Welcome to the third installment of the Pipeline Community Spotlight! Each week, we highlight a member of the community and their story in an effort to share learnings among each other and bring everyone closer together even in these trying times.
Michelle “TacticalGramma” Statham is living proof that it isn’t too late to start your streaming journey. At 55 years old and just 1 year into content creation, her warm personality and bubbly first person shooter streams have made her a favorite by many in the Facebook Gaming community -- just about 26,000 of them! And did we mention she bakes some mean sourdough bread?
A lifelong gamer, encouragement from her family got her to try and take up streaming as a hobby in 2019 -- a hobby that she attributes to massive personal growth and finding a space where she could be herself. She's even developed a passionate fanbase that supports everything she does, called her "grandkids". that If that doesn’t sound wholesome, we don’t know what wholesome is!
Earlier this week, we were able to find some time in TacticalGramma’s busy (almost daily!) streaming schedule to sit down and chat! From how she got into streaming to how gaming has been a big part of her life as a whole, check our full interview with her below!
Tell us a bit about yourself! How’d you describe yourself to someone you just met?
I'm a 55 year old grandma who has been playing video games my whole life beginning with Pong and Atari. I especially love playing FPS games and hanging with my Grandkids. I'm actually an introvert and only started streaming after family had been encouraging me to do it for a couple of years.
Gaming all the way from the beginning is definitely something not a lot of people can say. How was it like seeing the industry grow from where it started to where it is today?
It's really crazy that I've seen games go from little blips on the screen to the amazing graphics we have today. My generation typically discouraged their kids from wasting time on video games and now people make an incredible living streaming them. I have seen so much change over the span of my lifetime.
Speaking generations discouraging gaming, it goes without saying that gaming was not exactly something many people looked up to until recently. How were you able to keep it a big part of your life all throughout it? Did it have a role in your family life too?
Gaming was something my whole family did when I was growing up beginning with Atari, we would get together on Sunday's to play. When I met my husband we discovered we both loved video games and went to the arcade together. After we got married we continued to play each gaming system like the NES, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Xbox, PlayStation, and now PC. We played with our kids and it has always been something we've enjoyed.
That's awesome! And how did you eventually get into streaming? What's the story behind that?
My son had mentioned watching video game streamers several years ago, I actually responded "who would want to watch people play video games?" . I didn't start watching until Poolshark came up on my Facebook feed.Then I began watching Pool, Darkness, Stonemountain, FabTV, MugsTV, etc. I had always played console but began getting arthritis in my thumbs, my husband said let's get you a PC and you might as well stream too. I said nobody will watch an old lady play and he responded "perfect, then there's nothing to be afraid of" so in October of 2019 I started streaming and it's been an amazing journey.
That's definitely a story. And how has your streaming journey gone since then? How are you now compared to when you started?
It has been amazing and I've grown a lot and my family says they've seen a big change in me. As my community has grown my confidence has too. I never anticipated how I could positively impact people's lives through streaming. That has been one of the biggest blessings. Also, being an older female who loves video games wasn't something most of my friends could relate to. Streaming has given me a community that understands my passion for gaming.
Were there any challenges along the way? How did you overcome them?
I think that the biggest challenge for me is my own fears and doubts! In the beginning when there were only a few people watching or even as time went on and the viewers would fluctuate it was difficult to overcome the anxiety of not feeling good enough.It was especially challenging at the beginning, trying to fill the silence with conversation and say something interesting. I paid close attention to other streamers and how they engaged with their communities, what they did to keep the stream interesting. Then I adapted those ideas to fit my personality and community.
Kudos on conquering your doubts! That being said, and as we're about to wrap up, what advice do you have for streamers that are just starting out?
All the basics really, set a schedule, make a plan, be consistent, and have fun. It also helps if you don't look at the viewer count, you need to treat each stream as if tons of people are there.Never take for granted the people who are showing up to support you and join your community, it's easy to get focused on numbers and growth , you don't want to lose sight of the awesome people you already have. Also, don't be afraid to reach out to other streamers for advice, collabs, and support.
Lastly, what's next for you? What are you looking forward to in the future? And do you have any shoutouts you'd like to make?
Just continuing to grow a community where people can have a safe place to relax and enjoy each other's company. In the future I hope we'll be able to attend some conventions again and get to meet in person the friends I've made online. I definitely want to shout out my WOWW Squad, the Women of Warzone Wednesday, SnootyWizard, CupC4ke Gaming, and AshMegz.
That's it for this Community Spotlight! If you enjoyed hearing about TacticalGramma, be sure to follow her on her official page!