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Someone most probably stole my Assembly Award prize money

category: parties [glöplog]
Hi there! This is Jorge Fuentes aka Zomb. I made "It's not about the money", which got 4th place in the short film compo at this year's Assembly Summer demoparty. It also won the Assembly Compocrew Honorary Award. I'm very, very grateful for this recognition. I also made most of the graphics for 1995 by Kewlers and MFX which I love seeing people love still nowadays, and a couple other minor productions.

So, this year I finished an old project of mine that I started way back in 2004. The soundtrack was made by an old friend of mine, David García aka Armidas. It could use some love since back then we lacked quite a bit of technical knowledge, resulting in some parts being a bit drowned in the mix. So I thought about asking for help to Arto aka Little Bitchard aka LB given its experience in the field and past collaborations. He gladly accepted to master the audio (thanks again!). Not only that, he also presented the production at the party since I wasn't going to be there. What a marvellous way to be done with this production, I really couldn't ask for more. Always dreamed of presenting something of my own at Assembly.

Fast forward to Assembly's short film compo, where people seemed to dig it judging by the public reaction. My prod is definitely not a crowd pleaser, so I was extremely happy and nervous to hear such a reception. Also very proud of the comments it's getting here on pouët.

The next day came and Jussi Laakkonen aka Abyss of Assembly org and prize ceremony host announced that given that there were only a couple oldschool compo entries, they decided to create a last-minute category to award one production out of every demoscene-related entries. I can't put into words my surprise when he read the name of my prod and my name. I haven't been very active in the demoscene as a demomaker, so this is a big deal to me, given how much the scene has given me through the years.

Arto got on stage and received the prize for me. He was as kind as to mail me the diploma right that week.

Fast forward a couple weeks, I check the prize ceremony again on youtube. I notice something that fled right over my head the first time around. Jussi mentions they actually put back some of the money from other compos to give to the winner of the Honorary Award.

This is very weird, Arto would have told me about this. So I write to him and he tells me that he also heard that from Jussi, but since no one gave him anything he just thought Jussi was referring to something else. I write to Jussi and he tells me that indeed, there was some prize money for the winner. He double checks it with the person that supposedly gave Arto the envelope with the money and this person (I don't know who this was) does recall giving the envelope to him.

A couple mails between us three go back and forth, no advance is made. Assembly's way of giving the prize money goes like this: as soon as a winner walks off stage, there's a person there to hand him an envelope with the money. Arto claims no one ever approached him. Jussi claims the person who hands out the envelopes did. And that's where we are stuck right now.

So yeah, maybe someone stole my 500€ prize. And indeed, "It's not about the money", but it would really piss me off to know someone would be as big of a douche as to steal someone else's prize.

Why am I posting this here?
Simply reaching out to Pouët to ask for help. Have you attended Assembly? Have you by any chance know anything about this? Do you have any recording of that moment in the prize ceremony, off stage? Did you maybe overhear anything related to this somewhere?

TO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR, I DO NOT DOUBT ARTO OR JUSSI AND THE ASSEMBLY ORGANIZATION. I trust Arto, and Jussi was very kind and wants to get to the bottom of this, which I appreciate. I just want to know what happened. I want to think this was some kind of a mistake, but it really looks like someone just stole it. Jussi already ruled out the possibility of the envelope never existing, he saw it.

Jussi let me know that next year the prizes will most probably be handled differently, requiring winners to sign a form stating they received the prize, etc. He tells me it's the very first time in 22 years this has happened. It saddens me to know that, because of this, the rules will have to change. That people in the scene will no longer be trusted in good faith.

This is all very unfortunate. I'm very happy for the honorary award, to see my prod get the recognition. But this leaves me with such a bittersweet taste. I would love to see this get sorted out in any way, and share my prize with my collaborators.

Thank you for reading if you got this far, and thanks in advance for your help. Please let me know if you find out anything. Congratulations to all the winners!

TL;DR: Someone most likely stole my Assembly Award prize. Do you know anything about it?
added on the 2014-08-18 18:25:26 by zomb zomb
Honestly it sounds like the people with the envelopes weren't told about the last minute change and either didn't prepare it or forgot to hand it over. Administrative mistake.
added on the 2014-08-18 18:35:27 by Gargaj Gargaj
that's fucked up. :/
hope it didn't get lost or stolen.

maybe one of the other winners got it by mistake?!

or Arto got it and lost it somehow, having no recollection of ever getting it anymore, i mean i love him and all, i don't think he would do such a thing on purpose, but stranger things have happened on last day of party hangovers.

hope someone has more info on wtf happened there. :S
added on the 2014-08-18 18:37:18 by psenough psenough
@gargaj that's the funny thing. The one who supposedly handed the envelope told Jussi that he does remember not only handing it, but also that he kind of hesitated about handing it or not at the last minute since Arto was a representative, not the winner. And finally deciding to do hand it over. Maybe it wasn't Arto but some other winner's representative? Hell if I know.
added on the 2014-08-18 18:53:45 by zomb zomb
<off-topic>@OP: I liked your writing style. </off-topic>
added on the 2014-08-18 19:03:50 by panic panic
I think it's possible that it's a mistake. Did the envelopes have anything written on them? If not, it's possible thar someone honestly thought it was for him. Going on stage, with all the TV cameras and lights and everything, and imposing as LB who's pretty well known ... The whole prize was a surprise, so who could even plan such a thing.
added on the 2014-08-18 19:46:59 by yzi yzi
@yzi I don't think that's possible since, to quote Jussi, about the prize money:

It was handed out in a white A5 sized envelope where the
name of the award was written and the envelope had brand markings of

So, yeah... a mistake is always possible, but the envelope clearly stated the award's name.
added on the 2014-08-18 21:07:19 by zomb zomb
Oh by the way, you can also help me by sharing this thread with people you know attended Assembly. Every bit of information is important. Thanks a lot!
added on the 2014-08-18 21:13:45 by zomb zomb
I didn't notice and can't remember what our envelope was like, or what was written on it. It was quite dark in the hall, as it always is, and we wanted to get home, as the whole thing was already running half an hour late, and I had a two-hour drive home. We did of course check the sum, but the envelope? No idea really. Maybe someone got a "happy surprise". Anyway, I think Pouet has pretty much complete coverage of all the relevant people.
added on the 2014-08-18 21:56:46 by yzi yzi
zomb, I don't know you and I'm covered for an alibi as I was in different hemisphere during Assembly this year but - a little advice.
Earlier this year on one of my pracs (I'm doing a B.Ed in Primary School) we had to deal with kids stealing off each other - someone had nicked someone else's 3DS game.
The teacher wanted to do a blanket "no one leaves to go to lunch until someone owns up" type of thing. I respectfully interjected and got permission to deal with it my way. I told the kids that I knew that altho they weren't supposed to I knew that some of them brought their 3DS's to school and played together on them. I suggested that one of those kids may have inadvertently picked up the wrong game when they were putting them away. I told them that the class would be open until after lunch and that if that person wanted to return the game they just had to leave it on the teacher's desk. I then took them out of the class for a play before lunch. End of lunch - game sitting on teacher's desk (the kid that we had suspected needed to "go to the toilet" during our playtime on the oval - the teacher talked to him a couple of days later about respecting other peoples property).
My point is - if you accuse anyone of stealing you're far less likely to get a "good" or positive result than if you give someone the opportunity to right a wrong. No-one's likely to return your 500 euro because they don't want to be branded a thief. If you had maybe suggested that someone mistakenly took the wrong envelope you might have pricked someone's conscience enough that they might have tried to get the money back to you.
As it it is this thread comes across as a bit of a witchhunt. Trust me the only outcomes out of that are that you'll never see your money and you'll breed mistrust amongst people - many who are probably your friends.
I am sad that your money was stolen and I agree that whoever took it did so knowing that it wasn't theirs and that was wrong of them, but by posting like this you've pretty much guaranteed that they won't feel guilty for having taken your money. On top of that you've also made a lot of innocent people wonder if it's them you're accusing.

TL;DR: You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
added on the 2014-08-19 07:52:16 by ringofyre ringofyre
It was quite dark in the hall, as it always is, and we wanted to get home, as the whole thing was already running half an hour late, and I had a two-hour drive home. We did of course check the sum, but the envelope? No idea really.

Totally plausible - If it wasn't an very shiny demoish envelope it's very likely that someone took the money out and just threw it away, without any bad intentions.
added on the 2014-08-19 08:15:31 by las las
How weird!. Hope you can sort this out!
added on the 2014-08-19 08:26:16 by lesandie lesandie
@ringofyre thanks for your story, but the title of this thread already implies I'm not 100% sure of this. Also, let me quote myself:

So yeah, maybe someone stole my 500€ prize.

Plus, take a look at this:


So, not starting a witchhunt at all. And as you can see on that quote, let me repeat this again, I do not doubt Arto or Jussi and the org. I'm not calling anyone a thief since I don't have the info, which is what I'm after. So please refrain from spreading that idea.

I don't rule out the possibility of a mistake, Arto and Jussi know that's where my mind was from the very beginning. That's why I reached out to pouet, to gather more info. I just want to know what happened. I need more info. Given all the info that I have until now, though, it does look like someone just stole it. Willing or unwillingly, that I don't know. That, or something incredibly stupid happened, like the envelope just fell from the hand of the guy who handed them and went under the stage without him knowing (unlikely, since he recalls giving it to someone).

Also, and to answer @las - I don't know, it could be. I would have noticed an extra 500€ in my prize though, but yes, it could be. I don't have the means to check that, other than posting here and hoping for someone to come up with some news or recalls of that day.

Again, I'm not calling anyone a thief, I don't have the info for that. I'd be very happy if someone took it by mistake and stepped up saying "whoops, my bad, it came inside my prize money and I thought it was a last minute extra". I wouldn't call that person a thief but rather thank him/her.
added on the 2014-08-19 09:27:20 by zomb zomb
I think you have missed my point completely.

I wish you every luck in getting your stolen money back. Personally, if I were you, in light of how you're handling it - I wouldn't hold my breath.
added on the 2014-08-19 09:42:52 by ringofyre ringofyre
I kind of agree with ringoffyre. Just post your bank account/bitcoin adress/snail mail and hope for the best. I wish you good luck, I hope it gets fixed.
added on the 2014-08-19 11:32:45 by numtek numtek
@ringofyre I did get your point and thanked you for your story, just wanted to make sure the intention behind that part of my message you discussed later got through since I think you interpreted it in a different way as intended. It's a delicate matter and it really doesn't help if you spread the idea that I'm looking for a thief, starting a witchhunt or that I'm making a lot of innocent people wonder if it's them I'm accusing. I'm not doing any of that, so please be accurate with your words. I'm merely looking for info, should anyone have it. Hope this is clear for anyone reading this thread.

About handling this differently, well, different strokes for different folks. I appreciate your point of view and I get it, but please don't try to put a different light on top of my message.

@numtek thanks! I'm not too sold on the idea of posting my personal info online. I think anyone knows how to reach Assembly in case the money is found or new info arises.
added on the 2014-08-19 12:05:59 by zomb zomb
I'm not doing any of that

But you still wrote "stole" instead of, say, "took" or "lost" or "accidentally mishandled" in the topic.
added on the 2014-08-19 12:58:10 by Gargaj Gargaj
@gargaj yes, just as I later wrote "willing or unwillingly". English is not my first language. Is it possible to edit the topic name to better summarize my message, which is pretty comprehensive?
added on the 2014-08-19 13:29:19 by zomb zomb
"Assembly prize missing" would've also been a nice, neutral way of putting it. Wordings aside I have no info, I was already at the zoo when the prizes were given out. I kind of doubt anyone there actually intentionally taking your prize for themselves, though.
added on the 2014-08-19 13:31:34 by msqrt msqrt
just recheck the youtube video again who is near/around Arto when he walks offstage? either one of those people have it, or the ASM dude indeed didn't give it out and the envelope disappeared somewhere on their end.

maybe you can get a finger print reader to compensate for your loss ;)
Hey Zomb! :) Long time no see :)

Not that I know anything, but normally if I go to a party and get a prize (normally for someone else but what the hell), I have no clue what the prize money will be. So if someone hands me an envelope in a dark hall and it has money, I don't question the sum because I think it's supposed to be like that. From my experience, that is a pretty common thing. It's not about the money, after all ;)

Anyway, IIRC Arto was alone on stage for that pickup, so he would probably have gotten down from the stage alone? If he didn't get anything, the envelope might have been handed over to whoever was next in the prize giving (4k? Can't remember).
added on the 2014-08-19 13:43:16 by leijaa leijaa
@msqrt while wording on the topic name could be better, I think I made it clear in my posts that while the current info I have makes it look like someone actually stole it, I'm still unsure about it, and trust both Arto and Jussi. Thanks for your input, again I don't (want to) think anyone would steal it, I expect better from the demoscene, but honestly, it's all too weird. Maybe it's precisely because it's so weird that it actually was a completely unpredictable accident, like the envelope somehow sliding behind the stage or whatever. Absolutely not ruling out that possibility.

@Maali the offstage isn't shown in the video. A finger print reader would be nice! haha
added on the 2014-08-19 13:44:16 by zomb zomb
@leijaa hey Leia! Indeed, long time no see :D

That's a completely plausible theory. Great idea, I'll check who got next in the ceremony and ask. Many thanks, that helps.
added on the 2014-08-19 13:47:55 by zomb zomb
1k it seems. Also, Arto at least walked the "right way" to be handed more stuff (I assume the stuff gets handed out on the left side of the stage, it used to be like that).
added on the 2014-08-19 13:49:34 by leijaa leijaa
But yeah, not looking for a thief and using the word "stole" doesn't really fit together :) Languages are hard..
added on the 2014-08-19 13:52:01 by leijaa leijaa


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