Streamers is a webseries that gives voice to video game streamers in an attempt to understand their relationship to the world, this new for of social interaction, and the codes of the streaming craze. In four 10-minute episodes, Streamers showcases the questions and reflections stemming from Will’s four year-long immersion in Twitch, a platform where video game streamers broadcast their performances in real time to an audience of viewers. The series explores four major themes: community engagement, the language and codes of Twitch, the monetization of streaming, and the balance between online and offline life.
Streamers is a webseries about our fundamental need to exist and to belong to something bigger than ourselves, as observed in the world of video game streaming. The series explores how people form relationships, interact, and give rise to communities that are inventing a new culture unique to the digital era.
To the uninitiated, streaming may seem strange, if not inconceivable as a cultural phenomenon. Yet Twitch is among the largest users of bandwidth in the United States, along with Google, Facebook, and Netflix. More than 100 million people gather on this social networking platform each month to watch others play video games, and the Twitch community generates billions of dollars every year.
The uniqueness of streaming culture comes from the human and social dimension that these communities bring to video games—which, until very recently, were played alone or with just a few friends. The streaming craze continues to grow today. Streamers seeks to understand the people who make up this impressive network that has become a kind of society. What began as a niche community has grown into a critical mass of people now large enough to be changing the face of online communities.
Streamers is the synthesis of a four-year immersion in Twitch, during which Guillaume Braun, aka Will, documented the video game streaming phenomenon from the perspectives of streamers. He dove into their environment and customs, using the Twitch platform like a documentary filmmaker uses their camera and editing software. In order to capture the essence of Twitch, which live broadcasts content, Braun built mini chatbots to sound out the community through little games and quizzes. He also developed a multiuser video feed system that allowed him to live broadcast interviews on his own channel. The result presents streamers’ perspectives on the phenomenon of streaming, in a context that closely resembles their own reality, codes, and language.
In the first episode, you meet Will, the creator and narrator of Streamers, and learn what motivated him to dedicate the past four years to immersing himself in the world of video game streaming. Will explains the origins and scale of Twitch and the community spirit surrounding streamers. In playing video games live on the internet, streamers invent new ways of interacting and creating with others. Their communities are made up of people from all over the world who share, gather, and support each other—even meeting in real life, blurring the lines between the real and the virtual.
In the second episode, Will takes you to the heart of Twitch chat, where the interactions between streamers and their community come alive. The platform has its own language of codes and unique graphic worlds—emotes, which are similar to emojis or even memes, are an integral part of this culture. Chatting creates a crucial link between streamers and their viewers and creates a village spirit: the community establishes its own rules and streamers act as leaders, developing strategies against trolls. This reality particularly affects female streamers, towards whom the world of video games is often unfriendly…
In the third episode, Will explores the different ways that streamers can monetize their online presence and how they view their success beyond money. While video game streaming has become a new kind of career that is increasingly less marginalized, the streamers’ relationship with money remains a taboo subject. Their main sources of revenue are viewers, who support streamers by subscribing to their channel or by spontaneously donating. This allows some streamers to make a living off of their passion and to produce more content. But complete commitment to the community can lead to a hectic and ultimately isolating lifestyle, requiring many sacrifices in terms of social life, family life, and health.
In the last episode of the series, Will asks questions about the pervasiveness of the digital in our lives. Streamers present their views on their relationships with their fans and community. Defining the limit between one’s online and offline lives is a quest, and it often allows streamers to find their voice and build the community they desire. However, it can be difficult to find the right balance as streaming often rewards excess. The more you stream, the better your chances of building a larger community and tasting success, which can become intoxicating and can lead to unhealthy lifestyles. The streamers in this episode share their experience with vulnerability, honesty, and insight. They think about the future of their career, channel, and community, as well as the future of streaming.
An original idea by Guillaume Braun, directed in collaboration with Marie-Ève Tremblay. A NFB production, in co-production with ARTE.
National Film Board of Canada
in collaboration with Marie-Eve Tremblay
Visual Design and Motion Design
Script Development – Narrations
Voice Direction – Narration Recording
Original Score and Sound Design
Bande à Part audio et postproduction – coop
Translation and Subtitles
Far Cry / Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege ™&© Ubisoft Entertainment. All rights reserved
Half The Animal
Jason M. Robinson
Dave Packer & Sheep Films
Topshelf Records & Good Boy Audiovisual
National Film Board of Canada
Senior Production Coordinator
Technical Support – Editing
Social Media Strategists
Web Content Project Manager
Director of Digital Development
Web Project Managers
Special thanks to Twitch
Vanessa Gosselin Grenier
Anne Marie Archambault
Special thanks to the 2017 livecasts participants
©National Film Board of Canada – ARTE France 2019