His parents are proud that he was able to make a viable career for himself within two years of graduating from college.
His original gamertag was Tnomad because he went by ‘Theisticnomad’ when he was religious and then later shortened it.
When he was younger, TravisGafford’s family moved around a lot, so he had to make new friends fairly often. He grew up playing video games and during high school, he was a World of Warcraft guild leader and lead a number of successful raids. He also played Warcraft III and StarCraft when he was younger. He started playing League of Legends during the early closed beta and was not so impressed, but he thought that it was ok. He stuck with it and watched it improve.
After graduating from Long Beach State University with a degree in Communications in June 2011, he first attempted to get a job at Riot, but didn’t. He then got job at Activision in QA starting the next week. Right before he was to start this job, an online friend of his told him about Doublelift’s homeless reddit thread and how TravisGafford had been mentioned in it as being a huge fane of his. Travis found this interesting as he only knew two facts about him and didn’t even know what he looked like. However, as he had a room opening up in his apartment, he reached out to Doublelift and he moved in soon after. Both had thought that it would be a temporary arrangement, but it turned out to be the beginning of their friendship.
A few days later they went together to MLG Anaheim 2011 and TravisGafford mentioned to Doublelift in passing that he wished he could get involved in the esports scene. Doublelift suggested to him that he should try interviewing pro-League of Legends players at LCS events since he had a degree in Communications and no-one else was doing it yet. Although he was actually into StarCraft esports at the time, he decided to take Doublelift’s advice.
He decided to start out by attempting to emulate JP’s State of the Game StarCraft podcast and so reached out to JP for permission. He wanted to be open about what he was doing, so he called his show State of League. However, it took a while to people to get into it. He did his first show during his first week at Activision, and by the second was really falling in love with his podcast. However, Doublelift and JP had to teach him everything about the scene, because he knew nothing about it at the time. Nonetheless, he still quit the job soon after to attempt to make a career as a LOL interviewer and journalist. He did take a part-time job to keep him afloat until he made a stable income from it, though.
During the first year in 2012, he really struggled and actually lost money, but was able to make a decent living once he got contract work with GameStop in early 2013. He started streaming on Twitch that same year.
He feels that what helped him a lot was that Day9TV reached out to him and gave him some advice and networking opportunities, as their ethos of helping out new talent that have potential, as that will come back to help them in the long run. Since then, he has gone on to write for various blogs, represent different organizations and produce his own content for his own website and YouTube channel.
He does swear occasionally, even though his language is generally ok.
- Tuesdays: 4 hours
- Wednesday – Monday: Random
My advice to people is always to just start doing something, because… the answer is never going to be, ‘well, you just need to ask somebody.’… The great thing about esports is that there are a lot of grassroots levels to it. A lot of people are looking for volunteer stuff… I just always think you need to start thinking of ways to volunteer, create something or do something to start contributing to the industry and that’s how you will start to meet more people, or you have a higher chance of breaking out. Or when you go to apply for a job that exists already at Riot or at another team or place or something, you will have a body of work to show that you are not a standard analyst who has just decided to start applying for a job.
I think people need to start creating content first because they want to, not because they want to turn it into a career… [then] you just need to grind it, like any other [skill.] You want to learn how to write, you got to write a ton. You want to learn how to paint, you’ve got to paint. You look at other people, you see what they do. You try to find guides and that type of stuff and then you just do it over and over again until you have meta.