'In the Labs' with Chris Mix
‘In the Labs’ is a new blog series of personal interviews and podcasts showcasing artists and go-doers in their natural habit. We find out what goes behind the scenes when they are working in the lab. We now look at a different type of artist, Chris Mix, who shares what it’s like being an online content creator.
Chris Mix is a content creator who streams games and entertainment on a daily basis. You might be saying, “oh geez, playing games? How hard can that be?” From first hand experience, I can definitely tell you that it’s quite a task. Let’s see what goes on in the mind of a creator while the camera is on and off.
For those reading that may not know, a streamer is a person that streams content online to a live audience. Currently, streaming is heavily populated by gamers, artists, musicians, and others alike. It’s one of the greatest way that people can connect with fans and anyone looking for something entertaining to watch after they finished binge watching Netflix shows.
Dan: Streaming is relatively a new thing that’s been rising in popularity (although it’s been a few years and tons of streaming services have been created). Why don’t you give us a brief description about yourself and what you do.
Chris: Who am I? What at an interesting question. The answer to this question always changes, as it must for each of us! I suppose my title would be labeled as a streamer or content creator? I've dabbled in many things over the years but the direction I am in now has lead me to more happiness than I've ever known possible.
Each day, my task is entertaining people across the globe that tune into a nightly show where we play video games and crack jokes. Roughly 5 years ago I tasked myself with the goal to make at least one person laugh everyday; which ironically has led to where I am now. Our little community has taken on such a presence in and of itself and I could not be prouder. I've been at this 4 years now and the bigger picture is all I see each day. Community. Friends that unite through common interests.
Dan: A lot of up and coming people are known to have trouble finding “what to do”. How did you go about finding this “passion” of yours? Has this been something you thought you would be doing when you were young? At what point did you realize that doing what you do was something that you wanted to pursue further?
Chris: Easy. You have to look first at yourself. As I said in the previous question, mine grew from the simple principle of making someone laugh. So putting someone else's feelings first. Asking the world what it needs from you. I knew I was pretty good at making people laugh which in turn, gives me a huge amount of fulfillment. From there, I expanded on that through gaming. As an only child, I spent a lot of time alone and essentially grew up through playing video games. Had multiple surgeries in my teens and 20s so there wasn't much else to do when you're faced with years of recovery and isolation. Then went on to college for study in Game Design. That didn't pan out, and after a few business failures, a close friend mentioned to me Justin.tv/Twitch. The moment I saw what it was, I knew I could do it. It just clicked.
After that, its constant hard work. Believing in yourself when no one else does and pushing so hard you want to quit. But you won't because you will have developed a pride within yourself that you won't let die. And you will refuse to let down those around you because they depend on you to be strong, together. You'll keep fighting, because now and forever, you will be proud!
Dan: Everyone goes through tough times and obstacles throughout their career. What would be the biggest struggle that you’ve faced and how did you manage to overcome it or if you’re still in the struggle, how are you handling it?
Chris: The biggest struggle I've faced is the unpredictable adversities of life. The simple randomness of cards life will hand you, which you must place in order and figure out. Having a terrible experience in the familial arena growing up, I've struggled a lot with understanding true compassion between people and loyalty. You start to think there isn't much joy in life when you're surrounded by a lot of bad energy and ill intents of others. You gain a kind of structure from that, that the world is a cold grim place that will always shove you down or you always owe someone something.
I was surrounded by a lot of very bad situations that twisted my mind. It wasn't until I developed the courage to stand up to those evils in my life, shun them and walk my own path to happiness. It's been an extraordinary experience.
Dan: One of my favorite things to see is a ‘Work in Progress’. It shows a lot to people and gives them a better understanding of what really goes on behind the final product. What most people see on social media are pictures of the end results or videos of finalized production. What goes on behind the curtains before you turn the camera on? What are some things you do everyday to progress yourself in this journey of life?
Chris: Loaded question haha. I'll try to condense it since there's so much to say here. Most people have a very skewed vision of what a day in my life would be like. Most people, especially within my own family, don't see what I do as work. They simply see me sitting in a chair playing a video game, and many of them won't even consider beyond their own thinking; what it might entail.
In a lot of ways, I put my life on the line week in and week out. Where as most people have a job they go to each day, with set tasks that are repeated each week in which they are compensated a set amount of pay. My income is completely random and 70% dependent on my daily attitude and ability to provide people entertainment that hopefully some will see fit to monetarily contribute to.
The only way to make this remotely possible was to mentally tell myself that it was my only option to survive. It's only when you are willing to put it all on the line, that you can gain the reward. It can get really tough when I am doing the longer marathon of games. Staying focused and talkative with multiple people, 8+ hours a day while constantly pushing forward, game after game.
Off stream, I have to try and relax, while also getting myself out there in the community and talking to people. Or developing the next set of videos and graphics or ideas for future shows. Its a very long, random and sometimes unorganized process. Between constant changes within the living room for whatever silly donation scene I set up, and keeping everything clean and organized, its a full time process haha. My office is also my home so sometimes it's difficult to separate or escape from work.
This might not have been the best answer to the question, and might be a bit out there but I guess the subtext here is that if you have a dream you truly believe in, then your mind will make it a reality. And each day your tasks become all about the future you're building within your mind.
In simple terms, I work on developing and expanding my community every day whether I am on stream or not. The work off stream is just as important as on stream. You have to grow your roots in multiple directions. Whether through social media, in person or even just giving up some of your personal time to be there and listen to someone. It's all relative.
Dan: We’re all artists. At times, we all need inspiration to help us grow and be creative. How do you go about finding it?
Chris: Well this should be no surprise and I know he will act passive haha, but Mr Dan Le is one of my biggest beacons of inspiration. Over the years, he and I have worked together trying our hands at different businesses, and in a lot of ways we have very similar goals. I have grown so much by just bouncing off ideas back and forth with him for years. The amount of knowledge he has gifted me is priceless.
From there, my mind is always triggering little ideas or plans, and sometimes they chain together, and just piece by piece; will come together. Most often i will come back to an old idea with a new way of thinking, which triggers new inspiration.
When you're in a funk, you have to get out of whats making you comfortable at that moment. Put your mind into something else, and come back to the others later. Recycle! Even if it's just going out for a walk, or talking to someone randomly. Do something other than what you're having a funk with.
Last but not least, would be my amazing girlfriend Stace. She alone is my beacon of what courage creates! I would never have had her in my life if it wasn't for my dedication to streaming. She found me doing a Resident Evil marathon and became a dedicated viewer for nearly 2 years before we met at a meet and greet I did in NYC. Since then, she has moved across the country to live with me. My life changed dramatically simply by believing in myself and not giving up. That keeps me inspired every single day.
Dan: We all have our procrastination days but in the end we all have that drive to continue working hard. What motivates you to do what you do?
Chris: My motivation is simple. I want to look back at my life and be proud of my time here. The relationships I developed and the people that have been good to me. That cannot be a reality with procrastination. When I think like that, I can never sit still. Cant even sleep most nights haha. The world should be a darker place when you leave. Not a brighter one.
The community on the channel also motivates me. If I even take a day away most people freak out and act like I have been gone forever haha. Its awesome to feel so appreciated by many. Its easy to come on knowing that!
Dan: As you may know or seen that most of Dualistique's designs are left to be vague allowing the person to define the meaning behind the apparel. What’s your favorite design and what does it mean to you?
Chris: Nice question since it kind of correlates to previous questions. I like the simple Panda icon of the brand. The image of a panda is usually that of peace or cuteness. Within the Dualistique designs, specifically the Mixtopher ones, we see pandas used in much more mature setting. One in a world of zombie pandas, and another as an organized tribe of proud pandas attacking an invader! Haha.
Their designs speak to me a message of “Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone”.
Dan: Any advice to up and coming people that may want to pursue a similar career as you? How can they get started on the right track?
Chris: I get asked this question quite often, and every single time these individuals don't expect my response. They always expect a list of equipment or some kind of easy success answer. The truth is, you need passion and belief in yourself. You have to have the right attitude and personality to do it effectively. Get out of your comfort zone. Don't take people too seriously and don't expect much from anyone. Viewers can and will be very, very brutal. You have to have supremely thick skin, 365 days a year.
If you don't have that, then you better be really good in the competitive gaming scene haha, but your hands won't hold up forever!
Take it from me, streaming is definitely a work of art. A lot of people have misconceptions about what goes on. It’s not all about ‘being yourself’ on camera. As a streamer or even a youtube content creator, you have a lot of pressure to upload content consistently, dealing with internet trolls and haters, and continually updating yourself with the current trends and technology. It’s not something you can learn from a book or from a class.
For those interested to see more about Chris Mix, check out his stream at http://beam.pro/mixtopher and join the fun. He’s currently doing a Final Fantasy marathon and making his way to Final Fantasy 15. He’s already gotten through most of the title, so join in before it’s too late! In addition, there’s more marathon and special streams lining up for Halloween and Christmas. Tune in! Follow below:
Just a small tidbit of what goes on in the stream. It's inspiring to see a community do things together to make each other laugh, entertained, and be positive!