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bill dewald
Awards
on Nov 20, 2008 at 8:53:42 pm


What's everyone's take on industry awards?

Everyone's heard of Oscars and Emmys (Emmies?). Are the rest a pay-for-recognition scam? A wise use of marketing dollars?

Anecdotes, please.


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Awards
on Nov 21, 2008 at 12:58:11 pm

We last submitted in 2001. There's a bunch up high on a shelf so clients can see them, but not the dates! I thought they were self-serving. We did it for the client and always bought them a trophy too. The ad council, head-to-head stuff bears much more value in my mind, but clients don't know the difference. My guys wanna do the Telly's this year and I'll do it for them... and send one to the client. Although one client is out of business now... hope it wasn't our fault! Dang banks.

It'll be good use of your marketing dollars only if you spend the time to do all the necessary PR after you "win".

Steve



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Mark Suszko
Re: Awards
on Nov 21, 2008 at 6:10:10 pm

I did a much longer post on this a while back, you might want to dig it up. Short answer: they can be useful, particularly early-on, to get some validation and impress clients, to show your bosses you know what you're doing and others agree. Also good PR material for promoting the shop and your services. The low entry fee/ pay for the award fi you win it system makes it easier and more cost effective to enter more things moer often. The larger ones are quite legit, you don't always win just by paying and entering. You compete only with similar level/class efforts, so your local car spot doesn't go up against Boeing and Universal Studios.

Some folks don't care a bit for any awards, and that's okay too.


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Todd Terry
Re: Awards
on Nov 21, 2008 at 6:39:25 pm

We enter awards... but only the AdFed awards. I don't care much for those vanity awards contests... your entry fee is pretty much just buying you a trophy.

We enter the ADDYs for two main reasons: Firstly, to support the AdFed of which we are members. But more importantly we enter because the audience at the awards show is made up of our clients and our potential clients... who get to see our winning spots up on the big screen. That's the only really useful part.

The awards themselves are just pieces of plastic that go in the closet.

Slightly funny story... when we moved from our old location into our present studios, a big pile of ADDYs were deposited in our new lobby, just in a heap in the corner. Unfortunately they ended up staying there for two or three weeks before we got around to putting a few of them up and carting the rest to storage. A client visiting one day pointed to the pile on the floor and said "Hey, I really like that... it says 'Hey, we win lots of awards, but we don't really care about them.'" I thought that summed it up pretty well.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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bill dewald
Re: Awards
on Nov 21, 2008 at 8:49:51 pm

Here it is!

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/99/856971

Thoughtful and well-written as always, Mark. Why bother with video, when you can communicate so well on paper?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Awards
on Nov 21, 2008 at 10:21:04 pm

Because nobody is paying me to write:-P



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Rich Rubasch
Re: Awards
on Nov 22, 2008 at 2:07:28 am

I read Mark's previous post. FYI, the Golden Reel awards are alive and well. ITVA is simply MCA-I and if you google ITVA MCAI is the first link.

I am the Madison WI MCA-I Chapter President and our Award show, the Wave Awards, was held on Wednesday night. It is not watered down, and in these parts, it is a decent award to have. It is the best work in corporate communications done here in our little neck of the woods. Our award certificates, from Telly's to Addy's to Waves and more, hang in the equipment room. Sort of like Todd's pile-o-trophies, it reminds us every time we load a new tape into the deck, or patch machine control that we are actually doing decent work. Let's face it, corporate communications isn't always the best piece of meat in the freezer.

What the?

Anyway, we enter the Addy's and the Waves (MCA-I) because it supports our local organizations. They rely on entries to fund some of their other events. We also step up to actually produce the shows (we've done 4 in the last 2 years, and two were anniversary shows...ouch) and that also helps show our commitment to the organizations that we benefit from. We go with the think global, support local philosophy of award shows.

At the show, when your video is shown along with the credit roll, everyone in the room will know who did it and that might be worth more than the trophy on the shelf.

To find out what ever happened to ITVA, just head on over to http://www.mca-i.org, and to see the most vibrant and largest chapter in the organization, just head on over to http://www.mcai-madison.org.

Still kickin'.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media
MCA-I Madison Chapter President



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Chris Blair
Re: Awards
on Nov 22, 2008 at 2:35:31 am

We've found that the longer we're in business, the less important awards have become...either winning them or displaying them for folks to see.

The only one that impressed people was an Emmy award...and unfortunately, I dropped it and broke it when we moved to our current facility in 2003. As an aside...the Academy of Television Arts and Scienes will replace it for just $175...and NO-ONE will repair it. We checked.

We do have a couple of walls lined with Addy certificates, and each year we submit a few things to the Addy's...but always on client request. We've found the addy's (in our area at least)to be poorly juried and judged...and the TV categories make no sense. For instance...there's a category for TV spots "under $1500," then there's a 2nd category for TV spots "over $1500." Kind of absurd when a spot that cost $3000 has to compete against a spot that cost $50,000.

Same with corporate works, there are no budget categories, just one "catch all" TV category for corporate video. Same deal with animation and compositing. I've written letters to the national chapter of the American Advertising Federation...our local chapter...and even had LONG telephone conversations with representatives on the local and national level. They agree with me but nothing ever changes. So we just stopped entering on our own and leave to clients to decide if they want to enter. We make the dubs or DVD's for them free of charge, fill out the paperwork, get the entry and tape/DVD submitted, and they appreciate the service. If it wins..it's a bonus.




Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Awards
on Nov 22, 2008 at 4:32:48 am

Chris very aptly pointed out a couple of problems with awards, which seem especially common in the ADDYs...

[Chris Blair] "We've found the addy's (in our area at least)to be poorly juried"

You got that right. ADDY judging panels are historially print heavy in virtually every region and district. In our area, it's common to have a panel made up entirely of people in the print industry, none from electronic. I wasn't invovled myself last year, but our company's GM was an AdFed officer and sat in on the local judging... just of one note, when they got to "web and interactive" categories the judges summarily and immediately dismissed any website entry that used a blue color scheme no matter how slick, inventive, or creative the site was... simply because one judge "didn't like blue."


[Chris Blair] "TV categories make no sense."

Again so true. Although there are usually something like 80+ categories, because most of what we produce are :30 broadcast commercials, it's not unusual some years for every single one of our entries to be in the same category... something like "CATEGORY 42B, TELEVISION, LOCAL, SINGLE, :30, $5000+." So not only are our spots with little $8-12K budgets (on average) competing with productions costing several times as much... but we might have 15 or 20 entries that are basically competing against themselves.

We have found the ADDYs can be a good opportunity to schmooze clients, some winners like to be invited to join us at the ceremonies... a chance to get dressed up and rub shoulders with the creative set.

They can also be an opportunity to have a little fun. Two years ago although we had a bunch of winners we just really weren't in the mood to attend the ADDYs, so we decided to make ourselves get in the mood. We took down everyone on our staff's suit measurements (there's only five of us), and I went on eBay and bought five horrible 1970s-era vintage tuxedos which we all wore to the show. It made a splash, and turned dull into fun.

Every year we say we are not going to do the ADDY thing anymore, but we keep doing it. And like Rich we have produced the big-screen show a few times... and that leads to recognition which can be useful. A couple of years the ADDY shows we produced won local and district ADDYs themselves the following year... which I always thought was a bit odd. Kinda like when they award an Emmy to last year's Emmy awards show. I always thought that was a bit funny and twisted.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Rich Rubasch
Re: Awards
on Nov 22, 2008 at 9:09:50 pm

That's funny, Todd. In 2007 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of AdFed. We produced the show like it was 1947. All the vignettes were in black and white. They turned out absolutely great, so we entered just the vignettes in self promotion (used to promote the show) and they actually won best of category and were honored a Judges Choice award. I mean they really liked them, and they were pretty darn good, but we have a great certificate with a frame grab on the wall and it is another reminder to us that the community and the judges from other markets liked the work we did and it is a reminder that the effort we made to create an entertaining show were not in vain.

I think that producing the award shows has gotten more positive attention to our company than any award on the wall....but the awards are a reminder to all of us that what we do is pretty good.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media



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Chris Blair
Re: Awards
on Nov 23, 2008 at 4:37:40 am

We also used to be heavily involved in the show's production. Helping with just about any and everything, from designing and creating show graphics, to producing show reels and vignettes, and often helping at the judging however we were needed.

Out of about 5 years of doing this (at a great investment of time by all involved), there were 2 years where we were left off the credit list (printed and spoken at the end of the show). It was incredible. Each year we bit our lips and convinved ourselves it was still helpful, that we were helping the advertising community...yada yada.

But at some point, we just decided it wasn't worth the huge investment in time and energy. It's doubtful any piece of business ever came from the work we did (which was very good by the way, acknowledged by the fact that the Ad Club would get letters and emails directly complimenting the work we contributed).

Despite all that, what soured me on the whole process was watching the judges do the actual judging. There was NO protocol, NO criteria to follow, and NO scoring sheets. Each year, five years in a row, they'd walk around, spend 30 seconds looking at a print piece, video or website...one judge would dominate the discussion, and like Todd said, their biases would determine the winners and losers. One year, a judge gave a PSA for an AIDS Walk an addy because he said, "I've got a soft spot for people with AIDS." It was a crappy PSA.

I've been asked to judge for the New York Festivals TV Programming & Promotion competition twice. They have a very strict protocol for the judging, with clear, concise criteria and easy to follow scoring sheets. The process involves watching up to 5 minutes of each entry (more if the lead judge believes it warrants it). Then 3 minutes of discussion among a panel of 5. Then each judge has 2 minutes to score the entry. At the end of the night, the lead judge tallies scores, then sorts entries according to the numbers and categories. These are sent back to the Festival. As judges, you don't even know which ones will win because they don't tell you what determines a winning score. Then a second group of judges in New York determines winners from your pool of high-scoring selections. Now this is a well thought out and fair judging system.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Christopher Wright
Re: Awards
on Nov 23, 2008 at 8:21:37 pm

Despite all that, what soured me on the whole process was watching the judges do the actual judging. There was NO protocol, NO criteria to follow, and NO scoring sheets. Each year, five years in a row, they'd walk around, spend 30 seconds looking at a print piece, video or website...one judge would dominate the discussion, and like Todd said, their biases would determine the winners and losers. One year, a judge gave a PSA for an AIDS Walk an addy because he said, "I've got a soft spot for people with AIDS." It was a crappy PSA.

Sounds like the selection process for almost all but the best film festivals now!

Dual 2.5 G5, IO, Kona LH, IO, Medea Raid, UL4D, NVidia 6800, 4Gig RAM
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David Roth Weiss
Re: Awards
on Nov 23, 2008 at 8:45:08 pm

I once volunteered to be a judge for a fairly well-known organization that supports documentary filmmaking. Twenty of us spent ten weeks and hundreds of hours viewing and discussing documentary series from all over the world, and after submitting our three top picks to the final jury, we were told a decision had been made to give the award to HBO, for a series that was not among our three selections. HBO just happened to be the largest supporting sponsor of that awards show. Needless to say, I don't volunteer my time to judge anymore, nor am I a member of that organization.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Awards
on Nov 24, 2008 at 2:19:08 pm

Inquiring minds want to know, David, what organization was this?

:o)

Boomer


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Awards
on Nov 24, 2008 at 5:38:14 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "what organization was this?"

Ron,

You can drag the information out of me with just a little prompting if you really want me to go on record in public, however, I was trying to play nice by not naming names. Let me know what's right...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Awards
on Nov 24, 2008 at 3:42:21 am

"Out of about 5 years of doing this (at a great investment of time by all involved), there were 2 years where we were left off the credit list (printed and spoken at the end of the show). It was incredible. Each year we bit our lips and convinced ourselves it was still helpful, that we were helping the advertising community...yada yada. "-Chris Blair

Well, to be fair, Chris, weren't those the two years where you had Debbie Allen do a protracted, choreographed interpretive dance number, in tribute to "screen-captured interactive database application demonstrations"? That was a rough night. It still haunts my dreams on cold winter nights...

:-)

Seriously, There are and will be horror stories, but I have to believe they are exceptions and not the rule. I still say that particularly early in the career, these awards are a good thing to strive for. Just don't let chasing the award drive all your creative choices and material. Meaning, don't throw a bunch of extraneous and unrelated eye candy into a client's project in hopes of winning an award; the first goal, and what the project should really be judged on, is how effective a communications tool it is. Did it do the job it was designed to do. I will always grade functional over flashy. Do your best for a client. Then, if its good, and good enough for you that you think its your best, enter it. At least one time. And if you're asked to judge and you feel capable, agree and give it the same maximum effort.





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Chris Blair
Re: Awards
on Nov 26, 2008 at 5:38:50 am

Just don't let chasing the award drive all your creative choices and material. Meaning, don't throw a bunch of extraneous and unrelated eye candy into a client's project in hopes of winning an award; the first goal, and what the project should really be judged on, is how effective a communications tool it is. Did it do the job it was designed to do. I will always grade functional over flashy.

Mark...excellent advice...Thankfully...we've always let this philosophy guide us. I've never been one to care much about awards because I know when a project is well done or not.

I've always told both clients and employees that our job is to communicate and persuade viewers. Virtually everything we do is marketing related, so for me, the work's creativity and effectiveness is judged by whether it gets people to pick up the phone, walk in the door, or log onto a website.

I've even told clients that it doesn't matter if they like what we produce for them...all that matters is if it get's people to respond the way the client wants. Of course...a lot of clients disagree with me on that one!

But I agree the awards gigs are good to get involved in and we did "our time" early on. I just don't think they're as important as you become more established.


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Steve Wargo
Re: Awards
on Nov 26, 2008 at 1:45:42 pm

We applied for awards until we had a wall of plaques and a showcase full of statues and glass thingies. A surprising number of people decline looking at a reel and point to the awards and say "I can see that you do great work".

I could have purchased those awards at an auction and gotten the same results.

http://www.sntvideo.com/awards.asp


They do get us hired.




Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Todd Terry
Re: Awards
on Nov 26, 2008 at 2:07:52 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I could have purchased those awards at an auction and gotten the same results."

Hey that just might be the best idea yet. Maybe even throw in a bowling trohpy or two. I'm semi-serious, that'd be fun.

Of course with a lot of these contests (depends on which ones), that's pretty much what the entrants are doing anyway... buying a trophy.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Steve Wargo
Re: Awards
on Nov 27, 2008 at 6:53:56 am

[Todd Terry] "Of course with a lot of these contests (depends on which ones), that's pretty much what the entrants are doing anyway... buying a trophy."

Exactly

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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cowcowcowcowcow
Mark Suszko
Re: Awards
on Nov 27, 2008 at 7:23:06 am

That's a brutal over-generalization, IMO. You're tarring all the awards with the same dirty brush. I've entered some before, paid my money and NOT won, so it is NOT automatically "buying" an award every time, in my experience. OTOH, you can probably find industry people to claim certain Emmy's and Oscars have been "bought" over the years as well. Yet we all still yearn for one, such of us as care for awards at all, I mean...

Would I be wary of a new award with no track record and unknown judges, heck yes. If an award has been around over twenty years, with well-known, well-regarded judges attached to it and no horde of video villagers has yet come with flaming torches to run it out of town, then I'd have to say it must have SOME legitimacy to it.

And if you stop to think it through, the folks that run these awards KNOW that the only way to keep the gravy train rolling long-term is if people believe in and respect the way it is run. If you believe in Adam Smith, it is exceptionally counter-productive to the award organization to get caught "selling" awards. Sure, a fly-by night can get away with a rip-off *once*. What does he do the next year, after his name's been smeared all over the production community by internet?

Now if somebody wants to put up documented evidence of such a case, say for the Telly, let him step forward and present, I'm all eyes. Be wary, sure. But to dismiss ALL of these type of awards without proof is unfair, I say. If you've been burned, I'd like to hear your story.




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grinner hester
Re: Awards
on Nov 27, 2008 at 7:50:07 pm

Any award you have to puchase offers no rewards to me.
My greatest awards in this industry are high fives and hugs from happy clients. Who purcahses the most tellys just tells me who has the most free time on their hands.




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