This was my 25th NAB. With these many shows behind you, it’s hard to get over that seen this, done that feeling.
On Wednesday, my last day at the show, I was walking back to my hotel to get my bags for the airport. All around me, people were rushing this way and that, probably a majority of them headed back home like I was.
Walking by one of those huge halls attached to the Westgate, where I had stayed, I saw folks dressed up and getting their photos taken against a long side of the wall.
No one else in the hallway was paying any attention to this, rushing around on their own errands as they were. Those who were in line to get their picture taken seemed the only people paying attention to what was happening in that huge room. I had a little time to make my way to the airport, so I decided to see what was happening.
Getting closer to the action was initially confusing. Some were dressed up in what could have passed for prom attire, others had on slinky evening clothes, yet another one had on shorts and a beard while I even came upon a not half bad zombie face mask.
The inscriptions on the photo backdrop told the story. Turns out that the International Academy of Web TV was having an awards show. All of these folks had been nominated for their Internet shows, in different categories such as Best Dramatic Series, Best Ensemble Performance, or Best Animated Series.
As someone who enjoys taking photos of people absorbed in all sorts of activities, I couldn’t resist getting out my camera. The not so glamorous setting of a convention hall didn’t matter to these folks, who showed obvious excitement posing for the long line of photographers snapping away. Moved along by handlers who pressed sheets of paper on them with their names and web series writ large, the award nominees were also stopping to chat in short interviews.
I started to feel a similar buzz – the smiles and laughter seemed real. Besides, there was something, maybe I’d describe it as a sweetness in everything, in how eagerly everyone talked, greeted each other, hugged or burst into laughter. No one here seemed anything like those walking the slick, frigid and formulaic red carpets we’re used to seeing at the major award shows.
I was happy about that.
I shot nonstop for a half hour. I didn’t have time to find out names or what categories each would compete in for the awards to be given out later that evening.
I didn’t care. After three days chock-full of people explaining technology, people touting their new gadgets, and press briefings skipping from one PowerPoint highlight to the next, this was something different.
I had stumbled across one of the real reasons why we – the reporters, the companies, the 100,000 some attendees – were there. NAB wasn’t just about the technology or business plans.
Nope. I started to think that the real reason we came out to this desert dog-and-pony madness was right in front of me. We were here to help honor creativity as exemplified by those in front of me.
Everyone in this room, it seemed, shared a palpable enthusiasm for the industry I had grown weary of.
So this is why I’ve posted these photos. It’s important to be reminded that no matter how much we might go on and on about technology and business deals in these pages, in the end we are all really concerned about serving creativity.
(I didn’t have time to get names and web series of those you’ll see here, but you can find out more from the International Academy of Web Television which sponsors the awards by clicking here.)
So take a glance at what I saw that late April 15th afternoon. As excitement bubbled up from each group or individual I turned to, I felt that this huge airplane hangar of a hall turn into a town hall celebrating everything I had once felt for our industry.
As I went to pick up my bags, I couldn’t stop a smile from spreading across my face.