I am sitting on Continental flight 1594 with nonstop service to Houston Intercontinental Airport. I have no Internet. Just my shiny new iPad and the haunting memories of last night branded into my head. I woke up this morning and felt like I was living a scene from The Hangover. But unlike the bachelor partiers from that hilarious movie, I didn’t have the gift of Roofies to spare my mind the painful recollections I will forever be forced to endure. I went to the 2010 Second Annual Streamy Awards as a nominee.
When the Streamy Awards had their big announcement a couple months ago I was ecstatic. The very last category they announced was mine. Best original music in a web series. I heard my name on the live announcement and I freaked out. I rushed down the hall to a coworker and let him know that we were nominated for a Streamy! I was instantly on the phone and on Twitter and Facebook. For a whole week I bathed in congratulations and accolades. Our movie was a fan-film. It was our film school 101. We wanted to make movies so we found subject matter we all loved and made a movie based on last year’s Streamy juggernaut, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. We made it with no expectation of a nomination, but we certainly had hopes for the validation that comes along with a prestigious nod from the illuminati of the IAWTV. And we got it…what a rush!
We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy.
The first moment of awkwardness came with the knowledge that our category was a Craft Award. For the uninitiated, the Craft Awards are like the Academy Awards Technical Awards. You know how, when you watch the Oscars there is that short little vignette that always seems to start with, “In a ceremony held earlier this week…”? That was us. Okay. No biggie. The honor was still massive. The Craft Awards were conveniently held on Wednesday prior to the Sunday Streamys. Damn. I gotta take a week off of work? Crap. But totally worth it. $300 worth of airfare and I was good to go.
We’re really not worthy. We’re really not worthy.
Once I was settled in and ready for the April trip I fired off an email to the Streamy folks. I mentioned how honored I was and wanted to know what I, as a Craft nominee, needed to do to get my ticket to the Sunday event and the coveted after party where relationships are made. The response came later that day. “Regrettably, seating is very limited so at best you can wait on standby.” Wow. That’s a bit of a slap in the face. But, okay. It’s a big-time Hollywood production. I get it. I’ll chill on standby and roll the dice. Still honored, still publicizing, still good. My roll of the dice came up with some good numbers when they changed the venue to the glorious Orpheum Theater. I got an email saying there would be plenty of seating so I instantly notified some friends that wanted badly to go and take part in the affair. More airplane tickets. More nights at the beautiful Biltmore Hotel for more people. It was gonna be AWESOME!
4 UR Consideration
Next I got the email where they wanted money for the IAWTV people to watch my Internet movie. Say what? Yeah. I got an email where they wanted us to pay up to over $1500 so that all of the members of the IAWTV could see our work. Apparently the voting members didn’t have high-speed Internet and it would take forever to watch all of those web shows over dialup so they wanted the nominees to foot the bill for freight on DVDs. We didn’t have to do it, but were encouraged to. Um, jeez. I shook that one off as well. I could sorta understand maybe a tiny little bit why they would ask for this. Sorta kinda not really but maybe a teensy bit. It is a bit of a chore to ask the voters to see over 200 shows so if there was a way to make it easier then that’s cool. I guess. And it is a fledgling ceremony, feverishly trying to get the credibility it already had without asking. But hell, if they were trying to raise a couple of $10,000’s then more power to them. Capitalism. The American way! Can’t begrudge a guy from trying to make a buck. Right? Right! We politely declined to participate in the For Your Consideration portion of the Streamy Awards. And I kinda hid the fact that they stooped to doing that from all but my closest co-producers. I was embarrassed for the Streamys. But I kept the dirty little secret and continued telling anyone with ears about the Streamy Awards.
One Balloon at a Time
The awesome cats from mydamnchannel.com put out an APB on Streamy promos. Keep it short. A couple minutes, tops. Make a video encouraging peopled to watch the Streamys. So me and some of the Horrible Turn guys got our camera and spent a couple hours shooting a promo video. We had a blast and sent it to the MDC folks and they liked it! They put it on the site and the positive vibes were back in full effect. We recorded a short song about the Streamys and people all over the Internet were tapping their feet to the dulcet tones of me, frank, and a didgeridoo. I wonder who found the balloon?
The Craft Awards
I arrived at LAX, picked up my rental from Enterprise, and headed to the Streamy Craft Awards. The pre-show meet and greet was awesome! I met some stellar people and drank some stella beer. Stella Artois - official cerveza of Los Streamys. This was exactly what I dreamed about! Trading business cards with like-minded professionals. Taking pictures of and with the stars of the interwebs - Man, did I feel ‘Hollywood’! I was by myself but, after an hour of fellowship with my new friends, felt very much at home. The award ceremony was short and well executed. It was actually fun, funny, and awesome. When it came time for my category I had butterflies. Like giant mean mothers. The announcement was made and Autotune The News beat us out. Drats! But I clapped - their stuff is completely awesome. The show wrapped up in maybe 45 minutes and then it was back to the Terrace for more Stella. I tossed my acceptance speech in the garbage and got my drink on.
The New Media Party
Thursday night, the first of my partners in crime showed up. Frank. He’s sitting next to me on the plane right now and still has a WTF just happened look on his face. I recapped Wednesday night and off to Broadway Bar we went. We signed in downstairs, slapped on a name tag and went upstairs to meet our future collaborators. And we. Had. A. Blast. Met the best people on earth. At some point I switched my name tag from ‘Chance - Horrible Turn’ to simply ‘SNAKE’. Side note - I highly recommend ‘Snake’ as a name tag name. Holy crap. The look on peoples’ faces sheen they think your name is Snake is priceless. Like anybody named ‘Snake’ or even named something else but going by ‘Snake’ would be caught dead with a ‘Hi my name is’ sticker.
I digress. Best night of the trip. Can’t wait to land and start emailing folks from the meet ups.
Friday was chill. We went exploring in the closed areas of the damned beautiful Biltmore. I recommend the hotel. Regal and fantastic. Our buddy and fellow producer Eric Cartman showed up and we had a lovely time.
Saturday Night Live
The Biltmore has played host to a number of memorable events like The Oscars and George Burns birthday parties but Saturday night it was all about the Streamys as the official Streamys pre party took place in a massive ballroom lifted directly from another era. Everyone who is anyone in Internet media was there and looking lovely. I got to meet Felicia Day and there has never been a more charming lady. It was a tad awkward for me seeing as how me and my team made a movie based on a show she starred in without little things like ‘permission’ or ‘asking’ but my Lord she was awesome. She knew our movie and liked it. I was beaming! Still am. At least about Felicia Day digging our stuff. Not so much about the streaking but I’ll get to that later. Saturday also had more Houstonians flying in for the awards. My posse was getting big and my posse getting bigger. Positive mojo was flowing like F-bombs at an awards show! Smiles were everywhere. Coats and ties and gorgeous dresses on gorgeous people were the norm. It was Streamy Award Eve and the party was jumpin’!
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
My recently purchased tux was pressed and ready, hanging on the towel rack in my room’s bathroom. I wasn’t even up for an award but I was nervous. My trip was about to end and the crowning moment was just hours away. My crew was ready and damn we looked good. We got to the Orpheum half an hour before we were told to. An email from the previous day let us know that demand for tickets was extraordinary so if we were not there by 4:30 our tickets…most of which we paid $50 a pop for…would be surrendered to a more prompt patron. Fine. We will be there on time. And we were. We were there in time to wait in line. Check in. Get back in line and wait another hour to get in to our general admission balcony seats. About 40 minutes before we got in I was enthusiastically following the Tweets about the Awards. I wanted to know when the brass was getting there. As I was digging around the Twitterverse I started seeing pictures of the Red Carpet Show at the Orpheum. Weird. I was at the Orpheum along with hundreds of other folks and I didn’t see a red carpet. Hmm. Then I realized, along with a very charming lady and fellow nominee, that we were in the commoners line. The minions were using this entrance while the beautiful people were given a more appropriate path to the theater. And by minions and commoners i am referring of course to nominees, sponsors, celebs, and other people that got the wrong email. Holy crap. Could we be marginalized any more?
It turns out we could. A lot more. I know I’m whining and I am not doing so intentionally. More like rambling my thoughts.
We were finally herded into the Orpheum. God it was beautiful. Despite all of the stresses and unrealized expectations I was highly impressed. The bar was packed and my posse was fired up. We said hello to the now very familiar faces, made more promises to stay in touch, and marched upstairs to sit with the rest of the disposables. There was a cordoned off area for the damn this flight is bumpy Craft Award winners and the theater was filling up nicely. I couldn’t really complain…there we were at the illustrious Streamys! As long as everything stayed on the stage we would see the whole show live and in person. Note the foreshadowing. It’s a literary element often used in, um, literature. The show started acceptably late. They were still waiting for seats to fill up I s’pose, but it got underway with a broadway style opening number. As a dude that runs a sports radio station and also sits on the board of a community theater I am not one to criticize mic issues. Or feedback. Or shabby levels. No, I have been there many times before and I felt bad for the technicians with the tough job of running a show sit little to know rehearsals. It was fine. Couldn’t hear it but it was fine.
Paul Scheer was hosting and was funny. Opening bit was long and gave me my first of many…oh so many…uncomfortable moments. Here we were amongst the people responsible for making a lot of the relevant Internet videos and the host decided to go with the ‘there’s no money in Internet video’ card. For chasers we were given doses of ‘nobody watches this shit’ and ‘nobody knows who any of you are’ jabs. Whatever. Just say your jokes funny man.
And then things took a Horrible Turn
I guess I should note here…I can’t seem to remember the sequence of events as we began our descent into the pits of hell. All I know is that it was a nonstop barrage of insulting garbage that made me ashamed. I’m trying to decide if I should use the same coarse language and tone I witnessed at the #streamyfail or try, somehow, to dig deep within and talk about the show without working blue. I mean, despite the anger and disgust I feel, am I capable of recapping the mess without summoning every four-letter word in existence? Because trust me when I say I would love to rip them a new…sphincter…and tell those sons of…biscuits how humiliated I was at the #streamyclustereff.
You see, some of the folks that travelled from Houston all the way to sunny LA to take part in this once in a lifetime event…were kids. My 13 year old son was by my side as the naked men flopped their junk all over the stage, with no attempt to intervene by security. Now, I’ll giggle at a streaker with the best of ‘em and hope my son will, too. But something about these nude dudes just seemed…pornographic.
Where was I? Oh yes. Adorable little Jelena was there. She’s 13 also. She and her mom flew in to bask in the glory. Jelena played one of my little outback sirens in my movie. She also played the part of ‘innocent victim’ as some clown pimp and his two hoochie mamas went on for what felt like an hour about every imaginable phallic joke and reference. They should call them the Streamy Awkwards. I mouthed ‘I’m sorry a thousand times’ waiting for an opportunity to escape. I prayed for an earthquake. Or a sniper. Something to make the madness stop. And it’s not like the audience was laughing. Everyone felt awkward. That bit would’ve probably played well at the Improv…you know. One of those places where the audience has even a scant clue of what they are getting into. But at the #streamyturds? Really?
Natalie, 15, was also fortunate enough to come along for the show. I think her favorite part was the 9/11/01 humor. Either that or the Mother Teresa smack (apparently she was quite the lush) always fresh at an event clawing for credibility. No, I remember. She liked when the guy talked about his six year old daughter that was in the hospital…getting a boob job so she could work in Internet porn one day. It pisses me off as I type. There was nothing, nothing that indicated this was going to be a vile show. If I thought it was gonna be naughty…I probably would’ve still attended. I just would not have invited freaking children.
A lot has been said about how immature the humor was. But it was not immature. It was deliberate, crafted, written by pros, and terrible. In a weird way, It felt like sabotage. Now I am not one to go all conspiracy theorist on ya but it was almost like some brass from tv and movie land decided to pay off some local scrub actors. “Here’s 10 grand. What I need you to do is make the whole notion of web television into a joke. They want credibility? We’ll give them vulgarity! Remind em that “the internet is for porn and amateurs”. I assure you, if that was the goal, bravo cuz it worked.
I sat there with my face in my hands for an hour, begging for an epidural. Something had to make the pain stop. We finally left. I saw an opening between a joke about infanticide and necrophilia and we took our leave. In the lobby I went to find my other adult friends, also in the midst of an escape, and had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Maurissa and Jed Whedon. These are two more folks responsible for Dr. Horrible and their class and charm made my night. I had been bothered for almost a year now about making a movie about characters and settings those people, along with Joss and Zack Whedon made and hearing that they liked Horrible Turn calmed my nerves. We made a castle in their sandbox and are grateful they didn’t kick it over.
I didn’t get to see Felicia or a lot of other folks that tried to right the ship because I was at dinner with my friends from Houston long before that…thing…ended. I did get to crash the post-party that I wasn’t invited to and once again got to see my new friends from the web world. I was pleased that the universal message was “the Streamys sucked.” I spent the morning apologizing to all of the families That I had foolishly asked to watch the event. By day I am the program director of an awesome sports radio station, 1560 The Game. I used my old media platform to promote the new media Streamys before traveling to LA. Now I get the privilege of apologizing to my radio audience for asking them to watch that massacre.
I just landed. Follow @horribleturn
PS - I just read this and I hope it doesn’t sound like sour grapes. I swear, it’s not. These are just the words from a dude that was super proud and excited and then crushed. It was like the Hindenburg crashed into the Titanic and I’m the dork that brought innocent kids along to watch. I’m still making more movies. And more stuff for the Internet. But I will be less concerned about getting attention and recognition from a body of people that are capable of such a colossal, complete and total, inarguably #epicfail. Last year with Dr. Horrible there was class and dignity amongst the technical difficulties. This year there were technical difficulties amongst the crass. In a beautiful and regal theater were the movers and shakers of Internet entertainment and they were insulted time and time again with scripted anecdotes about the instability and lack of popularity of what they do passionately. When me and my party of 7 evacuated the natural disaster we were not alone. We had to wait in a cab line from people in tuxedos and gowns trying to escape the horror.