The problem I always had as a reader of awards issues was the telltale odor that somebody was surely paying somebody for something. I also had trouble with awards being given because something was cool, or hot, or whatever. I had no idea if this had anything to do with me, because I didn't know who was doing the awarding. When I was able to find out, it was usually a bunch of people from the world of publishing, not production.
Those are some of the reasons we took such a different approach to the Creative COW Blue Ribbon Awards for Best of Show. We didn't want clowns like us making decisions after a shiny demo. The "voting" for these awards, so to speak, is conducted in public by the paying customers and prospects posting at CreativeCOW.net. We wait to see what people are still talking about after the buzz settles back down and it's time to talk budgets. As it says on the cover: our members talk, we report.
When we asked Bob Zelin, Steven Bradford and Gary Adcock to write overviews of the NAB Show 2011, we knew that none of them had gone there just to look for what was cool, or hot, or whatever. They went with a shopping list, with money to spend. But they're also energetic, opinionated writers. We knew that whatever else was true, we were going to have a riot with this thing, and we did.
I've known these guys for a very long time, but as our Blue Ribbon awards are picking up so much steam in their second year, I had to make doubly sure that I knew the answer to this question: "Have any of these companies ever paid you to do any kind of work for them?" I was fine if the answer was yes. I just wanted to know, so that I could tell you.
The answer is that, among the three guys and all the products they covered, the only time that money or anything else had changed hands was a very small amount that Sony paid Gary, who will probably make more money from writing for us this year. Otherwise, nobody bought them new tattoos. No sneakers.
So when Gary opens his article on high-end cameras at NAB with the Sony F65, we have no problem with that. A new top-of-the-line CineAlta camera is big news, but other big news got spotlights too. In fact, when I saw that he covered so much, yet gave only one Blue Ribbon Award (not to Sony), I asked, "Doesn't anybody else deserve one?" "Not from me," he said. "I saw one thing that stood above all the others. It stood so far out that, as far as I'm concerned, there are no other prizes to be given."
The other fellas gave more awards, but were every bit as serious about their deliberations. Steven was shopping for his company, and Bob was shopping for his clients. They were both very much focused on value and reliability as much as the "wow" factor, because their reputation -- and their ability to get work done -- was on the line. That's the way I used to shop when I was in production, and I know that's the way that most of you shop too. It was important to us that these guys were at the show with the right priorities. While they are most decidedly speaking for themselves we know that they are also speaking with the voice of the entire Creative COW community, millions strong. It's a perfect fit. They know the industry, they know the community, and they're willing to put their names and faces out there to be judged themselves.
I'll end with the observation I made last year, that some readers assume that awards are given to attract advertisers. Look at our ads, month in and month out. Most of the industry's leaders are here now, and have been with us for years -- although I don't mind saying that if you see a vendor missing, we're trying to get 'em here. I want 'em all. But we know they won't be sucked in by baubles, even one as pretty as Bessie's Blue Ribbon. We'll get them, and they'll stay, because of our integrity, and our ability to speak on behalf of a community of paying customers, while having fun doing it all.
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