Speedrunning is a niche, that we can say for sure. Some speedrunning concepts can be extremely hard to grasp without deep technical knowledge of a certain title. A lot of runners can possess this knowledge, but a viewer will need to seek out answers themselves. For many, speedruns become far more enjoyable to watch when you understand the technicalities of such a run, and appreciate all the work that goes into them. For this reason, there has been an increasing demand for glitch breakdowns and explanations from the experts as a method of bridging the gap between the well-versed communities and somebody fresh to the scene.
catalystz has been producing some of the best educational content covering speedruns I’ve ever seen. His videos include world record histories, glitch explanations and much more, all written in an easy-to-digest manner that makes it perfect for those unfamiliar with the specifics to learn and get involved. cata is well known as one of the best Dark Souls players on the planet, but there is a whole other skill set that allows him to develop this internal knowledge into teaching resources for newcomers and veterans alike. Whether you’re someone who wishes to learn more about the world of speedrunning, or how to begin as a teacher yourself, cata has you covered with his fantastic perspective and advice.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hey, I'm catalystz and although I have a varied history of speedrunning different games dating back all the way to 2012, I am primarily known for my Dark Souls speedruns the past three and a half years.
What/who inspired you to start creating scripted content?
I was inspired by several fellow speedrunning content creators which I look up to, especially by what they are able to provide in terms of presenting speedrunning to casual audiences and being able to bring more interest towards our hobby, which can quite often be misunderstood, I mean just look at the YouTube comments at some popular speedrunning videos. I don't think people are ignorant towards what speedrunning is, I simply believe they need to be introduced to it in a proper way.
What does the process usually look like for such content? How long does a project take?
The process always has to start with an idea of what to present. Luckily Dark Souls is so varied even before speedrunning comes into play, so there is always something interesting to be relayed to the audience. My videos serve both educational AND entertaining purpose, but the main concern is how to relay interesting information in an engaging way as concisely as possible while keeping the desired amount of detail. When I have a clear idea of what the video will represent, I sit down to draft a script. Starting with a rough outline is a must, followed by a couple of rounds of writing the actual text. Since my videos are highly produced, I script them word by word. Then I mark each section with corresponding video footage ideas. When most of the script has some footage assigned, I go ahead and record or otherwise collect it and then mark it off. In the meantime, I will also be recording my audio in small chunks, so that my voice does not get too tired during it, that does not sound good. After collecting all the video footage and going through a bit of post for audio (cutting out saliva noises, de-essing...), perhaps the most fun part of the process begins - the editing.
Premiere Pro and After Effects usually serve most of my needs for a project. During the editing process, many ideas might come up when it comes to presenting specific ideas throughout the video and the evolution of having an empty canvas gradually filled is very satisfying. When I'm done with the first version, I send it out for a round of feedback to some close friends, definitely recommend doing that. It helps if you can contact both people who know lots of things about the subject that is covered and also people who might be complete outsiders. After implementing the necessary changes, the video can pretty much go live.
What have been your favorite and least favorite projects so far?
I do not have a least favorite project of mine, of course the quality of my videos has evolved through time, but every single project has been a stepping stone for my improvement as a content creator and has taught me many valuable lessons. You cannot get better at creating content just by observing or learning about it, you need to get out there and do it. My favorite project on the other hand is probably my Force Quit World Record History video, it took quite a while to produce, pretty much 6 weeks of nonstop work next to streaming and I really like the story I managed to tell there.
Do you focus your content towards a casual audience, or towards the speedrunning community as a whole?
Produced speedrunning content presented in the correct manner can be a great way of bringing more eyes to the community. I always try to ensure that things which might not be clear to the general audience are properly explained. A lot of the "hate" speedrunning gets in places like youtube comments are in my opinion coming from a place of lack of knowledge, when people don't understand the concept of what we do. I think bridging this gap is something content creators can strive to do.
Do you have any advice for new creators who wish to start producing educational speedrunning content in the future?
My advice for new content creators would be to just go for it, if they feel like they have something interesting to relay, they can always at least try. Plenty of speedrunners know fascinating things about their respective speedgames which they consider to be mundane, but you need to take an outer look and realize that these ordinary things for them might be fascinating to the right audience. Give it a shot and learn with every step of the way.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the mind of catalystz, I’m sure he’d be happy to see you. Whether it be on his Twitch channel where he frequently streams his attempts to break records and write history, or on his YouTube channel where all of the teaching masterclasses happen.