"Established to recognize the creative achievements of the YouTube community," explains the company in a press release issued on Friday, Mar. 16, there are awards for "original user-created videos" and their creators in seven categories. These are: Most Creative, Most Inspirational, Best Series, Best Comedy Video, Best Music Video, Best Commentary, and Most Adorable Video.
The first 286 seconds of Chad Vader -- created by Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda of Blame Society Productions -- is one of ten nominees for Best Series, which is subtitled, "the best in serial entertainment, aka the 'I-can't-wait-for-the-next-video' award." It's up against some high-profile competition in the category, including the original "Special Delivery" from Ask a Ninja and an early episode from the lonelygirl15 series.
Awards will be determined through a voting process in which YouTube users rank nominees within a category and subsequently submit the weighted list. Each list is tallied and updated every hour, with Vader enjoying a lofty-but-not-leading position several hours into the process.
The window for voting lasts for less than four days, with ballots opening late Monday afternoon and closing on Friday, Mar. 23. Winners are to be announced on Mar. 25, their official booty being a trophy and a prominent placement by the video-sharing site.
This leaves only a few days for both fans of the nominees and the filmmakers and vloggers vying for the awards to rally viewers to cast their ballots. Even though uploaded videos can be rated and honored for number of views, these awards are intended to recognize creators "beyond" these daily metrics. If the awards are successful -- determined largely by the amount of attention they receive -- YouTube executives hope to make them an annual affair, potentially with in-person ceremonies.
Directing attention towards some of its most-recognized creators is certainly one impetus for the awards.
YouTube, which was purchased last October by Google for $1.65 billion, was sued last week along with its parent company by Viacom for $1 billion. The media conglomerate alleges that the social network infringes their copyright by hosting video clips from broadcast, cable, and film productions. Indeed, YouTube is replete with videos from television, both well-known and obscure, sanctioned and posted sans permission.
Don Dodge, a onetime executive at Napster, compares YouTube's situation with the formerly dominant file-sharing company, one that arguably was the last online media phenomenon to have as significant of an impact on popular culture and the entertainment industry as the video upstart-turned-empire has. "Sorry to be cynical," he writes, "but the YouTube Awards sound like an attempt to highlight non copyrighted material before they go to trial for copyright infringement in the Viacom case."
Though these industry battles will ultimately have a significant impact upon all online video creators and viewers, their day-to-day creative and entertainment activities continue amidst and generally aside from the corporate tumult.
This is the case with Chad Vader, for which production is ongoing. Shooting for Episode 7 of the series wrapped over a week ago, as post-production continues with an eye towards a release by
the end of this week to coincide with the debut of VH1's Greatest Internet Superstars on Friday, Mar. 23. A clip from the show featuring the Vader segment follows:
Shooting for "season finale" Episode 8 will subsequently begin this weekend with an early April release date in mind. At that point, Yonda explains, he and Sloan will take a brief breather on that series to work on other projects before returning for a second season.