Accolades or Audience?

So this is going to be a little strange. As a blogger for NexTV, it feels weird to talk about what’s on my mind this week. I’ve been thinking a lot about the voting for the “Straight to the Finals” competition currently underway. Given that it was winning the “Straight to the Finals” voting in the web series competition last year that resulted in me blogging for NexTV, I thought it might be unfair for me to mobilize the audience again when I entered the Directing Competition. Randy told me to go for it and reminded me not to get too cocky just because we managed to win the vote last time. Fair enough. I jumped in. The new website has a very handy feature that shows you how many votes each entrant has accrued if you hover the cursor over their name. That’s just awesome. And really really addictive. I suddenly found myself checking everyone’s numbers and watching the content of anyone who had more than 25 votes. There’s some really good stuff in there. Some of it was so good that I had to investigate further and soon found myself reading other web series blogs and finding out about all sorts of festivals I didn’t know existed. It ended up really crystallizing some things that have been in the back of my mind for a while.

We have a staggeringly amazing audience for PoPS. They watch and re-watch the episodes; they comment, converse, and draw fan art; they gave us over $15,000 to make our latest episode; and they always come out to vote for us when we’re in competitions like this. Some of them even repost on Facebook and Twitter on our behalf trying to rally their friends who haven’t seen the show. They’re awesome. The first wave of voters is drying up right now and we’ve got 1,858 votes, currently putting us about 1,300 ahead of everybody else. Now, it’s still really early, so there’s plenty of time for everybody else to destroy us, but this is what got me thinking—

In going around looking up everybody’s stuff, I found this Nathan Atkison dude who’s also in the Directing Competition. Awesome stuff! Looks gorgeous, paced great. Dude’s an award winning director at other festivals and his show has won multiple awards including friggin’ Streamies—currently, 77 votes. What? So I check their YouTube page. Why does this awesome, award-winning show only have 1,000 subscribers?

It made the whole thing feel like a crap shoot. Sure, we have an amazing audience of over 35,000 subscribers, but the only festivals that have ever accepted us have been ones with an audience voting section and we’ve never been nominated for any kind of award. Then I went to their website and saw the section they created called For Your Consideration, where they highlighted everyone’s contributions with quotes and clips to back everything up. It’s gorgeous. They’ve created an amazing awards-consideration package as one tiny part of a beautifully comprehensive website. Our site is bare bones by comparison, but when we’re not making the show we’re working on building the audience. [Side note: I was just about to email our web designer a copy of their site with a note like: “Can we copy this?” But then I realized if he started working on our site he’d stop working on VFX for Ep6 and I REALLY don’t want that.]

So I guess if you’re not The Guild, it’s going to come down to one or the other. My question to you is this: If you can’t have both, which would you rather have: The accolades or the audience? I’ve never had the accolades, but as much as I desperately want them, I’d find it hard to give up even a single watcher.

If you can handle the violence, check out Compulsions, y’all. It’s a hell of a good piece of work.

–Jarvi

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2 Responses to “Accolades or Audience?”

  1. An audience – hands down.

    As you said yourself, you probably wouldn’t have kept going, if it wasn’t for the audience. I think the approval of a community, that cares about what you do, is more valuable than a (one time), somewhat distant, award.

    Good luck anyways 😉

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