Friday, December 3, 2010

International Competitions the fickle finger of ?

England has lost it's bid to host the Football World Cup in 2018. Congratulations to Russia is in order. 

Once again the wisdom of entering  International Competitions raises its head. How fair is it? Well not very.

My first experience with international competitions came with the TV light entertainment competition the Prix de Rose which is held in Switzerland. I had always dreamed of entering this competition since I first saw it as a child on my Grandfather's early TV. It seemed so glamorous and for me unattainable but in 1987 I had a TV programme, 'Dance Tales Story Ballets' that qualified.

The previous winner had been The Muppet  Show a kidult entertainment and my 'Dance Tales' was in a similar vein. 

The first problem I met was at TVNZ who just said that because of the unfairness of the judging TVNZ no longer entered any TV programme in international TV competitions. It wasn't worth it but I could enter as an individual if I wanted. Unwisely I did. They took my money and my programme was disqualified as it was deemed a children's programme. There was nothing I could do. The winner was a bland Austrian programme with Julie  'the hills are alive to the sound of'Andrews OK but nothing original or outstanding. The Prix de Rose apologized prettily said they had 'made a mistake' and hoped I would enter another programme next year. I felt the whole thing was so unfair.

In the Canadian version my programme never even made a screening although it had just finished as a finalist in the USA LA Monitor awards for Best Edited Programme. I began to see the wisdom of NZTV's decision. TV Awards everywhere are tainted by self interest and that includes Oscars and Emmies.

Recently I entered the  UK Royal Ballet's Composition competition. I put in quite a bit of thought and work and although I did not win, two Englishmen did, I think I deserved an honorable mention as there were only five entries, three of which were mine. Had I lived in London, was male young and could have attended the awards ceremony I might have fared better. I did not expect any recognition but coming last hurt. The Royal Opera House asked for innovation but when they got it they ran for the cover of  acceptability. Never mind my entries are faring well on YouTube, possibly better than the winner whose entry is safe and ordinary where as mine were at least imaginative, fulfilled the criteria and are not boring.

The BBC's World's radio play is another no no. You enter and that's it. The winner is always an African and there is no feedback. My play written over a decade ago was about child abuse in RC schools. It was obviously too hot to handle in the light of the present situation. I had no idea at the time that this was a familiar occurrence. This yearly competition is still running. Don't bother is my advise. Your manuscript like mine will be put in the waste paper basket. You never even hear who wins.

FIFA is a 'questionable' organization. Three members had been suspended for taking bribes and the BBC  Panorama expose of corruption in three of the remaining members on the voting committee meant that it was not possible for England to win. It would have been a surprise if it had. 

To win you have to do everything that your competitor does plus a bit more. If other competiors are allowed to bribe or influence the judges, and the USSR was very good at that in the past, the competition is not worth entering unless one does it for experience or in the knowledge that you are not going to win. In NZ at an International Rhythmic Gym competition I was told frankly that unless Australia won they would not be returning. Australia won although in questionable circumstances. The judges made a 'mistake' in Australia's favour admitted it but would not correct. Very tough on the gymnasts who rely on fairness.

I knew I had no hope with the Royal Ballet or in fact the USA Guggenheim Competitions but it was fun to enter and I learned a lot and if a similar competition  arises I shall still enter.  

England never had a hope with the Football World Cup. It had hosted it in the past and pointing out that some of the judges were bribable was not a 'good idea'. If you enter this sort of circus you do so at your peril and should not be surprised when you are kicked in the teeth. The temptation by the judges to humiliate is too good an opportunity to miss.

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