Web TV should be judged on the web

Vu Bui watches GALACTICAST on the Apple TV

Vu Bui cowers from the Giant Nazi Woman of the SS on Apple TV in 2007! Photo courtesy of Lan Bui.

"It's been a long road... getting from there to here."

Well, after a long campaign of reluctantly asking my fans and colleagues to nominate A Comicbook Orange for a Streamy, I can finally sit back and concentrate on the show while the voting process takes place. Wait, no? People are setting up For Your Consideration screenings and sending out DVD screeners? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

At first glance, the new For Your Consideration trend in web series looks like fun. Who doesn't love getting dolled up and hanging with their friends and colleagues at a shwanky bar/theatre in Hollywood? But the more I think of it, the more I cringe.

A lot has changed over the past 5 years. When I launched Kitkast back in 2005, the Yahoo Videoblogging Group was up in arms over the fear that "shows" will overtake the personal vlogs that they loved so dearly. In time, they embraced the change and new fears emerged. Fears that Hollywood will come in and stake their claim on our turf.

All of these fears have now come true. Most web series getting recognition in mainstream press are big studio productions, the unions now have new media contracts and a lot of web series are throwing red carpet premieres for their work. The good thing about all this is that it generates more interest in the industry bringing in new viewers, more acting talent and a classy image. The sad reality, however, is that it also makes it more difficult for low-budget (and no-budget!) productions to get noticed.

So when it comes to hearing about For Your Consideration screenings and DVD screeners, I feel a little uneasy. Here's why:

  • The Streamys are for web series. Not for (how does it look and sound on my) TV series or (look how glorious this could've been as a) film.
  • The Streamys are for international web series. Not for Los Angeles based producers with the time and budget to make DVDs and throw parties.

I can't convince people to refrain from holding screenings or sending out DVDs to promote their work, but I can make decisions for how I will vote as a member of the International Academy of Web Television. As such, I make the following statement:

I solemnly swear to judge Streamy nominees based on their web series on the web.

If I get a DVD in the mail, I won't watch it... and if I go to a screening, I'll go for the networking opportunity, not the viewing.

Think of it as net neutrality, but for web series. All producers should be judged on equal ground... that ground is the web.

Casey McKinnon