Patch Notes and Process for the 2022 Audio Verse Awards

From the Chair

   “Fortune favors the bold” is a saying that I’ve found to be true in life, and one that perfectly encapsulates both the spirit of the AVAs as well as the people surrounding it. The AVAs emerged from a bold idea to honor the very best in audio fiction when the options available to provide such honors were few and far between. Ten years later, we’re proud to be a mainstay of the audio drama community and a gathering place for amazing concepts, characters, and stories. In essence, the AVAs are a bold idea meant to honor bold ideas.

   Because let’s face it: audio dramas are an incredible expression of bold ideas. It takes so much to create and release a work for public consumption. Audio drama creators entertain us with stories that fill us with laughter, tears, fear, or rage on behalf of our favorite characters. We feel butterflies as characters we treasure fall in love or feel the pain of loss as someone passes away. We celebrate, we laugh, we cry with them. But none of that is certain. If every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings, every time an audio drama creator hits the “upload” button they think, “Oh, what have I done?” The AVAs are a way for fans to honor these creators for taking a chance and hitting the upload button.

   The AVAs would not be what it is today without the shows that inspire us and the fans that support them. It takes a certain boldness to promulgate one’s love of a show or a character, to announce that they want to hug one character and punch another on their behalf. Or to take the time and energy to listen, think, and discuss (civilly) how they feel about a season, an episode, a scene, or even just a line. It takes boldness to break out of the comfort zone and try a completely new show. And maybe, just maybe, their love will translate into a new idea, a never-before-seen concept that will in itself, one day, become a bold idea expressed in audio form.

   The past ten years have seen tremendous growth and change as we’ve refined the AVAs. We’ve improved our voting procedures by adopting the Modified Borda Count to ensure that every show, no matter the size of the following or the budget, has an equal chance at winning. As we’ve improved our voting, so too have we refined our procedures for validation to ensure that the rules are followed and cheating is prevented. Last year, we instituted a $25 nomination fee to help support the AVAs in its mission and we were touched by the generosity of so many who were willing to subsidize fellow creators to help them nominate their shows for consideration.

   This year, we will continue with what’s worked: we’re still using the same categories as before. We’re still using the modified Borda Count and our dedicated staff will analyze the data and validate the voting results. There is no threshold, so one vote will make a show eligible for nomination, provided the $25 fee is paid. Creators can opt to pay for their own shows or ask for another to subsidize the nomination. In short, the AVAs will continue to serve the audio drama community as it always has, to provide you all with a platform to vote for the very best in audio fiction.

   Some things will change, though. We were disheartened to learn of the passing of Richard Nadolny, the unbelievably talented narrator for Oz9, earlier this year. His loss will be keenly felt in the audio drama community, so in cooperation with Oz9 we will be presenting the inaugural Richard Nadolny Award for Narrating Excellence to a narrator whose performance best reflects Richard’s talent, grace, and creative spirit.

   In addition, we will improve our video announcement of the winners. Last year’s video had errors and I apologize again to winners who had names mispronounced, misspelled, or switched around. It’s hard to be a shining example of the best in audio fiction when mistakes take away some of the luster. We will do better.

    It’s my honor and privilege to serve as the incoming AVAs chair and I thank my predecessor Colin Kelly Rodriguez for his tireless efforts in years previous. I also want to thank the AVAs team, who work hard each year to make the awards a success. Now, let’s celebrate what the audio fiction community has to offer through the expression of their many bold ideas. So many worlds, so many ideas, and only so much storage space on the podcast player. Are you ready? Let’s see what’s out there, and may fortune favor the bold…

2022 Categories

In 2022, we will have 19 categories, which will be separated with half being specifically for new productions which premiered in the past year.

  • Music Categories
    • Instrumental Composition in a (new) Production
    • Vocal Composition in a (new) Production
  • Sound Categories
    • Action Sound Design in a (new) Production
    • Environment Sound Design in a (new) Production
  • Writing Categories
    • Writing of a (new) Storytelling Production
    • Writing of (a new/an) Audio Play Production
  • Directing Categories
    • Player Direction of a (new) Production
    • Vocal Direction of a (new) Production
    • Music Direction of a (new) Production
  • Voice Categories
    • Storyteller in a (new) Storytelling Production
    • Guest Player in (a new/an) Improvised Production
    • Player in (a new/an) Improvised Production
    • Performance of a Guest Role in (a new/an) Audio Play Production
    • Performance of a Role in (a new/an) Audio Play Production
    • Richard Nadolny Award for Narrating Excellence
  • Art Categories
    • Cover Art for a (new) Production
  • Production Categories
    • (New) Storytelling Production
    • (New) Improvised Production
    • (New) Audio Play Production

2022 Voting Process

Open Nominations – Three(ish)-Week Period, September 8th-30th

  • There is a $25 nomination fee, which covers entering the awards for all cast and crew of a production, checking for accuracy and eligibility, their nominee showcase episode, both rounds of voting being fair and accurate, and the creation of a graphics for each phase. It will go to the operation and crew that make the awards possible.
    • Productions may apply to be sponsored, and there will be a list of those productions freely available. If someone sponsors the show, it’ll automatically move to the list of nominees.
  • To repeat, one nomination, but all the details of the show are submitted. The Production is what’s nominated for the Awards. We’ll recognize individuals at the finalist and winners announcements.
  • As you nominate the production, you may also submit your nominee showcase within the same form. We will be asking for a recorded intro, an episode or sample you want to submit, and a transcript of that content if you have one available.
  • We may soft-open the form to test it, if eagle-eyed participants notice it, we will honor complete nominations.

Finalist Voting – Two-Week Period, Projected October 3rd – 16th

  • This is dependent on us finalizing the list of nominees, hence the projected date. We may also delay this until all nominee showcases have been released in order to allow people more time to familiarize themselves with the nominees. We’ll base our timeline on those two factors.
  • Finalist Voting will be now be decided by a ballot of the overarching categories, split across New or not, making two questions on the ballot.
    • Our hope is that while we cannot do anything about the number of options in each question, without being arbitrary, reducing the number of questions should inconvenience the people only here to vote for one specific production less.
  • Remember, Modified Borda Count means that the more you rank, the more impact you have on the results, as your first choice is weighted by the number of rankings you give each category. This is how the people who listen to a wide variety of productions decide our outcome. If you rank 10 productions, your ballot is worth 55 points. If you rank one, it’s only one, they’re rather easy to spot in the data.
  • This is also why we’re not worried about people voting randomly in categories they’re unfamiliar with. We already randomize the options to attempt to fight Alphabetical bias. We will continue to ask you to rank at least one nominee in each category, as half of the categories are for new shows.

Winner Voting – Two-Week Period

  • Again, This is dependent on us finalizing the list of Finalists, hence the projected date. As with last year, we aim to open voting for the winners at the same time we announce the finalists

Winner announcement – Minimum a Month later, January at the earliest.

  • Allexandria Pal, Adam Blanford, and Colin Kelly Rodriguez each independently, do a pass of all ballots, looking for flags that indicate people trying to cheat our systems and disqualifying ballots. That needs to be completed before we can calculate the results, even if we’ve figured everything else out