Below is a letter Mr. Ajakwe told me I should send to Hollywebfest. I believe it paints a clear picture of who the true bully and aggressor are in this unfortunate situation.
In it he claims that Hollyweb called the Radisson to inquire about holding Hollyweb there. I know this to be untrue as Raleigh Studios was already booked for Hollywebfest. I have heard about this supposed phone call many times now and I do not know where they got the idea that this happened, but it simply did not. Somebody somewhere had a miscommunication and now LA Webfest is under the impression that Hollyweb tried to poach their space. I will not share other aspects of a private e-mail, but since I was urged to send this to Hollyweb, I feel I have been given permission to share it here.
Again, I did NOT write the following. These are Mr. Ajakwe’s words.
“Dear Friends-Of-Mine-Who-Run-Hollyweb, are you aware that LAWEBFEST just instituted a new Exclusivity Clause that prohibits entries from submitting to any other web series festivals in Los Angeles taking place 30 days prior or after their event? You knew this was coming, right? I mean, how long did you think they were going to let you get away with leeching off of them like you’ve been since you started Hollyweb? You guys should’ve established your own time of the year a while ago. I mean, c’mon, it’s been three years and you’re still sucking on the tit of this other festival that was in this time of year long before you were. Since they could clearly see that you guys had no intentions of carving out your own identity on the calendar, you left this guy no choice but to do what he did. I know it seems like he’s messing up the party, guys, since IAWTV throws a big party after LAWEBFEST and before Hollyweb and the ISA Awards just moved into that space between you two– but the truth is, guys, LAWEBFEST doesn’t owe you anything. You’re not partners or friends. Hell, you’re competitors. You came out of the box trying to capture their audience when you planted your inaugural dates right smack on the same weekend that Mike always held his festival at the end of March. I mean, what were you guys thinking by doing that?! That was clearly a declaration of war. The last two years, you’ve just planted yourself right after his festival. Because he’s never said anything to you, you probably thought the guy who runs that festival is soft and was just going to let you do whatever you wanted without regard to his festival as you’ve been doing all along. Just when you thought he was your lap dog, he throws out an Exclusivity Clause and people like me, who have already submitted to your festival (which began taking submissions in June but did not reveal your dates because were waiting for your lap dog festival, LAWEBFEST, to reveal its dates so you could ride its coattails the way you do every single year) are torn. When we applied to Hollyweb, we did so under the assumption that we could also apply to LAWEBFEST. Now, we can’t. See what you guys did by being followers all these years, and not leaders. If you were doing your own thing instead of riding LAWEBFEST’s jock, they wouldn’t have an Exclusivity Clause. And, by the way, did I hear that last year you even went so far as to call the Radisson LAX Hotel (the former home of LAWEBFEST) to inquire if you could do Hollyweb 2014 festival the week after LAWEBFEST at the same hotel? I am aware of this because Mike says the hotel management called him last year and told him that you guys actually were trying to see if you could do Hollyweb at the Radisson LAX right after LAWEBFEST? Boy, I hope that’s not true because if it is… I’ll forgive you for that act of war too because you’re my friends and, while I like and respect Mike, he’s not my friend). Even so, friends or no friends, you guys know I think the world of you and think Hollyweb is a great festival, but I really feel you should seriously consider making your own moves independent of LAWEBFEST so that producers like me won’t have to feel like we have to choose and we can take advantage of both of these cool L.A.-based web series festivals. Guys, you know I love you both, but I had to tell the truth about this, I had to keep it real, as they say. Keep it 100 (they say that too). I hope we can still be friends even after I’ve shared how I feel. Maybe instead of viewing LAWEBFEST as rocking the web series boat in Los Angeles by creating this new rule, maybe we should think more about why they came up with it in the first, how your festival played a role in it having to feel it had to add such a clause to protect the interest of its festival, and to see if maybe there is something that we can do to where such rules are unnecessary and producers like me who are L.A.-based can truly enjoy two separate web series festival experiences here in Los Angeles. Thanks for hearing me out, friends, I hope we will still be friends after you read this email.” Your true friend (who would never lie to you, for you, or go to jail for you),”