Reactions to the 2010 Streamy Season

Well, now that it’s all said and done, let’s take a look at what I can only call an overall disaster.  I entered the 2010 Streamy Awards season in a rather neutral frame of mind.  To me, the IAWTV was firmly planted on the West Coast and hasn’t done much to involve those of us living along the opposite ocean.  However, my director was excited for the awards, so I helped him promote it, including redoing our entire viewing page structure on the fly over worries that the video wasn’t streaming quickly enough during a major winter storm while the judges just happened to be watching (thanks Hayden, for the heads up!).  And being pissed with everyone else when the non-IAWTV affiliated screening went down out in L.A.  Sadly, things went firmly downhill from there.

Nominations

We didn’t get a nomination for Issues, which was disappointing but expected.  We did get to see our buddies from Gold pick up a Best Ensemble nomination, and our most loved hosted show A Comicbook Orange get a nom. for best hosted.  Overall though, I was disappointed in the nominations, and felt like several East Coast shows, such as Downsized, Concierge, Then We Got Help, and The Battery’s Down all got ignored.  And somehow Mr. Deity remains anonymous among it’s West Coast peers.  So the awards season began with me and most of the rest of the NYC Metro contingent feeling rather neglected.  If Issues had gotten any nomination I desperately wanted it to be for Best Ensemble.  Our cast is amazing together on and off the set.  Truly amazing people.

The First Mis-Step: Voting Problems

It was during and after the official voting that problems with the voting became apparent.  First of all, apparently there was a complete opaque selection of semi-finalists for nomination that append around the time of that horrible winter storm.  The one I only know about because Hayden Black tweeted his frustration with shows that were slow to load.  Then there was the talk of the actual member-wide voting for the actual nominees, which was poorly designed with a form that couldn’t be saved for later, incorrect clips being loading into their closed system, and lots of crashing.  The consensus from the discussion surrounding it was that the voting process didn’t have it’s act together.  Sadly, it was a horrible bit of foreshadowing what was to come.

The First Outrage: The For-Your-Consideration Program

The first time I saw that the IAWTV didn’t have it’s footing firmly in reality was it’s short-lived FYC program.  Hours after the announcement broke that the IAWTV would offer mailers and DVDs to members at what ended up being an excessive amount of money (because all members vote on all awards unless they are nominated for one) as well a FYC email blast for what seemed to be an even less justifiable sum (for writing and sending out a rich-text email), the community, nominees and the general population, were up in arms.  Many of the small shows that had secured nominations were unable to pay for such services and rightly worried about what such uneven access would do to their chances.  To their credit, the IAWTV immediately pulled down the program and launched into a (very overburdened) livechat that members and non-members took part of.  It really felt good to have that kind of dialogue, and I hope it continues now that the ceremony is passed.

The Craft Awards

For my part, I can’t remember anything else bad happening between the FYC program and the start of the awards, just lots of dialogue about how the community needed to move forward and become more open.  But then there were the Craft Awards.  While I understand the ceremony was short, sweet, and fun, I had a bad taste in my mouth from the Craft Awards for one very big reason:

How on earth is the Best New Series of the year a Craft Award?  Isn’t the point of winning that award to bring recognition to the recipient? And if so, why give them their award at the less visible of the two events?  Though in hindsight, maybe it was a good thing.  After all, we haven’t gotten to the worst part yet…

The 2010 Streamy Awards Live Ceremony

Or the various other names it’s been going by since it began, such as StreamyFail, StreamyClusterFuck, and various other names that give you a good idea of how the event went.  Let’s begin this part of the entry by simply stating that the IAWTV owes an enormous apology to its membership, the nominees and winners, and the rest of their audience and viewership.

Probably the most forgivable, while simultaneously being the most aggravating of the problems last night were the well documented technical difficulties.  For my part, we gave up on watching the awards early on and relied on the Twitter feed.  Simultaneously live and delayed streams, audio levels that were abysmally low despite cranking up both the computer and the video player, and video that was so jerky that frames per minute rather than per second is the only way I can describe quickly made the awards unwatchable.  It’s obvious from the first hand accounts of attendees that the problems didn’t end there.  And while technical problems affect even the best planned shows, having them happen for an event that was billed extensively to the viewing audience looked very bad and left me wondering if 1) there had been any technical rehearsals, and 2) if anyone was actually monitoring the live-feed.

I became glad  I wasn’t watching rather quickly.  I enjoy a dirty joke as well as the rest of my fellow crew and cast members (and we can be a raunchy bunch), but there’s a difference between trading blatantly inappropriate jokes on set or on Twitter, were your audience is limited to people who talk directly to you and spam-bots, and on an internationally televised live awards show that had many children in the audience.  Revelations that the show was never truly evaluated as a whole, but only thought about bit by bit explains why it played out as it did, but it certainly doesn’t excuse it.  The awards are a very public venue, and the level of common decency that I expect in a public venue that hasn’t limited involvement based on age was noticeably absent.  I’ve felt terrible for nominees who brought their family and their children’s friends to the event, or who asked family to watch.

What took me from disappointed to outright angry was the enormous amount of abusive humor towards the creators in general.  We know there’s currently no money in our medium and that we are a very niche form of entertainment.  We do this because we love it and our fans, and want to be recognized for our hard work, not made to feel like we’re wasting our time.  A survey of the wider public’s continued lack of awareness of the medium is great research.  It’s not a comedy bit to include at an event to honor the creators of that medium’s content.

And while the male streakers may not have been a planned part of the show, where the hell was security to get them the hell off the stage?

Wrapping Up

All in all, I have to say that I’ve been profoundly disappointed by the way the entire 2010 award season played out.  In many ways it appeared that the IAWTV did not consider the true extent of the community and the viewership.  While I was put off by the necessarily closed nature of the first show, I do think it did a lot to speak to what makes this medium great and to instill confidence in creators going forward.  I don’t think we’ll know the true extent of the damage caused by this year’s disaster for some time, but I expect that it will have a negative effect for the medium as a whole.  If the IAWTV is going to attempt to represent the entire community in a very public setting it needs to take firm stock of what went wrong and get back to the roots put down by the 2009 awards.  And it will have to work very hard for the rest of the year to start earning the respect of the membership.  At it’s hear that seems to be the real problem with this season.  The IAWTV essentially demanded respect from the community.  It seems that they lost sight of the fact that respect must be earned.  It is not freely given.

Expect another post tomorrow of how best I think the community can move forward from this point.  However, it will also be a very long post, so I feel it better to really add it in separately.

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  1. One really needs to wonder who thought this would go over well?

    We have long called for more transparency in terms of how the @IAWTV is run and how it makes decisions. The IAWTV needs to engage in an active dialogue moving forward. The organization needs to open itself up to a frank discussion with the entire web series community.

    The @IAWTV cannot or should not continue to act as a closed “society” because in the end it is accountable to the entire web series community and we have just seen what happens if we just let those in power “run with the ball”. Like it? No? Then we need to see a total change in the way the @IAWTV is run.

    I think we can be pretty sure that the majority of the members and possibly even some on the Board of Directors of the IAWTV had little knowledge of what was going to happen. That does not make them any less accountable.

    Those who did not like what happened need to step forward and work with the community at large to foster the change that is needed. We can move forward and we can make things better but only if there are substantial changes in how the IAWTV is set up and operates.

    An apology is only as good as how well the person making it understands and articulates exactly what they did wrong. So far there has been little more than lip service. We need accountability and that begins with those responsible stepping forward and telling us how things went SO far wrong.

    Then there needs to be changes. BIG changes. The day of brushing things under the IAWTV carpet is over. We are a world wide community and we need to take our genre back and make sure that this organization aligns itself with the entire community… not just an insider faction.

  1. April 14th, 2010

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