KINGSTON, 13 Mar 2012.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Even though I started Eight Seven Six, the company doesn’t always reflect my personal opinions. As a company, we are happy for the publicity of Actor Boy nominations, and also happy for any team members who enjoy being nominated.
As an artist, my feelings towards the awards are different. Each of us is open to bias and folly. That’s why voting is so great. Voting allows us to have individual faults and prejudices, and yet make fair and binding collective decisions, whether you’re selecting performances or electing politicians.
The Actor Boy awards are not voted on, not in any real sense. Five judges of varied (and varying) experience and training, appointed by two people, have total control over the nominations and awards. (The nominations are in truth unnecessary, since the judges already know the winners.) With only five voices, the spectres of bias and folly necessarily loom large.
These twin problems can be banished by instituting a secure industrywide vote. Until we can have confidence in the process, we should not find providence in the awards.
As in years past, I will neither attend nor support the awards, not out of prejudice, but out of principle.
We are a tremendously creative and vibrant people. To achieve excellence, we must continually challenge ourselves. While the Actor Boy awards, restructured, may one day provide the right incentives, they currently foster an exaggerated sense of achievement, which always breeds complacency. As artists, our time should be spent absorbing and reflecting the society, not unduly seeking its adulation. There is so much to learn and say, and only a short and unknown life in which to do so. The greatest award is to create and contribute as much as we can.
(Artists should also challenge each other’s ideas. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.)