From humble beginnings as a Major League Gaming intern, to full-time commentating and interviewing players on the main stage at the Call of Duty World League Championship 2017, Jack “CouRage” Dunlop’s career in esports has seen a meteoric rise while working in Call of Duty esports.
A man known for his antics on the casting desk and his personal stream, as well as falling off maps more than Clayster in competitive Call of Duty games, CouRage is one of the main casters and hosts of the Call of Duty World League. Here is what we learned when we sat down with the leader of the CouRageous himself:
How did you get into casting Call of Duty?
I started out as a fan of MLG and the greater scheme of esports for five or six years prior to working there. I was a fan of Chris Puckett and the pro players, and over time, I actually got the chance to play games with some of them and meet them. I began to form friendships by doing that, including with Chris, to the point where down the road, through only keeping in touch by gaming, he wound up offering me an internship at MLG because I lived in the New York City area.
The internship was within the video team, because he knew I was studying film and media, and I took that internship over my first summer while attending college. I wound up not only doing that internship for that first summer, but did it again the following summer and became full-time with MLG this past year for the 2017 Call of Duty World League season.
When casting Call of Duty, you needed to learn about the competitors who attend the Call of Duty World League events. How did you get to know the people competing for millions of dollars at events around the world?
The tough part was starting off by not knowing any of these guys, and meeting them for the first time in order to not only learn about them in-game, but outside of it. I was meeting them as people, as they were trusting me to hear their insight, pick up on the little things in-game, and be able to ask them questions.
When I first began, they shied away and asked, “Who is this guy going to tell what I just said to him?” And now, they’ll spill the beans on roster changes, strategies and in-game thought processes. Once I got to know the players since the beginning of my career, I now see new players come in and I immediately hear from older players about how good they are. I wind up meeting new players earlier on in their careers now, and establishing friendships with them before they even reach the top of their game.
How much has the Call of Duty scene grown not just for the players and fans, but for casters?
By a lot! I get asked more and more each day by people who ask how they can become a Call of Duty caster. There is more interest in the game than I have ever seen, and it’s been fantastic to watch it grow from where I was back when I was an unknown at my start to where I am now.
There is more on the line than ever before, but there is also more structure and eyes on the broadcasts than ever before, and it is a great feeling.
What do you love the most about being a Call of Duty caster?
I love two things about that. One is being able to engage with the fanbase and the supporters of competitive Call of Duty, even though I know that’s what every caster would say. But it is the God honest truth. Without the people who make it possible for us to do our job, we’d be nothing.
The other favorite part of it would be me doing my job while being a fan of the game itself. When I was younger, I would see other commentators on Call of Duty highlight videos, and now I hear myself over those awesome moments. Every time when those highlight videos play, I’m just reminded how grateful I am to be in this position; to be a commentator in the Call of Duty World League.
What does a day in the life of a caster look like at an event like the CWL Championship?
It all starts with us being sad when we find out our call time for the CWL Championship is 8:30 AM, which is tough…
I’m kidding. We get here, we get our schedule, get set up, and depending on when we go on, we get our makeup and dress up an hour before we cast.
Right after that, we begin to write down our notes, especially when we know the first round of games but not the second wave of matches because it weighs on the first set. We then take a walk of the stage and do a round of rehearsals to make sure our microphones and sound are working, as well as making sure all the cameras are set up correctly and that we are ready for the broadcast when it is scheduled to go live.
And then after that, we just cast, eat, have fun, and enjoy the competition.
What would you say was your greatest moment as a Call of Duty caster?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Looking at everything I’ve done, it is so tough to pick.
One of the moments I look back on fondly was the first ever Grand Finals I casted at UMG Dallas 2015. That was one for me that I couldn’t believe I had the honor of casting the Grand Final for. Another moment though was doing the interview with EnVy after they won the 2016 CWL Championship. And another one was when I played in the 2016 Stage 2 Finals All-Star Game, because that I could just entertain and be a goofball on stage.
You also are an avid streamer when you are not casting. How do you take your casting skills and apply that to entertaining the CouRageous?
I actually had a conversation about this question the other day, and what I said was that for me, before I transitioned to a caster role, I was an entertainer at heart.
I’m always someone who likes to keep things lighthearted, crack jokes at myself, and really brighten the day of those around me. So, when it came down to casting, I did the same thing while working on what it meant to be a good caster and broadcast talent.
From there, I just brought my personality into my streams, so I still have the stuff that I know people look for, which for them to have their stories told and develop in front of their eyes so they can be a part of it. Since that point, my streams have done quite well for themselves.
What are your future goals as a caster, streamer, and overall Call of Duty personality?
The big thing for me is that I want to focus more on personal content and be consistent.
I took a couple months off from streaming during the Global Pro League stages this year because of how busy it was, and I realized how much the dedicated CouRageous as well as making content means to me. It makes me happy, and is the thing I find joy in the most in life. I asked myself, “Why stop doing that and go away from it?” And if anything, people love what I put out, so I might as well put out more content that is of good quality, lighthearted, and see where it goes.
Casting wise, I want to cast the CWL, keep watching it grow, and keep helping it become the biggest esport it can be.
What advice do you have for people who want to professionally cast?
The first thing I have to say is that nobody is going to hear about you without you putting out some of your own content.
You have to get into any casting you can, whether it is casting over Pro Player VODs, or live amateur, semi-pro, or even pro matches. Just start getting your voice out there. Nobody is going to know who you are if you don’t have anything to show for it.
Finally, what do you have to say to the fans of competitive Call of Duty?
You guys have opened your arms wide and let me into the community almost three years ago, and you guys have changed my life. It’s been the best three years of my life hands down, and I have a feeling that we are only getting started. The Call of Duty World League has grown rapidly in the past two years, and moving forward, the only way we can go is up.
So please support each other, support the scene, and don’t spread negativity because there ain’t no time for that in this world! But ultimately, let’s just all be the best we can be.
The CWL Championship is broadcast live from August 9-13 over on mlg.tv/callofduty, on the official MLG Facebook page, on the official MLG Twitch Channel, and on the official MLG YouTube channel. Tune in and watch Jack and the other casters do their thing as we crown a new World Champion in Call of Duty.