Backstage at the Scene.org Awards
Hugi takes a look at this annual demoscene awardshow
Written by Melwyn, Netpoet and Magic
"Scene.org Awards is a way of honoring the previous year of demoscene releases in a more formal setting and disregarding their ranks in other competitions. It is a well-known fact that most demos get most of their recognition for being released at demoparties around the world, and the Scene.org Awards contain our choices (as well as the Publics Choice) of the best releases of the preceeding year, regardless of its platform, who made it or which country it is from."
- Description aired at the scene.org website
So... welcome guys... Please tell our readers what your first contact was with the Scene.org awards was like. Melwyn explains: "Originally, I founded the scene.org awards in 2002 after a conversation on comp.sys.ibm.pc.demos. I had been then in the scene.org staff just for few years, but thought already then that scene.org would be a fitting organization for making such a thing. I was acting as the project manager for the 2009 edition or '7th annual scene.org awards' as it is the official name for this year." While Netpoet adds: "Leia wrote to me, asking me whether I'd like to host the show. I was thrilled and said yes."
In my eyes the Scene.org awards ceremony itself but also the selection of the demos and such should take a lot
of time to organize. How is a scene.org award show basically organized every year?
Since Melwyn is the project
manager I asked him this question. Melwyn: "Normally we start organizing work around October-November, first by
gathering the Scene.org Awards staff and assigning a head of the jury - who then again starts assembling the jury.
This is also when we start looking for guest-stars for making the opening video and the show backgrounds.
The machine turns to a higher gear right after the
new year - this is when the jury members can fully start their work by watching and judging the releases from the last year. Somewhere around February we normally have the list of nominees ready, and most of the organizing outside the jury happens after this: preparing the Scene.org Awards ceremony contents, diplomas and so on. Even if we aim to prepare everything well in time, it may take up to last minute (or last days/weeks) until all the pieces are put together. Everything culminates of course in the Scene.org Awards ceremony, held at Breakpoint, when presenting all the works to the public and handing out the prizes. Afterwards we'll toast with everyone involved and clean up the table by sending the jury comments to the nominees. "
And what about Netpoet. Does hosting the awards ceremony need any preparations? Netpoet comments: "There's not much
fun stuff to tell about that, really. I talk to the VIPs beforehand, we do some microphone training with them to get
them to speak loud and clearly, and I create my little paper cards to guide me through the show. The first year
I did the Awards I was extremely nervous backstage, walking in circles and trying to remember the most essential
things like, what year and which year's Awards we had (for those who haven't noticed, we used to have the Awards
of the previous year, so e.g. in 2005, it would be 2004 Awards), remember to mention Demoscene TV and our generous
host party Breakpoint, and stuff like that. Now that I've done the Awards a few years, routine has made me a lot calmer.
However, the spontaneity has decreased as well because at the same time we changed the technical means of
the show as well, like switching from a freestyle demo-like system for the Awards to ultra-high-def videos. That resulted in Okkie and me having next to no room to improvise on stage. Also, I noticed that, weirdly enough, the more I prepare for the show, the less entertaining it seems to be. This year we did a horrible job, I think, especially in leaving the VIPs out. I know all of you love VIPs, and I'll try to help bringing them back."
As written earlier the Scene.org awards have existed since 2002. Hugi can imagine a lot has happened each year during the
award ceremonies. What funny or special moments do Melwyn and Netpoet remember and want to share with us? Melwyn tells
us: "Well - Breakpoint 2004 (iirc), our 2nd awards show, still at the old military location. I was on stage hosting the
Scene.org together with Steeler, when we started to have lots of problems
with the playback the bp beam team had been
running the show backgrounds over the local network, which turned out not to be fast enough - so we had to pause the
show for 10-15 minutes while they copied the files to another computer and come up with improvisation on stage that
year. There were lots of other things going wrong too, and I was very nervous on the stage because of that.
At some point in time
Steeler was smoking a joint (while watching the nominee videos on big screen), and when we were supposed to start hosting
he suddenly shouts aloud: 'Oh - there's my joint!'
After that the atmosphere on stage got bit more relaxed, though :)"
While Netpoet takes over and comments: "I think most of the funny situations about the Awards came up because of mistakes
in synchronizing the video material and my input. In that very moment I hardly notice the mistakes, and as I concentrate a lot
on every moment of the show, I let those slip-outs go and move on with the show.
I have two situations in mind, though, one of
which was very funny to me, and one which was very touching.
The funny one was when after the 2008 Awards I checked Pouet and found
the thread where people posted all sorts of Garfield pictures with speech bubbles they had filled with Demoscene-related stuff.
There were a few relating to the Awards, and all of them made me laugh out loud at work when I saw them. I'm not sure but I think
I had to clean the computer screen afterwards because I had spat onto it. The very touching moment took place at the Awards.
We had BeRo/0ok as a VIP for 4k Intros there. Most of you probably remember his 'speech'. I'm quoting the word 'speech' because,
again, as most of you know, Bero cannot
speak because of a physical impairment. That's why I read his speech on stage instead of asking him on stage. I had found his speech touching even when I wrote my material beforehand but when I read it out loud on stage, I had goosebumps all over even reading it, and at the end of the speech when everybody was applauding and Bero stood up and nodded in appreciation of the applause, I had difficulties holding tears back. He was so right in saying that nothing is impossible. He of all the people should know."
When this article was written the most recent Scene.org award show had been held at Breakpoint 2009. As we all know Breakpoint 2009 had financial problems but due to a lot of donations could be held anyway. How did Melwyn and Netpoet experience the Scene.org Awards show 2009? "Both Breakpoint and Scene.org Awards faced several problems this year. Breakpoint financially, on our part it was more of a combination of bad luck and lacking in organization. Our core awards staff from previous year couldn't continue, and much of this happened in the last minute also, our prize statue manufacturer failed us, telling only 2 weeks before Breakpoint 2009 they wouldn't be able to deliver the statues. However, in the end the Scene.org Awards went pretty well (and so did Breakpoint) . For example we hired Maali to do greetings postcards from the 'statues on vacation' just the weekend before Breakpoint, so lots of things were done very late. :)" Melwyn comments while Netpoet takes over and tells us: "All in all, honestly, I wasn't so happy with it, which is a shame because the visuals and soundtrack were mind-blowing, which also goes for the productions. The half-bit cheese guys had done such a marvellous job with the visuals this year, but Okkie and I had to stick to a very tight schedule, which didn't allow for much room to improvise, something that the Awards used to live by. Something to remember for the future. Also, one thing turned out very bad that I hadn't expected to. This year when we prepared the 7th Annual Awards, we had a blast when we created that lame introductory Powerpoint presentation. By that, we wanted to underline how great the visuals were and to give Okkie a proper introduction. We laughed so hard about that lousy presentation and were absolutely sure the crowd would do as well. Apparently, I was so convincing while introducing the show on stage, saying that I was tired of all of it, that people actually believed me and didn't laugh at all."
The scene is getting older, the sceners are getting older. Aside from Breakpoint and in general, how long will the Scene.org Awards show continue? Melwyn, could you tell us your view on the hold availability date of the Scene.org awards? Melwyn: "Hopefully for a long, long time! Although who knows, it's up to the people who are organizing it in the end (Scene.org staff members, and helping hands outside the staff). I'm going to step down from directing the Scene.org Awards after this year, but I'm confident there's a Scene.org Awards happening next year again."
Thank you two for your time on this article. What final message do you want to air here towards the demoscene regarding the scene.org Awards? Melwyn concludes: " If you haven't done so yet - please fill the Scene.org Awards survey! We're listening to what you have to say, looking for feedback in general and also recruiting for the next years Scene.org Awards team. Thank you!" While Netpoet closes down: "Thank you very much for your ever-lasting support and for letting us know that in spite of all the things we can improve, you are happy with our work! Thank you also for all your incredible contributions, and personally, for your applause. We are overwhelmed when you scream out your excitement to the world (or The Gathering :)). We are working on a change of concept, and even if you participated in our survey about what we can do to improve the show, NOW is a good time to give us even more feedback. Keep it coming!"
Note: All photos used to illustrate this article were taken from Slengpung on request of Melwyn.
Melwyn, Netpoet and Magic