Since the birth of YouTube in 2005, the platform that hosts EVERYTHING, including actors, artists and comedians — has spread like wildfire, launching careers and shining a spotlight on many outstanding talents beyond that dog on the skateboard. Eight years later, rather than being a springboard for these creatives to move to TV or labels, the Internet has become another medium for them to showcase their work. The third annual Streamy Awards will honor that work this Sunday.
Chris Hardwick, comedian and host of The Talking Dead on AMC, will host the show. He is an advocate for the global, niche audiences online shows reach.
“It’s exciting for me as a performer because I remember the days when the fate of your entertainment career depended on someone at a network in an office. None of those things exist that way anymore,” Hardwick says. “The medium still exists but there really is a much truer meritocracy at work, which is that talented people now have the delivery system to get their voices out into the world and they don’t need big media companies anymore to deliver them to people or decide if they’re good enough.”
Hardwick’s advice for anyone looking to create a video is to forgo the idea of a viral video.
“The audience will decide if they want to make them viral or not. Focus on quality, don’t focus on … ‘I want to be trendy.'”
Already winners, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (for Best Comedy Writing and Best Interactive Program), Steve Jobs v Bill Gates, one of the Epic Rap Battles of History (for Best Original Song), and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn (for Best Cinematography and Best Production Design), represent the wide variety of web-based entertainment honored at the Streamys.
As host, Hardwick couldn’t comment on his favorite web shows of the year, so we reached out to Sarah Penna, co-founder and Head of Talent at Big Frame, which represents online talent like DeStorm Power, who is nominated for Best Online Musician, to give us a rundown of her picks for the award winners.
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST
” … they’re household names, they’re big movie stars, TV stars. They’re putting their creative resources and everything to web and I think they’re doing it right.”
BEST MALE PERFORMANCE DRAMA
Tom Green for Halo 4
BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE DRAMA
Anna Popplewell for Halo 4
BEST MALE COMEDY
Amir Blumenfeld for Jake and Amir
BEST FEMALE COMEDY
Hannah Hart for My Drunk Kitchen
“I just love how she turns getting drunk and cooking into this amazing show, and I think she’s just one of the smartest and most genuine people on YouTube.”
KassemG for California On
“He’s kind of an old-school YouTuber but he’s kept the series going for so long and I don’t know anyone else who can put themselves out there like KassemG.”
BEST NEWS AND CULTURE
“I think they did the best coverage of the election.”
Should these artists, comedians, actors and hosts try to make the transition to other mediums? Penna says no.
“I think ideally it stays online and people are able to make their living online and they’re able to retain creative control.”
Of the quality of online video, Penna said they have a high bar.
“I think that if the web series community is going to be legitimized more than it already is, then they need to start looking like what they did for Halo.”
The Streamy Awards air live Sunday at 3 pm PT on Streamys.org. Vanilla Ice will be performing and Best Comedy, Best Action or Sci-Fi Series, Best Animated Series, two audience awards, and more are up for grabs. Happy streaming!
–Reporting by Lindsey Bahr