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.