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Summary:

Maybe it’s really old media of me to say this, but if the New York Times says you’re the “Oscars of the Internet,” that’s probably what you are. (Of course, the NYT can afford to pay the Webbys submission fee, so they’re perhaps a little biased.) […]

Maybe it’s really old media of me to say this, but if the New York Times says you’re the “Oscars of the Internet,” that’s probably what you are. (Of course, the NYT can afford to pay the Webbys submission fee, so they’re perhaps a little biased.) Some thoughts upon looking over yesterday’s announcement of the Online Film and Video nominees:

  • The Animation category seems oddly focused on series as opposed to standalones, which are often better animated (usually by virtue of being standalone). It’s great to see 30-Second Bunnies get recognition, but while it is good animation, that series’ real appeal is in the writing and performance.
  • The choice to nominate a single episode vs. an entire series seems somewhat arbitrary. And in technical categories like Best Editing, that choice may give shorts like WallStrip’s Haha an advantage over entire series, which are less easy to encapsulate. The Emmys usually specify episodes nominated for technical achievement — why don’t the Webbys?

  • The Best Use of Animation/Motion Graphics category is a great way to embrace the easily blurred lines between animation and live action on the web. It’s also a solid set of nominees, including Jesse Cowell and Erica Langworthy’s Drawn by Pain.
  • Super Deluxe, CollegeHumor and The Onion News Network took the Comedy: Individual episode nominations. While all of those pieces are hilarious, was there really no room for anyone from the Funny or Die world?
  • I didn’t think anyone could love Sir Ian McKellan more than me — but the Webbys proved me wrong. A Conversation With Sir Ian is nominated not only for Best Documentary: Individual Episode, but also two Website Webbys. And seriously, it should be nominated for all the Webbys, ever. Guys, Sir Ian talks to you about Shakespeare! It’s like he’s really there in the room with you! It’s like you’re friends!
  • Collectively, the New York Times racked up seven nominations. Maybe they (and I) aren’t so old media after all.
  • My favorite nomination on this list? You Suck at Photoshop for How To/DIY video.

  • With any awards show, you get frustrated by oversights and omissions — and the Webbys is no exception. For some categories, it seems like it would make sense to waive the submission fee — if only so that the awards were able to be a bit more representative of the actual online video world.
  • Nowhere is this more true than in the Viral Video category. While three of the nominees — Chocolate Rain, Obama Girl, Tony vs. Paul — have some street cred, the other two are complete mysteries to me. Here Comes Another Bubble has gotten 274,526 views over four months on YouTube. I’m sorry, but that is not a virus. That is a scraped knee, at best.

All crankiness aside, there’s a lot of interesting stuff to explore on this list, and I’m excited to dig in and work out who I’m voting for, especially in categories like Documentary and Experimental, where I’m less familiar with the nominees. Where is your ballot currently leaning?

The correct answer to that question, by the way, is “Sir Ian McKellan.”

  1. I think the entrance fee kept a few very deserving people away.

    We did enter but got no French Maid Love.

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  2. 10,000 entries at $200 a pop is an amazing business model. They’re lucky they really are the “Oscars of the Web.” No one would put up with it otherwise.

    Sure, there are a lot of disappointments when it comes to nominee selections, but that’s probably why they started doing honorees… and let me tell you, as an honoree for Flipper Nation, I really appreciate being included in the fanfare!

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  3. Liz wrote:

    “The Animation category seems oddly focused on series as opposed to standalones, which are often better animated (usually by virtue of being standalone).”

    No, standalones are not often better animated. If anything most series are better animated because style/process has been created/refined over the series.

    Liz Wrote:

    “It’s great to see 30-Second Bunnies get recognition, but while it is good animation, that series’ real appeal is in the writing and performance.”

    Why are you separating writing and good animation? Both are need for a great piece of work. These shows weren’t judged on artistic beauty only. It’s the whole package, and writing is a big part of that. Just ask the guys at Pixar.

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  4. Why are you separating writing and good animation? Both are need for a great piece of work. These shows weren’t judged on artistic beauty only. It’s the whole package, and writing is a big part of that. Just ask the guys at Pixar.

    I definitely agree with your point about the complete package, but the category isn’t Best Animated Series/Short, it’s Best Animation, and thus I was interpreting the award to be focused strictly on the animation of these shorts. It’s easy to interpret it both ways, though, and your point about series being able to develop a consistent style is fair.

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  5. Eric Spiegelman Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Apparently, the secret to receiving a Webby nomination is to write a novelty song to the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” that lists stuff.

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  6. Being a nominee, we are extremely honored to have someone acknowledge something we pour our hearts into. But it isn’t as much about the accolade as it is being able to reach people with no budget to do so. The Webby is another great way to get seen and heard as people pay attention to what gets nominated.

    Win the award or not – anything that gives us the ability to share what we do with more people is an awesome reward unto itself. It really is in the end about making stuff and sharing it.

    Thanks so much for the mention! It means a lot to us. Hope you enjoy the next few episodes,

    -Jesse Cowell
    Creator – Drawn by Pain

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  7. 800 quarter-waters? Man, that’s steep.

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  8. “Here Comes Another Bubble has gotten 274,526 views over four months on YouTube. I’m sorry, but that is not a virus. That is a scraped knee, at best.”

    I could be mistaken here, but I’m nearly positive that that count is only version 1.1. The original DMCAed video generated near a million hits.

    Is 1.1 millionish viral? Should the original video’s views count? I’m not sure, but I really don’t think it’s fair to say the video has generated only 274,526 views.

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  9. We’re grateful at DadLabs to be an honoree, and while we recognize there’s no way around the entry fee, it certainly keeps some producers away.

    But compared to the online Emmys, the Webbys are a bargain. I’m curious if any of the Webby noms/honorees are springing for the $400+ it takes to get consideration for the “non-competitive” broadband Emmy contest. We took a pass. We’d rather pay an editor.

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  10. [...] The Bryant Park Project was kind enough to bring me back on the air today to talk about the Webby nominees. Topics we touched on included SuperDeluxe vs. College Humor, how The Onion News Network treats fat [...]

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