QTCinderella has been one of the most prominent streamers on Twitch and in recent years has organized some of the most unique and popular collaborative projects — The Roast of Ludwig, Shitcamp, etc.
Now comes her most ambitious project yet: The Streamer Awards. With more than two dozen categories and plans to invite more than 300 guests, there’s no doubt it will be a challenge. When Inven Global spoke with QTCinderella about the details of the event, however, she only seemed excited.
Explain the process of creating this event. How long has it been in the works? What are your goals for it?
It's been in the works since October. I ran and hosted Shitcamp, which was one of the biggest cross-streamer events on the platform. And it was great. But when I did that event, I felt guilty because there were so many people I couldn't invite. I think a lot of streamers on Twitch are in their own bubble, and they don't get the opportunity to meet other streamers. So that was my idea of Shitcamp — I just got all my friends together. And the amount of messages I got from people saying, "Hey, can I come?" — people I didn't even consider friends — made me realize the need for this in the Twitch community.
I know we have TwitchCon. But that's a certain level of corporate that isn't something I can produce. So I was trying to think of something I could do that was big and celebratory and would get a lot of people together. And I thought to myself: an award show. My first step was to pitch it to Twitch. And they couldn't do the turnaround that I wanted. They were like, "We could do it maybe next year for TwitchCon." And I was like, "No. Nope, nope, nope." And so I just figured I would do it myself.
"All the other award shows are very corporate, they've turned into massive commercials."
My biggest goal with this event: it's honestly less about the awards and more about having an opportunity to bring everyone together. I'm trying to get people from every corner of the internet, even people I don't know. I was up until 4 a.m. last night, just looking in the Fortnite section and DMing people saying "Hey, you don't know who I am. But we'd love to have you." And that's kind of the overall goal and conception of this. And also, all the other award shows are very corporate, they've turned into massive commercials.
And I'm not saying mine won't be sponsored, but it's just... they're out of touch. And I think it's fine to say that. Every single streamer that watches the other streamer-based award shows — it's just out of touch. And so this one ran by streamers, voted by fans: I already have 65,000 individual submissions for nominations alone. And I know that's only going to go up when the voting phase starts. So I think the community is very, very excited about it. Not only other streamers, but the chatters as well.
For some of the categories, how broad can "streamer" be defined? Could something like Reddit live streaming or Instagram count?
Yeah! I think as this grows... that's a big question. This is such a broad award show name — The Streamer Awards. What does that mean? Who does that include? And I think right now, it's just this bubble of the space that I'm in. The goal in long term is to expand that. If a Reddit streamer reaches out to me, then of course they can be invited. It's all community-driven.
No matter what, if you are nominated, you will be invited, you will have a seat saved for you at the event. Right now — since it is invitation only — it's obviously who I can contact within reach. But I sent a message to Ibai earlier today. I'm trying to even include Spanish streamers. I would love to expand this more, but still be in touch with what the community needs.
In your Q&A video, you said someone like Ludwig hasn’t streamed enough Smash to be considered a Smash streamer. Is there a specific cutoff where a person can or cannot be considered for a category?
Yes, we just have a general criteria that we're still working on. I think all of this is a work in progress. It's been really fun to even learn as we go. Like the music category — that was a dumb idea. I should have done "creative" category to broaden it. I actually also think the Smash category was a dumb idea. I should have done fighting game. But it'll just be better next year. And chess could have maybe been in strategy game. There's lots of movement here.
But essentially, it has to be in the top five of the person's streamed categories. It should be greater than 30% of those streamed hours and should be greater than at least 100 hours.
You’ve mentioned that some of the categories might be taken away. In what instances do you see this being the case?
Political streamer [laughs]. Like I said, this is all experimental. And to anyone being hypercritical of it, I have to say: it's fine. It's fine that we're learning, because this is made by streamers, made for streamers. And streamers, we're a little scuffed. But that's what makes us fun. I think that's what's gonna make this award show different than all the other ones as those ones are overproduced, over-professional. We're not having a script. I'm telling my presenters who are presenting, and if Mizkif decides to go up there and make a crazy joke or throw an egg at somebody — then that's on him. And that's what we want.
So it's all learning. We're learning as we go. And maybe even this year, we'll learn that we have to script next year. I don't know. But there's not gonna be any cue cards, nothing like that.
My intention with political streamer — this seems very naive looking back at it, but we're learning — I wanted to do a "Best Female Streamer" category, because that's something that's really important to me. If you look at the top 100 streamers on Twitch, there's only two females. And as a female on Twitch, it's exhausting. It's really hard. And I would really love to highlight a female content creator.
"If I couldn't do a "Best Non-binary Streamer", then I wasn't going to do a "Best Female Streamer", because that just doesn't feel right. It feels like I'm leaving out a marginalized group while trying to highlight another."
But then I felt selfish in doing so. And so then I thought to myself, If I do a "Best Female Streamer", then potentially I need to do a "Best Non-binary Streamer." And I don't really know how to navigate that personally. And so I did reach out to a few non-binary streamers and got their opinions on it — they gave me a bit of a mixed bag of opinions. Some said, "The internet isn't ready for it." Some said, "Thank you so much for wanting to highlight this community." At the end of the day, I decided that based on the feedback, it couldn't happen this year. Hopefully next year, but the Internet is a little too close-minded this year.
It's all about progress. But if I couldn't do a "Best Non-binary Streamer", then I wasn't going to do a "Best Female Streamer", because that just doesn't feel right. It feels like I'm leaving out a marginalized group while trying to highlight another. But my intention with "Political Streamer" was trying to highlight some of those small social justice warrior streamers that I see in the Just Chatting section that have their podcast and often talk about issues like trans and non-binary rights, which aren't really talked about on Twitch.
And of course, as soon as that category comes out, everyone's like, "Oh, it's a Hasan and Destiny category." And I thought to myself, "Well, that wasn't the intention." I don't know how I overlooked that, but I simply did. And so I think I might eliminate that prior to the awards show, or just send a little honorary trophy to whoever has the most amount of nominations.
There are a few that — depending on the pacing of the award show — might be announced on the red carpet. Or if the person that wins can't make it, and we play a video instead of having them come up on stage, then those will probably be announced during red carpet, just to save time during the actual award ceremony.
I understand you're taking precautions to prevent harassment of the panel — given the volatility of some Twitch communities. Are you worried, though, that people might question the legitimacy of the event if they don't know who's handing out the awards? Historically, having a strong, public-facing panel of established names has helped newly-founded Awards ceremonies by giving them legitimacy.
I think it's something that I've thought about and I'm still deciding if we'll make the panel public. I might even have the panel vote if they want to be public or not. But as of right now, I think it's more important for the privacy of the individuals so they don't get... again, this is a streamer event made for streamers. I think it's more important to me that the people on the panel... they're doing me favors. There are people that I reached out to that maybe even didn't know who I was. I'm just like, "Hey, I know who you are. You've been part of the industry for a very long time. I'm asking you this favor."
And so it feels to me, I'm asking these industry leaders favors, and then to potentially expose them to extra criticism or pushback from very large communities... I just don't want them harassed by a community of hundreds of thousands of people because their streamer doesn't win. At the end of the day, this is for fun. Yes, there are awards, but it's all fan-voted. Even the weighted panel is 30% versus 70%. I doubt it'll flip many of the awards, if at all any. And I know the streamers are happy with it.
And so the feedback from the community on the legitimacy is not as important to me, because I know it's legitimate. I know other streamers know it's legitimate, and they just want it to be fun. I've encouraged lots of streamers to campaign for these awards to avoid it just being a popularity contest. Because you don't see xQc, Mizkif, or Hasan campaigning for it. You don't see these big streamers campaigning for it, because they already think they're gonna win, because they have the largest audience. And so I'm telling all of these small streamers that I'm inviting or know, "Please campaign for this. I might not have a seat for you if you don't get a nomination. So you should campaign for it."
It's been really cool — the amount of people that have reached out in categories that I don't know about. I've had a lot of ASMR streamers reach out, a lot of really small streamers that want to be the rising star. It's all about what the fans vote for at the end of the day. Yeah, we have a panel to help alleviate some of the popularity that comes behind that. But it's so much more about the fans than anything else, and that's not going to be messed with.
If the decision is not to reveal who the panelists are, will any information be provided on them? Do we know how many there will be, as well as their qualifications?
I'm not sure. Like I said, I might have the panel vote. It is a very tricky situation. I've gotten a lot of feedback on it. I've asked a lot of opinions on what's best. But yeah, there are about 30 panel members. I can say that. And it's people all across the board. It is people in journalism. It is org owners. I know org owners seems like something that you're like, "How weird to have an org-owner as a nonbiased panel member." But you can trust in an org owner not to just be, "Oh, so and so's in my org. So I'm going to vote for them." Because these people are professional. And so when I say nonbiased, they're going to be nonbiased.
People that work for Twitch, people that work for YouTube, people that work for Facebook — there are people really genuinely all across the board here. Just trying to get an opinion from every corner, if that makes sense.
Since Spanish and Chinese streamers maintain very large followings, are there Chinese-speaking and Spanish-speaking panelists present to rely on for those potential nominations?
Hypothetically, what if someone's been involved in controversy — scamming, brigading, etc. — and/or have been de-platformed? Let's say they streamed for most of 2021, but have been recently been banned. Can they be nominated?
That's interesting. I think it'll be on a case-by-case basis. Based on the nominations that come through. I will say what I've seen so far, there hasn't been an issue.
If a nominee did have to be thrown out, will it be made public with an explanation for why?
Very, very nice. And leave a few more questions. gamer of the year a category is this for Esports competitors, or what is the meaning of like, who's, who is the best gamer?
The interesting thing about this — and I want to make this very, very clear about this award show particularly — is this award show is not about when it says "Best FPS Streamer", that is not the best player. That is not the person who gets the highest score when they play FPS games. That is the performance of streaming. Who is the most fun to watch play FPS games? It doesn't mean they're good, but they're just the most enjoyable to watch. So that's the same with Gamer of the Year. Does it mean they are the best gamer in the entire world? No, but they're that gamer that you just have to watch no matter what game they're playing.
What are your future aspirations for this event? Where do you want to see it in, say, five years?
It depends, because it's all going to be based on how streamers enjoy it. This is so much more than an award show, right? This is getting more than 300 streamers in Los Angeles for the weekend. And no chance they're just going to go to an award show. They're going to be able to meet each other and collab with each other. Those relationships are going to go home with them in a way that they'll be able to collab in the future. They'll all have stories that they can tell their communities.
"All of this is coming out of my pocket. I just paid a $30,000 bill hoping that I get a sponsor for this. I don't know if I will."
So maybe it won't be an award show in five years. But I want to come up with something consistently — at least annually — that brings streamers together. It's more important to me — bringing streamers together and creating those stories and creating that community even amongst streamers — than it is giving out shiny little trophies. The shiny little trophies are the best way I could think of doing that this year, and maybe it will continue. Maybe this will be an annual thing. In my mind, it is right now.
But it all depends on if the streamers have fun. If the streamers don't have fun, we're not doing this next year. I'll come up with something different. Maybe we'll do the Olympics, maybe we'll do a boxing tournament, maybe we'll do a Beyblade tournament. Who knows? It can go anywhere. I saw the way Shitcamp was received: people loved it. People were envious that they couldn't be there. And I just want to include as many people as possible.
So if The Streamer Awards are well received, and it is enjoyed, then I just want to include more to whatever I can facilitate. Right now, like I said, I don't have a sponsor right now. All of this is coming out of my pocket. I just paid a $30,000 bill hoping that I get a sponsor for this. I don't know if I will. But right now,m it's worth it to me to bring these people together. I don't know, I wish I had a cheaper passion. But unfortunately, I don't at the moment.
Was there anything else you felt you needed to mention regarding the event?
Yeah, I think I think the most important thing again, is a lot of people are confused because there are the other award shows. But this one is about the performance of streaming. This is about what streamer — no matter what game they're playing — who's that streamer you want to watch? Who gives the best performance? Who do you want to grab your cup of cocoa and watch every single night? That's what it's about.
It's also about fun. I think a lot of people are really, really wrapped up... like you were talking about — you had a lot of questions about the panel. I don't. It's less about the shiny plastic than it is about the fun of the event. Shitcamp was not a real camp. It was just fun. And that's what this is. It's just fun. I'm just bringing a bunch of people together that are excited to be together. I was just messaging a huge Fortnite streamer. And his first question is, "Is Mizkif gonna be there?" And I'm like, "Yeah, Mizkif's gonna be there." And he's like, "Oh, I'm so excited to meet him!"
And another streamer that streams Apex was like, "It's Hasan gonna be there?" "Yeah" "Oh, I'm so excited to meet him." These people from all over the platform are excited to introduce themselves to each other and collab. And that is more important than anything. What I want — I would love for smaller streamers to win this thing, because my big boys aren't campaigning. And so I want every person from every corner of the internet to campaign for one of these awards. And that's why there are so many, because I want to highlight as many individuals as I can. Especially ones that I don't know. I saw feedback on Reddit that said, "It's just gonna be an award show for a bunch of her friends to pat each other on the back." I have not told any of my friends to campaign for themselves. I have told people I don't know to campaign for themselves, because I want every corner of the internet to be highlighted.
The interview was edited for brevity.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.