be the next platform. Today, most people are obsessed with tick tock, which is really having a great moment is a fantastic place to create. But that platform has even been around for I think under tick tock, it’s been rebranded for somewhere between two to three years before that it was a platform called musically, you know, even that one has been in the age of the internet has been out there a while. So you see new ones emerging all the time. Typically, it’s a really good approach to try and jump on a place that has less people creating and has a greater demand for content that you could serve.

 

Scott D Clary  27:00

So do you think that this, this eSports a gaming, even like YouTube content creation, I guess it’s a moot point to say, what do you think about how it’s going to impact the future of media entertainment? Do you think it’s going to continue to take a larger portion of traditional sports, traditional entertainments going to move towards all this? Esports and E gaming, digital gaming? What I guess what are your thoughts on on the future of this industry? And how is it going to play out against getting attention and viewership and ad dollars away from traditional sports?

 

Chris Wittine  27:38

Yeah,look, I don’t, I don’t subscribe to the mindset that, you know, it will gobble up traditional sports, and it will be the only behemoth in town. I think that they’re distinct enough. I mean, there’s many people that would argue that what they’re doing on the competitive gaming side is not a sport at all, that debate is so alive and healthy. What I would say is that it doesn’t actually matter, what they think the audiences is proven the point or So continue to argue if they want. But my perspective is that we’re certainly gonna see some sort of conversion between the audiences, you know, you look at the NFL and the NBA, there’s so many fans that overlap on both of those. They don’t say, Hey, I only watch basketball, I only watch football. So I think there’s room for all of that from an advertising perspective. I mean, we live in a really strange time right now, right? So I take the experience under COVID, in the pandemic as a small sample size. However, it’s certainly just been accelerating a lot of the trends that we’ve already been seeing. So the challenge I put out there is no matter how great, you know, a Super Bowl might be when I’m watching, I look around the room during those ads, and everyone’s on their phone anyways. So I question, you know, what is the real return for the advertiser on, you know, that multimillion dollar commercial? So the trend has already been set, I mean, it’s been written. So yeah, some of those dollars are going to continue to flow. And it’s probably been greatly accelerated by COVID, into these emerging spaces on the digital side, such as eSports. And I think that’s all for the benefit for both the consumers ultimately, and for the advertisers. So I look at as a net good. I think much like the traditional, you know, theater model or releasing a film, we’re just going to see a compression, like we’re going to see in traditional sports, and hopefully that just leads to better quality on both ends. You know, eSports, again, being a subsection of gaming, it gets a lot of the attention right now, because it feels familiar to the community when you compare it to a sport versus when you say, hey, you know, here’s Twitch, right, but they’re just they’re just watching someone else play the game. A lot of people, particularly in the older demographics, kind of scratch their head at that, you know, they’re not actually playing no note they’re watching someone else play right It’s kind of hard to someone was comparing it to air, they’re like, it’s the black box, we’re trying to figure out what’s in the box, trying to understand it, there’s nothing to understand, you can just watch the other people understand it. So yeah, I think the two live together, and they both have their audiences, and they both have value, but we’re gonna see a big shift that’s been accelerated by all this. And in terms of where people are spending their time and energy, and what’s a credible means of entertainment. And I think, you know, eSports has already won that argument, we’re just going to now see it mature and continue to grow. But to the advertisers that are still heavily invested, you know, they’re starting to diversify their spends, and we’re spending a lot of time educating, strategizing, walking those folks through how they can deploy their marketing campaigns and how they can connect with audiences and talent in this newer space.

 

Scott D Clary  30:51

And do you see the and actually I guess, I’m just curious about your opinion on on, I think a couple weeks ago, there was a UFC match that was that was basically done in a stadium with no fans. So now, when you speak about like, eSports, now you see even traditional sports just being purely broadcast. So I think that that’s also like, you know, the whole it’s almost like, an older generation of individuals climatized, to Amazon, shopping and whatnot. And they’re all getting used to Amazon shopping. Well, we’re all stuck at home. Well, now, I think that even if you have traditional sports and all these different leaves, trying to figure how to broadcasts or things out, you’re going to see all these different leads, get into EA, sports, digital sports broadcast only, no fans, no, no in person for the foreseeable future. And that’s going to sort of push the whole industry forward. I think, I don’t know. But I think that I’ve, I think, like, you know, when you start pushing things, you start changing behaviors. Those behaviors get stuck, if people are forced to try something never tried before.

 

Chris Wittine  31:56

Absolutely. I mean, we we talked about, at one point how there was concerns when television came on the scene as being the death of the film industry, right, it was going to wipe who would go to a theater with this box in their house, it turned out to be one of the strongest partners to the film industry, when things leveled out because they can market those those products to get people to come into it. I think about you know, I don’t have any children of my own, my sister does, and my nieces who will not know a world without the iPad, they won’t, they won’t know any different than that, right? This is it’s not, you know, a subpar version of television, it is television, it’s the same thing to them. It’s just going to be how they, how they spend their time. And as people get more accustomed with it, as like you mentioned, there’s less friction in the system to consume the content. You know, one of the greatest things that has combated the rate of piracy is just the availability of the content now, right, you know, we’re we’re all concerned about Kazaa and the music industry and, and the Pirate Bay and all stuff and legitimate concerns disruptive and you know, really destroyed a lot of jobs and value. However, you look at the consumer behavior to your point and there was a, you know, a large sore spot of friction that came up was they want the content now they want to get it where they want to get it. Look, man, I can’t tell you probably most of your listeners the last time they’ve ever thought about piracy site because Netflix is so available. Right? And there’s so much amazing stuff that’s being made. So that was the ultimate silver bullet and that beast was the market evolved. And I think we see the same thing happening over here, which is the convenience and you know, the, the comfort level of the audience.

 

Scott D Clary  33:44

Good one one more question about about eSports digital digital sports I think we’ve beaten this topic that I do have one more question just because you’re in it what are what are future trends that you see in this industry? What’s what’s new what’s the latest greatest that most people would not be tapped into? Even if you’re in this?

 

Chris Wittine  34:08

Yeah, um,well speaking from from a representative standpoint, having my way agent hat on which is really covering up my terrible hair coach if not had in quite some time with my video. Yeah, great. Great. I feel I feel so ill prepared. For this. I figured I would use the video on this just so I could follow your lead but now I see that you’re ready for Bloomberg TV and I look like I’m coming from some sort of hostage situation. But anyway, so yeah, like where to where to go?

 

Scott D Clary  34:46

Is there is there is there like, you know, I just want like, I don’t know, I just see the people I see Brett. I see names that I know investing young dollars in eSports. And I just like, is it just more groups of guys Sitting down in like these LED lit chairs, playing all these, like with drones, like, like, I don’t know, what what’s the what’s the future? Like? Is there anything that’s it’s new?

 

Chris Wittine  35:10

A couple ideas. So one is on my side of the business as a representative, it’s still quite the Wild West. And there’s a lot of practices that I don’t think we’re going to see in place, call it two years, five years from now. So particularly, representation and gaming is all over the place. But I mean by that is, there are n franchised agents that aren’t sanctioned to be doing the work that they’re doing. There are, you know, some folks that have an attorney that looks out for them, there’s some that have, you know, their buddy, that was just, you know, the chair next to them when fame kind of arose, right, and they’re dealing in their business, and it’s, you know, doesn’t follow a lot of the customs and norms that we expect when dealing with, you know, professionals in the entertainment industry, or artists. You have these leagues and teams that all of them, you know, there’s some overlap over the norms, but a lot of them have their own way of doing things, right. I think, as the stuff professionalized is that b2b conversation is really going to take shape and probably look a lot like we have in traditional sports where, you know, you know that there’s an agent or you know, that there’s a commissioner or you know, that there’s a set of rules that are really standardized, and things you can and can’t do, and expectations, so that stuff will continue to evolve. And that’s just commonplace, but you know, a new businesses infancy. So we’ll see that stuff change, I would say that, you know, the great opportunity and challenge with things is, in basketball, if all of a sudden, tomorrow, they change the shape of the ball, and it was a square, the game radically changes, right, the strategy radically changes, you know, you can get a five point shot from half court, oh, man, everything’s different. We got to go back. These sports has a bit of that built in, you know, meta changes on games of the data within the data of how things actually work, to new game modes to new titles that come out. You know, right now we’re seeing with the advent of on the commercial side, you know, a game like fortnight, when it’s all the buzz, how does that affect the eSports competitive side of that business? If five years down the road? It’s not as interesting, right? These are some of the things that the developers and the publishers find these games are internalizing, and being very thoughtful of, as they put out these titles is, what’s the longevity of that look like? You know, how do updates affect that? How do you know changes in the player modes materialize in the experience for the audience? Those are things that I think, really, we’re only going to know by doing, and taking best practices from historical learnings to implement. I think that that is a core element here, that’s going to be really interesting as you make the sports comparison to the eSports. World. The other thing too, is it’s interesting, going back to the age of some of these artists is historically as it’s been as most of our relatively young, I mean, you look at booga, Kyle Dorfman, the kid who won the fortnight World Cup. Last time epic gotta hold that event, I guess, the inaugural time and hopefully we have another one following. I think he was 16 or so when he won that. I mean, man talk about a story Crazy, right? Well, you know, not to say that I’m a scientist of any sort. But there’s a correlation between, you know, having young reflexes and eyes and performance in a game. There are people that retire, air quotes retire, you know, at the ripe age of 20. You know, there’s not a lot of fields even, you know, when the shelf life of an athlete can only be so long in high impact sports, where there’s retirement at such a young age. So that’s another element to the business that I don’t think we have a clear path yet. It seems to be today that a lot of folks, when they retire from the eSports side of the business, try and lean toward the content creation side, try and lean towards taking that momentum and being more of a public figure or evangelizing their creative work in the eye of their audience. So there’s several sides of this thing that are gonna materialize next couple years will be exciting to watch. And a lot of, you know, the, the fundamentals are still being crafted. So it’s still very much the Wild West.

 

Scott D Clary  39:25

And and I think that as you know, as people start to, they’re these, these kids are so young, but what, what makes a fan of any athlete, it’s following them over their career and seeing their successes. And you have, and you have these people that can list off every single stat of every single one of every single and every single team. And like this, there’s no one there’s no one that can do that because there’s no athletes or participants or gamers that are that old, right? Like there’s no legacy. There’s no legacy. And once you have legacy, then you have those lifelong fans and then that’s when you start you No, there’s a lot that’s going to come up. This is just very early on.

 

Chris Wittine  40:03

I will say, I think from a mainstream perspective, most folks who agree with that, for the endemic perspective, the people that have lived and breathed this, I mean, the folks that carried their monitors and their huge PCs to land parties in the basement of so and so’s house, but no one cared. And they were finding a way to rig their Xbox or their, you know, internet connection to play multiplayer, there are certainly some Oh, geez, in the space that are, you know, now, just chuckling with the amount of enthusiasm and interest in it to say, yeah, we’ve been here all along, you know, this has always been a thing. You’re just now catching up to the curve. And we’re lucky to represent some of those folks. But it’s yes, it’s it’s interesting to think how far we have to come. And quite frankly, just so exciting for anyone that has an interest in the space, that there’s plenty of opportunity to learn and get involved.

 

Scott D Clary  40:56

Yeah, yeah, very, very, very interesting. industry that I don’t know, nearly enough about. But I’m trying to, I’m trying to figure out I’m really, really appreciate the talk, because I like to understand like, and when you start to listen to this, like the parallels between, like traditional young athletes, and then the traditional young gamers like it starts to make a lot more sense how their careers are shaped and how the future of the industry is shaped, and all the nuances that if you’ve never really understood it, and you don’t know it, you really don’t realize that there’s this much depth to gaming, and unless you’re in it, unless you’re in it, but then you start to realize, listen, you know, CAA like, this is pretty much what you do. This is what this entire agency more or less is founded on correctly, this is like, this is your bread and butter. This is not like this is an ancillary piece of the agency. This is it. Right?

 

Chris Wittine  41:48

Yeah, I mean, look, we’re involved in practically every aspect of the entertainment industry, and have folks that specialize in particular disciplines, so that we can have someone that is, you know, the best in books, and the best in life, touring, etc. And this is a, you know, one of those competencies that that we have, and we’ve been early on, and we’re going to continue to build out and pull from this knowledge as, as the business matures. So the hope is that, you know, we’re around, you know, focusing on this space, as long as it’s here. Yeah, and putting our energy and efforts as a kind of a collective network of expertise to benefit our clients.

 

Scott D Clary  42:28

All right, I appreciate that. Now, I want to, I want to just ask a couple more like Chris questions, because I always like wrapping it up with, like, you know, more and more about you, but what what is, what is your goal? What do you want to do? Like? I don’t know, you seem like you, you’ve been sort of thrown into this environment that is new and innovative and disruptive. Where do you want your career to go? Is this something that you want to continue on? Is this like, you know, is there is this the opportunity to like, own your own agency? Or maybe don’t say that, because somebody from CA, it wasn’t as what’s what?

 

Chris Wittine  43:04

Absolutely not? Absolutely. Yeah, look, the truth is, it’s boring. I wake up excited to do what I get to do. And I’m very blessed and fortunate to be able to do it. This was my goal for professionally for a long time. And now I’m in an environment where I get to work with for my clients, to my colleagues, such incredible folks that it’s, it’s always inspiring and awe inspiring to try and achieve new heights and try and learn new skills. And, you know, I probably can be annoying to my colleagues with how much I really want to dive in on hey, you know, I’ve never done one of those deals or you know, I’ve always had interest in this, will you please give me and be generous with a couple minutes of your time to learn more. So professionally, it’s, it’s, it’s only just absorbing more information and trying to find new ways to benefit our clients. Luckily, you know, as long as my key card still works, I don’t have any other plans, other than to keep this going and continue to evangelize our work and build out our clientele and service them. You know, living in Los Angeles, I like Los Angeles a lot. I’m not married to the city. So maybe at some point, if I get the call from the bigwigs to open up an office somewhere else, you know, maybe maybe I’ll do that. But I am fortunate to be in the position I have sought to be in so sorry. Yeah, that’s the answer is no diabolical scheme or, or surprise launch of

 

Scott D Clary  44:37

Hell is not a boring answer. Your job is interesting. Like I don’t I don’t, I don’t think many people can claim they do what you do. So it’s not a boring answer at all. It’s, it’s, it’s a real answer. And it’s, and honestly to be to be quite frank, it’s a blessing that you are doing what you enjoy doing. That’s really, that’s gold for most people. So like, you know, hats off for that. What, what was I gonna say? I had one more question about About Oh, yes. So normally I normally ask where you go to learn from like a personal self development piece. And I would still love if you have some great resources because yeah, people listen to this, they like to, you know, what’s the latest book? What’s the, you know, I want to grow my career I want to be I want to be a more successful entrepreneur, entrepreneur, I want to grow in my company, whatever, the resources, that’s great, but I would also love you mentioned you always learn, where do you go to learn about something that’s evolving all the time? How do you find new things? How do you understand new things that you can obviously bring to your clients in a market that hasn’t been defined yet?

 

Chris Wittine  45:40

Yeah, good question. And if there’s any, I don’t know if you take comments on the podcast or whatnot, but I openly RFP, the listeners to please send this back, as I share, because that’s, that’s a real answer on the greatest source of information, for me personally, is kind of this grassroots calling response in conversation with folks. You know, whether it’s scoping out and scouting for new clients, I am just obsessed with, with comments and what the fans are saying and meeting the artists themselves and seeing the perspective you can, you know, it’s the don’t judge a book by its cover thing, but you can only learn so much from what’s publicly available. Right? I tend to find that some people keep their best secrets to themselves, their best advice themselves. So only by asking and really digging in, can you find that, you know, fits? Hey, what is the new trend in the business, look at what the youth are doing, you know, always always an early indicator where things are gonna go watch the content that you know, your niece is in your nephews are watching come the holiday season, you’re all gathered great indicators for just kind of like scholastic and you know, professional advancement stuff, a couple sources, I am a consumer, from books to podcast, to video to anything. But one that I’m particularly obsessed with on the podcast front is pivot. Scott Galloway and Charisse Fisher’s podcast, it’s really kind of hinged on tech and business, some entertainment in there, but particularly for what we discussed and what I do, you know, my, my group, my clientele were kind of centered in this trifecta between, you know, Hollywood, the advertising community in Silicon Valley, you know, Madison Avenue in Silicon Valley. So we see, you know, when Google makes a change that affect advertisers, how it trickles down to the talent. So we see all these different forces working together. So I love to broaden my kind of base by thinking a little more macro on technology and entertainment and business in a broad sense. So that podcast really covers that quite well and is also just, you know, absurdly entertaining to listen to, you know, there’s a there’s a wide variety of books, you know, they’ll read all the all the boring ones, from the buffet books, to you know, the self help stuff, you can find out Malcolm Gladwell, inspirational, I think those are always good to fall back on. You know, I think LinkedIn is also a really undervalued space, because unfortunately, too many folks just use this personal branding to push out there and say, hey, look how shiny my object is, don’t you want to ask me about it better yet, buy something from me. But I think every once in a while, you’ll see some really just creative discourse appear in the threads of, you know, Article postings and other executives that will give some of their time to weigh in on a particular subject. So asking that community and diving in to the posts of executives and people that you admire is, is a really great resource to

 

Scott D Clary  48:36

very, very good answer. I appreciate that a lot. Question or just to close this up. I wanted to give you the floor and anything that I’m probably not knowledgeable enough to ask about eSports that would be relevant to someone who cares about eSports? Is there anything that we didn’t touch on that that’s topical? Now? And if not, that’s also okay. I was curious, to be honest,

 

Chris Wittine  48:59

so much, so that you’re gonna have to invite me back.

 

Scott D Clary  49:02

Alright, let’s do it. And then I know next time you’re going to do a different video. I don’t mind it at all

 

Chris Wittine  49:10

tropical, I’ll go on the Zoom things I’ll be in a tux to, to one up you.

 

Scott D Clary  49:15

Deal. Deal.

 

Chris Wittine  49:16

Look, I mean, I’m just I appreciate the time and the interest in your part. And hopefully, this is generated some sort of value for your listeners. I think it’s it’s an exciting time to be involved in this no matter where you sit from entertainment, from marketing to technology. And I think that you know, for as much turmoil and distress as there is in the world right now, there’s a ton of shining light too. And some of these spaces are a really good source to find that and find some sort of way to either express yourself or you know, pass the time and in very enjoyable way and productive way. So grateful to be doing what I’m doing appreciate your interest in the space.

 

Scott D Clary  49:54

I think it’s I think that you know, if there’s any value that can be learned out of this, it’s just it’s To understand what’s current, what’s trending, like he mentioned, I love that, you know, if you want to know where to go next, go follow what your nieces and nephews are watching or what they’re doing over, you know, the holiday break whatnot, because that’s so relevant. And that is like the most relevant business lesson I think I’ve ever heard on any of the interviews that I’ve done, because if you want to be relevant, you have to be where the next generation is going to consume content. And that’s how you know you can literally your brand, your personal persona, your business, whatever it is, it can blow up overnight if you hit it right, you know what I mean? So that’s very good.

 

Chris Wittine  50:35

Something my father gave me as the last piece of advice I thought was really great. And he he’s got he’s an incredible individual speaks multiple languages is worked all around the world constantly traveling, been in marketing sales, his whole life. He said something to me, that was, you know, you know, someone is old or they’ve aged out, not based on you know, how many years they’ve been on this earth, but whether or not they’re listening to popular music on the radio, but I think what he was really saying is that if you don’t know what songs are being put out and what the new tracks are not to say that you need to know it by the second, but if you can’t pick up on that new Bieber single or something like that, that maybe you’re a bit out of touch with what’s happening in popping

 

Scott D Clary  51:15

youth culture. That is a very good litmus test. I like that a lot.

 

Chris Wittine  51:19

I like that a lot. It’s a very free to take that and share that. That’s all Yeah,

 

Scott D Clary  51:22

so no, that’s why very wide everyone. Yeah. Out of people out of people get in touch they want to they want to learn more about CA They want to learn more about you. They want to get in touch with you. What’s the best way?

 

Chris Wittine  51:33

Yeah, well, we now have a fantastic corporate website ca.com as well as I can be found on most social media platforms under see with Tina, don’t ask how it came about that it’s a combination of my name, last name, first name, but um, otherwise, check me out on your podcast.

 

Scott D Clary  51:50

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off

 

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