Thoughts on the IAWTV and Streamy Awards

I may have to change the name of this blog since I spend so much time talking about things that are out of the sphere of an editor.  However, being that I am also a producer, production manager, and anything else that I pick up along the way, I do spend a decent amount of time thinking about the rest of the web television industry as well.  This is going to be one heck of an entry everyone.  My apologies.

As some of you may know, the 2010 inductees into the IAWTV have been chosen (though not officially announced), as have the crop of shows that are up for the 2010 Streamy Awards.  After watching everything play out over the week so far, I’ve been able to form an opinion of the proceeds, and I must admit that I’m not entirely happy with them.

I think probably the most serious problem I’ve observed in this first year of applications to the IAWTV was the complete lack of transparency over the proceedings.  No one seems to know how the 2010 inductees were chosen.  And while I’m of course disappointed that I and others from Issues didn’t get in, I think the thing that seemed most odd to me was co-creators/co-writers getting different answers in applying.  I think that really confused a lot of us and made us somewhat distrustful of the application review process.  After all, if you have the same credits to your name, why would you get different answers to your applications?  My hope moving forward is that once the craziness of the awards are passed, the group moves towards becoming more organized and transparent in it’s application and acceptance processes.  Since the 2010 nominees haven’t been announced, we don’t know who is in.  We only know who is out if those people choose to say so on a public medium like Twitter.

My next point has been reiterated several times by several people, most recently Steve Woolfe on New Mediacracy, and that is the bubble that seems to be forming around the L.A.-based web shows.  Being a good 3,000 from L.A. in another major web show center (the NYC metro area), I’m noticing that it’s very hard for us to engage with the L.A. shows.  This isn’t true of everyone.  I’ve been talking to David and Andrew of GOLD: The Series for what’s probably closing in on a year.  I’ve recently been talking to Casey McKinnon and Gennefer Snowfield.  But in general it feels hard to reach out and contact the IAWTV if you don’t have a connection to it already.  Even when you do, it’s not so easy.

I know that to an extent, creators in New York are up in arms.  The WGAE has been talking about the LA web series bubble, and members aren’t happy about it.  However, rather than simply get together at our respective geographic locales and get angry, I think we need to be exploring new ways of supporting a geographically diverse group.  Last night’s TinyChat regarding the Streamy FYC program, for all it’s video problems, opened up the floor to a lot of people who normally don’t get included in these situations at all. I was very happy to be ably to talk to Brady Brim-DeForest during that event, and also established contact with a very cool Virginia based film/show creator.

I think that we could expand the sense of community by pursing several avenues.  Firstly, establishing an online community for creators in general, and for IAWTV members specifically would allow us to talk to people who may not be anywhere near us.  I also think establishing meetings in many geographic locales would help build local communities.  Right now the WGAE new media members are all coming together through WGAE events.  I miss the Tilzy meet-ups in New York.  The meet-ups that do occur now tend to be small affairs with no outside advertising.  Unless you already know about them, they’re difficult to find.  I also find it disappointing that the only NYC based IAWTV event was a general interest session held in November.  I was unable to attend that meeting due to work, and have never had a chance to physically hang out with Academy members since.  Makes me rather sad to think about.

The final point I have to hit has also been hit on quite a bit recently.  From what the rest of us got to hear through the New Mediacracy show about it, the Streamys voting process was – difficult.  I think this is another case of a lack of transparency, in part.  From what I can gather, there appear to have been 2 different voting rounds.  During round 1, there were complaints of bad links and slow load times.  That first round also feel on one of the weekends the entire northeast was being slammed by a Nor’easter, which I think may have had something to do with some of the problems encountered.  But since no one knew that the group was voting, those of us who were being affected by that crazy weather didn’t know to be checking up on our sites.  When Hayden Black tweeted about voting and problems, that’s when I checked our website and saw how slowly our videos were loading.  I was able to alleviate some of that with changing the site layout on the fly, but some of it was weather, which was beyond everyone’s control.  I also know of the main vote through Twitter as well.  By that point, I’d been able to fix up the site a bit, though still not to what I wanted.

Again, the most recent episode of New Medicracy raises some good points.  One is the lack of technical knowledge creators my have.  Casey McKinnon and Rudy Jahchan put together a beautiful example of an FYC page that they believed to be the best way to promote a series.  But how many sites lacked that because they didn’t know how to make one.  I know Issues didn’t have one up this year, but will next year.  Things were a little crazy over in Issues land as we set sights firmly on Season 2 and hit the gas.  But I think Casey made a point that maybe the IAWTV or a similar organization should be offering resources to help web creators learn some of these skills.  Some of us love burying our noses in books and playing with software (it’s how I’ve learned most of my editing skills), but for some people, that’s not the best alternative.  I think it all comes back to a need to really unify this community.  And given how spread out we all are from each other, I think that the ‘net is going to be the primary force that can unify this space.  Plus regional groups.  We all want an excuse to hang with other creators.  Especially at bars.

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  1. Hi Michelle! Great post! I just wrote one you might want to look at where I propose solutions (I didn’t talk about the LA bubble, but more just improving the voting process, which would take away some of that bubble). Let me know what you think: http://www.caseymckinnon.com/blog/personal/2010/03/04/lets-start-a-dialogue/

  2. Thanks for the post, Michelle:)

    -Aurora

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