Backstage at the Awards
Hugi takes a look at this annual demoscene awardshow

Written by Melwyn, Netpoet and Magic

" 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 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 website


Melwyn of Farbrausch has been involved with the awards from the very beginning in different functions while Netpoet of Calodox has been the award show host for the last couple of years. Hugi takes you on a journey with these two special sceners to give you a backstage view of the awards.

So... welcome guys... Please tell our readers what your first contact was with the awards was like. Melwyn explains: "Originally, I founded the awards in 2002 after a conversation on I had been then in the staff just for few years, but thought already then that would be a fitting organization for making such a thing. I was acting as the project manager for the 2009 edition or '7th annual 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 awards ceremony itself but also the selection of the demos and such should take a lot of time to organize. How is a 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 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 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 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." Awards - Behind the scenes

In the past several charts magazines were released which, based on votes from sceners, gave a view of the best demos and such. Nowadays these charts are almosty gone. All statistics and comments at give a good oversight and rating about what's hot and what's not. What do the Awards mean for the demoscene? What added value do they have? Melwyn comments: "I'd wish the Awards helps people to find great demos and that they also bring attention to demoscene in general. Even if most of the demos that get awarded are notified in any case, getting nominated can make already a difference." While Netpoet continues: "If you're asking this you haven't seen them. Just kidding. :) To me, the Awards are much more than a platform to show off your skills to other sceners. Rather, I also deem it an essential tool to convey the greatness of Demoscene work to the outside world. With the Awards, we finally got ourselves a great opportunity to say that we have 'Oscars of the Demoscene'. But it is certainly a great achievement to receive an Award, something you can easily include in your résumé and tell your potential bosses about. We're all in this for free but with the Awards, we introduced measurability into our creativity. "

As written earlier the 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 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 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 Awards show 2009? "Both Breakpoint and 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 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 Future of the Awards

With the founder of the awards, Melwyn of Farbrausch, Hugi will now try to take a look on what the Awards could have in store for the scene in the future. The strength of the awards could be that the ceremony is being held at Breakpoint every year. As most, if not all, nominated sceners attend this party, they can actually accept the prize in person. Will the Awards also continue when Breakpoint will not be organized anymore? (Question asked before the official announcement that Breakpoint 2010 would be the last Breakpoint ever -ed) Melwyn comments: "Definitely! As you say, Breakpoint is a natural choice for organizing the Awards prize giving, as that's where we can meet with most of the winners. If Breakpoint wouldn't be organized anymore, I'm sure something else would show up (like Breakpoint started after Mekka & Symposium ended), or then we could move to another existing party with lots of international visitors, like Assembly. "

"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 Awards show continue? Melwyn, could you tell us your view on the hold availability date of the awards? Melwyn: "Hopefully for a long, long time! Although who knows, it's up to the people who are organizing it in the end ( staff members, and helping hands outside the staff). I'm going to step down from directing the Awards after this year, but I'm confident there's a Awards happening next year again."


While we are nearing the end of this article we absolutely created some time for a look back on the last 7 editions of the Awards from a retrospective angle. Melwyn: "Lots of things have changed and at the same time many things have remained the same. The main focus remains - Awards are arranged by sceners for sceners and are highlighting the best and most interesting demoscene productions on an annual basis. When we started, some sort of unofficial motto was to represent also the neglected works that didn't get the attention they deserved, but since then I think the situation has gotten better - say, by communities like Pouet noticing also the smaller scale parties and productions. " And how does Netpoet look back on it all? Especially since he became involved as host? Netpoet: "We have done a marvellous job, I think, in establishing the Awards as a solid voice for the Demoscene even outside the Demoscene world. Obviously we receive criticism, both positive and negative, about the categories, the jury system and votes, the length and entertainment factor of the Awards, and lots of other things. People, we are listening closely to what you have to say. Please deliver your opinions, bear with us, be patient, and most of all, be there when the Awards happen! Personally, I think the Awards' video and audio material has reached a quality level that can keep up with high-end studios now, all because of people's creativity. I'm proud to see all that incredible work in the Demoscene, not only because it's been my family for over ten years but because I am thrilled time and time again by the kindness and curiosity of everybody I run into."

"When we started, some sort of unofficial motto was to represent also the neglected works that didn't get the attention they deserved."

Thank you two for your time on this article. What final message do you want to air here towards the demoscene regarding the Awards? Melwyn concludes: " If you haven't done so yet - please fill the Awards survey! We're listening to what you have to say, looking for feedback in general and also recruiting for the next years 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.

Links related to this article

Official Awards website Awards 2009 nominees

Melwyn, Netpoet and Magic