Written by Corbin Schmidt
Recently we had a chance to catch up with Jamie “Bluejay” Savoie and Nolan “jnt250” Toomey, two graduates of the Esports Entrepreneurship and Administration program at Lambton College, who have been working together on their professional League of Legends podcast, the Clown Fiesta Podcast. We talked about their time at Lambton College, their interest in esports, the Clown Fiesta Podcast, and their goals for the future.
Question: Who are you guys and how did you meet?
Jamie: I’m Jamie Savoie and I’m from Niagara Falls. I decided to go to Lambton College because I was really interested in esports. I met Nolan there who also had an interest in esports. We both watch a lot of League of Legends and we were both involved in the League of Legends varsity team at Lambton College, so we bonded over these shared interests.
Nolan: My name’s Nolan Toomey and I’m 22. Similar to Jamie I heard about the esports program at Lambton College, where I could get potential experience and gain the knowledge required to work in the field, and I was immediately interested. I had previously gone to school for engineering but it wasn’t something I was passionate about, especially when compared to esports.
Question: What’s the Clown Fiesta Podcast all about?
J: Since we’re both very interested in League of Legends, specifically the pro scene in North America which is the LCS, we found ourselves talking about it with each other a lot anyways and thought “Why not turn that into something?” It came really naturally to us. The podcast covers all things LCS and any news surrounding it. We do sometimes touch on news from other regions but generally stick to North America. We like to recap all recent events, such as: recent games, upcoming matches, trades, signings, new organizations, etc.
N: As Jamie had mentioned, we talked about this stuff on a weekly basis already so we thought it made a lot of sense to turn that into some form of content. It’s something we enjoy and isn’t forced at all. The longer we have done the podcast the more we have enjoyed it and want to continue improving on it to hopefully become something – or at the very least provide us with some experience for future endeavors.
Question: Where did the concept of the podcast come from? What made you decide on a podcast as opposed to another form of content?
N: I think we went with the podcast format as it played to both of our strengths. We don’t have a lot of video production skills and thought it would be more difficult to do short form content rather than the podcast letting us get it all out. It seemed to best match what we had already been doing.
J: I really wanted to work for an LCS organization or Riot Games themselves. After a certain amount of time, I realized I wasn’t getting the ability to use my wrists and arms again soon so since I enjoy podcasts myself and can talk a lot, I thought it made sense. Even before my wrist injuries I recall really enjoying The Dive and wanting to be on it. I think the reason I didn’t start sooner was that I was convinced no one would listen to it since there’s already a lot of other options available, and we would be like their fifth or sixth option. Fortunately, we got lucky enough to gain a viewer base that comes back each week and I think maybe we’ve become some people’s favourite which causes them to listen to our podcast before other options. People also need more than just a few hours of podcasts to get through their work week.
Question: Do you have any creators you look up to in the scene that inspire you or who have helped shape the style of the podcast?
N: The obvious answer for me is Travis Gafford, who is someone that Jamie has been an avid listener of and has been semi-involved with. Outside of that I would say the communities themselves for League of Legends and the LCS have inspired me.
J: Travis is definitely one of them but I’d say in terms of starting the podcast I definitely looked up to the LCS personalities. Kobe, MarkZ, and Azael do a podcast called The Dive that I used to listen to a lot, it’s sort of similar to ours and I remember being a little envious that they got to do that as their job.
Question: Is there anyone outside of esports that inspires you for the podcast or maybe another passion you could see yourselves taking on in the future for another podcast or different form of content?
J: The first part of the question definitely applies to me more than the second part, as I definitely look up to people outside of the industry. Specifically, Tim and Sid which was sort of just a TV show that was a podcast. Although it’s now Tim and Friends as Sid (Seixeiro) moved on. Sid is someone I’ve looked up to as he’s a little different and wacky and if you’ve heard some of the podcast intros, I’ve done I definitely tried to bring on my inner Sid. As for doing a podcast for another topic nothing really comes to mind.
N: My dad and I have been watching Pardon the Interruption for a long time now which basically is a show that gives a rundown of news in all of the different sports, no matter the popularity. I always thought a version of this show but for esports would be awesome in the future if esports ever goes on to mainstream television. This is a lofty goal but I think it would be cool.
Question: How did the COVID-19 pandemic effect the podcast?
J: Nolan, do you think the podcast would even be happening without the pandemic?
N: I was thinking the same thing. The pandemic was probably one of the reasons the podcast even began. The idea had come up right after the program had ended and I was sitting in British Columbia quarantining with my mom and had nothing better to do. The pandemic definitely sparked it.
J: I think it would still be happening anyway but I have asked myself that question many times. I think pandemic or not we both still would have been looking for something to do in the esports industry.
N: I would definitely say it helped more than it hindered.
Question: What are your hopes for the future of the podcast?
J: I don’t think we have huge long-term goals but for the end of this year I think we’re hoping to achieve an average of 500 viewers across all platforms every week, which we have achieved and surpassed some weeks already, but just to get that consistently. We have definitely done our part to make sure our podcast is available to those who want to see it each week and I’m satisfied with the results but we could always put more effort in too. I’m happy that we’ve persevered and kept the podcast going the whole time.
N: In the short term I see this as something to help enhance my portfolio for anything in the esports scene. At the maximum I see it being something we continue to do on a weekly basis and get monetized. It is something we definitely want to monetize in the future, especially as we get additional options across platforms with requirements we have yet to meet. We have achieved this all without any paid marketing too, we generally make use of social media like Twitter and through self-promotion channels in other Discord channels. One thing that’s been great for both of us is not being discouraged with low view count to start or any viewership dips week to week. We also saw a decent boost with our rebrand at the start of 2021.
J: Yeah, I think the fact we took the time to do the rebrand right and found the right person for the job helped out a lot. The YouTube “thumbnail” definitely matters to those who are just looking around on YouTube.
Question: Do you guys have any advice for those who are either currently in the Esports Entrepreneurship and Administration program or are looking at it as an option?
J: The main thing I would tell people is that I’ve always heard people in the industry say to create something. Use your time in the program to find something you like doing and create and develop it over time. It could be any number of things as long as you’re being proactive. Don’t miss the opportunity to bounce ideas off your classmates as they are often likeminded individuals with a shared interest and passion in the esports scene.
N: To expand on Jamie’s answer, both Matt Hutchinson (Program Coordinator) and Tony Frangis (Esports Coordinator) were extremely helpful with ensuring we achieve anything we want to achieve. They were very open and active with learning new things and taking our feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask Matt and Tony for their thoughts on anything, especially if you are having doubts. Another thing is to keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid that you won’t find likeminded people in the program. Meet as many people as you can as there is definitely going to be at least one person who enjoys the same things you do.
J: Another thing I would definitely recommend is getting involved in the varsity program. It was probably the highlight of my time at the college, getting involved and coaching for the League of Legends team. The competition is a major aspect of what I love about esports. Some people might be too shy to get involved thinking they’re not good enough but there’s so many roles to be involved in, player or otherwise. It’s also a great way to meet people. I showed up at tryouts without even being able to play as I have some awful wrist pains but I found out they had coaching positions and got involved that way.
N: There’s definitely no harm in going to a tryout. It’s a more casual environment and it can be less awkward to meet people and show them a different side of you as opposed to being in a classroom while meeting them. You may also meet some people from outside your program who have a shared interest in esports.
Question: Is there anything you would have done differently during your time in the program?
J: I definitely would have started the podcast earlier. I can just imagine the feedback we could have got from those in our program which would have been immensely helpful. As for how I spent my time at Lambton College; I have zero regrets about any time and effort that I put towards the esports varsity program, but I do wish I put a little less time into trying to grow the academic program. I wish I would’ve been a little bit more selfish and focused a bit more on finding out what it is I want to create and improving my own skills.
N: I think I could have benefitted from taking the first year more seriously than I had. I took my second year a lot more seriously and got more out of it because of that. The independent project gave me a lot of motivation as it felt like we were creating something that could have gone on past the program. I don’t think I was thinking about the bigger picture during my first year and wish I had thought more about it in that time.
Question: Do you guys have any long-term goals for your future in the esports industry?
N: Ever since the start of the podcast I’ve been interested in doing content creation, either independently or for any different organization. I’ve been working with a sports betting website to help develop their esports betting section and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing which I hope to continue doing or using as a stepping stone in my career as part of my portfolio.
J: I think I’d prefer to work broadcast but if I had the option to coach an LCS team I would definitely want to do that. I really enjoyed my time spent coaching with Lambton Esports and continuing that would be amazing. I definitely know I want to be a part of the LCS in some way, probably in broadcast or as part of a team. I do still acknowledge I am currently very far from either of those though.
Question: Do you guys have an LCS hot take you could leave us with?
N: You heard it here first, NA is going to make it out of groups at Worlds.
J: I think the future of the LCS is that it will dissolve with the LEC. I think the LEC and LCS are going to end up merging into one another. This won’t happen in the near future but longer down the road. A trend we’ve seen in esports is that leagues tend to be very top heavy in terms of popularity of teams, those teams at the top are very popular but those at the bottom are extremely unpopular. I don’t think it is sustainable for those lower budgeted teams to be in these leagues and eventually the top tier teams will join together for this combined league as a merge. The league itself isn’t profitable enough to prop up those bottom teams which I don’t see happening so I see the merge as more likely. I’d also agree with Nolan that NA will make it out of groups at Worlds.