Gaming Organization FaZe Clan Launches Training Program for Content Creators

Darren Yan, FaZe Swagg and Vera Salamone
Courtesy of Justin Jerrod

Darren Yan, FaZe Swagg and Vera Salamone

FaZe Academy includes a 5-day bootcamp in Los Angeles, followed by a three month apprenticeship.

Esports and media organization FaZe Clan unveiled on Tuesday the FaZe Academy training program to identify, develop and mentor content creators.

The program includes several stages of instruction, where participants will first undergo a 5-day bootcamp — compliant with COVID-19 guidelines — in Los Angeles, including media training and cultural and sensitivity training, content strategy and audience development and mental health awareness. Each stage will be captured on participants' individual cameras.

Following the bootcamp, there will be a three month apprenticeship with further coaching from FaZe Clan members before they are accepted into the freshman class of 2021.

"FaZe Academy is seeking the best in the world - from the undiscovered charismatic vlogger to the elite multi-hyphenate global content creator who is already making waves," said Jaci Hays, COO of FaZe Clan, in a statement. "It is designed to help them achieve their goals, and better understand how far they can take their entrepreneurial spirit and unmatched talent. We want to support their personal brands, help them navigate superstardom while also achieving our larger vision for FaZe Clan."

Serving as VP of talent is Darren Yan, who oversees the roster of content creators and personalities, as well as what FaZe Clan refers to as "hybrids" — individuals who are pro players but also have an affinity to create content as well.

For the Academy, he scouts throughout the entire year for potential participants, both small and big talent, and "everyone in-between," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Often times what we'll do is we'll identify those individuals and keep them in our back pocket, and come around summer is when we're going to be starting to select individuals who we feel we want to sign and bring into the Academy." He clarifies that, going forward, no FaZe Clan member will be confirmed until they go through the Academy.

Yan emphasizes that the goal is to find content creators who are a suitable fit professionally and culturally, with the first group in the Academy already underway. There is no set number of participants outlined for the program, but this year features a group of six; three females and three males.

With reference to the cultural and sensitivity training, Yan emphasized the essential nature of putting Academy members through the process. "In 2020, there's never been a more important time to ensure that our players and our talent are above board, that they're socially responsible and good role models, and often times in gaming especially, how toxic the community can be — we really are trying to elevate our talent to be a little bit more professional especially when FaZe Clan is so big and mainstream, we now have more of a social responsibility to our fans and to the industry as leaders."

Acknowledging that every member who enters FaZe will have different goals for their brand, the audience development portion of the program will be tailored to the individual in terms of coaching and teaching. "FaZe Clan really plans to invest heavily in each individual, so that they have a standing chance at being successful and being who they are within FaZe Clan," says Yan.

FaZe Clan was launched in 2010 by a group of Call of Duty players and has grown to include content creators such as Brian Awadis, aka FaZe Rug, who has over 17M followers on YouTube and this year starred in scripted horror film Crimson, a collaboration with Invisible Narratives.

On the esports side, the org boasts multiple teams such as Atlanta FaZe who play top games such as Fornite, FIFA and Valorant in international championships and tournaments.