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Launching an Immersive Sci-Fi Story Universe With the Creators of Runner: The Omega Race
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Launching an Immersive Sci-Fi Story Universe With the Creators of Runner: The Omega Race
In this episode of #StoryFirst we're joined by Bryce Anderson and Blaise Hemingway, co-founders of Runner: The Omega Race. This project was launched by a team with deep experience developing a range of Hollywood blockbusters, including Hunger Games, Birds of Prey and Kate.

In this episode of #StoryFirst we're joined by Bryce Anderson and Blaise Hemingway, co-founders of Runner: The Omega Race. This project was launched by a team with deep experience developing a range of Hollywood blockbusters, including Hunger Games, Birds of Prey and Kate.

The Runner comics tell the story of a civilization centered around the Omega Race, a contest that gives the winner ultimate power over Planet Omega. "The Omega Race speeds through every nation on the planet Omega, winding through forests and jungles, deserts and swamps, mountains and canyons for 21 grueling days ... The price Runners pay is high: most will never cross the finish line, many will die, but the winner will get to rule all of Omega."

In this podcast, Bryce and Blaise focus on:

  • The link between their story and the Web3 ethos
  • Creating a deep and rich universe that remains consistent while enabling the community to make the story their own
  • The ways they are using the medium of comics to help introduce new fans to the world and capture their long-term interest and engagement
  • How the universe will expand over time.

The first installment of the Runner comics, a limited edition print run of 5,000 copies, will be released on June 14, 2022.

Runner: The Omega Race Links
-Learn about the Comic and Project

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Speaker 1: So they're willing to work in a more dangerous sort of like parallel way by threading these pitches. And that's kind of the great equalize in the race and to all about technology and how technology can be the thing that allows put upon marginalized people to get a voice and to get power. And it's the same thing that later a corporation may, or a person in power may use to oppress them. So that was sort of like, I think in Bryce, I don't wanna put words in your mouth, but that to me seemed like off the bat, like with that punk rock element and with the pinch element. Yeah. The first thing that identified as a web free parallel, it was the high risk high reward. Uh, the high risk high reward piece of the narrative that I think really drew me into crypto because I feel like the people that I know in crypto and especially the people that I've known in crypto for a really long time kind of coming up when you're throwing, you know, a hundred dollars into Bitcoin in 2013 kind of thing. It's like you're doing that because you know, maybe that a hundred dollars blows up and becomes nothing, but putting a hundred dollars into Amazon stock is not gonna change your life.

Speaker 2: Welcome to story first, a podcast where we shine a light on the web three Mavericks that are leveraging the power of narrative to create immersive NFT worlds. We investigate the art and science of story building through insightful interviews with creators, collectors, and investors. For those who seek a richer NFT experience. This is your portal to a vivid new realm of fiction. Story. First is a production of story. Prima doo, whose mission is to encourage the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through research, education, and project incubation story. Prema doo brings you the blockbusters of tomorrow.

Speaker 3: Hello, and welcome to the story. First podcast. My name is Devin Sawyer and I am joined by my esteem co-host and co-founder Barry Donaldson, AKA crayons Barry, say hello? Hello. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Together. We represent story prima, which is a decentralized autonomous organization with a mission to accelerate growth and success of story focused NFT projects through media research, education and project incubation today. On story first, we welcome Bryce and blaze from the runner community. Omega runner X is a new web three comic coming soon with a deep world and a very strong focus on story and community. We're really excited to talk about the project. So let's get started blaze, let's start with your origin story. How did you get into web three? And what is your role in the project?

Speaker 1: Really excited to talk story because I'm a, I'm a story geek. Um, my, my background is a, I, I grew up in Vermont, uh, went to college, started playwriting, went New York, did a little acting and playwriting and then found myself really loving writing. This is, you know, back in the late nineties, early odds, uh, came to Los Angeles in 2001 and, um, was an aspiring screenwriter eventually becoming a paid screenwriter in about 2007. Uh, worked at Disney for a long stretch. Had an overall deal there, uh, got into, uh, was invited, uh, by John Laster to join Disney animation, which is what he was running there, uh, at the time. And, uh, got involved in the story trust, right when tangled was coming out. So I was there for, you know, on the story trust for tangled, uh, frozen big hero, six, uh, God, what else was there?

Speaker 1: You know, bunch of stuff, Zootopia, Zootopia wreck it, Ralph. Thank you. Um, so it was an incredible run, incredible experience. Um, and then I, I left Disney. I, we tried to, uh, we tried to relaunch, uh, paramount animation. So I was involved over there. It's both a writer and a director. Um, I've written movies like, uh, vampires versus the Bronx, uh, Netflix, which Lauren Michael's produced and was, uh, a lot of SNL crew O Rodriguez directed that I wrote clip for the big red dog invitation for, for, uh, for paramount and a bunch of other stuff. You know, a lot of screen, a lot of what you do is a screenwriter is going in and fixing broken movies, uh, either right before they shoot while they're shooting or after they shoot. So that was a big part of my life. And, um, yeah, I was, uh, some of the people I would collaborate with periodically were, were Brian uncles.

Speaker 1: Who's a producer in Hollywood and, and Bryce who's joining me on the podcast and we were always talking about ways to do things or, or projects to work on together. And yeah, we started batting around this idea called runner, not really knowing how it would live a TV series, a movie, not sure just like building out a whole universe from the ground up. And, uh, and it really was Bryce's, uh, to bring it into the web three space. And my first question was what the is web three . And so, uh, I had to be educated. I really only knew about it peripherally. So when, my way in was the, uh, my co guest here. So maybe this is a perfect time for him to take over

Speaker 3: Great segue, Bryce, what's your origin story. And then let's hear about the, the project and, and what, and, and in the context of runner and web three.

Speaker 1: Yeah, of course again, you know, to reiterate, thanks for having us. It's always happy to talk to people. Uh, especially people are really focused on bringing narrative to web three. It's something I've been really passionate about for the last year. Um, you know, my origin is, you know, a lot like a lot of people in the film industry, you know, I grew up doing a lot of theater. I came out to Los Angeles, um, or I went to film school. I came out to Los Angeles knowing I wanted to work in movies. Um, I spent two years at United talent agency working with writers and directors from there. I went to go work in the, uh, creative group over at Warner brothers on the future side. Um, I was there for about a year and a half, and then, uh, went to go work for Brian uncle coming off the hunger games.

Speaker 1: Um, and we founded a new company called clubhouse pictures. Um, and we had a great run. Yeah. So we launched, we launched clubhouse pictures, um, back in 2015 and we've had a great run there. Um, one of the first things we did is we took a movie called bright with will Smith, and we sold that to Netflix back before Netflix was cool. Um, that was the first major blockbuster ever done there. Um, we had for a long time, we had the, the distinction of being the most expensive and least expensive projects ever done at Netflix. We had both, um, we've done a, a huge run of projects over there. We did project power. Um, we did Tate with Mary Elizabeth, Winsted and Woody Harson, um, and Cedric Nicholas, Troy, who's our director on, on runner. Um, we did, uh, a movie called along for the ride with the Sarah Dustin team.

Speaker 1: Um, we got a movie coming out with Lily, Ryan Hart later this year. Um, so we've had a lot of success over there, outside that we've done a lot of work with Margo Robbie. We did, I Tanya, um, pretty early on in the company and then went from there and worked with her on a Hulu series called bell face. Um, and then also on birds of prey for DC films and, uh, Warner brothers. And, um, while I was doing all of this while I was, you know, becoming a, a, a film producer, um, I've been trading crypto since 2013, just sort of on the side, you know, I've always loved, I've always loved to just, uh, you know, make investments and things like that. And I spent a lot of time on the internet. I would consider myself very online, um, and it was like early, early 2021, um, when I saw the people sale.

Speaker 1: Um, and when I saw that happen, I went, you know, I, I kind of knew what top shot was, but I wasn't, I'm not a basketball person. And so, um, I hadn't really paid attention to it. I saw the people sale. It was like, wait a second. Art art is coming to blockchain. And I was, I think my experience having traded pretty much made it a very easy access point for me to understand NFTs pretty early. Um, and I started trading things on like nifty gateway early on. Um, and I was just right place, right time, uh, in the board API club day one, and, um, have really gotten to see how that changed online communities, right. And how, how this thing that I've loved for so long, which is random online community, online kind of culture has jumped into the web three. Um, and I, and I think I spent most of the summer 21 waiting for that project to come along with, was going to merge storytelling, like real storytelling, the way I knew it in Hollywood and the web three culture, cuz there was so much potential for those two things to interact and I kind of sat back and I was waiting for it and I've, you know, I've looked a lot of projects that have really kind of pushed the ball forward in this way.

Speaker 1: But none of them, none of 'em quite hit the center of the target the way I wanted it to. And it was sometime around August or so August, September when I was talking about this with Brian and he was just like, well, what does it look like? Like what does it look like in, in the perfect world? What does this project look like? If you bring something to web three with story. And I was like, well, it kind of looks like runner, right? It kind of looks like this thing that we've been talking about for a year that we don't really know where it lives yet, but it's like, can we take that story and that universe and that world that we built and translate it to web three, cause it really lives there. And I think, you know, we, we talked about it with Cedric and with blaze and we started figuring it out and the, it was one of those, like, you know, you have a great story when the moment you try to change it to a medium, everything still works.

Speaker 1: And in some ways it fits better there yeah. Than it did where it lived before. And I think as we started building out, not just what the story was, but how we introduced people to the story, um, which in our cases like we're starting with a comic book, um, that is the lead in, um, becomes an allow list pass to a DFP project. Um, and from there it will spin out all kinds of other like tertiary media. Um, and the more we started building that system out, the, the more natural it felt kind of as a fit for the project and the market. And I think, you know, that was a really kind of exciting moment, um, because it was watching these two worlds that I've been part of for so long kind of slowly collide. It's been really, really fun.

Speaker 3: Tell I'd love to pull on that string. Tell us about what, what is it, um, what is it in that fit for you? How, how can you describe that to the audience?

Speaker 1: Um, some of it is thematic, right? Some of it's thematic in that. Um, I blaze, I should really let you pitch the story. Um, yeah, maybe I'll yeah. I mean I can it off. No, that's cool. I, we can talk. Yeah. Let's start

Speaker 3: With the story, man.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Story first. Uh, the story prima. Uh, so, uh, yeah, so the, the, the idea is basically, um, Cedric, uh, and, and, and Bryce and Brian were working on a film called Kate that, that Bryce talked about before at Netflix. And they were, you know, all over the world, Japan. And where else were you guys? You guys were everywhere on that thing? Highlights. Um, oh yeah. It's Thailand, uh, filming it. Um, Bryce and Cedric started batting around this idea about, you know, something involving cars, maybe futuristic racing. And, uh, Cedric was like, uh, who's French and I'm not gonna attempt to do his accent, but it's, it's very cool. Uh, you should definitely have him on this show cause he is a wild and fun guest. Uh, he came up with this notion of, you know, perhaps there could be these worm holes that you could use in the course of the race.

Speaker 1: Maybe you project forward a hundred or a thousand meters, maybe, uh, a hundred kilometers, um, in the course of the race. And that's kind of what they brought to me. And I had developed when I, in my time at Disney, I had developed, um, a futuristic racing movie and, and cuz John Laster was so hardcore about research. I had to like learn how to go to race cars. I went to F1 races. I went to, uh, all kinds of races. I got behind the wheel of an Indy three car and learned how to drive one. So I spoke to, I spoke to drivers. I learned about the car rally. So I had all this information about races, but the challenge in storytelling with races is essentially the stakes are kind of low. I mean, you can really, you can give a character a lot to like why it matters to them.

Speaker 1: But you know, it was always a struggle when you're doing a racing movie. So I was like, well, let's build this thing from the bottom, like start with nothing and give it the maximum amount of stakes. And that started with inventing a new planet called omega where unlike earth culture, where all cultures, basically every culture on earth is essentially a warrior culture. Whoever's the most kick gets to kill and then be in charge and then kill the neighboring. And, and that's, that's basically how it works today. I was like, what if instead of that, what if the currency of power on this planet was speed? Right? So whoever was the fastest at, at a most fundamental level in your tribe, whoever's the fastest in their tribe, becomes the chief to know that tribe. And then take that to the nth degree over 20,000 years of human evolution.

Speaker 1: Like what does that look like? You know, as you, and, and even though like the leader of these tribes would be called a runner as the fastest runner, what happens when that evolves to horseback riding to steam, to sail, et cetera, et cetera, all the way to these futuristic racers. And of course, as you guys know, especially in America in the west, we put so much money in technology and research into blowing each other up. What's the most effective way to kill one another. Well, what if we had invested all that time and effort into going as fast as humanly possible because that's the most important thing. And what if, in addition to it giving you power in your nation, there is also, uh, an omega sovereign, a sovereign over all of these worlds who wins 1 21 day grueling race called the omega race that occurs every cycle, which is essentially 800 earth days.

Speaker 1: And they are the top, top dog of this world by being the fastest. So that was sort of the notion I'm like, well, the states couldn't be higher than that because obviously an oppressive stuff and, and be on top. And the only way to take them out is to race. And so then I looped back in Cedric's idea about these wormhole. I'm like, okay, what if we have these things that we called pinches? And basically you had your, your pilot, your, your runner inside of this high tech futuristic racing vehicle. And next to them sat a pincher. The Pincher's job was to open up a pinch, open up a wormhole that the driver would then have to thread. Now, if you don't thread it perfectly, you could die or you could, or it does like incredible damage to your vehicle cuz you're sliding through this thing, depending on how far it's and, and the pinched, you know, Bryce of course always thinking web three, uh, immediately was like, oh, okay.

Speaker 1: So you have these underdogs that are willing to take this incredible parallel with, with the pinch where you have these underdogs that are put upon that wanna flip, you know, the P know, basically the power structure on this planet. So they're willing to work in a more dangerous sort of like parallel way by threading these pinches. And that's kind of the great equalize in the race and all about technology and how technology can be the thing that allows put upon marginalized people to get a voice and to get power. And it's the same thing that later a corporation may or a person in power may use to oppress them. So that was sort of like, I think in Bryce, I don't wanna put words in your mouth, but that to me seemed like off the bat, like with that punk rock element and with the pinch element.

Speaker 1: Yeah. The first thing that I identified as a web three parallel, it was the high risk high reward, uh, the high risk high reward piece of the narrative that I think really drew me into crypto because I feel like the people that I know in crypto and especially the people that I've known in crypto for a really long time kind of coming up when you're throwing, you know, a hundred dollars into Bitcoin in 2013 kind of thing. It's like you're doing that because you know, maybe that a hundred dollars blows up and becomes nothing, but putting a hundred dollars into Amazon stock is not gonna change your life. Right. It's just not gonna do it. So there was a sort of like this idea that you had to be broke enough at that time that investing in crypto seemed like a good idea because it was like, well, if you're gonna roll the dice, roll the dice hard.

Speaker 1: Um, and I think, uh, there was a real identification there with Ozzie and with these characters that are under the thumb of the Avalonian union. And, um, it, it really felt like there was this sort of this ethos to the technology within the story that really mirrored the technology and the community that exists in real life and, uh, you know, moments like that when they happen, when you're building stories. And then you figure out, um, this sort of synergy between the story and the medium and the, the real world you're telling are kind of those signposts that lets you know, that you're in the right track because then it allows you to create a story that's about something. But then it's about more than what it's just about. Um, and I think that's the key to building narrative that has longevity is that it has to have meaning to the community that is ingesting it.

Speaker 1: Mm-hmm there is another stories. Oh, sorry. Bla, oh no, no, no, it's quite all right. I, I was just gonna echo on that again. I don't wanna, you know, I don't wanna say that. I, I really did not understand this world going into it, the world of web three and it was really Bryce that brought me in and the more, the more I learned and the more I sort of like started taking a look at these different communities and how story was kind of happening in real time on social platforms and a discord and like people riffing on ideas. I was like, oh, this is perfect because we are building an entire world, like we're building a, a universe. And yeah, we can tell a select amount of stories in that space, but there are infinite stories to tell. And, and the comp that I sometimes use is like, you know, I'm a child of the eighties, I grew up loving star wars and you know, like you'd have like your loops and your Darth and your Lea and your ha of course, but then tho those peripheral characters that were on screen for two seconds in a Cantina, you could buy that figure.

Speaker 1: And, and even like the bounty hunters that they alluded to, they gave you a little bit of a taste, but we didn't even really know much about Bobba Fe. So you had to invent these stories and invent these histories. So the thing that got me excited, I was like, oh wow. Like our community can take these characters that are maybe on the periphery. And, and that fit into the larger fabric of maybe our story that we're telling, but maybe an entire different parallel story. Maybe they wanna tell stories about like street racing on the slums of corn, you know, which has its own sort of like subculture and reward. Maybe those people want nothing to do with a bigger race to control the whole nation. And that's where I was like, oh my God, this can live at multiple levels. And not only can this story be told in the web three space, but it must be told in the web three space, the more I came to understand it. So that was a very longwinded answer to your question. Hopefully we,

Speaker 3: No, it sounds like it's some target, the parallel hits, right? For sure. Like we love it. Um, you know, we love stories in web three projects that are focused on stories in web three, but what we really love, cuz it's much like what got us into the space with our invention of legends of cipher is stories with big universe that are trying to talk about what web three ethos is about, which is kind of flip the power on its head and give some of it back to those and what risks you might need to take to enter this world to try and frankly change the existing power structure. So I love the idea of, you know, threading the pinch, if you will, as a way to kind of think about changing the narrative of the game through the race where you could literally say no, no longer in charge.

Speaker 3: I mean that at the end of the day, when you go all the way back to read the, the Bitcoin white paper and you kind of read subs NATO's description, it's like to move money without the need for a bank. Yeah. That's a pretty big deal right now. Love it. Awesome. Barry. I'm sure you've got some questions yeah. Uh, I was doing some research on you guys, uh, before this meeting, um, and blaze, I, I saw an article, uh, on medium an interview and you talked about how, um, you talked about, you came up with basically so on your world instead of warrior culture, speed culture. And so then everything stems from that, but what that really talks to or speaks to is, is consistency of the world you're inventing. And I think that's something that's often overlooked in stories. Right. I, I remember I took a lecture, uh, once and it talked about Gabriel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez in like a hundred years of solitude and old man with enormous wings.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And it's like, you have your, you have your audience, what, for whatever medium of storytelling, right. It doesn't matter if it's a movie or a book or whatever. And you set the conditions for that world. And maybe it happens that there's this man washes up one day with giant ratty wings. And it's like, well, okay, the audience will accept that. And then you just move forward. Yeah. But you have to be consistent in that storytelling. Right. You can't start, you can have whatever rules, whatever rules you want to start with, but then you have to maintain those rules. Um, cuz people aren't stupid. Right. They'll, they'll poke, they'll see like the logical flaws and they'll poke holes and whatever it is you're doing. Um, and I'm curious, so if you're doing that, so like I'm the, I'm the head writer for our project. And so I keep that in mind a lot. And I see you guys talking about this and I'm curious how you kind of keep that, that idea of consistency. Um, how do you maintain the consistency when you're working with a bunch of people and then you're going to involve your community? It it's, I think that's very difficult. It's hard enough for one person, but then you involve more than one dozens or hundreds.

Speaker 1: Yeah. That's a great question. I was thinking hundred years of solitude as well. It's like, you're like, well, magic exists in this world and here we go, we're off to the races, you know? Oh God

Speaker 3: Crazy thing.

Speaker 1: It's so confusing.

Speaker 3: Crazy,

Speaker 1: Crazy thing gonna happen. What a, what an incredible read. Um, yeah. So as it pertains to this, it really, you know, um, you know, Bryce and Brian are incredible collaborators, but you know, creatively speaking it's it's Cedric and me are, are, are sort of like the two-headed monster, uh, for lack of a better word that, that, that is, that is at the heart of this thing. So when you talk about consistency, we're building out these various cultures, right? The cultures are informed by, by the climates. You know, basically starting with the premise, like speed is power, right? But we have climates that are, we have people that exist in archipelagos. We have people that exist in the Arctic and sub Arctic people that exist in deserts. So knowing those two factors, how does that inform their culture, their racing vehicles, their fashion, you know, you name it and Cedric and I, you know, we're students of the world, we love to read all about all different sort of things and use that to inform ourselves as we build out this new world.

Speaker 1: So we'll sort of like start talking about, like for example, um, there's, um, there's a nation on omega that's called NA Villa nave is made up of like a hundred different islands. It's it's an island culture and yes, they compete in the omega race, but their vehicle is heavily informed by thousands of, of like catamaran racing culture. So even though their vehicle goes on land, it has that aesthetic. Right. So cuz we know that like the racing evolution that they experienced is going to, um, is going to inform them as they translate to, to a larger race. Um, so a lot of it comes from conversations about Cedric and I I'll pitch out something, narrative, something character wise and then he'll challenge me and vice versa. And there'll be times where like, Cedric will call me right now, he's in Paris. Like he'll call me at 3:00 AM my time and be like, Hey, so I'm thinking about the first nations story for the culture of the Avalonian union.

Speaker 1: And you know, and you'll start telling me this myth and I'm like, bro, like you go so hard in the paint on this stuff and I love it, you know? And then so it becomes like a push back and forth on making sure that we're staying true to our central conceit speed is the currency of power. Speed is the, you know, is at the end of the day, that is what you're, that is what you are after. And how does that inform things like, obviously look with, if you're talking about, you know, you know, gods of old Greek gods, uh, north gods, like we, we wouldn't have an Aries, God of war, right. Hermes would be, we don't have a Hermes's in this world, but obviously Hermis would probably be the most powerful and important God and would have temples built to, to them he or her or, or they.

Speaker 1: So, um, anyway, that, that, that to me is, is how we kind of keep it consistent. And it's Cedric and I just kind of going back and forth in this friendly debate, um, both in the, trying to keep this world and this story in our best interests. Yeah. And then just to elaborate that on that a little bit, um, the next piece of it is really a management problem because we've got the story trust in two people. And then we have, you know, our full team with all the artists that everybody comes out to about 45 right now. Um, and I think, you know, there's a lot that we've learned in managing movie productions cuz on a movie production, you'll start, you know, like this in a little conversation of two, three people. And then in three months you'll have 600 people on set and you've gotta make sure everybody's moving in the right direction.

Speaker 1: And we've learned a lot, you know, having done that eight or nine times now as a company, um, there are, there are good ways to convey creative goals. There are bad ways to convey creative goals. And then there are times where you have to give a little bit of control over to an artist or a little bit of control over to a, you know, a technical director or whatever that is. And I think, um, it becomes a massive management problem that because we've been here before, we we're pretty well set up to handle, but we are, you know, we're approaching this production the same way we would approach a film production.

Speaker 3: Mm. Um, how, so you've got your employees, right? Your coworkers mm-hmm um, 40, 50 people. That's, that's an issue. But then once you give you, let this thing go into the world, the question is how do you maintain enough control with the community to keep it kind of pointed in the right direction? Like, so when I write, oh, I was just say like I write, I'd like to think of it as, as, as like dropping little breadcrumbs to try to like for the audience to try to mm-hmm, kind of take 'em to where you're going. Right. Because anybody that, that creates a project has some idea of where they want it to go. For some reason it's, it's not all just magic ball. Um, but so how do you guys foresee doing that?

Speaker 1: So one of the reasons we're launching with this comic book is because it allows us to kind of hold people's hands into one piece of our world. Like one very sort of limited story. Um, that's, you know, about these eight characters, we call them, you know, our, our core, uh, community characters, because the idea is that this is the story that becomes sort of the background myth for the entire universe that we're building. Um, individuals will have their own profile pictures. They will have their own unique characters that they can go and invent for. Right. And we've set up these rails so that people will have a certain idea of like where this character comes from and what that character might do. But beyond that, it's gonna be really open to the creators or, or the owners of those characters. If they want to go create something new or have that character participate in the narrative in some way, like they, they can of course, you know, throw ideas against the wall.

Speaker 1: And I think, um, the hope is that you set up an interesting enough world that the community understands and the creators understand kind of what those bounds are and they wanna work within those bounds because they're interesting. But the other piece of it is if they wanna create something that goes outside of those bounds. Okay. How does that work? You know, um, like tell us, cuz I think it's, uh, one of the unique opportunities of web three is to have someone kind of take your work and throw it back at you and how do you look at it and be like, oh, I never thought of it like that. You know, how does this, how does this function? Um, I think one of the other things we talk about a lot is like we talk about comics and you know, the world of Marvel or DC.

Speaker 1: And one of the things that makes these story universes so unique is that different people can come along in different decades, write the same character and vastly different timelines, different stories, different rules. And that's awesome. Right. And it, and I think you just like as creators everyone's first instinct is to clamp down and say, no, it's like this it's like that it's like this. But if you actually, you know, open up a little bit and, and kind of allow that sort of creativity to happen, um, you can get things back that you never expected. And that's yeah. What we're really excited about here.

Speaker 3: I'd love to stay on that for a little bit, cuz you know, that really brings the community aspect. Right. And there's many variations to think about web, about community, you know, fan-based community fan fiction, um, an audience you sell to, um, you're talking about now getting into creative feedback in possibly to your direct storyline. And one of the things that we know web three provides through the NFT and cryptocurrency and kind of creating that frictionless economic environment, it allows your product to take on a very different form for the community that can incentivize through intellectual property ownership licensing. Can you talk a little bit about how you're taking maybe tokens, NFT economics and using that to engage the community? Are you going as far as co-creating with them, what are some of the limits you see on IP, at least from your vision today and maybe talk about what you see possibly in the future?

Speaker 1: Yeah. One of the things that's so interesting about web three and the way I like to think about it, uh, is I like to think about it as people building brands as a collective, right? It allows a fandom as it would normally exist on the internet to suddenly monetize itself, right? Because instead of simply being a fan of Harry Potter and building out this fan fiction universe that you actually don't have any real ownership over, suddenly you become an owner of a token and now you have ownership in this token and it's, and it's, you know, it's worthwhile for you to put effort into this token, but it's also worthwhile for you to support other people who are putting other effort into their tokens to build out this entire universe. Um, and I think that that's something, you know, I get a lot of inspiration on this one from the board API club.

Speaker 1: It's like nobody expected there to be a fast food restaurant around this or a music label around this or a fashion label around this. And yet all of those things now exist. And though I don't have any direct part in any of them. You know, I am vested in the success of all of those ventures. I would like all of them to work because that is part of this collective brand that I've become part of. And I think taking that and doing that inside of a story universe, um, gives you these opportunities to create not only for your community, but create for the community beyond your community. Um, and you know, naturally I think the ones that are really good will rise to the top will have a life of their own. Um, some of the ones that do not maybe have the same traction won't have that. And that's, you know, part of the creative process and something you have to approach early. But I think it gives everyone this opportunity to create within a brand that is larger than what any one person could do alone. And I think that's the really exciting piece of web three is that we are all better in the long run, having a small piece of control over a much larger pie than we would fully control in our own tiny pies. If that makes sense.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Do you think either one of you guys, uh, think that this is kind of a leading question, do you think that the emotional buyin from the fans is more important than the financial buy in? Like if they feel strongly about it, like they hate the characters, they love the characters, it makes 'em cry. It makes 'em laugh. It's more important for the longevity of the project. Then maybe I can make a buck. I tend to think the emotions are more important, but I, you guys have done this more than I have, so

Speaker 1: Yeah, I'll speak, I'll speak first. And then Bryce, you go ahead and I think we're probably in sync. Like I can tell you as somebody who's been building this out for two years, um, the gratification of seeing our growing community start to engage and have opinions on characters and nations and hints of storylines and, and already starting to pick sides, like is far more gratify that, that, that emotional investment is far more gratifying. I mean, look, we need, you know, obviously I need enough money to survive. I'm not, I'm not a, I'm not a fancy person. I don't, I don't want a fortune. That's that's not why I'm here. I can make a lot more money, do another, but I love this. And if I could, I can't do anything else cuz cuz this is what I wake up. This is what I go to bed thinking about.

Speaker 1: It's what I wake up thinking about. So this is all I want to do. So that gratification is everything. And of course we want enough, we want enough money to finance growth, you know, maintenance, all that stuff. But without question, like I just want, that is what nourishes me, uh, more than anything else. Yeah. I, I would reiterate that several times over. I also think, um, the power of people who are committed to something because they love it is a lot of what I get out of NFTs. Like yeah, there's that little piece of me that brought me to them as just like, oh, pure investment vehicle. Like, can I flip on sentiment? Like that's kind of an interesting puzzle, but it grows boring after a couple of weeks. And then you get to this place. You're like, okay, what are the projects that I've really enjoyed?

Speaker 1: And I think about, you know, moments entire communities come together for online competitions or moments entire communities come together because something has happened in their communi and it just becomes this like massive conversation piece and this meme sort of of the weekend. And I think about things that have happened in the NFT space, where that is so much fun for me, that you realize that the experience of holding that NFT and the experience of connecting with those community members sometimes online sometimes in real life, you know, going to meetups in real life and meeting people from all over the country, all over the world who have this thing in common with you, that's this strange kind of obscure JPEG collection on the internet is spectacular. And for me it's like, that's, that's the utility of NFTs. It's like as a piece of entertainment itself, because owning, it brings you into that world. Um, and I like to think of NFTs that way. Of course. Yeah. You know, you wanna take care of people financially or you want people to, you know, have a good experience financially, but it's like, you can only control that so much, but you can definitely control how people feel when they hold something and that's, you know, what we're focused on. Hmm.

Speaker 3: Love to know more like tell the audience, um, you know, for those of them that might be considering your project, um, to join as a fan, but what would the NFT experience look like? So you mentioned the PFP collection comment coming soon. Maybe just give us a sort of a linear description of, um, what, how the product shapes his NFT for the community. What, what can they expect from it in the near term?

Speaker 1: Yeah, the near term. Um, we've got several iterations that, that are on their way. So the first one is serving as our allow list mid pass. Um, the, uh, second one is in coloring right now. Uh, it's super exciting. Obviously there'll be access, um, for our holders. I think, uh, long term we look at this as, you know, my, my goal is spin out a product like Pokemon where it's a comic, it's a television show, it's a game, it's a video game. Uh, it's collectible merchandise and it lives on in all of these mediums of simultaneously. Right. It's kind of hard to sit back and think about it and go like, oh, is that a, is that a TV show first? Is it a video game first? Like where, where does that begin? And I think, um, when I think about runner, I always say like my goal is to have a runner cereal box and it's like, cuz if we can get to the serial box, it means we have all these other things.

Speaker 1: Um, and that's obviously long term, I think short term, uh, bringing people in with the comic, getting people into the NFT, allowing people to explore this world and explore the story. Um, and then I think there are natural evolutions in the world that we're thinking about. Obviously it's all racing based. Um, so a racing element, some kind of vehicle element, um, things like this are stuff that we can, uh, we're definitely thinking about. Um, I don't wanna say too much, but uh, I think the goal is to make it a very exciting experience as a holder, a very exciting experience as a consumer and a very exciting experience, um, in the short term and the long term. And I think, I think if you're immersed in this community and you start to make that investment and you start to understand story in the world, you'll start to the roadmap will appear to you without us even saying it.

Speaker 1: Like there are some very clear, uh, places for this to go. Um, and we want to, we wanna offer that experience to the fans as much as possible without, you know, look, we don't wanna make promises. We can't keep as well. But one thing I can tell you is in terms of the comics and, and the issues, I have a hundred laid out already just to tell the, the arc of this story of these eight central characters that Bryce talked about before, making sure that we fulfill those arcs, that we see all these stories through. And the great thing about that narrative is it we'll explain the whole world and the history and give you a compelling narrative to follow. And then hopefully we'll give you enough data that you can then remix and tell the stories with your particular PFPs that intersect with that space?

Speaker 3: Uh, I question for you guys, have you given any thought to, um, so it's something I've been thinking about? So NFTs are they're new, right? They're, they're really pretty much just JPEG that are scarce, proably scarce. Mm-hmm, , there's some new functionality coming to them, but I am hopeful that in some number of years there will exist NFTs that evolve over time while retaining their non fungibility. They're still one of one mm-hmm , but they change, um, to show experience like a video game character. Um, and I'm curious if you guys have given any thought to such things.

Speaker 1: Oh yeah, absolutely. And I think that's part of our long term process is that, you know, getting into the NFT gets you on the Genesis token that allows you full participation in where this story is going. Um, you know, we've, there are obvious plans for a competitive element with, with the racing. Um, we've been talking with a, uh, well, I guess, I guess there's the first piece, which is, you know, can you compete as your character? Can you use your character to gain experience and to, to level up for instance. Um, but also we've been talking with, uh, we're working with layer zero that creates Omni chain projects. And so we're launching this on Ethereum, but it's also going to have its ability long term to jump into other chains, um, natively, jump into other chains. And that allows us to do all kinds of things with blockchain that aren't necessarily available to us on the, on the, you know, main net. Um, because you can do things where, you know, for instance, if a transaction requires, you know, a few dozen transactions on the EVM chain, you're in a real problem with gas. Um, but if you jump out to a cheaper chain, you can maybe build out games, build out functionality that can exist there and then port back to Ethereum and a single transaction. Um, and that's all being built into our product.

Speaker 3: That's that sounds cool. Yeah. We're we just totally crossed over there. Love it. Um, yeah. We're yeah, that's really cool. Yeah, that sort of puts a perspective back to your point around thematic fit with the story, right. That, you know, the kind of the, the, the ecosystem of blockchains come into life with the way you might transport the world, maybe there's parallels and chains in your universe. Really cool. Absolutely.

Speaker 1: And you, can you thread the pinch over to Solana for a day?

Speaker 3: Yeah, I love it.

Speaker 1: You know,

Speaker 3: I just, I get it. I, now I really get it. Wow. That's so cool. Cool. Um, we're coming up on the hour and I want to be respectful of time and, um, one cuz one of the key things that, um, you know, are the community of story premium and folks learning how to do storytelling story based projects, you know, and the reason we started story prima was because the, the market is largely saturated by derivative projects, as great as some of the OGs are, you know, uh, crypto punks and board apes and, and the success they've had. The derivative repeats have created a saturated market of noise where so much of the attention is on the speculative nature, um, of the, of the market. So it's, it's harder to break through today much harder than it was a year to a year and a half ago. So we'd love to learn from burgeoning projects trying to figure out how do you create awareness, um, when there's so much, so much noise in the space. So many other projects, um, when you've got a story based project that requires more attention from your audience to have those aha moments, what's your strategy on gaining awareness,

Speaker 1: Right. So what do you think? Um, you know, it's, it's a really good question. Obvious, like all entertainment comes down to marketing, um, and it's the unfortunate beast that prevents connecting their audiences a lot because it's really hard to do. Um, I think our goal is to consistently deliver a great product, um, to go everywhere, you know, talk to everyone, we can talk to podcasts. I've met every single NFT convention in the last year. I've been at all of them. Um, you know, meeting people on the ground, shaking hands, showing people, our deck, talking about what this project is and what it can be. And I think getting people, um, within the community excited about it, so that when we go to the launch, you know, there's people who are following us, who are, who are really watching us closely who have, um, you know, a lot of influence over the, over the community.

Speaker 1: And then I think, um, the, the next thing as you said is just to be original, you kind of have to like, you have to have a product you believe in and then you have to continue in it even while people aren't necessarily, you know, lining up to see it. And that's the really hard part about the creative about creative work is that, you know, it looks like these projects have all succeeded overnight, right? You're like, oh my God, you know, how did somebody drop, you know, whatever it is, a Zuki outta nowhere, how did they drop board apes outta nowhere? And that's not true, right? They drop these things after weeks and months of, you know, small batch marketing, you know, hand to hand, you know, person to person communication so that you get the word out. And then there's a moment where the tide shifts and everything kind of becomes, um, you know, call it viral.

Speaker 1: Um, well, in a weird, in a weird way, it sort of parallels like my career as a storyteller, you know, it's just like, it took eight years for me to become an overnight success as a writer, you know, like I'm in the trenches, eating and getting, and writing, writing, getting all the bad stuff, all the bad writing outta my system to finally have something that's good enough that breaks through. Right. And then you get these opportunities to write for stage screen, uh, writing pros, write books, like all that sort of stuff. It, it, it, it happens like that. So that's, so the thing that I would say that is the parallel with what we've been experiencing here is to build that small, but mighty fan base. Right? So when people engage with, with your content that you can go, you guys want to go down the rabbit hole on runner.

Speaker 1: Like I can go all night. You got a question, a follow up question about I'm like, we've thought about all this for two years. We're not winging it. We're like, well, maybe, you know, maybe they have a thing that does this. Like we aren't, we can give you, we can provide you with concrete answers on how this world and characters and, and everything is built out. So we're prepared to go deep. If you want to go deep, if you wanna engage with us, if you want to become a rapid community, uh, runner community, like we're ready for you, we have a lot for you to consume and we're excited to share and engage with you. So to me, like, again, I'm not the expert on this space, but people are people's stories story. And I know like, you want to go deep. You want to geek out, like we can do that with this.

Speaker 1: We're not winging it. We're not making it up as we go along. Um, but we're nimble enough to, to pivot and to change when our community tells us what they're liking, what they're not liking, uh, challenging the story, um, giving good notes. You know what I mean? Like the most valuable thing is a storytellerellers to have people that challenge your storytelling and, and you may not agree with them, but you gotta hear them and, and hear how they're, how you're people are responding to your story. So, um, yeah, that's my small contribution to the, uh, how to build awareness conversation

Speaker 3: Blaze. Did you, uh, did, did you save your rejection letters?

Speaker 1: Well, I mean, I, I have, I have so many well, it was . I, I did let them go. I mean, I, a lot of them were, were digital, so its easy to, they probably still exist, but yeah, that's I mean, and by the way, the rejection never ends even when you're a working writer. I mean, I just got this project that I thought a major studio, like we, we were taking, it was a new idea that we were taking around town. We brought to all, this seemed like a slam dunk, great package, huge underlying IP, great adaptation, least, I thought so. And it was like, we're gonna have a bidding war. This is gonna go amazing. And I just got, I, we just got our final path. Like it's a bus, it's a bus for all that work and effort. It's a bus and you know what that's, that's part of the cost of doing business.

Speaker 1: Like you kind of yeah. You drive and with the, the one difference here with web three is that like, you know, we're taking it straight to our audience and, and, and that kind of feedback and that back and forth is dynamic and is happening all the time. Like there isn't the gatekeeper in the traditional sense. And I love Hollywood. We rice too. Like we, we love Hollywood. We love like what that affords us and, and that's still our world. That's still, we operate in, but there's an opportunity here to, to, Hey, we're telling the story right now, right now. Yeah. The audience, hopefully the audience shows up. Hopefully we're able to take it to all the places that we can imagine, but we're telling it now it's happening. You know, like

Speaker 3: I think that's the, I love it. That's, that's the consistent theme. I mean, that's, you know, it's, it's not easy. Um, but it is direct to your audience, right? It is the creator with the audience in the room. It's not after it's gone through the marketing machine to spit out the, you know, the ads and the reels and, and every, and the strategic marketing plan it's boots on the ground. And this is how you create audiences, how you create community. And that's, you know, that's what we think is the really exciting part to bring it full circle to web three is that it's a GRA, you guys are building a ground up story ground up with your community direct involvement and your sag it yourself to the community, which is, uh, awesome to see. So, um, any parting thoughts, um, before I go into a couple, uh, fun, last one. Fun. Last question.

Speaker 1: Thanks for having us. Yeah. That's my part. I thought that's been really fun talking, so I, uh, awesome.

Speaker 3: Yeah. It's been great having you guys, um, yeah, appreciate it. Okay. I got one thing. Yeah. Barry, I'm waiting impatiently for the sequel to bright to come

Speaker 1: Out. Yeah, me too, man.

Speaker 3: Fabulous movie. I love is this. I'm glad you like it, it, I thought it was gonna be garbage and I watched it. I'm like, this is amazing. And uh, I waiting impatiently.

Speaker 1: Thank you. It's a, it's a labor of love for us. Um, there's a whole other podcast built into will Smith's current standing in Hollywood. It

Speaker 3: . Yeah, but, but

Speaker 1: That we'll, we'll save that for another

Speaker 3: Time. Yeah. Speaking of pivot, there you go. Awesome. So, okay, so guys, final question for you. Um, you know, given, given your, um, your background coming from Hollywood, uh, I think you might like this one. So in your opinion, in say number of months, years, days in some sort of duration, how long till you think a web three born community based project is, um, electing its members from its Dow to go up and accept a mainstream award like academy award or a golden globe. Oops.

Speaker 1: Oh, that's cool. That's a cool idea. Um, I think it's probably like, that's, that's a real question and something that we've been really concerned, not concerned about, but I think something we've been really focused on with this, which is that you can create content for the web three community, but the web three community is, you know, 50,000, a hundred thousand people really who are really active. Um, and in Hollywood, if you're not getting half a million viewers a week, you get canceled in a traditional television sense. So it's like, how do you cross the divide between the people that are involved in the project, in the web three space, which is obviously awesome, but then can you go launch mainstream content from that crucible that goes out and gets, you know, 5 million, 10 million, a hundred million viewers and viewers who, by the way, maybe don't even know what NFTs are.

Speaker 1: Maybe aren't even involved in the NFT, um, but creating a fandom outside of that world. So that, that would obviously bring back more attention to the NFTs itself, support the NFT community through that sort of notoriety. Um, and at the same time that NFT community is generating so much of these ideas and sort of play testing these ideas that go out and become mainstream content. And so, um, that's my goal. First we'll talk about awards later is to get, how do you get those people that genuinely love it. Yeah. Um, and then, and then how do you create something that people love even when they are not a holder? Um, yeah. And that's something that we've been really focused on as well. Yeah. And I, I mean, I don't, again, I don't want to, I, the last thing I wanna do is shoot myself in the foot by something I say, you know, although, although I've known to, uh, no, uh, what I, what I would say is, I think, you know, this is gonna sound sort of self-serving but projects like the one that we're building here are built, they, you know, they're, they're in this nimble form right now, living in web three, living in comics, um, we're we can leap to production very quickly because we have the story for it and we have the personnel for it.

Speaker 1: We've all done it before we do it all the time. So, um, we can make that jump nimbly. And if it's exceptional content, that path to awards is shorter. Uh, but it's also something you cannot control. You know what I mean? And, and to me, the award litmus is far less important than a rabid fan base than a real people who are genuinely excited to me. It's like the stuff like my favorite movie of all time is Ghostbusters. I've loved it through every age that I've grown. Right. The show the movie has grown with me. I didn't like Peter Bankman. He seemed like a meanie when I was eight. And then he became my favorite character. Right. So to me, that's far more important than having a statuette. Not that I wouldn't mind a statuette, but, uh, but that, that community in that engagement that's, that's the thing cosplay, like, I'll give you an example, sorry.

Speaker 1: When, when, when vampires versus the Bronx came out on Netflix in 2020, we had people show up trick or treating at our house, uh, in, in doing cosplay. It wasn't a lot, but like that was greater than any award ever like a kid showing up, dressed as a character from a movie that we thought was like kind of punk rock and small I'm like, that was so satisfying. That's the goal for me is to see the internalization of story and character and, and, and that's, and that's ownership. You know what I mean? That's like that proto ownership before web three, right. Is cosplay. That's your way to kind of remix it and limit it. So that gets me so excited.

Speaker 3: Somebody, uh, we, we got turned into our first meme today and, uh, we were all super excited. congrats. You know, you've arrived and arrived in web three when somebody turns your project into me. um, awesome. No, love it, guys. I'll tell you one quick, uh, one of our last guests in the, the podcast, um, here Monday, um, said, you know, forget mainstream awards let's make our own. So I think that's an interesting way to think about it as well, to your point. It's a different, it's a different measurement model. When we talk about the passion of the web three community and the ground up storytelling, uh, we might need to make our own, so, um, want to thank you both again for coming on in absolutely. Um, spectacular show, love the conversation, learned a ton. That's our goal here at store prima it's to pass on knowledge and promote great projects and great leaders in space. And you're both that for sure. So thank you.

Speaker 1: Thank you guys. So much

Speaker 3: Guys

Speaker 1: Could have done that could have done three hours easily. Appreciate

Speaker 3: It. Easy for next time.

Speaker 4: Yeah.

Learn about the PRIMA Airdrop and Our First Incubated Project: Legends of Cypher
Learn about the PRIMA Airdrop and Our First Incubated Project: Legends of Cypher
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