Epulze and EBN have exceeded the audience’s expectations for the SEA DPC with their level of production and creativity, introducing the Malaysian food stand-style to the world.

We are only one season into the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit, and Epulze has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the Southeast Asia (SEA) scene, with Alvaro "AvoPlus" Sanchez and Richard "SeekNStrike" Garcia running the show. The organization has given us a different production style than what we are usually used to with the likes of ESL, BTS, and PGL.

Esports.gg went on site with SEA DPC this past season, talking to studio heads and talent about the production and plans. Epulze shared with us some behind-the-scenes insight into how the concept of the broadcast came about, and what the future holds.

How did Epulze conceptualize the SEA DPC?

With Epulze getting the Southeast Asia region for the 2023 DPC, they have managed to up their production values thanks to a home turf advantage. Epulze Malaysia's team consists of Epulze's co-founder, Pontus "PandaPontus"  Lövgren, along with talents AvoPlus and SeekNStrike, who have lived in Malaysia since 2019 and have familiarized themselves with the different cultures.

When Epulze received the Southeast Asia region of the DPC, they knew who they would want to work with this upcoming year. The partnership between Epulze and Esports Business Network (EBN) had been brewing for a few years now with Pontus moving to Malaysia. Not only did living here for four years give them an advantage with familiarizing themselves with the culture, but Epulze has had the chance to create connections with different Southeast Asian organisations, including EBN.

Who does what in the SEA DPC?

While there are many individuals working the Southeast Asia DPC this season, AvoPlus and SeekNStrike are key players in making it what it is today. AvoPlus has been more involved in the creative side of the production as creative director while SeekNStrike plays a bigger role in the production as technical lead.

SeekNStrike was naturally the technical lead because he is very knowledgeable in production, knowing natural flow and leading people in that way. This compliments Avo, who's a naturally boisterous personality with a heavy creative side. This allowed him to be the person who formulated the design of the 2023 SEA DPC.

What's more, Pontus knew that EBN was the perfect organisation to work with as Southeast Asia is their primary market and home turf. EBN handles the production and broadcast aspect, executing any ideas and concepts brought in by Epulze. They handled the sponsorship drive and creative aspect of the season, from digital art to the set design. The partnership with EBN has resulted in the unique SEA DPC experience that everyone's was talking about this season.

What made the SEA DPC what it is today?

AvoPlus was the mastermind behind the concept of this season's setup, being insistent on this specific theme, food. While of course, its a team effort, Avo was reportedly the spark behind the idea.

Avo was insistent on the food theme because, as per his own admission, he has always loved eating, and since coming to Malaysia, he's experienced a new level in his love for food. When he lived in Spain, if he had the money, he would only go out once a week because it would be very expensive. Southeast Asia was complete different. While, of course, there are places where there's expensive food, you can also easily find cheap, high-quality food that tastes incredible. And price of food made the unhealthy diet worth it. Avo admits he's managed to accumulate a lot of experience in food since moving to Malaysia.

With the set of the Southeast Asia DPC panel, Avo knew conceptually, what sort of vibe he wanted to imitate and share with the viewers. When SeekNStrike and AvoPlus spoke, they knew that they wanted the production to feel local to the Southeast Asian scene, hence they would be doing a street food theme.

With that, they went with the style of the Malaysian local food scenes, of Mamak stalls and Kopitiam coffee shops. Avo was extremely familiar with the concept of Mamak and what a Kopitiam might look like on broadcast. Food is a very important part of Southeast Asian culture due to its huge number of delicacies from all over the region.

How did the talent roster come to be?

While there was no formal application, Epulze reached out to the talents they knew they wanted to work with. They have worked with most, if not all of the talents in some capacity in the past, and it was important for them to have a very local touch. They wanted the SEA DPC to be done with "SEA people" so most of these talents were natural choices.

For example, Tsunami, Cap, and SVG may not be exactly Southeast Asian talents, but they were talents that are extremely familiar with the scene. They added a lot of quality to the broadcast and it was natural for Epulze to go with them. One of the main components of the broadcast is the amazing chemistry they have amongst each other.

How does the production compare to last year?

Last year, in the SA DPC, Epulze was just doing the English production instead of the whole tournament, which went to 4D Esports. 4D Esports naturally ran the SA DPC due to its location and now, they are hosting the Lima Major in Peru, while working again with Epulze.

In 2022, it's reported that the finances for the SA DPC were lower, apparently due to lack of sponsors. This made it difficult to have a full studio for the 2022 season. However, both companies endured with limited resources.

Now with the SEA DPC, they have roughly 20 people working behind the camera every match, with a very high-quality production team. They are currently working with people from EBN's in-house staff and their own staff, with some new additions as well. Epulze have even flown in producers from the South America region and other Southeast Asian countries to build a production dream team.

What can we expect from Epulze and EBN next season?

This season, Epulze focused on just setting up the broadcast and establishing themselves. Reportedly, moving forward, Epulze want to focus on more than just the broadcast. They hope to expand and do community events and get the community even more involved. They are launching community tournaments for the remainder of the year. This allows the public to get involved in local tournaments that will put nation against nation, partnered with their local broadcast partners across Southeast Asia.

They will also be introducing a youth tournament series for individuals aged 21 and under, as they feel its fundamental for them to give back to the community. They will also most likely be working with FSL and doing a female-only tournament, as they will be able to share their expertise.

And, while we have much to expect from the team at Epulze in SEA, don't forget that they will be working with 4D Esports for the Lima Major. It feels like the only way is up for this DPC production!

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