The curse of the award show

– How Sylvester organised the ULTIMAS

Any television producer and event scriptwriter can tell you that an award show is a curse.

The standardised format is tediously predictable and repetitive: announcement of category, then nominees, then winner, then thanks and then repeat. Boring. And at the end of the show, you have a pack of losers in the form of disappointed nominees, and only a handful of winners. Painful. Add to that – for the sake of the covid measures – the absence of a live audience and applause, a ban on kisses and heartfelt handshakes, and a horrible show may be expected.

When Sylvester went to work for the Department of Culture, Youth & Media to produce the Ultimas award show for VRT NU and Radio 1, with no fewer than 12 categories and as many winners, the hot breath of failure was immediately tangible … But the Flemish cultural awards deserve better!

So, experts as we are, the challenge has been taken and the curse lifted. And just in case you want to organise your own award show tomorrow, we are happy to tell you how we did it.

But you can, of course, just give us a call.

In short, we made sure the story was as varied as possible, both visually and in terms of content.

There were no nominees, and therefore no losers: pitfall avoided. Each winner was surprised by another well-known Flemish person during a preliminary video. Those videos included big names such as Matteo Simoni, Astrid Stockman, Martin Heylen and Isolde Lasoen. So we got to know the laureates in a funny and authentic way, in their natural habitat where they also create their art. Visually too, there was never a dull moment as our pop-up studio show was in the courtyard of a beautiful castle, where each winner ended up in a different part of the setting for a chat with alternately Thomas Vanderveken or Sofie Lemaire. Thanks to performances by winners and also musical acts by Brihang and Charlotte Adigéry or even a brass band, we provided dynamics and broadened the audience. It became an evening and a show of one-and-a-half hours with many surprises, a high tempo and a happy Minister of Culture on top.

This whole production could only be successful thanks to a constructively thinking client, a professional cast & crew and the very close cooperation between Sylvester’s events and television team.

You can re-watch the Ultimas show on VRT NU.