Danny Danger Oz: Chronos Awards eligibility, nominations & voting

Chronos Awards eligibility, nominations and voting

by Danny Danger Oz

 I was confused about the process, especially knowing Trudi Canavan, international author living in Melbourne, wasn’t nominated. So I asked Danny Oz, who explained it all:

The nomination process is fairly simple. Anyone can nominate any genre work or artist that would fit the categories, so long as it relates to work for the calendar year for that award (in this case 2010), and was produced by a Victorian or had significant contributions from Victorians.

It costs nothing to nominate, and nominators don’t have to be members of a Continuum convention.

No awards system is perfect, one just does one’s best to limit issues and to make sure the playing field is as fair as possible. What we have in place is minimum nomination levels. For example, for a work to make it into Best Long Fiction, it needs a minimum of four nominations. Best Fan Writer needs a minimum of two nominations to make it onto the ballot. So as you can see, the numbers needed there aren’t prohibitively high.

From there, we take the works or people in each category who recieved enough nominations to mean they are eligible, and pick the top five, and then randomise the order of the names before they appear on the ballot. If there are less than five people with enough nominations to appear in a category, we go with whatever number we have, even if that is only one author or work.

It’s always hard when you basically end up with a category with only one nominee, and they are up against No Award. But in some cases you’ve had lots of nominations for that person or work, and everything else nominated in that category has only received a single nomination each. Some people argue that you should make up the numbers so that there are five people in a category, but it quickly becomes hard to be fair with that.

For a start it can mean that you’re portraying works that may have only been nominated by one person (often the work’s creator) as on an equal footing to something that may have recieved ten or twenty nominations. And what do you do if you have one work that got enough nominations, but eight other works that got one nomination each? You can either have a category with nine nominated works, or you play God and choose which four of the single nomination works get to be on the ballot. Neither of those solutions is fair.

So while one nomination up against No Award is less than ideal, it’s as fair as we’ve been able to make it. Some people have suggested that if there’s only going to be one or two nominees in a category, that we should exclude that category from the final ballot. But why should someone who got the nominations be left off the ballot just because no-one else got the numbers? That’s hardly fair to what may well be a fine achievement that is worthy of recognition.

Some people seem to think that in a case like that the award is basically being given away, but I have seen No Award win a few times over the years. I’ve even seen it win with more than one nominee in the category. Many years ago I was up against No Award, and I can honestly say it was far more nerve wracking than being up against other people.

So to sum up, there’s two things that will prevent someone from getting on to the ballot. Falling short of the minimum number of nominations for the category, or having less nominations than the top five eligable works.
The Chronos Awards are run by the Continuum Foundation, but they aren’t a convention specific award. By that I mean they don’t have to be presented at a Continuum convention. Any Victorian run genre convention or event could host the Chronos Awards if they wished to. To do so they would need to approach the Foundation and basically convince us to let them. They would also need to pay for the cost of the awards themselves. The Continuum’s do this automatically because any excess money at the end of the convention goes back to the Foundation.

Voting on the awards requires that one be a fully paid up member of the event hosting them, or that one buys a voting membership. The reason voting has these rest rictions is to help limit any attempt to skew the results. It’s a lot harder to badger friends and family to vote for you if they don’t care for your work *and* it costs them money to vote. It also goes a small way towards offsetting the cost of the awards.

To become a member of Continuum, go to Continuum’s website then click on the ‘attend’ tab. Any valid membership buys you the right to vote on this year’s Chronos Awards. Once you have your membership number or receipt number, you can vote by writing to – awards@continuum.org.au.

Given the natural delays that can occur with purchasing a membership, I would strongly recommend that people buy their convention membership at least three weeks before the voting cut-off date of Sunday 15 May 2011.

If you don’t wish to join the convention, you can buy a $5 voting membership. We figure it’s not too much to pay if one is passionate about a work or artist.

You can vote by email at the awards@continuum.org.au address. The votes will not be counted until we have confirmed that your Voting Membership payment has cleared. So again, best to pay the voting membership well before the cut-off date.

To pay, email dannydoz@netspace.net.au for details on payment options for the voting membership.
Payment can be made one of three ways. Those are, in order of preference –
– Direct Bank Deposit
– Australia Post Money order, or Bank or Personal Cheque
– Paypal

It is very, very important that you contact us to let us know when and how you’ve paid so we can be sure it’s gone through ok and so that your votes will count. If you don’t tell us when and how you’ve paid, the payment might get missed, or accidentally attributed to someone else.

There, that’s most of the nitty gritty details on nominations, ballot and voting. Gary Armstrong sculpted the current awards, and most people seem to quite like them. I think they appreciate an award that obviously isn’t just an off-the-shelf item from a trophy shop.

I have to also mention John Samuel who has overseen all the actual nitty gritty and work involved in getting the awards set up. A long time fan, he’s done lots of work for West Australian fandom and his work on the Victorian Awards has been exceptional. He’s taken a process that could easily have been a mess and made it work and work well.

The Continuum Foundation also presents the Ian Gunn Memorial Award. Amongst Ian Gunn’s many talents as an entertainer and cartoonist, Gunny was very good at spotting the quiet people who do all the work that hold things together. The ones who don’t seek the spotlight and will do a thankless job for no other reason than it needs to be done. Or who will make the time to welcome new people, or make sure that committee members get a break and something to eat and drink.

The best description is that the sort of person who would be given the award is the sort of person that would never expect to get one. They would never even consider putting themselves forward for it.

The Gunny isn’t voted on as such. It works by people or groups telling us about a person in their midst who has worked tirelessly without recognition. Then we quietly talk to people to get a feel for the person and the sort of things they do. If we get someone who has obviously earned the appreciation and respect of their community, then we’ll present them with the award. If they’re not the sort of person who would come to the event where the Chronos Awards are being presented, then we will organise to go to one of the things they are a part of and present the award there.

The Ian Gunn Memorial Award is not intended to be a yearly award. It’s only given out when we have someone who is obviously deserving. We haven’t advertised it strongly as yet but hope to spread the word over time. We gave out one two years ago, and are currently looking into potential recipients for another next year.

Our rule of thumb is that they should be living here for the calendar year in question. That said, we’re flexible because people’s circumstances change. So if someone was living in Victoria for more than half the year we’d be willing to count that. And if someone moved to Victoria permanently during that period and then produced or released work, again, we’re willing to be flexible.  But no, you couldn’t just visit for a month or two and be eligible.  Forgetting that I’m living interstate, and am on the awards subcommittee – either of which would excludes me on their own – I own a house in Victoria, and visit it a few times a year, but I wouldn’t be eligible to be nominated.  Where it gets harder is that more and more projects are being produced using the internet by people in various states. For those, we basically have to be sure that the Victorian(s) involved did more than say it looks pretty or take it to the printers.

Hope I’ve been of some help to you,

Thanks Danny!