Moving Forward After the 2010 Streamy Season

As promised, a separate post on the matter.  I’ve had the benefit of some sleep, and you have the benefit of not having to read a post that could be turned into a small book.  In the spirit of dialogue and cooperation that was established in the wake of the FYC mess, here are my thoughts on moving forward following this mess.  Without further ado, my thoughts on getting past this whole mess.

Focus on the Content

A lot of people never lost sight of this, but once official campaign season rolled around the majority of my new media Twitter feed became about the endless campaign for votes.  Issues participated as well, promoting our cast, who we felt to be very deserving recognition.  For the better part of 4 months the discussion has been on how to make the Streamy Awards and the IAWTV great.  We didn’t really talk about how to make our content great, which is the conversation I’m much more interested in having.  Sharing our ideas for what works and what doesn’t, sharing new ways to do things.  That’s what I want from this community.  That we focus on how to help each other all make the best content possible.

Build the Community

I think what has always struck me is that there is no site to form a cohesive community, with or without the IAWTV.  Blog entires about the Streamys generated enormous amounts of comments, and the impromptu live chat room proved that the community wants to get together and talk.  This ties back in strongly with my previous point, as talking about what we have in common – our shows – is how we can best build community.  I’d also like to see the community built up geographically.  I found out about the Tilzy meet-ups just after they held their last one.  To my knowledge, there is no large-scale gatherings of the New York web community.  The biggest challenge to establishing one is resources, but I’d really like to be able to get together with people around the area.

Open up the IAWTV

The IAWTV can remain the exclusive club that votes on the Streamys, but they must severely up their level of both organization and transparency.  No one seems to know how admission or the initial stages of voting were really handled, and they deserve to.  The IAWTV holds a very public event that represents our community to the wider world.  As such, they should be accountable to the entire community to make sure that the majority of the community thinks that they’re doing the right thing.

Honor the Best, Forget the Flashy Show

Last year, and even more so this year, I wondered why a global medium was honored at a Los Angeles ceremony that restricts participation to the nominees who can afford to head out there, and the web series public that happens to be local.  I very much like the suggestions I’ve seen about forgetting the show and doing something much more low-profile, like a luncheon or a dinner that is limited to the nominees and their guests.  Now, assuming we ditch the flashy show, why should we continue to have the awards in a fixed location?  We are a very far-flung community.  Reduce the event in its complexity, and you can really speak to the vast array of people out there by holding the awards in different places.  A luncheon or other smaller award show would still allow nominees to all hang out together, and could very well still allow for streaming.  It could still include a video display and in all ways honor those that were nominated as the year’s best.

Wrapping Up

I think that really gets to the broad strokes of what I’d like to see happen in the year ahead.  Some of it concerns the IAWTV, some of it doesn’t.  Mediums are great with or without their awards.  Lets make sure that we embrace the large, far-flung community that is web video and web series and get on with making it an absolutely wonderful thing to be involved in for the professionals and the amateurs.

  1. You should check out the Big Screen/Little Screen meetup in NY. The festival I work for, the NY TV Festival has a digital day that focuses on the creators of web TV, but that is only once a year. For year round community, BS/LS is a great resource.

    Channel 101 NY is a great community as well, though not specifically “web TV”.

      • M
      • April 13th, 2010

      Hi Ned,
      I was at BS/LS some time ago, but haven’t been in well over a year. Life getting in the way and all that. I’ll definitely look into them again. Are they still having it at FYI, or do they have some new digs now?

  2. They have new digs at Edelman on Hudson st. V swank. I only mentioned it as you were bemoaning the lack of community. Certainly the LA mentality/lifestyle seem to breed more socializing and networking than that of NY. Still, there are some outlets like BS/LS that I think can become really important over the next few years.

      • M
      • April 13th, 2010

      Thanks for the info. Ned. If schedules line up I will definitely check them out again!

  3. Good analysis. I think you still need the show. It is an entertainment media and entertainment sells it and honors it best. As I said on Felicia’s blog, you are at a cross-roads for content because the sad debacle DOES exemplify the content and creators such as Sandeep have been bold and courageous enough to step up to that without apologizing or defending the trainwreck. So somewhere between a variety show and a non-localized event there is a sweet spot of production and content that will achieve the goals.

    Community building is a tougher longer but very important task. You have a culture clash: Class vs The Party. If the old saw, “the show is the thing” still resonates, you need to look at that opposition very soberly.

    There appear to be transparency problems with IAWTW and I am a complete outsider to that. However, from the world of policy wonkery, a concept to consider: fishbowl transparency vs reasoned transparency. If you get that right, you’ll get buy in and support. If you don’t, you get a million gossipy blogs that don’t contribute; they degrade. You need to completely understand that the web as distribution model is not a social media operations model. Marketing consensus and consumer consensus are not the same thing and these resonate against the tranparency model. Resilience is coherence in face of novelty. Word to the wise when building community: resilience is an evolvable trait.

  4. The real community is online. We live there 24/7. When it comes to community there is no better place to build it than the www. The problem is that every one wants their little turf. There is no “open source neutral space” where we all congregate and share. Try building that. It is not easy. But in the end that is where the true power of the internet lays.

      • Michelle Dunlap
      • April 15th, 2010

      While I agree that the real community is indeed a vast one, I also think that we’ll be best served by having several communities, some larger, some smaller. A gathering place for industry business, as well as places to gather with other creators in your genre, or from your basic geographic area should all be encouraged. Some will be easier to make than others. Some will be online, some will be physical gatherings. All of it is necessary to really build a community, and not just a bunch of individual creators all doing their own thing.

      • I agree. There appear to be (from the edges), several blogs and where you gather and comment. I came here from Felicia’s blog. I got there from Raph Koster’s blog. You have a very active Twitter community, Facebook communities, etc.

        Apparently what is missing is reasonable transparency into the IAWTW noting the various comments. That organization may not be seeing the community discussions or is actively ignoring them to follow its goals. That sort of thing has a way of dieing on the vine on the web. Any representative of a vendor, a consortium, any group formed to represent the interests of industry has to balance interests among internal natural groupings, eg., authors, actors, managers, stage hands, and so on (however you describe them). For that to work best, these groups do need commons. I’m not sure what one would be asking the IAWTW to do for that other than to be an active correspondent.

        Content creators do their own thing naturally. If they want to collaborate, that is theirs to determine. If they participate in a work for hire, (eg, the Streamy’s), a top production team aware of all of the issues, rants and creative mojo going on in those conversations. I come here from Felicia’s blog because she works those conversations, shares insights, and still keeps to her own projects.

        All they need to do to fix the Streamy’s next year is apply the top talent in the industry and pay them well. At this point, the projects that generate solid extra income can be used to improve the main projects just as session work finances songwriting. D’oh, but part of the seachanges this industry goes through as it emerges to become the mainstream.

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