It’s hard to believe it has been a year since we were last at VCON! What a blast we had for two weeks when Paul Best, Laura Olson and Angela Aro came up for a VCON and Girl Geek Con. We did several panels and screenings and meet some amazing people.
We were sorry to miss VCON in 2012 but from all accounts it was another fun and successful event. Hopefully we’ll be back in 2013.
Paul B has edited some of the footage from last year and released it on Vimeo – enjoy!
“The International Academy of Web Television™ (IAWTV), an nonprofit organization founded to promote and recognize excellence in original online programming, has announced the newest members of its Board of Directors.
April Grant, Executive Producer, Indie Intertube
Paul Kontonis,Chief Media Evangelist, Outrigger Media
J. Sibley Law, Founder & President, Saxon Mills
Susan Miller, Writer/Producer, “Anyone But Me”
Jenni Powell,Content & VIP/Speaker Coordinator, Bryan Allen Events
Tim Street, Writer/Producer/Director, Ape Digital Inc.”
Not everyone I voted for got a place on the Board, but I am happy with the result. There is a good mix of new and old members, and an International member of the Board, at last! Although April Grant is from the US, she is living in Victoria, BC at the moment, where she co-hosts the weekly ‘Indie Intertube‘ shows with Amanda Shockley. I have seen all those elected taking active roles in promoting the IAWTV and new media in general, across various platforms, so I know these people have the experience, passion and drive to make things happen.
If you are a member of the IAWTV and you voted in the elections – thank you! This organisation needs members to be active and engaged to drive forward. It’s not just the Board members and all those who help on the various committees that make the organisation – it is every single member doing whatever they can to promote, encourage and shape the future.
I was very touched to have been nominated to the Board a second time, but chose to decline because I have some huge projects on the go at the moment and I knew I couldn’t devote the necessary time to the post. Our new and standing Board members have committed to a huge amount of work on our behalf, and I would like to publicly state that I really appreciate it. I might not agree with every decision but I do support the Board and I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the IAWTV.
*Update: added Avalon Recovery Society to funding recipients*
It’s that time of year again – time to don your Jayne Hat, count up your pennies and head into Vancouver to the Macmillan Space Centre for Can’t Stop The Serenity! By my calculations this will be the 5th year we’ve attended and it is THE ONE event we really look forward to. Great people, awesome entertainment and a fantastic day out for everyone. How many Jayne Hats will we see this year?
The whole idea behind CSTS is to raise money for charity by screening Joss Whedon’s film ‘Serenity’, holding auctions of really cool items and giving everyone a darned good shindig to look forward to. The main charity is ‘Equality Now‘ and CSTS Vancouver also gives some of the proceeds to BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre Foundation and this year they have added the Avalon Recovery Society, which runs drop-in centres in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland area.. This is why it is important:
This is what is in store for us tomorrow:
You’ve asked for it and here it is (always subject to change, of course):
10:30am Doors open
11:00 Brief introduction, then singing along to Dr. Horrible
11:55 Evil Laugh contest
12:15 An episode of Mind My Brains, Darling
12:25 Reaver Dance
1:00 Firefly Trivia Bingo
1:40 Episode 12 of Standard Action
2:00 Live Auction
2:35 Costume Contest parade and awarding of prizes
3:00 Close silent auction
Draw for Fan Expo ticket prize
Joss’s Equality Now speech
5:30 Announcement of winning bidders in the silent auction
There are still tickets left. Ticket sales at La Fontana will end at noon on Friday and on the blog at midnight. Any tickets left will be available at the door.
Our Team BREW entry for Celebrate The Web 6: Levelling Up was ‘This Human Body‘. It was written, filmed, and edited in 7 days. After leaving it for a couple of weeks it is interesting to go back and watch it again. Working with Rob was a great experience and on the whole I’m really pleased with how it turned out. A few people have commented on the editing, and this interests me. I can see where it could be tightened here and there, but I’m not sure I’m seeing what other people are seeing. We’d love to hear from you about that.
But why this story?
The story itself was literally written in 4 hours, start to finish. It was one of those times when it really does write itself. Once I saw the quote, I knew what I wanted to write about, and that was that. I shut down every tab and app on my computer apart from Scrivener, and set to it. We knew we had wanted to do a drama, and we wanted it to be meaningful. Following David as he navigates the first few hours after he gets a terminal diagnosis was a way to explore his character, relationships and choices. We also wanted to set up the potential for a series while making the pilot a satisfying video as a standalone.
Who is David, and why should we care?
David is successful, seemingly rich and possibly not a nice guy. He is separated from his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Jessica, for reasons we don’t find out in the first episode. We get the impression that the split was not without acrimony. Wendy is first dismissive, then hostile, angry, and finally speechless. Jessica simply loves her dad. Is he going to go through any treatment? Will he be reunited with his family? Does it work out? Will he die alone? Will he eventually realise that the iPad can be held in landscape mode?
What did we cut out?
There was a whole thread we had to abandon due to time and filming constraints. In it David speaks to his geek friend, Josh, who is more concerned about an upcoming Con than anything else. Until David breaks the news. We also cut some dialogue between David and Jessica because it didn’t work in reality as well as it did on paper. If you are interested you can read the original script here.
Why did we enter Celebrate The Web 6?
When Kim and Jenni first talked about doing something after the 2010 Streamy Awards, I was 100% behind them, and offered to help. I was upset about the whole thing and really wanted to show my support for the community. Since then, Celebrate the Web has grown into a very inclusive, exciting competition that is open to everyone. We’ve thought about entering before, but the time has never really worked, especially as ‘Mind My Brains, Darling!‘ took up more than a year of production. This year, funding being what it is, we will probably not do a major production under the HigletFilms banner but we wanted to do something. CTW6 was perfect – it would all be done and dusted in a week, and we had Rob as Director of Photography and AD, huge jobs that we didn’t have to worry about. Megan Lynch helped with input about the music and the one page, too. Having people to help makes a HUGE difference!
We watched every entry and enjoyed nearly all of them on one level or other. We were clearly not the demographic for many of them. There has been quite a lot of discussion around about whether some entries were really up to standard. I understand where people are coming from, but I absolutely, 100% think that CTW should stay like it is and allow EVERYONE and ANYONE to participate. Yes, there were some entries that were very rough around the edges, but I know there were people trying this for the first time. I wouldn’t want anyone to be put off because they weren’t ‘good enough’. It’s a competition. The ones that aren’t ‘good enough’ won’t win. Hopefully everyone who took part learned a lot from it, had fun doing it, and made some new connection. And that brings me on to a very important point:
But what about those that don’t win? I would like to think that everyone learned a great deal, for a start. I know we did. Just completing a project like this is an achievement. You only really learn about things by doing them, and this is especially true for making video. I’d also like to offer some constructive feedback to any of the entries (winners or not) who want it. Just email me or leave a comment here, and I’ll send you a little overview that you can do what you like with.
To the CTW team for organising CTW6 – Jenni, Stuart and Logan – a huge THANK YOU!
Team BREW after shooting 'This Human Body' for #CTW6
On Tubefilter yesterday it was announced that the Audience Choice and Judges’s Choice winning pilots of the Celebrate The Web 6: Level Up will be announced LIVE during the Indie Intertube podcast on June 6th. I try to tune in to April and Amanda every week because they always have the very latest information about what’s going on in the webseries world, and their shows are informative as well as very entertaining.
Voting for the Audience Choice is open now, and you can vote once a day until May 31st by visiting celebratetheweb.com. Cleverly, the voting page updates with the pilots in a different order each time, so scroll down if you don’t see the one you want straight away:
'This Human Body' from Team BREW on celebratetheweb.com
We teamed up with Rob Hunt from Phase Fire Films to form Team BREW, and our pilot ‘This Human Body’ is a moving drama about David facing up to his mortality and his past. Megan Lynch was our production assistant and Rebecca also starred in the pilot. You can watch it on YouTube:
If you enjoy it please vote for us! It only takes a second and you don’t even have to register.
After a few last minute technical glitches we uploaded to YouTube late last night and submitted all our documentation to Celebrate The Web and Audiosocket in time for the deadline of 10 AM this morning. So Team BREW are officially in CTW6!
So…what have we been working on for the last week? Well, it’s something very different to ‘Mind My Brains, Darling!‘. Entitled ‘This Human Body’, it is a powerful drama about a man who has to face up to his mortality and his past. You might need your kleenex:
And now, HUGE THANK YOUS to some people who have really made the difference in getting this film made:
Rob Hunt: who is a fantastic DP and brought so much to the filming. We learned a huge amount and can’t wait to work with Rob again. Check out Rob’s other work at Phasefirefilms.com and watchstandardaction.com Megan Lynch: Production Assistant. Megan stepped in to help me with music selection and with some really good perspectives on the pilot and webseries descriptions. And she really helped to keep me on track when things got a little out of hand. Support an indie artist and buy Megan’s album here: http://meganlynch.bandcamp.com/ Rebecca Higgins: Actor. She was so much fun and good natured through all the takes we did. #cuteextreme Our family: The rest of the family have been really supportive and helpful throughout this last week and that makes such a huge difference. Thanks, you guys!
Celebrate The Web has an impressive pedigree. It was set up by Kim Evey and Jenni Powell in the wake of the 2010 Streamy Awards as a way to honour the community. Since then it has grown in every iteration and CTW6 is no exception. Teams have 7 days to create a webseries pilot that incorporate 3 elements that will be revealed live online on May 10th. And this time the all the pilots produced and submitted will be screened at VIDCON, with the winners being screened on Industry Day:
We are happy to announce that Celebrate The Web is partnering up with VidCon to provide our Judge’s and Audience Choice prizes a fantastic opportunity: To be screened on Industry Day at VidCon in the Anaheim Convention Center! When in the past one would receive access to a single sponsoring production company, this time around we will bring your pilots to many industry professionals all at once!
In addition to screening, each winning team will receive:
Two passes to VidCon
One hotel room near the Anaheim Convention Center
$250 toward travel costs
All completed pilots will get a chance to be seen in a special IAWTV Screening Room being hosted during the Community Days of the conference. Times to be determined.
I have always loved the idea of CTW. In fact, I created the first CTW website because I believed in it so much. I’ve never entered it before – but this time, it’s personal! Yes, we will be fielding a team for CTW6 and I would encourage EVERYONE who has thought about trying to do web video to have a go. This is a great way to dip your toes into the wonderful world of web video for many reasons, but this are what I think make it the ideal opportunity:
Everyone has to produce their webseries pilot in only 7 days, so everyone is in the same boat
You will get to connect with other teams during the exciting and painful week of creating – and friendships forged during adversity usually last
If you complete and submit in time your pilot will be screened at VidCon, a bone fide video festival that has a huge following
You don’t have enough time to worry about whether you should be doing it, so all the doubts that have stopped you creating so far will be silenced
You will hopefully get feedback from people about your pilot. This is a huge thing for budding creators. It might be a scary proposition (anyone who has read the comments in YouTube knows how horrible commenters can be) but there is no reason to be afraid. The feedback you get is likely to be constructive and thoughtful. People in this community want to bring new talent on, and that includes you!
The only way you will really know if you want to create videos is to make them. When I interviewed Sean Becker he said he learned at least as much by creating his own videos as he did in film school – you only really learn how by actually doing it.
Have I convinced you yet? If so, submit your entry now and follow the instructions. You have until MAY 9TH TO GET YOUR ENTRIES IN, so hurry! I can’t wait to see what happens next week.
Let me know if you are taking part and what your team name is!
On Sunday we all tuned in to the 2nd Annual Indie Intertube Awards live broadcast on Mingle Media TV. And not just because ‘Mind My Brains, Darling!’ was up for three Awards! We have been fans of Indie Intertube for a long time, listen to their weekly podcast fairly religiously and we weren’t going to miss this event!
Screen grab from the 2nd Annual Indie Intertube Awards with April and Amanda
April and Amanda hosted the event with humour and professionalism, all backed up with their encyclopedic knowledge of webseries, webTV and the denizens of this hallowed space. The chat room was on fire and there was a real party atmosphere as they presented award after award (full list of all the winners is on indieintertube.tv).
When they started to announce the second ‘Lonelykonkledaydon Innovation Award’ I had the weirdest feeling – oh my! They are talking about us! It’s a little bit of a haze but I remember they said some very complimentary things about BodyLine and how it had developed from a fan-based webseries (which was the Evil League of Evil Application Processing Office videos) to the Internet Play, Goodnight Princess (which still made them cry every time they watched it) to Mind My Brains, Darling! And that they thought it had changed the space.
To be recognised by your peers is a humbling experience. The announcement and the stream of congratulations in the chat room and twitter from people we had grown to know and love over these last years was truly an emotional moment for me. I tell you, I would have been useless if I had had to make an acceptance speech there and then!
Screen grab from the 2nd Annual Indie Intertube Awards with April and Amanda
We knew when we started pushing the boundaries of BodyLine that many people probably wouldn’t quite understand what we were doing, or that they wouldn’t necessarily enjoy it even if they did. But we wanted to see how far we could go, and see whether it was possible to create a coherent series in a style that had literally not been seen before. I think we achieved that.
Winning this award shows that other people have been paying attention and appreciate what we were doing. So I encourage anyone who is trying something new to take heart from that. Keep going. Don’t give up. Don’t be disheartened when people don’t understand what you are trying to do, or dismiss it, or ignore it completely. Listen to advice, criticism and feedback, but don’t lose sight of your goals. Web TV, webseries – whatever you want to call it – the point of it is that you can make it anything you want it to be. ‘Mind My Brains, Darling!’ as a BodyLine series would never be allowed to be on TV. It’s completely bonkers to cut the heads off the actors – what were we thinking?!? If you are on the cutting edge, don’t let other people push you. And for goodness sake sure everyone knows what you are doing, and, if you can, why.
We’ll be recording our acceptance speech tonight, so look out for that And we will do a YouTube release of our video ‘BodyLine: Four Reasons Why’ later today.
Thank you for everyone who has supported us. This is a group endeavour. It is very hard to create anything, to keep on going, and every single time you made time to send an email, tweet, vote or comment helped us plough on. Yes – this award is all your fault. Thank you!
Felicia Day and The Guild were big winners at the IAWTV Awards
Firstly, hearty congratulations to the winners of the IAWTV Awards (the full list is on the IAWTV website). You will forever be the first cohort of IAWTV winners, something to be proud of. Secondly, congratulations to the production team who managed to pull off an impressive evening, no mean feat for a first year. Thirdly, overall I was really pleased with the whole event, thought it was well conceived and executed.
There is little point in trying to compare last night’s awards to past events. This is the first awards the IAWTV have hosted and they should be assessed on that basis. I am a member of the IAWTV and this event was a celebration of a community I hold dear. I can’t pretend to be a dispassionate observer, because I’m not. I was making screengrabs throughout the show so I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account. I did enjoy the liveblog of the event by Amanda Walgrove in The Faster Times even though I don’t agree with all of her observations. It is likely that the IAWTV Awards will be at CES again next year, so this was a great base to build on and I have no doubt that next year’s will be even better.
You can see the screenshots here:
What was good
There was a clear plan for the evening, and even when things didn’t go to plan I never felt concerned that the whole event was going wrong.
There was obviously a big emphasis on timing, and things did move along quickly. That is a huge achievement.
Tech always goes wrong, but the show carried on, which is exactly what should happen.
There was an underlying respect for the occasion, the space and the community. Even though there were cracks about web TV I could have done without hearing from some quarters, the ceremony itself was respectful, dignified and fitting.
Some of the pre-recorded segments were very good indeed.
There were no streakers.
Jane Espenson and Bernie Su hosting at the IAWTV Awards
What could have been better
The stress on timing meant that people were literally running on and off stage and sometimes the stage was empty. This wasn’t a major issue in the overall scheme of things but would be an area to look at for next year. I would have preferred the award section hosts to stay on stage at all times and help get people on and off stage and cover for any glitches.
Sound was an issue all the way through and would be the #1 priority for next time. Levels fluctuated wildly from silence to barely-there to booming and back again. However, anyone who has had to perform in any venue not run by them will tell you that sound is one of the hardest things to get right. Even with well equipped desks and great sound engineers, things can go wrong. Someone should have had a handle on the hot mics, at least, to spare us the unguarded commentary.
Some of the live segments fell flat, some of the recorded segments were too long, and sometimes meshing the live and recorded together went awry. Again, these are problems all live shows are subject to. Most of the things that could be controlled before the event were, and that’s all you can hope for.
Using YouTube meant that there was effectively no chat room because it was pretty much spammed all the way through.
I understood the idea behind using Siri – the Awards were at CES! – but it didn’t quite work and added another layer of complication that didn’t need to be there.
April Grant, Amanda Shockley and Kai Haison hosting at IAWTV Awards
Individual high points
Grace Helbig – I am not familiar with this young lady or her show ‘Daily Grace‘, but her performance last night was very good so I will investigate further.
The Indie Intertube ladies – I’ve known Amanda and April for quite a while and actually met them this year (yay!). They were poised and classy hosts and I was so proud to watch them on stage.
Felicia’s speeches and her stripper heels, Sean Becker’s speech, Kim Evey’s speech (again, not pretending to be unbiased).
Elisabeth Flack receiving an award for Exceptional Individual Service. Elisabeth worked behind the scenes tirelessly for the IAWTV and she was incredibly helpful and welcoming to me when I was considering joining the IAWTV. You are an inspiration, Elisabeth, and I was thrilled to see you honoured.
Personal low points
If you were in the IAWTV chat room last night you would know what these were for me. Not sure I’ll share them beyond that but there were parts that I thought were ill-conceived, mainly relating to individuals whom I think should know better. Or maybe I just don’t get their humour. Lots of people don’t share my sense of humour, either, so maybe it’s down to a question of taste.
Take-Aways This was a celebration of web TV, the creators and the community and went off without any major problems. I think the infrastructure is building to take advantage of the opportunities that will open up in the coming months. We want people outside our space to take us seriously as professionals. This was a step towards achieving that, and I thank the Academy and everyone who helped make it a success. Have a day off this weekend for once. You deserve it.
After posting about the IAWTV promotional videos last week we were thrilled when we received videos and pictures from people to include – thank you all! Here’s our video:
And a big THANK YOU to everyone who appears in it (in no particular order):