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

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. 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.

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
I hope something good will come out of this in the end. We can be hopeful that it will be better in the future.


  1. Superb review Higlet and many thanks for the wonderful screengrabs. Yours is the 1st review I've seen that has put forward constructive criticism. Youre right, at the end of the day these awards help celebrate and tell the world about the media we love. As fans we shouldnt be calling for their heads, we should be helping them make 2011 an epic year as its going to need to be to make up for last night.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Sadly I was tucked up in bed over here so still trying to find any recorded footage of it. (shouldnt be that hard should it, its a web media awards ceremony!?)


  2. Hi Markus, I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and the suggestions. I think it's understandable if people didn't like what went on but to just pick holes without offering any solutions isn't very helpful.

    I'm sort of sorry you missed it, but on the other hand you can be thankful, too! I'm sure some things will be online and hopefully Felicia's and Sean's speeches will surface at some stage.

    Thanks for commenting - it's always great to get feedback :)

  3. Very accurate reporting Higlet, 2010 streamys were epic fail. I feel it was a spit in the face of fans & volunteers alike. How did they go from NPH and JW to this!? Guild chat was like WTF every 30 seconds and we're ashamed @ some of our hateful tweets last night, but come on... It was beyond horrible. The show was practically empty seats by the near end.
    My apologies to first time viewers of the Streamys, I assure you that next years will more than make up for this season's sponsored by IKEA trash. Sponsorship does not equal quality content, remember that.
    More apologies @ Felicia Day, Kim Evey and everyone else that bought new clothes for this internet train wreck, you all looked like angels among heathens :)
    Keep up the good work higlet, excellent article on an otherwise shameful event. Streamys 2011! Let the Guild crew produce it.

  4. Hi Carl,

    Yes, it was hard to watch without commenting and the raw emotions did lead to harsh criticism. But I don't think that's a bad thing. We need to remember how we felt so that we can make sure it doesn't happen again.

    I hope people move on quickly from the bad reactions and towards the 'making it better' stage because I want the Streamys to carry on. They need funding and investors, and they need to get it right.

  5. Thanks for the review higlet. I suffered watching the Streamys up through the second award and turned it off. I thought it went straight downhill when the host came on stage.

    Good to hear that Felicia got the Best Female Actor award and your photo posts show she looks great in blue.

    After all the voting I did in various categories, I hoped to watch at least some of my favorites win but the program was just too awful to stay with it.

  6. Hi Farfly,

    I can understand you not watching after the beginning - the dance routine, long host ramble and 'hot chicks fighting' was perplexing and it went down hill from there. It's never a good sign when your audience is confused from the get-go.

    There were many worthy winners last night and I'm sorry for them that their achievements will always be overshadowed by the other things.

    Felicia and Sean both did excellent speeches and well deserved their awards. And they both looked beautiful :)

  7. Good review.

    I think things will be very different next year. Getting sponsors will be much more complex(I shudder to think what Kodak thought having it's brand everywhere last night), and/or the show script itself will have to be run past them. I think un-professional, immaturity and childish rebellion against the establishment ruled last night, as if to prove that's what "web video" is really about.

    Ironically the people who are being honored at the event are just the opposite - they represent creators who have an intention to be successful on a grander scale, not just another YouTuber who makes it big. They take their craft seriously. Of course, the audience watching with me on uStream was complaining that they'd never heard of any of these shows.

    There's a reason of course - many don't play on YouTube. They have exclusive/paid deals with distributors like Crackle, MyDamnChannel, or as with the Guild, Microsoft. The Streamys are SUPPOSED to be about the BUSINESS of web video, not the shock value.

    Sadly the organizers of the event failed to "hire" the appropriate people for the job of "making it funny", not to mention whomever was running the sound board probably had never seen a mixing board in their life, much less bothered to try to figure out "cues" or levels beforehand. Even with that, I guess maybe because they didn't actually have headphones they didn't bother to turn off one mic when they brought up another.

    I'd say my biggest disappointment last night was the total disrespect shown for people who built the entertainment industry. This wasn't the early days of a budding industry, it was a total disregard of the history, the legacy and the years of hard work that went into building the media industry. It was as if to say, "it may have taken television millions of dollars and years to reach an audience, but I've got a video camera and some dirty jokes... so screw you!"

    If "web television" is going to become a valid business model for the creators, distributors and advertisers, the talent pool needs to evolve. Anyone that saw Robert Englund's face could tell he wasn't laughing, he was ashamed to even be associated, and I for one felt terrible for him. The man probably had some very rough times after the end of the Freddy Kruger years... typecasting can kill a career. For what's it worth we all loved him in the original "V" too. I'd like to extend a personal apology to Robert - you deserved a lot better than genitalia jokes and porn references - you are more a celeb than any one of those foul mouthed geeks.

  8. Good critique, and great suggestions for improvement. It did seem the program inexplicably reflected the maturity of 14-year-old male YouTube commenters, which has little to do with the maturity and talent of the people being honored as creating the best in web video. Opposite end of what you can find on the internet today - the crass and vulgar, vs. a budding entertainment alternative.

    Didn't Felicia observe in her acceptance speech that the show was put together by volunteers? She said something that was conciliatory towards the organizers. Certainly one cannot expect the slickness of very-expensive-to-produce TV network awards shows. Erring on the side of simplicity and class would probably be best, in a field that's trying to gain credibility and expand its audience.

    It does seem that this was a blackeye to web video, and served only to reinforce certain mainstream stereotypes (that web video is crude, immature, dominated by porn and snark).

    Now I only hope none of the Guildies we know and respect were involved in writing the show. If they were - well, everyone has to learn something from this, what can you do?

  9. Hi Anonymous,

    I didn't bother with the ustream chat because I was told it was unmodded. I was in The Guild Chat for the whole time and it wasn't pretty.

    It confounded me when I read on Liz Miller's post ( that they didn't hire a producer or have a rehearsal. They *know* things don't just happen by magic - web shows certainly don't. And they had a producer last year, so why not have one for what was a hugely ambitious show?

    You are right when you say that it was disrespectful to the whole industry. It was. And I can only hope they take a long look at things before next year.

  10. Hi Tone,

    I don't know who wrote the script but it was likely to be a few people. In some ways that doesn't concern me too much - what I want to see is that it's not going to happen again.

    Judging from the tweets I've seen tonight none of The Guild was involved.

    The Streamys will recover from this but the speed it recovers depends on what happens next. We wait and see....

  11. Several people wrote the script.

    However, Tubefilter and the IAWTV board know something most of the public does not:

    ONE person, Drew Baldwin, a founder of Tubefilter, had final approval over everything on that stage. He ok'ed it all, helped organize it all, helped plan every element from beginning to end, and he (not Brady) should be the one issuing an apology (and, IMO, offering his resignation).

    I commend Michael Wayne's sincere comments on how the IAWTV plans to move forward, but until Drew personally apologizes and accepts responsibility for the show he planned, this years' awards will continue to leave a bad taste in my mouth. He should be ashamed of himself for having the audacity to show up at the after party, and doubly ashamed for letting Brady (who is still responsible, but far less so) make the public apology on NewTeeVee.

    This community is a strong one and will continue with or without the Streamys. Yet, here we are scrambling to recover when we should be celebrating the best of our work, and the person responsible for this situation has yet to personally say anything.

  12. Hi Anonymous (1:42):

    I didn't want to stop your comment being posted but also I don't want to add fuel to the fire. I have no way to know if what you are saying is true or not and readers should be aware that anonymous posting can come from anyone.

    The letters from the IAWTV and Tubefilter/Streamys have started the ball rolling. We will have to see what happens next and there may well be resignations. There was written material and somebody okayed it. It's up to the teams and individuals to decide if resignations are appropriate.