On approach the Wadsworth Theatre looked like it'd been swarmed Saturday night. Upon closer inspection the over 1300 people in attendance were as glamorous as glam could get at a first annual award show, and the critical mass was indicative of the precedence online video has taken since the creation of YouTube in 2005. Now that the L.A. Times prints an online video ranking in addition to its traditional box office tip sheet, it's about time the world realized that online video is here to stay and recognized its top players accordingly. Presented by the newly configured International Academy of Web Television and co-hosted by Tilzy.TV, Tubefilter, and NewTeeVee, the Streamy Awards were a remarkably star studded (especially for new media) affair -- an Emmys for Web TV.
As presenter Lisa Kudrow put it, the Streamys demonstrated "a whole new level of Democracy" as winners in 15 categories including "Audience Choice" were awarded their silver DNA helix in front of a live audience (naturally, the ceremony was also streamed online). Like the Emmys, the craft awards were presented in a separate ceremony with a majority of the awards going to the most celeb-filled and produced ensemble, in this case Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, directed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer wunderkind Joss Whedon and starring Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day who summed up the zeitgeist of the night in her acceptance speech as she held up her award: "This is for everyone who ever said no to me."
The Streamys' crowd was interesting mix of Hollywood types and hardcore online video geeks, with a smattering of Weblebrities that only added to the surreal nature of the show. In attendance were the aforementioned Kudrow, Harris and Whedon, as well as Rosario Dawson, David Faustino, Zoe Bell, Jessica Rose, Felicia Day, Epic Fu's Zadi Diaz, ijustine, TMI blogger Mary Rambin, plus the requisite Hollywood agents, assistants, publicists and of course, Red Carpet Mistress of Ceremonies Shira Lazar.
In keeping with the short online video theme, 12-second interviews with the winners were held backstage, courtesy of Kodak and were live streamed to 12second.tv, a Twitter for video. The level of live streaming at the show was unprecedented. Tubefilter's Marc Hustvedt, who first conceived of an awards ceremony along with Brady Brim-DeForest, Drew Baldwin, Josh Cohen and Jamison Tilsner, remarked that the best thing about the Streamys is that "next year it's entirely possible with a lot of effort and a great concept and a ton of heart you could be up on the stage winning an award."
As "red carpet" as any old media award show, the Streamys after party was held at the Palomar hotel on the Westside; the line of traffic to get in snaking down the block. It was here that the enthusiasm for the vanguard medium of Web television was unleashed in full force (specifically on the dance floor). Tay Zonday, "Chocolate Rain" YouTube phenom, was particularly passionate about the emergence of validity for online video, as the Internet changed his entire life and brought him to L.A. "It shows that people don't have to play the system to have their art acknowleged," Zonday said.
As Star-ving's David Faustino put it, "We're at a baby stage of something that's going to be amazingly giant and I'm excited to be on ground floor." And so are we, David, so are we.
Partial list of winners below:
Overall Series - The Guild
Best Comedy Web Series -The Guild
Best Dramatic Web Series - Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy
Best Hosted Web Series - EPIC FU
Best Reality or Documentary Web Series -The Shatner Project
Audience Choice Award for Best Web Series - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Best Directing for a Comedy Web Series - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Best Writing for a Comedy Web Series - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
(Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon
Best Male Actor in a Comedy Web Series - Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog>)
Best Female Actor in a Comedy Web Series - Felicia Day (The Guild)
Best Female Actor in a Dramatic Web Series - Rosario Dawson (Gemini Division)
Best Male Actor in a Dramatic Web Series - Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy)
Best Ensemble Cast in a Web Series - (The Guild)
Best Web Series Host - Alex Albrecht (Project Lore)
Best Editing (*) - Lisa Lassek (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog)
Best Cinematography (*) - Ryan Green (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog)
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Best Art Direction (*) - Kim Bailey (Tiki Bar TV)
Best Ad Integration in a Web Series - Skype (Back on Topps)
Best Artistic Concept in a Web Series (*) -You Suck at Photoshop