Sunday, April 11, 2010

Big Time Streamy FAIL

Someone said to me recently that wanting to be in someone's web series is the new "can I show you my script?" in Los Angeles. Everyone and their brother has a web series, similar to how everyone used to shop their scripts around town. The difference being, mostly, that web series ARE getting made. We can make them. It's faster and cheaper. You don't have to rely on monolithic corporations to give you the greenlight. And all of that is wonderful.

And while podcasting and the web series craze started around the same time, it's the web series (another word for video podcast, or vlog, or vlodcast, or video series, or podcast with video) that has really taken off. So much so that while the audio podcasts seem to have been left in the dust, now video podcasts/web series have their own awards show: the Streamys.

That's great. I'm happy for them. And, truthfully, the nominees do seem to have talent and deserve to be there. There are many of my favorites which were also left out, but I suppose that's true of any awards show.

Strangely, for an awards show in its second year, it's already branched off part of the awards, the tech version, to another day. Those were earlier this week. Tonight, we had the Streamys, main event.

Boy was it exciting! The website boasted a red carpet at 4 pm, the awards themselves at 5:30, just like the Academy Awards! Don't know about anyone else, but when I tuned in at 5 pm, all I saw was a black screen (on the Web, where it all was due to broadcast live).

No matter. Who cares about red carpet ho-has anyway? The awards are what matter!

So we wait. Until 5:30 pm PST, popcorn in hand, for the awards show that celebrates our peers, the best of the best on the Web.

What do we get for our trouble? Far too many lewd, crude and obnoxious jokes for my taste. Two streakers! (which actually did liven things up a bit). Nearly naked people grabbing at celebrities, although that was just David Faustino, who used to be a celebrity, didn't he? Yeah. The Streamys was like that.

In fact, that moment, when hot sweaty bad-joke-spewing David Faustino tried to grab Felicia Day, a suffragette for actresses on the Internet if there ever was one, that moment really sums up the Streamys. Hot sweaty naked twerps trying to be funny disrupting the rest of us from getting on with the business we are developing here.

The Streamys, in short, didn't take themselves seriously, while the web series creators, who know better, take themselves very seriously. Felicia Day, who dedicated her award to geek girls everywhere (like me!), really represents the best of the web series phenomenon. She wasn't getting cast (for those who don't know the story) in traditional media, so she worked on her own to develop The Guild, which became a huge Internet phenomenon.

The Guild now has its own DVDs, is in its third season, and has it's own Twitter following, Knights of the Guild. It's brilliant.

I don't know who puts the Streamys together, who votes on them, who selects the nominees. I do know a few things about the awards show broadcast, though: it was quite possibly the worst award show I've ever seen (and I've seen MANY). It was only broadcast over the Internet, and someone had left a mic on, in addition to the one monitoring the action onstage. So throughout the THREE HOURS AND TEN MINUTES that this thing droned on, the entire time, we could hear some twerps near this other open mic, chatting, eating food, conversing with someone nearby. It was beyond irritating.

In addition to that major faux pas, tech things kept going wrong. Footage was supposed to run that didn't run, or the wrong footage ran, or the whole screen went dark. Nearly everything you could imagine going wrong, did. Lame skits seemed to run on for days. So much so that you nearly forgot you were here to watch some awards being handed out. I was arguing with someone online about whether or not the show even HAD a director. If so, PLEASE fire that person, and never let them direct another award show.

Dreadful. No pacing, no flavor.

There were moments, deep into the show, when real celebrities took over and gave the show something worth watching. Kevin Pollak, honored for his show, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show (which I think I'm going to go catch up on once I finish writing this), went on a rant as he was presenting "Best Guest Star in a Web Series." "Go produce your own web series! Best Guest Star?" It was wonderful and funny. The nominees, though, were people like Tony Hale and Nathan Fillion, no shabby acting talent here.

Chris Hardwick in what may or may not have been scripted, pulled out a mic of his own (better sound) and ranted about the creators of web series. Also brilliant.

In one of my favorite moments, the super talented (last seen in Dollhouse) Fran Kranz walked onstage. Then they ruined it by having a stupid bit where he awkwardly got a pie in the face. Yawn.

It was worse than watching awards at your junior high. Grow up, people. Realize this is our industry. Treat it like the business it is. Respect yourself AND your audience. Isn't that what podcasting/video blogging/web series is all about? I was embarrassed and ashamed of most of these people.

One of the highlights for many other people (though I was so zoned and bored by that point, I could hardly care) was when Auto Tune the News came on, and auto-tuned film clips. When they later beat Rocketboom in their category, all seemed right with the world.

The other award winners were uneventful to me. If you care, I'm sure has the results. Just don't watch any of the awards show. You'll thank me later.



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