As an IAWTV member who also serves on its board, and who has been a part of the web video community for many years, I wanted to take some time to write about recent news regarding the organization’s decision to create a new non-profit awards show.
The decision came after months of serious deliberation between Tubefilter, owner of the Streamy Awards, and the IAWTV, the volunteer-run, nonprofit organization which made up the voting body for the Streamys.
First, I have to say that this decision did not come lightly. After the 2010 Streamy Awards in April, both Tubefilter and the IAWTV came together to talk about next steps in creating an awards show that would better represent the web television community. It’s no secret how much the community felt the 2010 Streamy Awards fell short on representing an incredibly creative community that was proud to create shows for a web audience. Both Tubefilter and the IAWTV made it a goal to figure out how and if we can “make it right.”
I was elected as a board member three months ago along with Miles Beckett, Jim Louderback, Chris McCaleb and Timothy Shey, after it was decided by IAWTV members that the board should be more balanced and representative of the web television community. At the time, there was an imbalance of representatives from Tubefilter which also presented a conflict of interest.
Since then, both parties have had many phone calls and in-person meetings, some going for several hours, regarding not only how we would come together with an awards show but also how our relationship would work going forward. There was nothing more that we wanted than to make this relationship work, especially since we are fans of the Tubefilter guys. I personally recognize Marc, Drew, Josh, Jamison and Brady’s immense contribution to bringing a physical community together in the Los Angeles area through their many parties, meetups and panels. This was previously a community that had known of each others work online but gained a better sense of camaraderie through face-to-face interactions.
Unfortunately, after much talking and hashing out the possible working relationships we could have, the IAWTV’s legal structure as a non-profit organization and Tubefilter’s for-profit status created an impasse in negotiations. In order for us to move forward together, the IAWTV would have to change its legal structure or the IAWTV would need to buy the Streamys.
Though the IAWTV/Streamys relationship will not continue, I hope (as a web show creator) that the Streamy Awards continue. I say this as a two-time Streamy Award winner for Epic Fu, an independent web culture show I’ve co-produced since 2006. I would imagine it’s not easy for many past award winners to hear that there’s a shift in direction to something that they’ve held up as symbolic of their accomplishments. I also know that this kind of fundamental change in our relationship is in the best interest of the community it serves. This change will allow the IAWTV to focus on investing all of its efforts into providing valuable resources to its membership.
Three months (six for veteran board members) and dozens of meetings (between the board and all the committees) later and I am confident that we are on a path to creating an organization that will provide great value to our community as a whole. In addition to currently opening up membership to better represent the medium in which we all work, volunteers within each committee have been working diligently on member benefits, events, discounts, workshops, standards, and a web site that will bring it all together and create a hub for those who seek support and encouragement as they begin or continue their careers in web television.
We also know how important it is to the growth of an industry to recognize its leaders so the IAWTV is looking at an awards show for the Fall of 2011. It will be a non-profit event by the community, for the community. All proceeds to go back into the non-profit organization, which will funnel it to further engage our community in member and public workshops, as well as develop educational resources. More details regarding the process will be released in the coming weeks.
I’m looking forward to continuing to help develop and enact membership benefits alongside the membership committee, attending the immensely helpful writer’s and producer’s workshops (some pictured above) which have already helped in refining my skills and making great working connections, and helping others beyond the IAWTV by example.
Someone recently asked me why they should join the IAWTV; it’s the web after all. And I agree. The web has given us all the opportunity to bypass the gatekeepers and make real the ideas we have in our heads with a camera and an Internet connection. The web is also wide. What the IAWTV provides for me is a place where I can look to for support from people who are on a similar path. A place I can point to for a collection of people who have a similar need for community, interaction and helping one another hone their craft. It’s my hope that I can give back what throughout the years this community has given to me.