If there’s anything you should know about Shorty Awards it was that there were two entirely different levels: one for media and one for the award ceremony. The media award part was held directly underneath the ceremony, and was by far the more attended.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the show was the fact that the media was kept in a giant room underneath the stage and plied with drinks all night. What could have been an opportunity to truly show new talent seemed to go over 98% of the media room’s heads — people openly questioning “who is that presenting” (Natasha Leggero) and “Can you explain what Vine is to me?” Not to sound like the dude who moves to the East Village and wonders why nobody in the neighborhood dresses like The Ramones, but it made me wonder why the fuck people were even there in the first place. Maybe I don’t understand networking and schmoozing the way that those people do, but the awards themselves seemed to be an afterthought. I read some articles written by people who I know and like that reported on a show that they had barely watched while it took place near feet from them. I guess that’s what happens when you give journos anything for free.
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I understand that the award show was there to showcase some incredible talent, but spending hours showing Vines and Instagram videos before shoehorning some of the major awards in right at the end of the night didn’t seem to help. I get that Weird Twitter needs its own category just the same as Best Activist Twitter, and it was good that they shared the same stage alongside This American Life et al., but to be frank, the award show itself came across not entirely unlike someone’s actual Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook feed: most everything presented in the same box, one after the other, without pause for context.
This wasn’t for lack of organizers trying. Nominees included Aaron Paul and Jerry Seinfeld (both no-shows), comedienne Retta (who showed) and comedians Will Ferrell and Patton Oswalt (both filmed acceptance speeches). While people obviously have lives and careers and such, it would’ve been great to have seen the award show taken a little more seriously. Host Natasha Leggero did great, as did many of the comedians (including personal favorite H. Jon Benjamin), who seemed to play off of the audience’s near-Parisian levels of nonchalance, who themselves seemed to be caught somewhere between the professionalism of the award show at hand and the networking schmooze of the open bar downstairs. The real draw seemed to be the media circus, oddly and perhaps fittingly enough.
There were multiple jokes about how most of the audience / creators were World of Warcraft-playing geeks who stayed in front of their computers far too much. While the latter may certainly be true, one has to wonder when people will finally stop being so self-deprecating about this new medium. Nobody in Hollywood in the early 1920s went around saying, “This piece of shit movie business is just a bunch of jagoffs in their momma’s basement” — yet people seem to think it’s OK to do that at The Shortys Awards (or, honestly, most other award shows centered around social media). Whether social media will truly take the place of movies is yet to be seen, although most certainly with modern distribution methods such as Netflix and YouTube democratizing the medium, all signs point to yes.
Considering millions upon millions of people view both of these platforms per day, per hour, and per minute — numbers that a Hollywood system can only dream of — maybe it’s time people started taking these sorts of award shows a little more seriously.