Our top nominees have been announced. We welcome MTGNerdGirl and VeggieWagon as this year’s hosts. Stay tuned for the final awards show coming soon!!
2021 was an odd year (unintentional dad joke). As we left 2020, we had high hopes for a return to pre-COVID normalcy. The majority of those hopes were not realized, and we were left redefining our expectations again. In the MTG community, we did what we could to bridge the gap between what we wanted and what we were allowed to have. Some of us returned to our local game stores with modified gameplay. Some of us adjusted our focus to online games. Some of us found new friends and lost touch with old friends. And some of us discovered the beauty of collaboration.
As we look forward to 2022 and the MTG Content Creator Awards, we turn our eyes to what we can do to improve the overall awards as well as the processes we use to find their recipients. We’ll do a quick recap of the changes that were made in the first 3 years, then we’ll show you our proposed changes for 2022.
Year 1 (2018) we began with 11 awards. Year 2 and 3 (2019 and 2020) we added 7 additional awards. Process changes through the first three years included implementation of a code of conduct, a strict vetting process, and a higher degree of communication with the content creator community.
We received a lot of feedback regarding the communities who were represented within the current categories and found that we could identify subcategories that better represented these groups. We also found that some of the language used to describe each award detracted from its purpose. To better explain this, let’s look at the proposed categories for the 2021/2022 season. You will notice that we’ve removed the “Best” title and replaced it with “Excellence in”. Additionally, we’ve identified new art, writing, and video subcategories that helped differentiate between markedly different types of content.
Nominations will be open to the public, but self-nomination will be the preferred method. This will give the nominee a chance to showcase their best work for consideration. We are also considering having a committee determine the top nominees and possibly the winners of certain categories that require specialized consideration such as Art and Writing. Keep in mind, these changes are just proposals. No final decisions have been made.
Proposed Year 4 MTGCCA Awards (24 Total Awards)
Excellence in Art (5 Awards)
The following items fall under the ‘Excellence in Art’ category.
- MTG Market Art (1 Award)-Wizards of the Coast commissioned art.
- MTG Fan Art (4 Awards)– Fan art is artwork created by fans of Magic: the Gathering and derived from different aspects of the game to include card alters, proxies, costumes, photographs, sculptures, and other modes that are designed to pay homage to Magic: the Gathering. MTG Fan Art refers to artworks that are neither created nor commissioned or endorsed by the creators of Magic: the Gathering.
a. Original or Modified : For each category (Original or Modified), there are the following subcategories. Originality is the aspect of created or invented works as being new or novel. An original work is one not received from others nor one copied from the work of others. It is a work created with a unique style and substance. In the case of original MTG art, a work will be considered original even if it is based on the work of others as long as the complete composition of the work is original in its concept. Modified art is an alteration of a completed art piece, commonly called an Alter. There are 4 total categories (1. Original Painting, Drawing or Illustration, 2. Modified Painting, Drawing or Illustration, 3. Original Digital Art, and 4. Modified Digital Art).
i. Painting, Drawing or Illustration– Painting is art created by applying pigment to a two-dimensional surface. Oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, tempera, ink, encaustic, fresco, spray paint, etc. applied on canvas, canvas board, paper, or any flat surface. Drawing & Illustration is art that is composed of marks made with a manual or mechanical instrument on a two-dimensional surface. Drawings include all renderings made by an instrument on a surface and may include formal, realistic, and/or abstract imagery. Illustrations are works that graphically depict a concept or subject.
ii. Digital Art– Computer-generated artwork OR artwork captured digitally and heavily collaged or manipulated to produce a new image. The production of digital art relies heavily upon computer software.
Excellence in Video (5 Awards)
- Short Form Video– (1 Award) Short videos…like tiktok or short YT videos.
- Long Form Video– (1 Award) Well-edited longer videos.
- Video-based Channel– (3 Awards) A video based channel isn’t a regurgitation of a stream or podcast. It is a channel that makes edited videos enough so to be considered a significant body of work. Divided into 3 categories based on audience size.
Excellence in Writing (3 Awards)
- Short Non-Fiction or Fiction– (1 Award) This includes memoirs, personal essays, technical writing, manuals, news writing, fan fiction and training content published in the competition year.
- Long Non-Fiction or Fiction– (1 Award) A Magic: the Gathering related book, novel or novelette published in the competition year.
- Overall Excellence in Writing (1 Award)
All other Awards (11 Awards)
- Excellence in Podcasting (3 Awards)-Platform agnostic. A podcast is either a talk show or a news based show that is primarily audio. Duplicating a podcast onto multiple platforms does not change it from being a podcast. This is separate from a personality who does multiple modes of creation. (Divide into 3 groups of audience size)
- Excellence in Streaming (3 Awards)-Gameplay only. No podcasts or talk shows. Just gameplay. Does not translate into reposted streams. (Divide into 3 groups of audience size). The focus is to award streamers who show talent in performing to a live audience.
- Excellence in Website Design (1 Award)- Websites can either be utility sites, collaborative or gallery. Grading will consist of overall design as it contributes to its purpose.
- MTG Newcomer of the Year (1 Award)- New content creators.
- MTG Content Creator of the Year (1 Award)- This is for a content creator who excels at their overall content for the competition year.
- Storyteller Award (1 Award)- For excellence in lore retelling, reenactment or creative interpretation.
- The People’s Choice Award (1 Award)- Open to audience vote.
With an increase in the overall number of awards, the cost of running the show has increased as well. With that, I have created a Patreon page for those who wish to contribute. All proceeds go directly into purchasing and shipping awards and running the processes of the show. We’d really like to hear what you think. There is a poll and a feedback link below.
The MTGCCA nomination period will end May 15th. Here’s everything you need to know about what happens next and what you can do right now to support your favorite content creators.
Once the nominations end, the voting process will begin. If you are a Magic: the Gathering content creator, you are eligible to vote. How do you become a voting member? Register your content HERE. With your registration, you’ll be added to the voting member list and you’ll also gain access to the MTGCCA discord.
What happens once the nomination period ends? Answer: The top 6 nominees in each category will be put on a ballot and the ballots will be sent to every voting member. They’ll have about a month to vote. At that point, the winners are decided.
…there are open spots in Best MTG Podcast, both Large and Medium audience, Best MTG Video and Best MTG Artist (Market)
Is there still time to nominate? Answer: Yes. In fact, there are some categories that still have some open spots. As of the publication of this article, there are open spots in Best MTG Podcast, both Large and Medium audience, Best MTG Video and Best MTG Artist (Market). You can see who’s been nominated so far HERE.
The People’s Choice Award. This award is decided by the number of nominations received and is not part of the voting process. This award is intentionally a popular vote.
What’s happening behind the scenes? Answer: We’re contacting and scheduling presenters, working with this year’s hosts to script the show (DeQuan Watson and Brian Allen), and we’re putting together the non-presentation entertainment…musical numbers and skits. Many different content creators contribute their time and talents to make this show happen. This year will be the most ambitious attempt we’ve ever made to entertain you and we’re offering you a 100% satisfaction guarantee that you will be at least slightly amused sometime during the show.
As always, your questions and concerns are appreciated.
If you have a question or concern, leave some feedback below or contact us through any of our social media.
Who am I to bestow such an honor upon people in the Magic the Gathering community?
The “honor” associated with being nominated or winning is highly subjective. Actually winning an award in this program should not hold any real value, and hopefully we can maintain that lack of value throughout the life of the awards. That is also why handing this program over to WOTC or some other association would ruin the intent of the awards and turn it into something that runs in the opposite direction of where these awards should go.
The awards came into existence in direct response to observed negativity in how content creators related to one another. Bullying and belittling was becoming the norm. Large content creators were being dubbed gatekeepers and were becoming apprehensive about promoting smaller content creators. Smaller content creators were losing motivation even though they were doing some great things with their channels. Some groups were not being represented, were being actively ignored or were being outright attacked. Factions were forming within the community that were making it feel unsafe. The awards are an attempt to create a platform and a reason for everyone to get together in a safe and welcoming environment…and nothing more.
These awards are the backyard barbeque of awards. They are meant to act as a reason to congregate. The goal isn’t necessarily the actual award. The goal is to share the stage with people with whom you normally wouldn’t and to meet people you normally wouldn’t meet. It’s the keg at the kegger. The reason ‘awards’ are used as a method of accomplishing this…everyone craves recognition. Suffering in obscurity is difficult for content creators. Connecting and feeling connected to the community is difficult as well. The ‘importance’ of the awards is that they are not important at all. It is a glorified shout out scratched onto a piece of glass. It should have significance to the individual and that is enough.
Diversity and Inclusion
This collage has received a lot of attention regarding diversity…as it should. Pressing our community to be more inclusive is something that should never stop. In our efforts to have an inclusive and diverse program, we need to talk about the intent of last year’s awards.
Last year’s sub-theme was ‘Women in Magic’. You won’t see that advertised in the show. Using a theme that identifies a marginalized part of the community as a selling point is hijacking the identity of that group for your own purposes. It was intentionally left out. You can highlight a community without using it to sell Pepsi.
But with that sub-theme, we were able to pull together a large group (over 35) female content creators. It was a fantastic representation of women and their participation was greatly appreciated.
The sub-theme is not random. It is intentional and it comes with a lot of hurdles to overcome. Many of the marginalized segments of our gaming community feel either ignored, attacked or used. The more marginalized the group is, the less they will want to participate in an event like this. For every person you see represented in that collage, about 3 responses of ‘no thank you’ were received. If you’ve been mistreated in a community, something like this can be seen as highly suspect. Even though we’re trying to do something good, that intention doesn’t always translate fully when viewed through the eyes of every group and individual. We’re trying to change the culture of the community to be more welcoming….to be more like a community in the realest sense.
Why are there so many white people in this picture? And why weren’t more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) asked to participate.
Several BIPOC content creators were asked. As mentioned before, there is a lot of hesitancy to participate in an event like this from marginalized groups. We have asked, and will keep asking for participation from all marginalized groups. We will also keep examining this platform to ensure that it is as welcoming and as safe as it was meant to be. It is built to be diverse and without diversity it is not fulfilling one of its primary purposes.
Who are these people?
They are Magic the Gathering content creators who gave their own personal time to talk about other content creators and to show some love for their community. There were some great moments in last year’s show such as our first non-English presentation and a tribute to cosplay led by a trans creator featuring two Brazilian cosplayers. You can also see in that show a joke that mocks the importance of the awards, two presenters attempting to give the awards to their cats, and one of the youngest content creators in our community singing a song. It was a really fun show and I’m exceptionally proud of it and everyone who participated. But mostly, I feel that the importance of the award itself was kept in its place. Content creators were the focus.
This was the award’s second year, the first being a proof of concept. And while it’s nice to point out these moments, we have to keep trending toward higher levels of diversity and inclusion. It must be the first thing we think about when we begin designing each show.
The failure to vet (ensuring compliance with the code of conduct) nominees was a huge mistake last year. This year we have put in place many safeguards to prevent that from happening again. This year moving forward, each nominee and participant will be examined by a large group of content creators to ensure that each of them adheres to the code of conduct. No exceptions will be made and disqualifications will not be made public unless there are some extraordinary circumstances. The goal here is to prevent reinjuring victims and to not use the awards as a weapon.
The Nomination and Voting Process
The process used for nominating and voting coalesces both audience and peer input. Ignoring the audience would be ignoring one of the main reasons for content creation, but it couldn’t be ‘all audience’, just like it couldn’t be ‘all peer’. We’re not creating a self-licking ice cream cone. There had to be a healthy combination of both. We’re still assessing just how “healthy” the combination is and how we can make it better.
The number one rule established for the awards is to always be open to criticism. Every critical remark and comment is noted and considered. This program could touch a lot of people in this community. It would be irresponsible to ignore any voice.
One of the best parts of last year’s awards was The People’s Choice award. It went to a kid from the United Arab Emirates. His mom ran the campaign to get him into the lead. This program is not a metric of the movers and shakers in the MTG community. It is not a metric at all. It’s just a reason for us to maybe stand together and say that on this one occasion, we’ll put aside our differences and share the stage. Nobody walks away with fame and fortune and nobody risks anything to participate. But they may walk away with the feeling that maybe they’re not alone. And that is all we’re trying to accomplish.
How can you can help? Continue to scrutinize the process and nominate nominate nominate nominate. This program is what we make it. Bring those who are not being seen to the forefront. Don’t let let our community be defined by any one thing. And never let this program get away with doing things the wrong way.
We won’t stop trying to make it better, and we won’t stop listening to criticism and advice. If you’re an MTG content creator, you’re welcome to join the design group by registering. And as always, your feedback is welcomed.
Here’s the short version.
- Nominations open December 1st. Visit the mtgcca website on that day and you will find a link to the nomination form. If you are a content creator, feel free to advertise to your audience. Each person can nominate 1 content creator for each category. Be sure to read the guidelines.
- January 8th, 2021, the nominations will close.
- The top 6 nominees for each category will be placed on a ballot and sent to the voting academy.
- Once voting is complete, the final announcement show will be assembled.
Note: if you would like to be in the voting academy, you have to be a Magic the Gathering content creator. When you register your content, you will have the option of joining the voting group. Any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking the time to check out the MTG Content Creator Awards. These awards exist to give the creator community a method of celebrating the many different aspects of what we do individually and communally for Magic the Gathering. Creating videos, streaming, writing articles, creating mini works of art on cardboard, or getting together online with friends or associates to discuss Magic may seem, in a disaggregated view, like a small thing. Even when talking to content creators individually they often downplay their role or their effect on an audience.
When a person takes their art or their words and makes them available to public opinion, they are actually offering up a piece of themselves for praise, critique and in some cases, ridicule. A content creator makes themselves vulnerable for the enjoyment of others. The consequences of this offering often leaves the creator alone in their creativity. Getting no visibility or being hounded by bad actors can have a significant negative effect on those individuals simply trying to connect with others. In any case, we have a responsibility to each member of this community to provide a supportive, inclusive and caring environment. All content creators deserve this consideration. And it is up to each of us to be stewards of our society. Our voices, individually, may get overpowered by the negativity, but that negativity is easily overwhelmed by our many voices sounding in unison.
The MTGCCA and the family network of content creators are here to be that voice.