Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

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Worldcon Night 4: Hugo Awards Ho!

[Backdated entry because it was much too late when I got back and my computer was long out of power.]

When I got back to the hotel after Girl Genius Radio Theatre, Lisa asked if I would mind if she took the rest of the day off. I assured her that she was off the hook, we had no more stuff for her to do, and she should get some rest. I composed a wrap-up entry for the Newsletter, changed into my suit, packed up my computer again, and headed back to the ExCel.

I have a good long-life battery in my computer, but having had it on for both the WSFS Business Meeting and the MPC meeting for use as the Secretaries' minutes machines, and checking e-mail at the short time I sat behind the SJ in 2018 desk, and other things, led to the batteries doing down to 5% and putting my computer into standby. I have also learned that the power supply I have will keep the computer running or recharge the battery if the computer is turned off, but not charge it appreciably while it's running.

Over at the ExCel, I met up with Cheryl Morgan, who had just had her dinner, and after she changed into a very nice dress, we headed off to main hall, where there was no problem in going through a side door due to our semi-press-pass-like condition as the hosts of TheHugoAwards.org's live coverage of the ceremony.

Loncon 3 were great. They gave us the chairs and table space immediately forward of the Tech Desk (that being were power could be located), and set up power for us. I needed to climb under the table and connect Cheryl's and my computers, and our third team member, Mur Lafferty also dropped off her equipment for connection. (She'd join us later after the presentation of the John W. Campbell Award because as the past year's winner, she had responsibilities on stage.) I groused slightly, "Great! I put on my good suit and get to come over here and crawl around on the floor connecting cables." Before Cheryl could do so, I sad, "Better me than you, though!"

All of our online connections worked fine. I could raise the ExCel "Fast" network without a problem. Cheryl connected with her mi-fi — that way, at least one of us should be able to be online even in case of technical glitch with one or the other network. I posted the CoverItLive page to the front page of the THA web site and confirmed that the show was ready to launch. About the time the house opened for seating, I figured we were ready to go. Cheryl and I took our places, and at 7:45 PM local time, we went On The Air.

This really was the smoothest Hugo Ceremony coverage we've done, and the most successful. There were no technical glitches, and we got our timing right. 1,550 people came to watch the show (not more than 1,430 of them at any one time). Many of them were also watching the UStream feed, which was not part of our job, and we did warn people that CoverItLive is generally seconds to minutes ahead of the streaming feed, so we were giving the video-watchers spoilers, but that seemed to be okay. We only had a few people whose comments we had to moderate and ask to be nice, and they complied. The overall tone was pretty positive.

The ceremony itself seemed to go very well once it started (about twenty minutes late). Inasmuch as the other awards like the Big Heart had been presented earlier in the convention, they started with the Campbell Award and then went straight into the Hugos proper. The presentations were clean and professional, and there were no significant glitches.

When we came to the dramatic presentation categories, those people watching on UStream reported that they were getting still slides. Although UStream had "whitelisted" our event, the clearance apparently arrived only about an hour before the show, and therefore I was told later nobody in charge knew about it, and thus the video we saw in the audience did not get to UStream. There was only a brief glitch in the UStream (not related to the video clips), and it appears that most people whose own bandwidth could handle the downloads got to see the show.

Within a minute of Ancillary Justice being announced for Best Novel, I had the award results posted as a new main page post on THA.org. (Yes, I did have an embargoed copy of the results given to me shortly before the ceremony. I'm glad it wasn't too far in advance. I don't want to let thing slip by mistake.) In a sense, I was a little too fast: the link to the detailed reports wasn't working right away, although it started working about fifteen minutes later as Loncon got the document uploaded to their web site. I wish I could have put a copy of the PDF on the Hugo site, because then I would have redone the link on THA.org to our local copy to spread the load between multiple servers, but there was something preventing me from doing the upload to THA.org. (I did do so later.)

We wound up the broadcast and before the tech crew could impress us into service helping to strike the set, we got out of the hall. Many of the nominees and winners were off to the by-invitation post-Hugo Party, but not all of them.

Mary Robinette Kowal
Mary Robinette Kowal in her lovely Regency-style dress carried her Hugo trophy into the Fan Village and posed with people for photos for a long time. I read later that she said approximately "They voted for it; they should get to see it."

Peter Davison had contacted Loncon asking if he could attend the ceremony given that he was a nominee for The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, and further asked if he could bring his daughter and son-in-law along. This was unpublicized, but photos began being tweeted of people taking pictures with them in the Pre-Hugo reception. I understand this did work out pretty well. I'm pleased that they wanted to be there. Personally, I voted for the Davison as my first choice, even though I knew the odds of it winning were slight. It was simply a fun production, and I'm sorry that my own responsibilities precluded me from being able to tell Peter Davison personally.

Thanks to Cheryl's good relations with the Nordic fans, we were able to store our bags behind their table and walk around the Village unencumbered. We were both jazzed from a successful show and all keyed up with the buzz that come from that. The next thing we knew, it was after 1 AM. Cheryl was staying over at one of the hotels at City Airport, and I offered to walk her back to her hotel. This was the only time I ever went out the East entrance of the ExCel. After leaving Cheryl at her hotel, I walked back to the ExCel (there were still a handful of people walking back to the Airport hotels) and eventually found my way back to my hotel. Lisa woke up when I got "home." She'd been so worn out that she went to bed early and got some much needed sleep. My computer was so far out of juice and I was so tired that I just plugged it in to recharge and went to bed.

I was really happy with how this year's Hugo Awards Night went. The tech worked, everyone who wanted to see the ceremony could do so (the auditorium did not quite fill up), and it was just really what I think we'd been wanting to have happen for years: a good show and a lot of happy people afterwards.
Tags: cheryl, hugo awards, lisa, worldcon
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