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Summary:

Tech Fail, Taste Fail and Attitude Fail led to this year’s Streamy Awards being poorly executed and poorly received. In the aftermath, executive producer Brady Brim-Deforest said that “Last night’s show really wasn’t in the spirit of how we wanted to recognize the nominees and winners.”

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UPDATED: Web chatter panning last night’s Streamy Awards show was fast and furious even before the final award was handed out, thanks to a combination of three different fails: Tech Fail, Taste Fail and Attitude Fail. And via phone, executive producer and Tubefilter CEO Brady Brim-Deforest apologized for these things, saying that “Last night’s show really wasn’t in the spirit of how we wanted to recognize the nominees and winners.”

Acknowledging that the technical difficulties as well as a late change in venue “led to a production that was less than polished,” Brim-Deforest also acknowledged that “The show suffered from a lack of cohesiveness. There wasn’t enough focus on the awards, it was more focused on the comedy. Last night’s show was off that mark and we’re very sorry for that.”

When asked about the show’s heavy emphasis on self-deprecating material and scripted comedy bits, Brim-Deforest said that “As we tried to build the show into an entertainment platform, we tried to up the entertainment value. In the writing process, we were focused on individual bits and so we lost track of the show as a cohesive experience. If we had looked at the script as one whole instead of individual bits, I think we would have had a different outcome. Our focus was on building a show that was more entertaining than last year, and in doing so we lost focus on what the show is all about.”

Watching the show live from my seat inside the theater, with only occasional checks on Twitter, it was clear pretty quickly into the show that things were not going well. When considering the Streamys’ Three Fails, I’m willing to give the show a pass on technical fail, as sometimes — usually at the worst possible time — things will in fact fall apart. However, it didn’t help the perception of the show’s production value (in retrospect, host Paul Scheer’s joke about the lack of a tech rehearsal might have been a poor choice) and the technical failures seemed to help contribute to the show’s descent into crude anarchy.

For example, two butt-naked streakers only made their dash across the stage after the Fine Bros.’s parody short about how to get a Streamy nomination froze halfway through playing, the first of many technical mishaps. In a perhaps obvious twist, the streakers might have been representatives from a Streamy Award-nominated series, Streak to Win — which is yep, about streakers. From my seat close to the stage, I’m relatively confident I heard one of the pants-less gentlemen shout the show’s name, and am still waiting for comment from the show’s producers. UPDATE: A Streak to Win representative confirms that they were behind the streaking incident.

Instead of showing you naked men, though, I’m going to embed the full Fine Bros. video below for your enjoyment.

However, seeing two naked men run across stage wasn’t too shocking, given planned incidents like the masturbation jokes host Paul Scheer made in his opening monologue, a five-minute sketch about vaginal rejuvenation and an epic-length salute to the fictional founder of a porn site. Heck, David Faustino, who presented the best actress in a comedy award to Felicia Day, was only one pair of tightie-whities away from being on that level. (Screenshot below thanks to Web Series Today.)

While no details are available as yet on the record as to how sponsors reacted to the content of last night’s show, gossip is currently floating around online. Andrew Hampp of Ad Age Twittered last night the following: “The Streamys carmage piles up. One sponsor looked at me and said, ‘Don’t write about this!’”

And Jace Hall, creator/host of The Jace Hall Show, commented on his blog that “I heard discussion that one of the big sponsors of the event TRIDENT GUM was SUPER PISSED and basically wanted their money back ($100,000 – I’m told). If this is true then that is a very negative blow for the “Web Series” industry.” I’ve reached out to Trident’s parent company Cadbury for comment on this.

It’s the taste fail which may have hurt relationships with sponsors and which definitely has multiple creators apologizing to their fans (and in some cases, families). But the taste level also fed into the attitude problem, which had more than one person calling the show a roast, but not funny.

The big missed question here was this: Who did the producers imagine to be the audience for the show? Because the answer doesn’t seem to have been those inside the Orpheum Theater on Sunday night. Instead, the Streamys seemed to be making a big play for introducing web video to the mainstream audience, playing deliberately to those expectations — while simultaneously pointing out, especially in one particularly awkward video sketch featuring Scheer interviewing web series n00bs at the Hollywood and Highland mall, that the mainstream world doesn’t know anything about web video, that this is still a secondary industry to the TV and film world.

The reaction to the Streamys this year is strictly about the presentation, not about the winners. Look at the winner’s list and you see some of web video’s greatest talents recognized. While watching the show, every time someone accepted an award — whether it be established talents like David Wain and Illeana Douglas or the web-originated Bernie Su and Mark Gantt, all of whom seemed to truly value the recognition of their peers — the true potential of the Streamy Awards as a celebration of talent shone through.

When asked about next year, Brim-Deforest said that the Streamys would definitely be back, and while he and the other four principles of Tubefilter will definitely be involved, they are seeking out a line producer to manage the show as experienced awards show producer Gary Smith did in the ceremony’s first year. “We’re not sure who will do it, but we’re already looking for candidates,” Brim-Deforest said. Something else Brim-Deforest promises is a simpler execution and a real celebration of this community, which at its core is talented, proud and vocal.

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Should You Super-Syndicate Your Web Series?

  1. Great post, Liz. This was an epic learning experience and we need to remember all that went wrong so that it can be prevented in the future.

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  2. I can’t understand why an awards show ostensibly celebrating innovation and independence decided to ape the worst excesses of old media. From the opening musical number (nearly inaudible in the theater), I knew we were headed for disaster.

    I wish the producers had taken all the money wasted on that bloated, unfunny disaster and just given it as prize money to the non-studio and non-sponsor backed winners.

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  3. Great post. I hope the streamy Failfest doesn’t hurt it in the long run. Hopefully this year lessons were learned and the particularly terrible growing pains were had.

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  4. Great reporting Liz. This community needs to keep embracing how we are different, not how we are the same as traditional media. Looking forward to an awards ceremony next year that celebrates our spirit and spunk and embraces our different-ness.

    Cheers,

    Brian

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  5. An apology is warranted and appreciated but unfortunately no one is going to write articles about the apology. The damage is done. I don’t care where it was at, how much time they had to get it done, etc etc. Someone’s judgement is off. Someone approved the jokes and the tone of how the industry was to be portrayed. If a seasoned producer had brought the same show before the organizers it still would have gotten the green light. It’s the vision that is wrong and that comes from the top.

    I mean come on the unfunny presenter banter was an issue last year. Knowing that someone actually had to say this is more funny than last year.

    Have you ever heard the story of how the Monkees made one of the worst films in history? They sat in a room with Jack Nicholson, got stoned and tape recorded what they said and based a script on that. I’d actually have an easier time accepting it if someone would just admit that’s what happened here.

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  6. [...] the time it took me to slap this together, NewTeeVee, already has news of the official streamys apology – [...]

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  7. I feel for the IAWTV, the Tubefilter folks, and all of the organizers. I really do. They’ve hurt their own brand more than they hurt web series in general.

    The problem is that the Streamys, and a lot of its cheerleaders, have had the attitude for a while now that the awards show was a GIFT. A service TO the web series community rather than something in service OF the web series community.

    The Streamys organizers shouldn’t try to be the coolest kids in the room.

    I think they should focus more on just being the room.

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  8. Hopefully the only damage done last night was to the Streamys and not, as some have suggested, the web industry writ large. I think the nicest thing you can say about the Streamys is that they tried to run before they could walk. In their hopes to get big name talent to attend, give out awards and win awards (and the mainstream press that would bring), they forgot everything else; and that goes from how to produce a show to largely forgetting the independent creators who forged this entire industry from scratch over the last few years.

    Interesting too how both sponsors and nominees/winners alike were repped by ICM. What a stunning coincidence…

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  9. The prob is a bunch of bloggers who started tubefilter and newteevee suddenly fancied themselves professional entertainers.

    The biggest problem with the web series world is stuff like the IAWTV – do you have any clue how ridiculously pretentious that sounds?

    A major point many web series people should consider – 100% of you wish you were working in film/tv. Stop pretending you don’t with this odd worship of the web series.

    The YouTube gang actually wants to be on the web.

    Im not saying there’s no talent here, but the Streamys as a whole makes everyone look liked amateur wannabees.

    harshtruth

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    1. Just for the record, Brad — NewTeeVee had nothing to do with the production of this event. (It would be weird of us to comment on it if we did.)

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      1. Apologies – I get the two mixed up admittedly.

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    2. Brad, have you watched Pink? Have you watched Compulsions? Have you watched OzGirl?

      Yes some people want to be part of the film industry, but other are doing creative things on the interwebz that would not work in film or tv.

      Have you ever played an ARG? How about play Maddision Atkins? Possibly one of the best experiences ever done on the interwebz.

      I hear what you are saying about the Streamys and the IAWTV but please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water….. at least not before first participating and having some fun.

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      1. I like Pink quite a bit and if it got picked up as a TV series, they’d take that deal in a second, praise the lord, and never look back at the web again if possible.

        Compulsions is well made from a production/performance standpoint, but it’s basically an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent with some Saw thrown in. C’mon, that is not revolutionary material.

        Again, I’m not saying there isn’t talent, but the “all hail the next evolution of entertainment” stuff is silly.

        Interactive games are a different matter and that’s stuff that’s made for the net and it’s great to see!

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