The 2021 Raindance Immersive Awards Ceremony: A List of All the Winners

I’m a sucker for awards shows (the Oscars are like the gay Super Bowl to me!). So I was in my element as I watched the two-part 2021 Raindance Immersive Awards, which were hosted in the social VR platform VRChat, with audiences also watching the livestream in-world in both AltspaceVR and NeosVR, as well as remotely on YouTube (the videos are below).

The Raindance Film Festival is the largest and most important independent film festival in the U.K., showcasing features, shorts, web series and music videos by filmmakers from the U.K. and around the world to an audience of film executives and buyers, journalists, film fans and filmmakers.

Powered by HTC VIVE’s Viveport and VRChat, this year’s Raindance Immersive (October 27th to November 21, 2021) comprised immersive VR games and experiences competing for jury awards, as well as the Spirit of Raindance Awards, which are selected by the festival team. Raindance is the only film festival in the world to recognize and award VR on such a scale, so this was a major event!

The Raindance Immersive Awards ceremony for 2021 was in two parts. The first part was held yesterday. The cameraman for the event was my friend (and the co-producer of the upcoming second season of the Metaverse Newscast), the talented social VR videographer Carlos Austin.

If you have never visited VRChat, I think that this 1-hour-and-40-minute video is your prefect introduction! You really get a sense of the wonderful variety and diversity of avatars which are available in VRChat, as well as a good look at the Embassy virtual world where the ceremony takes place.

Carlos deftly steers his camera around the avatars milling about and chatting with each other at the very beginning, before the event starts, and it feels as if you were in a cocktail party, overhearing bits and snippets of conversations! I loved it. (If you want to skip right to the awards ceremony proper, it starts at the 27:56 minute mark, and it runs until the 1-hour-and-13 minute mark, followed by an afterparty.)

The awards handed out in Part 1, in order, were (all links go to the description page on the Raindance Immersive website, with a promo video and more information):

The second half of the awards ceremony was today; it was again filmed by Carlos Austin (the awards ceremony proper starts at the 46:50 mark in the video if you want to skip straight to that part):

The awards handed out in Part 2 of the ceremony, in order, were:

The Schultzies: I Need Your Help

And no, the Schultzy award will NOT look like this…
(Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash)

O.K., so… here’s the situation.

My idea yesterday evening for an annual awards show for excellence in social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse has landed with a resounding thud. (Which is what happens to most of my bright ideas, sadly.)

To organize and put on an actual awards show, even in the metaverse (and until we come up with a real and proper name for it, let’s just call it “the Schultzies”), is actually a much bigger, more complex (and frankly, more political) endeavour than I first anticipated. I will need some help.

So I am hereby putting out a call for volunteers who would be interested in helping me pull this event off. If you are also interested in the idea of an annual awards show, and would like to volunteer for the Schultzies (and no, we don’t need seat fillers…yet), please contact me in one of the following ways:

  • Leave a comment on this blogpost with a means of contact;
  • Use the Contact page on this blog;
  • Send me a message on one of the many virtual world Discord servers I belong to (my handle is always the same, Ryan Schultz).

It’s still way too early to decide on exactly what kind of help we’ll need to arrange, but some suggestions are: mesh content creators (we need a suitable award), a set/stage designer, people to set up polls to collect category ideas, then collect nominations in each category, etc.

If I get enough volunteers, then we can proceed. If I don’t, then I will set the idea aside for a year or two, until the metaverse matures a bit more.

UPDATED! What If We Held Annual Awards for Excellence in Social VR and Virtual Worlds?

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony…What would you call an award
for excellence in social VR and virtual worlds?

I’ve been letting an idea percolate in my head, and now that we are getting closer to awards season in real life, perhaps it’s time to bring it out for closer inspection and debate: what if we held an annual awards ceremony for excellence in social VR and virtual worlds?

We could call them the Schultzies. 😉 OK, maybe not… but let’s toss the idea around for a bit and see what we all can come up with.

We need:

  • A name for the awards;
  • Categories for the awards;
  • A time (and a place!) for an awards ceremony;
  • An award of some type (a picture and/or in-world mesh object);
  • A host (I am willing to step in if Billy Crystal is unavailable).

What else would we need? The most important thing that we need, right now, is categories. Here are some examples to get us started:

  • Best Social VR Platform of 2019;
  • Best (Non-VR) Virtual World of 2019;
  • Best Blockchain-Based Virtual World of 2019;
  • Best Content Creator/Brand of 2019;
  • Best In-World Store/Marketplace Product of 2019;
  • Most Innovative Use of a Social VR/Virtual World in 2019;
  • Best Marketing/PR Move by a Social VR/Virtual World in 2019;
  • Outstanding Contribution to Social VR/Virtual Worlds in 2019 (an award we would give to an individual person);
  • What other categories can you come up with?

We could also (if we wish) incorporate some aspect of the Razzies, by including awards for some of the more ignominious achievements of the year:

  • Biggest Platform Fail of 2019;
  • Biggest Advertising/PR Mistake Made by a Company in 2019;
  • What other categories can you think of?

I could whip up a poll for nominations for each category, and select the top 4 or 5 suggestions in each category as our finalists.

Whaddayathink? Could we make this work? I think this might be a lot of fun.

First things first: what are we gonna call the awards? Please feel free to leave a comment below, or better yet, join us on the Discord server, the world’s first cross-world discussion forum, where we can toss around some ideas. We’d love to have you!

P.S. I am willing to organize, but if I do then I don’t think it’s fair for me to actually vote on the awards in that case, so I will remove myself from that. The voting would be open to the users of the various social VR platforms and virtual worlds for a set period of time (say, two weeks).

P.P.S. Perhaps we should scrap the Razzies portion of the awards before we get started; it would just seem like kicking certain companies when they’re already down. It just doesn’t seem sporting to me.

UPDATE 5:39 p.m.: Adam Frisby of Sinespace had a good suggestion: that I investigate the various in-world awards shows of the past (the Cy Awards in ActiveWorlds, the Avi Choice Awards in Second Life, etc.).

So that’s exactly what I am going to do over the next few days (in between ransacking various Second Life Advent calendars, of course!). So if you don’t see any posts over the next few days, you’ll know I have gone down the rabbit hole…