The tone for last night’s Celebrate The Web event was set with its rebranding. When Tubefilter Associate Editor Jenni Powell and Guild producer Kim Evey announced that they were putting together a “do-over” for Streamy Awards winners who thought that Sunday night’s ceremony didn’t properly represent the spirit of web video, they referred to the event as the “Post-Streamys Winners Get Together and Celebration.”
But with a new official hashtag — #celebratetheweb — a new tone was also set for the night, one that refocused the discussion on what makes this medium so powerful and meaningful to those who work tirelessly in it. While conversation before and after the event did focus on what went wrong during the official ceremony and what the fallout might be, there were only a few references on stage to Sunday, including one immediately before the livestreaming started, when Evey made an open plea for those present to be open to forgiving the Streamys producers. “They f—-ed up royally and they know that,” she said.
Legend of Neil creator Sandeep Parikh opened the event with remarks on the struggles that web video creators face, as well as the most cogent explanation of net neutrality’s importance I’ve heard in a while. And then the speeches from winners started. You can watch the entire event here thanks to Ustream, so I’m not going to go into details about who said what, mainly because it was mostly meditations on the same theme — web video is one of the few places where you can do what you love and in some cases even make a living at it. Which, to paraphrase Between Two Ferns director Daniel Strange in the night’s first speech, means real success.
I am, however, going to call attention to Best Actress in a Drama winner Rachel Hip-Flores’ video remarks. Because I’m not embarrassed to admit that she made me tear up a little.This was a cooperative event in the truest sense — Powell and Evey making it clear in the initial announcement that they were operating this event outside of their professional roles in the web video community — and the event had a thrown-together volunteer feel (heck, I folded programs and tore tickets). Celebrate the Web now has a web presence that, properly nurtured, could become an important portal for supporting web video production.
It’s still hard to gauge how much damage was done to the Streamys as a institution thanks to Sunday’s crass humor and negative attitude, but last night did some major repair and served as a nice reminder of this medium’s value. So if the producers of the Streamy Awards should take heart from anything this week, it’s that the community who came together to celebrate still sees at least some value to the brand.
But what is going to happen to the brand? That’s a big question. An open letter from IAWTV Chairman Michael Wayne, posted Tuesday, included the following statement about the Streamy’s future: “The IAWTV will ensure that moving forward every event we are affiliated with lives up to our ideals. If the Streamy Awards take place next year, we will approve the show’s producers, vision, practices and its content in advance.” Last night was a great celebration of those who won Streamys this year. But we’re still waiting to hear if they will be the last to do so.
Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Should You Super-Syndicate Your Web Series?