Updated July 1, 2020 - 10:17 am
When Las Vegas resident PJ Brittain, known as Overtflow online, began making “Call of Duty” videos in 2010, he dreamt of reaching his subscriber goal.
“I thought if I had 100,000 subscribers, that’s the end goal,” he said. “I felt like there wouldn’t be much left for me. That’s all the people who watch games.”
Overtflow, 29, has a few more followers these days — more than 2 million across his social platforms. He also competed on the undercard for the KSI-Logan Paul YouTube boxing match in 2018 and took part in the NBA Summer League celebrity game that same year.
It’s a long way from where Overtflow found himself just five years ago.
In 2015, Overtflow was maintaining a difficult balancing act between working full time at GameStop, going to school and training in jiujitsu.
“I was sleeping like four hours a night because I wanted to make this YouTube thing happen,” Overtflow said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize you have to have side hustles. That’s super important.”
His content creation career would receive an unlikely boost in 2015 from a surprising development. As the gaming world was waiting for the official reveal of the latest “Call of Duty” game, “Black Ops III,” the GameStop Overtflow worked at received marketing materials ahead of time. Overtflow snapped a few photos and posted them on his social media accounts.
“I wanted some good content for my (video blog),” Overtflow said. “I expected a little bit of traction, but I didn’t realize it was going to explode the way that it did.”
Overtflow began tweeting photos of promotional materials, which started going viral, gathering thousands of retweets.
Then, he was called into work on his day off. Overtflow figured he would take the extra hours. Once he arrived at work, he was told to go into the back room to talk to the district manager. Rather than feeling nervous, Overtflow was excited.
“One of my coworkers was like, maybe you’re going to be named manager of a store,” Overtflow said. “I thought, yeah. People love me and I’m a hard worker.”
And so, he walked into the back confident and excited for a possible promotion.
The district manager handed Overtflow the phone. Instead of GameStop’s corporate office offering a promotion, it was a representative from Activision, the company behind “Call of Duty.”
Even then, Overtflow didn’t think anything bad was about to happen.
“I had a moment where I thought, I’m about to get offered a job at Activision,” he said, laughing.
That excitement quickly dissipated once he took the phone. Instead of receiving a promotion, he was fired.
“GameStop and Activision came upon my head with their fiery wrath,” he said, chuckling.
His firing had an unintended consequence, however. It sped his path toward becoming a full-time content creator. After Overtflow shared his GameStop story, he began producing a series of videos set at GameStop on YouTube. The videos became a hit, racking up millions of views and hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
“All these opportunities stemmed from how viral the GameStop videos went, which is absolutely insane,” Overtflow said.
While he already has found great success, Overtflow is ready to tackle his latest challenge: TikTok.
“Last year, they reached out to me about coming on board to help bring more of a gaming audience to the channel,” Overtflow said. “My little brother, who was 11 at the time, was like, ‘You’re on TikTok? That’s awesome!’ To me, the fact that my little brother, who is in middle school, thought TikTok was cool meant there’s a huge audience of these middle school kids who are the next generation of your fans and your audience. It made me more excited.”
Overtflow has become a major voice on TikTok, amassing more than 1.6 million followers on the platform.
“I’m having more fun with this than any other social platform, which is crazy because I’ve had so much fun on Twitch and YouTube,” he said.
His videos, which can range from giveaways to antics, give Overtflow the freedom to create what he desires without requiring the time to edit hours and hours of video.
“I’ve always been a little ADD,” he said. “I refuse to edit six hours of content a day. Just being able to shoot something and post it is fun. TikTok lets me take all these little ideas and put them out whenever I feel like it. The fan base feels so alive.”
Overtflow has big plans for TikTok and beyond going forward.
His latest projects include forming a content creator house featuring some of TikTok’s most popular creators and a return to making more regular YouTube videos.
“I want to get all the biggest TikTok gaming creators and put them into one house and see what happens,” Overtflow said.
As Overtflow has grown in popularity, so too have his business opportunities, a fact he attributes to gaming becoming more accepted across the country. And that makes him excited for what’s coming next.
“People like Ninja and FaZe Clan are making (gaming) so mainstream,” Overtflow said. “A few years ago, it was hard for me to secure a $1,000 brand deal. Now, with guys like Ninja bringing gaming to the forefront, I can’t even tell you how many emails I have from companies wanting to work with me. I think the mindset has changed in such a positive way and I’m excited to see how things continue to grow.”