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Thoughts on the IAWTV/Streamy Parting

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Well, it’s been a rocky ride, but after six long months of negotiation, the International Academy of Web Television has decided to part with the Streamy Awards and create it’s own separate awards show later next year.  I wanted to say a few things about this, since I have won several Streamys and I will always be proud of that fact, and at the same time, I am on the board that finally decided we had to part ways.

I can tell you from first-hand experience, that this decision was a LONG time coming (Many MANY conference calls!).  Everyone REALLY tried to work out the particulars so we could proceed with a 3rd Streamys akin to the last ones, but a fundamental thing got in the way once we started analyzing the situation.  Namely:

a) The IAWTV is a non-profit organization by construction, the Streamy brand and awards are FOR profit by construction.

It came down to board members and committee members asking fundamental questions like, “Why is this organization helpful to the average web series creator?” and “What are we OTHER than supporting an awards show?”   When those questions started to get answered, it became really clear that the future of the two entities, at least with regards to an awards ceremony, were headed in two different directions.

The following might be biased by my personal opinions, but oh well, it’s my blog 🙂  I think the IAWTV’s true future is in emulating an organization like IFC , not the Emmys or the Academy, because the origin of web content lies in the spirit of independence, and being an outsider.  I would never have gotten “The Guild” made through normal entertainment channels, yet my show garners as many hits as some cable shows.  “Fred” and “The Annoying Orange” on YouTube rival network television ratings with every video they upload!  To me, in all instances of web content creation, it boils down to people creating things outside normal means and delivering them to their audience in ways that are outside of traditional media, regardless of budget or “pedigree”.  THAT is what we should be celebrating, encouraging and enabling as an organization.  And the idea that proceeds from the IAWTV awards should go to community outreach and education made 100% sense: And was at base odds with how the Streamys are structured.  It seriously was impossible to resolve the two perspectives.

I guess it will be awkward for a bit, because we are a SMALL community, but hopefully that will pass quickly, because it’s not an “either or” situation.  BOTH an IAWTV Awards and Streamy Award can exist, probably they will end up giving awards to the same shows. I think it speaks volumes to how far the industry has come in the last several years that there can be room for more than one approach and more than one vision to rewarding the best of the medium.  I will personally wear a very nice dress to both ceremonies if I’m invited. 🙂

A lot of particulars are to be worked out with the planned IAWTV awards show, a lot of things to be decided, but they will be decided by the IAWTV MEMBERSHIP.  And considering the activism I’ve seen in the past few months over at the IAWTV, I’m super excited to see what we come up with.

My biggest hope with this change is that we can move on and focus on how the IAWTV can serve the community at large, to help and educate people who want to make their own content, but need more tools.  Opening enrollment to EVERY qualified member recently was a big step. There’s a lot of mobilization with the current members to form writing groups, producers groups, creation of a new website to connect members from around the world etc.  THERE is where the future of the non-profit IAWTV lies: in servicing the members.  And if we can have a low-key awards show to honor the members of our community for their talent, then that will be the icing on the web video cake.

  • GrrAargh

    This is what I’d hoped for. The previous situation and the Streamy awards themselves always seemed to be aping TV too much, when something different was required.

    I’ve heard of new members from outside the US being accepted recently, I hope this is the first stage in putting the ‘I’ into IAWTV. When the web is ‘on the whole’ international, having an organization that is the same is important in my opinion.

  • There once was a girl named Felicia
    Who said to the Man “I beseech ya”
    “Please make my Guild show”
    He scoffed and said “No”
    She laughed “there a Net so who needs ya!”

  • Thank you for sharing the back story, Felicia. Very helpful. I really like that question about what else we do other than support an awards show. Great community on a great journey together…my two cents, anyway.

  • This is excellent news, and now I will happily apply for IAWTV membership.

    It’s been very frustrating on the outside, too, not knowing what was going on but desperately hoping that things could be worked out. I think this is the best solution and there’s every reason to hope that things will normalise quickly. It is a small community, but it’s bigger than LA, New York or even the US. I think this gives international creators much more impetus to join in.

    Excelsior!

  • Good thing I checked my Twitter feed this afternoon. I fell in love with the independent spirit of the web community. Of course The Guild was my first, but found more and more as I continued to search. Did like the idea of the Streamy awards, because you deserve respect and acknowledgment for all the hard work, dedication and sacrifice to create your own independent vision. You don’t create to win awards, but to set free your imagination into the world. I’m sure there are other reasons, but I’m going with that one. 🙂

    After the last Streamy things felt a little off for me. So I am very glad to see that things have moved on, and will continue to acknowledge and honor the spirit of independent and creativity.

    Just now getting coffee… So, congrats to the IAWTV! Wish you a solid and focused awards show for many years to come.

    ~Jeff Elwell

  • Jacie Hood

    I agree 100% with the decision to part ways. As an MPA and nonprofit administrator, I understand the importance of following the mission of the organization and ensuring that you are doing so within the confines of of that legal designation. I applaud the board of directors for making this difficult decision, and in doing so, ensuring the integrity and future of the IAWTV.

    Congrats!
    Jacie Hood

  • FacEcaF

    It’s nice to see the break, as the Streamy Awards are a fairly sketchy organization. I know it takes place throughout the entertainment industry, but they were baiting and switching people on work. I had accepted a gig for their past award show. However, the day before the job was to start, they came back saying that they were hoping that I could work for free instead of being paid. The promise was the usual “great connections”. As the Streamy Awards are a for-profit organization, this practice is not only unfair to the freelancers they bailed out on at the last minute, but it is also illegal to hire people without compensation.

    It’s good to see the break from the Streamy Awards and their questionable methods. I look forward to seeing the future of IAWTV.

    Congrats on the move forward. Cheers.

  • It’s very hard to merge two business with different visions/missions into one going concern. Most of the time one vision/mission overwhelms the other. I’m glad that the separation is happening while both sides are on good terms and expect that each will be strong for doing it now. BTW: Love 5uizolj’s photo of you. Saw it on my netbook and thought “has my vision gone bad so soon?”

  • I like Icing.

    A good move on many levels. The organization seems more appealing over the last few months than it has since its inception.

  • len

    FWIW from the cheap seats:

    it boils down to people creating things outside normal means and delivering them to their audience in ways that are outside of traditional media, regardless of budget or “pedigree”. THAT is what we should be celebrating, encouraging and enabling

    Over the years of serving in committees and boards, I observe that the ones that do the most important work share values at the beginning and do not lose them even when the money is dangling and the whispers say you must.

    You do your community proud, Felicia. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

  • Don

    Really great news, Felicia!

    As a former PR director and fund-raiser for a nonprofit, the conflict was apparent and, outside of the Tubefilter folks handing over complete rights to the Streamys, it wasn’t going to work. I’m glad the board came to that conclusion.

    It will be better for the organization to have complete control over their Web awards and establish its own reputation with them.

  • Rogerborg

    Nice dress my hairy Scotch arse – you’ll wear your sparkly gold jacket, as well you know.

  • stevekaw

    Just like any new community, there are growing pains. It’s easy to just throw up your hands and walk away from these sorts of problems, so props for sticking it out and devoting precious time and energy to working things out for the long haul.

    In fact, I’m thinking of creating a new Internet organization – the International Association of Web-based Couch Potatoes (IAWCP) – whose members watch web series and then make snarky comments about them.

    Who’s in?

  • The original structure of the relationship between the Streamy Awards and the IAWTV was wrong from day one. Over time it became clear that it was riddled with conflict of interest and that led to a great deal of concern in the community. That is not to say that the Streamy Awards them self were not legitimate. A lot of excellent shows received awards. However having the IAWTV Award show owned and operated by an independent for profit company was just a misguided set up. The only viable alternative to eliminate this problem was for Tubefilter to either hand over full ownership of the “Streamy Awards” to the IAWTV or for the IAWTV to host their own award show. One can only assume that a good faith attempt was made to achieve the former and when that failed the latter became inevitable.

    The good news is that the IAWTV is taking its role seriously and addressing some of these concerns. Conflict of interest is the one thing that will eat up a community and lead to its destruction. The more the IAWTV opens itself up to interacting with the community at large the better it will be able to assess all opinions in the community and not just the opinions of its membership.

    One door has closed but another much wider door has opened if the IAWTV chooses to open it. It can either become an “inner circle” or it can become a sounding board for the community at large. Which will it be? Time will tell.

  • Daley

    I have no idea what’s going on, but I am clapping ecstatically.

  • sim

    hai day what are the best books you find in you shelf

  • I’m not surprised by this move, and I commend you Felicia and the other board members for making this tough decision. I’m even kind of surprised that the two groups got together in the first place due to the fact that one is a non-profit and one is for profit, the fundamentals are different but yet the partnership worked… for awhile.

    This could end up being a great thing, because in time we will need more than one award show for online video as it grows up and truly rivals traditional TV!

    Can’t wait to see what the future holds for the IAWTV! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Felicia, and have a nice day 🙂

  • Randy

    This sounds very similar to what SFWA (www.sfwa.org) is for Science Fiction/Fantasy authors.

    The org exists to support the authors in a number of ways, and they also have their own award, The Nebula. The Hugo Awards still happen at WorldCon, and The Nebula has its own ceremony event, at another time and place during the year. The Nebula has become a very significant and prestigious award, and co-exists in the world with several other notable awards that cover the same material.

    Way to go, and good luck!

  • Michael

    “THERE is where the future of the non-profit IAWTV lies: in servicing the members

    LOL

  • Markus

    It sounds like the right decisions for the right reasons. The future seems a lot brighter 🙂

  • Meg S.

    You make a very good point,on how somethings can survive and are better making it on its own (via the creation of Streamy awards without being attached to IAWTV )

    **I couldn’t help bit giggle at your “dress” comment made me think about a particular Fallout companion -snicker,giggle,snicker-

  • Mike L

    Good move, this will help out the online community even better 😉

  • I had actually never heard of the streamys before. It is good idea though as the medium becomes more popular.

  • This sounds great and it makes me really curious to sign up for a IAWTV membership. Bob from Numerology Calculation

  • After analyzing the situation you will notice everyone has their hands in the pie. All that glitters is not Gold!

  • This is excellent news, and now I will happily apply for IAWTV membership.

  • What liearbting knowledge. Give me liberty or give me death.

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