This summer, freelance creatives Josh Weiss and Sunita Deshpande started The Side Show, an awards program exclusively focused on honoring side hustles and projects. More than 500 submissions later, the two have—with the help of a robust judging panel—chosen the inaugural winners.
The pair created The Side Show to celebrate the artistic endeavors and hobbies that creatives often do outside of their day jobs. According to Weiss, the first year was largely a success.
“If I had to guess, I’d say we’ve gotten enough good feedback and results from this one that we will be doing it again,” he said.
In addition to the Best in Show honoree, we’ve rounded up each category winner below. The Best in Show winner received $500, while all category honorees took home $350.
Best in Show: ‘WindowSwap’ — Creators: BLKJ creative group head Sonali Ranjit and Leo Burnett associate creative director Vaishnav Balasubramaniam
You may have already stumbled across WindowSwap, a site that lets you look out of someone else’s window with the click of a button. Ranjit and Balasubramaniam, who are married, came up with the idea during lockdown in Singapore. With travel discouraged (and in some cases restricted) due to Covid-19, the site lets people take a break from their usual views and get a glimpse of cities, beaches and rural landscapes across the world. Anyone can share their window view on the site; all they need to do is upload a 10-minute video of it. In addition to winning Best in Show, WindowSwap also won in the business/product and social good categories.
Best of Category, Visual Arts: ‘Supersize Them’ — Creator: Álvaro Palma, freelance creative director
What would the mascots of fast-food chains look like if they regularly consumed the burgers, fries and shakes they so eagerly shill for? Palma imagined a world where they do just that. In the style of a retro cartoon, these mascots are shown in a different light, one where they gobble up their companies’ menu items in an eerie factory setting.
Best of Category, Music: ‘Glotis’ — Creator: Evan Miguel, senior copywriter at Fitzco
The inaugural winner in the music category is Glotis, an album by Miguel that he describes as “bedroom pop with anger management issues.” Miguel said the album was “written and recorded over the course of several years traveling the country working in advertising, because I have to create to stay alive.” Chelsea Tijerina, an art director at 180LA, developed branding for the album.
Best of Category, Film: ‘Stoop Symphony’ — Creator: Michael Reiner, writer at Camp + King
Reiner directed “Stoop Symphony,” a short documentary that tells the story of how Saul Richmond-Rakerd, a cellist who lives in San Francisco, began performing mini outdoor concerts on his porch this spring. His performances attracted locals who’d been cooped up due to Covid-19 and were craving some fresh air and live music. “I was interested in telling a story about connection, that showed the triumph of creativity in the face of challenge,” Reiner said in his submission.
Best of Category, Performance Art: ‘WeWork Street’ — Creator: Deanna Director, freelance senior copywriter
WeWork offices were once ubiquitous in New York City (before the pandemic and its failed 2019 IPO). Upon seeing a New York City phone booth with a discarded office chair sitting alongside it, Director decided to transform one into a faux WeWork to dupe passersby on the street. She pulled off the stunt with help from a production crew and Improv Everywhere, a comedy collective that stages performances in public places.