Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Chicon 7 Day 4: Hugo Night

After the WSFS Business Meeting was over, I checked with Program Ops to confirm that we still had the 10:30 Monday slot for Business Meeting so we could use it for the MPC Meeting instead. I sent a notice to the newsletter about the Monday MPC meeting. I also scratched myself from my 3 PM panel on the Worldcon Heritage Project because I needed food and sleep.

Lisa and I joined Linda Deneroff for another trip to Noodles & Co. for lunch. Although I was tired, I needed to get some walking after all those noodles (it only helped a little bit), so after setting up the WSFS videos to upload (thanks again to Robbie Bourget for the shared internet connection!), Lisa and I got into our suits and went to look at the dealers' room and exhibits. It was too late for the Art Show, which had closed for good at 1 PM. So once again I missed the Worldcon Art Show.

Lisa and I took some photos and had some photos taken of us in our jumpsuits, but I'm too tired to upload them right now. After a couple of hours, we called it an afternoon, went over to the grocery store across the street, bought some lunchmeat for the bread we still had, went back to the room, had sandwiches, and I managed to nap for maybe an hour or so before having to get dressed for the Hugo Awards.

About 6:30 PM or so, I made my way down to the ballroom, set down next to Mike Glyer at a spare table, and set up my computer. Good thing, too, as its connection to the conference center wi-fi had expired and I had to go hunt up a copy of issue 1 of the Newsletter to restart it. I checked in with the door guards. Gary Feldbaum let me go on in, where I found my reserved seat in front of the Tech Nest. There I gingerly plugged in my 4-plug extension to one of the Tech Team's power strips and set up my computer.

I got the CoverItLive coverage running slightly before the scheduled 7:30 CDT coverage start time. We had a good turnout; indeed, too good. Since CIL has gone to a payment-based plan based on how many people access the event, we had purchased enough "clicks" to handle last year plus a bit more. We blew right through that and up to the next level as well until we hit the stop-charge I'd placed on the account. Over 3,000 individual "clicks" were recorded, with about 250 blocked. I'm sorry we ended up turning people away.

The room filled up completely and was standing room only, it appeared to me. There was a bit of a delay due to such a large turnout slowing down the loading of the room, but shortly after the scheduled 8 PM start, we were off and running.

To try and keep the total running time manageable, the only other awards in the ceremony were the Big Heart, a Chicon 7 Special Committee Award, and the John W. Campbell Award, plus the In Memoriam scroll. Deb Kosiba introduced the previously-unveiled Hugo Award trophy, and then we were into the Hugos themselves. Toastmaster John Scalzi presented all categories except Best Short Story where he was a nominee, where Gardner Dozois presented the award.

After the Campbell Award was announced, my co-host, Mur Lafferty, came back and joined me in the Press Box. (She was one of the Campbell nominees and was obliged to sit with the other nominees in case she had won, which unfortunately she did not.) She had been doing her part of the coverage from the nominee zone prior to that. Cheryl Morgan was up at 2 AM BST to act as our Studio Host, approving (or sometimes not approving) audience comments.

The UStream feed was popular, but for some reason the address changed at the last minute, and I had to hastily redo the Hugo Awards web site to point to the revised address. From then onward it was okay, until the really big problem hit us.

The Dramatic Presentation nominees included the production clips as usual. As someone who has been involved in this process, I can tell you that it's often one of the more frustrating things to get the permissions from the various studios to use these clips in our events. Well, it hadn't occurred to any of us that we would need to also get UStream's attention. Their service shut down the live-stream of the Hugo Awards because we were streaming copyrighted material — essentially a DCMA pre-emptive taketown — and there we were stuck. There was as far as I can tell some frantic scampering around trying to see if there was anything that could be done, but it appears not, and therefore nobody watching the live-stream, including folks from DragonCon, could watch the rest of the ceremony.

(This is almost certainly going to cause more work for us at the Mark Protection Committee / Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, as we're going to need to get the UStream account repaired and figure out how to handle this next year. I would not be surprised to learn that we might have to kill the clips into any UStream feed even if we have rights to show them live at the ceremony itself.)

One beneficiary of the UStream takedown was our CoverItLive event, where we estimate we got about 500 "refugees" who still wanted to see the results as they came in. Unfortunately, the grumbling about the UStream takedown started to take over the entire coverage, and at one point I had to tell people to stop grumbling about it and to settle down because we still had five more categories to present. At that point, Cheryl stopped approving comments on that subject, except that a couple of times she reiterated that the live-stream had been closed by UStream action.

Twitter has also proven to be an excessive success. In past years, we incorporated Tweets with the official tags #Hugos and #HugoAwards so they'd show up in our CIL coverage, but this year there were so many of them that they ended up overwhelming the main coverage. One person came to me later, and went I talked about the Hugo Awards coverage, said he'd looked at it, saw "just a Twitter feed," and turned it off. I think we'll have to drop that part of the coverage next year.

UStream failures notwithstanding, the Hugo Awards Ceremony itself was just fine. It went off smoothly, there were no obvious technical glitches, it lasted about the right amount of time, and everyone seem pleased. I'm generally happy with our CIL coverage as well. Cheryl kept things moving in the background, Mur gave descriptions of what was going on, and I posted the nominees and results as they happened. After the Awards ended, I left the room and started to set up to try and post the results on the Hugo Awards web site. (Unlike last year, I did not receive an embargoed copy of the results and thus was not able to do anything in advance.)

Linda Deneroff called me while I was sitting at a table outside Columbus AB to ask a favor. Her leg that she injured in the escalator incident yesterday was starting to swell, and she asked if I could go by the con office and get a cold pack from their first aid kit. I went to the office, which was closed, and Operations nearby said there were no kits. Calling Linda back, she pointed me at the Office. Ops took me to the Office, I found the cold pack, and since this was a medical situation, Ops took me to a service elevator and up to 21 where I delivered the kit to Linda, who I hope is feeling better. After that, I almost brought a medical emergency upon myself by trudging up from 21 to 33 and my room.

I didn't go to any parties tonight. I spent all of my time after I got back to the room posting the Hugo Results, and posting the Business Meeting videos that I'd uploaded earlier in the day.

What about Lisa, you may ask? Well, Lisa didn't attend the Hugos, but did spend some time in the main exhibits hall helping the Japanese take down their table and visiting with friends there. She also was out and about during the evening, attending some parties. She helpfully brought me drinks from some of the parties, for which I'm grateful. I wish I'd been able to get out myself and see some of the other people like Raven O'Neill, who Lisa says was wearing a killer outfit. Someone made a point of telling Lisa she was happy that Lisa records the business meetings, because she didn't have time to attend them but wanted to see what happened and watched the videos later.

Alas for not being able to sleep in on Monday, but at least we don't have to check out until Tuesday.
Tags: chicon, hugo awards, lisa, worldcon, wsfs
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