Monday, April 12, 2010

The Streamys 2010: Oh what a night...but not in a good way

Felicia Day accepts her 2010 Streamy Award for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Web Series for The Guild

EDIT:
I've added some important updates at the end

A star-filled night

I was excited about last night's Streamy Awards and was preparing to get some great pictures from the event. In the post I did yesterday I never imagined what was going to unfold before my eyes last night. I did manage to get some screen shots, and I hope you enjoy this slideshow from my Flickr stream:



The Elephant dung in the room
For more than two years I've been following web series, seeing how this new form is developing and growing. It inspires me. Inspiration was one of the things sorely lacking in last night's show. Many, many people have expressed their feelings about the Streamys on Twitter, chat rooms and blogs. Not everyone was disappointed and Lights.Camera.Drama. found some good points. EndofShow.com sums up many of the thoughts I have about it, as does b!X in his article. Felicia Day's tweet after the show was confirmation that the people in the auditorium were as aghast as the online audience.

Sean Becker receives his 2010 Streamy Award for Best Directing in a Comedy Web Series for The Guild
The Good
There were some.

Sean Becker's speech. When I interviewed Sean he said he didn't remember a thing about his Emmys speech because he hadn't prepared and was so nervous. This time he had done his homework and had some notes. It was funny because he omitted all the jokes he had written and still managed to be funnier than many of the other people who stood at that podium. His thankyous were awesome and moving (he thanked his mum and dad, which brought a tear to me eye). He even mentioned @egspoony's birthday and all the Guildies. A class act.

Autotune The News did a very good segment (the second part was let down by bad sound but they were excellent) and their acceptance speech/song was brilliantly conceived and performed.

Felicia Day's acceptance speech was a real highlight. It came late in the show and rather than complain she thanked people for their hard work at the show and brought some much-needed reflections on what the night was supposed to be about. And she dedicated it to all the geeky girls out there - she won that award for us and that's why we love her.

And the host, Paul Scheer, did his best in the face of what must have been a difficult night.

Felicia Day bathed in light at the 2010 Streamy Awards
The Bad
Technical fails happen - anyone who has ever tried to do a presentation using any sort of mechanical device knows that. Much more worrying was that the organisers seemed to have forgotten what web entertainment is about. Rather than porn and sexist/homophobic/OMFG it's about punchy, bite-sized, pithy, amazing revelations. The best of the web is a short, sharp, shock not an overblown wet raspberry. Even without the technical problems the 'show' was far too long. And it shouldn't have been a show, but a ceremony.

The Ugly
Scatological has a place but I don't want to have to listen to so many bad taste and mean-spirited diatribes and unfunny segments. Truly I was cringing in places and had to mute the sound for my own sanity. I was in The Guild Chat and people were angry about the tone and length of so many of the sections. When James Gunn is light relief from swearing and lewdness then something is very wrong.

The Future
What happens now? Hopefully plans are already underway for next year's awards because I don't want The Streamys to stop. Web entertainment needs a dedicated award ceremony that honours and lauds the truly great and innovative. Web entertainment just went through it's awkward teenage stage live online but good things can come from this. I don't know the organisers but I've spoken to them online in the past and I know that they are working hard and breaking ground. I really appreciate the work that everyone involved in the Streamys does - I really do. The are dealing with many pressure and it can't be easy.

So I have a list I'd like them to think about before next year:

  • Firstly remember it's THE STREAMYS not anything else. Dare to be different and give us what we want - punchy, edgy and short!
  • It shouldn't have to be censored but if you know there are going to be adult-related themes then have some sort of warning at the outset. And don't bleep stuff when that's no way near as bad as the live action you know is going to happen.
  • No dance routines unless they are from a web series that are receiving or presenting an award. And even then less than three minutes. Same for bands.
  • Stay classy. The popup idea was very funny but the material was coarse in the extreme and it didn't need to be. I felt sorry for the audience. And me. Other parts were equally as bad.
  • Don't diss your audience - the ones sitting in the auditorium OR the ones online. Really. It does not go down well and cheapens everyone.
  • Be clear about funding, sponsors and money. We want you to make money and fund the Streamys. Advertisements are fine if it pays the bills. Other things make us nervous.
  • Be inspiring - big up the creators and yourselves. You are amazing - show us how. Make us believe that we don't have to live in LA or have connections or money or be young or beautiful to create great online entertainment.
  • Let us see the organisers - you made the show and we'd like to see you so we can show our appreciation!
  • Show us you've listened to what people say about this year's ceremony. Not the rants but the fair criticism. It won't be easy but the passion you see shows that people care. It will make it all the sweeter when the same people praise you next year.
  • Be proud of what you do!

Do you have any other comments or thoughts you would like to pass on about the Streamys? Comment here or contact Jenni Powell. This is important. Web entertainment is alive and kicking - take part!

The full list of the winners is on Tubefilter. Please go and check out some great web series.
EDIT: IMPORTANT UPDATES

Article on Tubefilter from Jenni Powell: "The Streamys: Post-Show Community Feedback and Discussion" which has links to many of the posts about the show

Letter from the Chair of the International Academy of Web Television about the Streamys

Open Letter from the Executive Producers of The Streamys about the show

Response from Felicia Day on the newteevee post about the Streamys
http://newteevee.com/2010/04/12/the-streamy-awards-a-producers-apology-and-its-three-fails/#comments
I hope something good will come out of this in the end. We can be hopeful that it will be better in the future.