native of Champaign turns gaming skills into lucrative YouTube career | New

CHAMPAIGN – Playing video games has paid off a lot for Trevor Martin, 21, of Champaign.

Martin used his expertise in “Call of Duty” games for a career as a video game commentator on YouTube.

In the process, he built a following of nearly 2 million YouTube subscribers and collected revenue streams from corporate advertisers.

His business’s income varies from month to month, ranging from $ 10,000 to $ 70,000, he said. Total revenue for 2013 is expected to be in the order of $ 300,000, he said.

Martin, a 2011 Centennial High School graduate, said he produced five videos for YouTube each day, each video lasting five to 20 minutes.

Most of the videos give “tips, tricks and strategies to help people get better” while playing “Call of Duty” games, he said. But in some videos, he discusses the news, new games coming out, and what’s going on in his life.

Martin attributes his success to passion and timing. He said he was lucky to have entered the video game commentary niche at the right time.

“It wasn’t about three years ago,” he said. “He could disappear tomorrow.

Video game commentary has been highly regarded on YouTube, with the best-known commentator probably being PewDiePie, a Swedish gamer whose popularity soared in 2013.

Martin started commenting on video games as a hobby when he was in his sophomore year at Centennial, at a friend’s suggestion. By the end of 2010, he had enough followers that he could quit his busboy job at Peep.

After graduating from Centennial, he enrolled at Parkland College in the fall of 2011. But when Activision, the publisher of “Call of Duty,” offered him to work on a series of videos on their platforms , he jumped at the chance, dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles.

Martin stayed a little over a year but didn’t know many people there. He temporarily returned to Champaign, then bought a house in Coralville, Iowa, near the University of Iowa, where his girlfriend, Haley Hollern, is educated.

Martin said he recorded his videos at his home in Iowa, his mother’s apartment in Champaign and his newly acquired office space in the M2 on Neil building in downtown Champaign.

Most of his videos feature footage from the “Call of Duty” games, as he gives advice on how to navigate situations, commenting, for example, on magazine size and reload speed of weapons used in them. shooting games.

He also advises players to familiarize themselves with the inputs and outputs available in their virtual environment.

Martin said he doesn’t change character or voice for the videos, “but I try to stay upbeat, excited.”

Activision regularly releases new games in the “Call of Duty” series, typically every November, and more recently, “Call of Duty: Ghosts”.

Commenting from November to February is easy, as it goes through the details of the latest version. But other parts of the year, “it’s more difficult and I have to get creative,” he said.

Martin is also present on Twitter and Facebook, with around 290,000 followers on Twitter and 73,000 “likes” on Facebook. He said he gets his most valuable comments from Twitter.

Martin credits his mother, Christie Martin, CFO of the Next Generation School and former banker, for being “very supportive”.

He said she allowed him to play video games as a child as long as he did his homework. As a teenager, he played competitively and attended rallies in Chicago and Indianapolis to learn more about the games.

When he was 15, she even allowed him to go to Boston to attend the Penny Arcade Expo video game convention, better known as “PAX East”.

“I’m just amazed at what he was able to accomplish,” said Christie Martin. “When he was younger and playing video games, I was like, ‘Where is this going to go?’ Now look where it went. “

She said that “Call of Duty” had a bit of violence in it, “but it seemed to be a good fit so I let it go.”

Christie Martin said her son was a straight “A” student who was good at conversing with others.

“He’s always found a niche to be an entrepreneur,” she said, noting that Trevor once had a snow shoveling business and later an eBay item resale business.

In addition to being CEO of TmarTn Enterprises, Martin has served as a brand ambassador for several companies serving the gaming community. He said he was currently a brand manager for Astro Gaming, which manufactures gaming headsets. Part of his job for this company is to help promote giveaways.

He has also worked with companies selling energy drinks and operating tournament websites.

Martin said Coca-Cola is the first global brand outside of gaming to organize product placement in its videos. He also promoted Mountain Dew giveaways as well as the drink’s social media presence.

Martin, who is interested in a career in finance, said he started investing in real estate, believing the video game commentary gig wouldn’t last forever.

He said he bought three single-family homes in the Champaign-Urbana area and is currently working on an apartment.

Jason Rector, a Champaign firefighter and real estate investor who mentored Martin, described Martin as “very, very humble.”

“He’s not the type to brag… he doesn’t say how successful he is,” Rector said. “He is very intelligent and a brilliant businessman, creating multiple sources of income.

“The sky is the limit for him.”

The Trevor Martin dossier

– Born September 4, 1992.

– Play basketball at Jefferson Middle School and freshman at Centennial High.

– TO two YouTube video channels: TmarTn and TmarTn2.

– Co-author of the “Call of Duty: Ghosts” Signature Series Strategy Guide.

– Twitter: @TmarTn.

– Facebook:

– Interest include “sports, dating and going out with the family.”

– Outraged The “Call of Duty” games, he also enjoys the “Grand Theft Auto” and “Battlefield” video game series.

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