Remember when girls were supposed to hate other girls? Especially girls who were funny and pretty? Or was it that we were supposed to hate girls who were prettier and funnier than we were? Oh media, you get so confusing with your mixed messages. Thankfully I have supermodels to tell me that every woman is beautiful, and I shouldn't listen to the evil media.
Supermodels: What CAN'T they do?
Now that we've got that all cleared up, I am now free to to express my abject girlcrushiness on other women. (And if I am to believe the evil media, this will help retain my male audience. I guess we can still be friends, evil media.)
I don't know how I found Sara Benincasa. I may have my husband to blame. Say what you will about him, the man has good taste. Like any decent gateway drug, a little taste of Sara Benincasa does not go a long way. You need more. So I sought her out. On Twitter! On my Facebooks! On the YouTubes!
Thankfully Sara has not realized that I am stalking her, probably because I have no desire to wear her skin for a suit. (She does have beautiful skin. But I can't sew.)
No, I want to drink wine in our pajamas together and design matching unicorn tattoos, and perhaps be lucky enough one day to catch her live. (Los Angeles needs some Sara Benincasa in its life. Trust me.)
I will have to put our time of puppies and kittens and rainbows on hold, and in the meantime, enjoy her take on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and explore my awkward and confusing feelings toward her Sarah Palin.
Internet friends, may I present my GirlCrush: Sara Benincasa.
You know how there was that ceremony on Sunday that didn't go so well?
Last night's #CelebratetheWeb was the exact opposite of that.
In just a few days, Jenni Powell and Kim Evey located a venue, compiled a guest list, assembled videos from speakers who couldn't be there in person, printed programs and assembled Streamy winners, nominees and Web Folk for an event that was, by all accounts, pitch perfect.
Names were picked from the center of a Streamy to decide on the order of speakers.
After opening remarks from Sandeep Parikh (who was absolutely charming and prepared enough that he asked me how to pronounce my name should he pick me to speak first), the night was off and running. A little over an hour later, everyone had spoken - either in person or via video. The night was seamlessly, technically and personally. We all had two minutes to speak on why we love working on the web.
While I can be glib naturally, speaking from the heart requires a little more effort. I prepared some notes, which I revised as the evening wore on. Unfortunately I forgot to bring a writing implement, so as my name was called (the second-to-last-speaker of the night, not actually the last) those notes were a smear of violet eyeliner.
You can watch the entire evening above (I'm about 59 minutes in.)
By now, you've probably heard about the complete, unmitigated disaster that was the 2010 Streamys. Vaginal rejuvenation jokes (planned!), Bud Bundy in a stuffed jockstrap (planned?), and streakers (not planned.)
It was sort of like watching Superbowl ads back in February...except instead of sitting in my sweatpants eating a bowl of chili on my couch I was crammed in a hot theater in my finest with no prayer of food for hours.
Apologies have been made, but no one's taken responsibility yet.
(Is this another case of web trying to ape mainstream media?)
Craft award winners were not invited to walk the red carpet (surprise!) and were relegated to seats in the balcony and no invite to the after-party. Thanks to Electric Farm Entertainment's COO (EFE produced Valemont and Woke Up Dead) I got to sit amongst the "real" nominees and attend the after-party (that offered free Stella but pricey drinks and no food.)
We discovered mid-show that the Craft Award Winners (Valemont won for Best Interactive Experience and Best Mobile Experience) were supposed to appear on stage while we were announced. Technical difficulties resulted in us shuttled onstage like cattle, and then waved off. We were allowed to sit for a quick photo op, but then an escort guided us past the press room and back to the lobby.
I actually thought host Paul Scheer did the best he could with what he had to work with - I don't *think* he wrote most of his material, which is probably why he wasn't all that funny.
I know that pulling these things together is a Herculean feat. However, to plead ignorance at the content of your own show is disingenuous.
At least I looked nice:
Dress by Stop Staring! Pin is vintage.
Felicia Day said in her 2009 Streamys Acceptance speech (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "don't wait around for someone to tell you that you can do something. Go out there and do it." So I wasn't surprised when Jenni Powell and Kim Evey announced that we're going to take back the Streamys.
We'll be streaming LIVE from the ACME Theater starting at 8pm PST. You can follow along here.
I'll see you all tomorrow night. (But I don't need to see all of you. Streakers should probably sit this one out.)
Last night, Valemont picked up two Streamys at the Craft Awards, for Best Mobile Experience & Best Interactive Experience. The whole Valemont world grew out of writer Christian Taylor & Electric Farm Entertainment Co-Founder Brent Friedman's brain, and to be invited to expand that world online was a huge honor. Making it happen was EFE Co-Founder Stan Rogow, Katrina Moran, Kelly Spencer, MTV, Verizon, and Fuel Industries (who built the ValemontU.com site) not to mention all of the players who participated along the way.
The evening was spent high on awards show fumes.
Sunday is the Streamys main event, where Valemont is up for three more awards: Best Writing (Christian Taylor), Best Drama Series and Best Actor (Eric Balfour.) I'll be there to cheer us on, but I have a serious First World Dilemma. WHAT TO WEAR?
So I'm going to let you dress me. In the sense that I am going to let you pick my dress. I AM NOT ACTUALLY LETTING YOU PHYSICALLY DRESS ME. Pervs.
The nominees for Slackmistress' Streamy Dress are...
The Specials Dress, from Stop Staring!
The Gathered Ava Dress in red, also from Stop Staring!
The polls close Sunday at 11am. The polls close at 6pm, Saturday, April 10. I'll wear the losing dress to the Streamys launch party on Saturday. VOTE!
(For first-time readers: I've written for TV, Web, Mobile platforms and been a member of the WGAw since 2000. You can read more about my background and work experience here.)
This afternoon I attended the WGAw/MEF panel "Content Creation for Mobile Devices." There were some incredibly informed people on the first panel*, including Ryan Stoner of Omelet LA and Steven Hein of FOX.
While it was clear that the panelists all were not only knowledgeable but also successful in their fields, I wondered about the audience. The panel was open only to WGAw and WGA Caucus members; the 75-person venue was sold out, and there was an "overflow room" which housed another fifty or so members. We all know that digital content creation - whether used as a tool to further extend conventional TV and film narratives, or as a primary distribution method - is where we're all headed. I applaud the WGA for recognizing this and attempting to create a forum for its members to learn more about storytelling on different platforms.
However, what was shocking to me is the lack of participation on those platforms.
Prior to attending the panel, I searched twitter for "mobile" and "WGA." I saw one hit - one of the panel members, Steven Hein. I arrived a few minutes early and had the opportunity to speak with Steven and told him that if there wasn't an agreed-upon hashtag for the conference, I'd be using #WGAmob.
As we all took our seats, we were told by WGA's New Media Project Manager Tamara Krinsky to use the hashtag #MEFWGA (I was impressed they were on top of it!), and we were encouraged to ask questions using this hashtag on Twitter.
Again, the panel was incredibly informative, and I imagine if I hadn't already worked on New Media projects like Woke Up Dead and Valemont that I would have learned more. But what shocked me was that, in the 100+ person audience, there appeared to only be 3-5 of us on Twitter. As I followed the #MEFWGA hashtag, I realized that it was...pretty much just me.
We were at a panel discussing creating content for mobile devices. While not solely mobile, Twitter is a popular mobile application. And yet...no one used it. Which got me to wondering if anyone used it?
How can one expect to create content for platforms we know nothing about?
I discussed this briefly with Miss Krinksy, who said that she thought people needed a reason to use platforms. And I don't disagree. At the inaugural Transmedia-LA meeting, we discussed how there seems to be a rush to tick off boxes on transmedia projects. (Don't know what transmedia storytelling is? Click here.)
However, if we expect to create for those platforms, shouldn't we understand what they're capable of? Social media isn't just media. It's SOCIAL. You don't tell the same stories at a job interview that you do at a cocktail party. Each nugget of social interaction is governed by sometimes specific, sometimes general rules.
The first time I had dinner at the Hotel Bel Air, I was terrified that I would use the wrong fork or speak too loudly or pronounce my entree incorrectly even though I had taken seven years of French. I wasn't comfortable with the social rules, so I listened, I watched, and I "got it" by the time dessert was served. (In fact, I became so comfortable that the second time I had dinner at the Hotel Bel Air, I passed out in the restaurant's plush bathroom. Back medication and martinis don't mix, kids.)
Platforms live and breathe the same way. Blogging is different that SMS messaging is different than Twitter is different than Facebook is different than email is different than voicemail I don't know, if as the brilliant and forward-thinking Jan Libby mused, that people are expecting to "wing it" when it comes to these options, or if they're afraid of the technology.
As a writer, I'm attempting to take advantage of the unique properties of each platform** to create, as my boss and mentor Brent Friedman*** likes to say, "universes worthy of devotion..." You don't need a WGA card to tell stories across these platforms. (See Jay Bushman's CtHalloween, or my husband's 3 Tweet Stories.)
Writers would do themselves a huge favor by learning about these platforms, at the very least becoming an observer if not an active participant. It's not difficult, but it is different.
And if we want to write in New Media, we have to be prepared to experience and embrace the part that's "New."
*I did not stay for the second panel.
**You can see my talk at the 140# conference "How I Became a Zombie on Twitter" (on the benefit of Twitter for characters) here.
***He may have been quoting someone else. Not that you're not a smartypants, Brent!
My talk at the 140 Conference last week:
This past weekend I had a realization: I need to stop selling myself as a TV Writer who dabbles in Web TV. I do more than dabble. And transmedia storytelling is the first thing that I have been truly excited about since I got my first writing job. I have lived and played and created online since 1997. When I started, there wasn't a word for that.
And now? I'm an ARG Creator and a Transmedia Storyteller.
(Who needs business cards.)