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The Hedgie Fund: Raising Autism Acceptance With Purpose-Driven, Creative Storytelling
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The Hedgie Fund: Raising Autism Acceptance With Purpose-Driven, Creative Storytelling
In this episode we welcome the Hedgie Fund, which is focused on raising autism acceptance and awareness.

In this episode we welcome the Hedgie Fund, which is focused on raising autism acceptance and awareness. The Hedgie Fund is "more than just another 10,000 PFP project ... it is aiming to create a substantive and sustainable initiative, powered by animated storytelling, that will fund independent film-making and provide support to autism charities world-wide."

The team talks the Hedgie Fund's origins, its connection to the autism community, their unique brand of storytelling and the role of NFTs in their project.

Watch the Hedgie Fund film teaser below.

The Hedgie Fund Links
- Mint a Hedgie!
- The Hedgie Fund Website

StoryPrima and #StoryFirst Links
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-Watch this episode of #StoryFirst on YouTube
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Speaker 1: And so we're not necessarily trying to, trying to appeal to anybody's, uh, sense of, of, of investment. This isn't an investment to be able to, to flip the next day and sell for, for, for twice what you pay for it. This is an investment in, in a project with real people with real results. Um, and, and I feel very strongly that this, that this project is, is one of the few out there, um, that is actually trying to tackle something and do it without, without dollar signs in their eyes. Um, and so really that's, that's kind of the main goal. And so it really has to be a grassroots thing that, that, that we have to, we have to bring people in. We have to show people and, and get them interested as much as we're interested in this in, in telling this story,

Speaker 2: Welcome to story first, a podcast for we shine a light on the web three Mavericks that are leveraging the power of narrative to create immersive NFT world. 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 Ram of fiction. Story. First is a production of story. Prima doubt, whose mission is to encourage the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through research, education, and project incubation story prima brings you the blockbusters of tomorrow.

Speaker 3: Hello, and welcome to the story. First podcast, a weekly show where we talk about web three NFT projects focused on story. We believe story focused, NFT projects are built to last and will form the foundation of a new breed of hugely influential properties and gaming entertainment, art, and beyond the hashtag story. First podcast highlights the Mavericks who are leveraging the power of NFTs to tell the blockbusters stories of tomorrow. My name is Devin Sawyer and I'm joined by my esteem. Co-host and co-founder James dev. James, please say hi in a quick intro.

Speaker 4: Hey guys, how y'all

Speaker 5: Doing? Um, my name's James I'm the art director for legends SIPER and, um, also part of the team at the Stuart Puma. That's about it.

Speaker 3: Yes. Thank you. Uh, my name is Devon also, um, one of the founders of legends of cipher and, uh, story prima do, uh, story prima is a decentralized autonomous organization with, uh, mission to accelerate the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through media research at education and project incubation. But we are not here today to talk about us today on the hashtag story. First podcast, we are most honored to welcome Matt and Mike from the Hege fund community. Um, we're honored to host this podcast to highlight a great story first project, but one with a greater purpose to support an important cause. Bring awareness to autism acceptance. As we speak about this project, um, it is available for minting on gala galas. I myself got the NFT. We might talk about that later, but, uh, gentlemen, please say hi to our audience and introduce yourself.

Speaker 6: Hi Matt.

Speaker 3: Hey Mike. Yeah, let's start with you, Mike.

Speaker 6: There was that like lag. So I just jumped in there. Sorry. Yeah. Yes. Hi. So, um, thank you so much for having us. This is very exciting. Um, my name is, uh, Mike and I'm from Johannesburg South Africa. I run a small independent animation studio here, um, and we do mostly 2d and, and stop motion. And, uh, yeah, I'm sitting here amongst some of our sets that we've built some for this project, some for an upcoming project and, uh, yeah, that's me. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 3: Great. Thank you, Mike. Matt.

Speaker 1: Hi. Uh, yeah, I'm I'm Matt. Uh, I'm also in Johannesburg, South Africa. Uh, but the accent, uh, says that I'm American. I've been living here for 16 years. Um, and Mike and I are close friends. Um, and yeah, I'm, I'm a co-founder of, of the Hege fund. I'm not, I'm not necessarily involved in the animation side of things, but I'm, I'm, uh, much more into the crypto and NFT side of things, so I helped start that up.

Speaker 3: Awesome. Yeah. Thank you. So what, you know, we, as we looked into your project and, and we had some discussions prior to the podcast, it was, uh, exciting to hear that, um, you know, the, the, the, the heady, the heady story, um, has been in the works for some time, and it's a great cause. And, and, and Matt you've kind of come in to help bring it to the crypto space and leverage the opportunities with NFTs to raise funds for the project. I, I believe you described it as one of the first short animated films to, um, to be produced, uh, through fundraising through NFTs. So that's pretty exciting, but, um, you know, and we'll definitely talk about at today, but let's start with the story. Um, just tell us the origin of the story, what it's about, what, what, what, what, what we get the audience excited about watching this animated film?

Speaker 6: So, Sam, the hedgehog is the, the animated short film that we've been working on for, uh, about eight years now. And Sam, the hedgehog is a short form about an autistic hedgehog raised among sheep and told inverse it spreads the message that, uh, people with autism, autistic people, um, aren't, you know, need to be valued and accepted for who they are. They don't need to be fixed. Um, and autism, uh, it started off as an autism awareness project, but we've really come to embrace the, the concept of autism acceptance, uh, which is, you know, goes a step further. And, uh, yeah, so, um, we, we started pitching this project, uh, years ago, like I said, and, and we, we pitched this, we came with this loud idea of a, of a hedgehog as a metaphor for autism, um, uh, around the table where we were pitching different ideas with just with friends.

Speaker 6: We were like, we wanna make movies, but we've gotta start some way. So, um, and, and we, we didn't have that many ideas, my, my business partner Johan and I, that, that were there that night. And, and, and, but we, we had this idea that stemmed from a meeting of an autistic hedge, and someone said, oh, that's such a great, like, metaphor can write a script for it. And we were like, yeah, sure. That would be amazing. And like, I kind, it's snow rules from there. Um, so yeah, we've been working on this little short film for a while now, and along the way, um, I have a nephew that was diagnosed with autism. We've got a junior animator that joined us, uh who's on the spectrum. Uh, and so the subject matter's really been kind of certainly a part of my life, but, um, uh, yeah, so, so this has kind of been our passion project now for, uh, for several years. And we, every, every time there's a lull in the studio, then we jump on sound the hedgehog and get a few more frames done, or shoot a few more background plates. Um, yeah.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And I, I love that, um, you know, that central to the opportunity, you know, there's many ways, uh, we could, uh, I too have a nephew, um, uh, with autism and yeah, I mean, I love the fact that you're spreading the acceptance message and what a cool way to create an animated story about it. Um, similar to our, um, you know, our own project, legends of cipher, we really wanted to tackle the debate of centralization versus D E centralization as it is the ethos of crypto and web three. And we felt that a science fiction story kind of takes some of the edge off the conversation, allows it to happen a little more organically, a creative way to bring narrative to life. And it sounds like you found that in Sam, the hedgehog a way to educate and, and maybe entertain at the same time,

Speaker 6: Know we were our kind of like the ultimate dream is to, to not just tell stories, you, you know, we, um, as a studio, we come from a background of, of like explainer videos and adverts and, you know, getting soap kind of selling soap kind of gets old really quickly. And, and we were looking for a story with meaning, and that's the ultimate dream is to tell a story with meaning. Um, and, uh, I think, uh, you know, you, the, the most compelling stories always mean something more than just, um, or stand for something more than just, um, the characters involved and the, and the, you know, the nuts and bolts of, of beats and, and, and scenes and whatever, it, there's an, a larger sort of theme that's infused through everything. And, and that's, I mean, that's really, what's driven this whole project is, um, is that message and that theme and, and

Speaker 5: The, yeah. Mike, could you maybe go into some of the symbolism? You mentioned it just a couple of minutes ago, the, you, you, you guys were spitballing around the table and, and you said that a hedgehog was a great, uh, a great metaphor for autism. And I imagine that all the other characters being sheep has some sort of symbolism to it as well. Could you maybe dive into that?

Speaker 6: Yeah, absolutely. So, so I mean, that's where it started. We were like, um, a hedgehog is, uh, ill bit prick on the outside and, uh, Matt's daughter actually has a hedgehog as a pet and, you know, I try to hold it once and it's, it's, it it's very quickly and like gets a bit a, and so, so an animal, uh, uh, a hedgehog is very quickly on the outside. It's very kind often jumps up into a little ball and, and hides from the rest of the world outside. It's easily overwhelmed by, um, uh, you know, inputs, um, sensory inputs. And so on, like that describes an autistic kid pretty well. I mean, autism is such a huge fear and there's so many different, um, ways that people, um, are, uh, affected or, or experienced or present autism. But, um, but we were just like, that's perfect.

Speaker 6: Um, he, he's, he's a little bit pricky on the outside. Um, takes pride, easily jumps up into his little ball, but on the, on the inside, he's really soft and cuddly and, and, you know, needs, love just like any other normal kid. Um, and then, and then for the, uh, neurotypical people, the normal people in the form, then, um, we kind of went with sheep, you know, we all like sheep of Ghana, stray kind of, she sheep almost symbolize like the herd or the like that yeah, that works quite well. Um, at one stage we wanted to make it goats actually. And then Sam went to school and the classroom was full of goat kids. And, but we ended up going with sheep and, um, but then, um, through the course of the form, you know, it starts off where there's Sam, mom and dad are sheep is sent off to lamb school.

Speaker 6: All the kids are sheep there, staff at school everyone's sheep, but then slowly during the course of the form, you realize, no, no, no, there's a lot of different looking sheep for, for a, for a start. But by the time you get to the end of the form, you're like, oh, there's PO occupy and there's hippos. And there's like, actually the world is a regular zoo and there's, you know, so many different types of, of people out there. And, um, and that, yeah, that, that, again, back to that central message of like, um, acceptance, you know, and not just autism acceptance, it's a theme that actually quite universal, it can be applied to gender or race or any other, um, number of, of, of things.

Speaker 5: Awesome. So that, so that, um, uh, that perspective opens up through the film. Is that, is that what you're saying?

Speaker 6: Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 5: It's quite quite closed in and, and, and the difference is noticeable. And then throughout the film, you kind of get glimpses into there being just, you know, a wide variety of spectrum of personalities out there.

Speaker 6: Exactly. And then there's sort of a patic scene, uh, towards the end of the film and, and, uh, you see a lot of characters then in one shot and, you know, then you realize, oh, there's, there's a lot of different animals out there. That's really cool. Um, yeah, and I mean, we, we've talked about ideas of like taking it further one day, maybe, maybe rabbits represent down syndrome kids, or maybe move away from like, um, conditions like that. And, you know, there, there there's various ways we played with, you know, taking that, uh, sort of similar symbolism further. Uh, love it. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Um, that's a good segue, you know, talking about the, the characters, um, I'd like to, to talk about the origin of taking this to web three. So the NFT fundraising, um, what inspired that? Why

Speaker 1: Should, should I answer that one? Mike

Speaker 6: yeah, yeah, no, you go ahead.

Speaker 1: So, so, so, yeah, so just to preface it, um, I think Mike has done many, many has, he's explored many different avenues of funding for this film. Um, and currently as it stands right now, it's, it's 60%. Am I, am I right? 60%?

Speaker 6: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Roughly funded, rough, roughly a bit 60% funded. A lot of that has come out of his, out of his own pocket, um, to be able to fund that, but I've known him for a long time. He's done, um, crowdfunding on indie Gogo, um, and, and gotten, gotten grants, small small-ish size government grants to be able to produce this, to be able to produce this film, but it only got so far. Um, and so couple of years ago, I, I work as a digital media store. I just, um, I, I, I offered to help perhaps like maybe do some paid media advertising yeah. That didn't necessarily work out. Um, but nonetheless, when it was about August of last year, August of 2021, um, and, and it was the height of NFT summer, what day everybody called it back then, um, and NFTs were just popping off left and right.

Speaker 1: Everything was popping up, um, several, I mean, heck many projects per day. And, and I was just thinking about Mike Michael's project, um, and how, how amazing it would be to make like a profile picture project out of Sam and how easy that would, that would be because all of the assets are already there. He's already done so much of the background sets. He's done so much of the, of, of the animations already. And so I started working on a PowerPoint presentation to, to my friend here and made him like a 28 slide PowerPoint presentation, went to his house on a Sunday afternoon in my, in my best clothes, sat down, plugged into his television, told him to get his kids in outside didn't play so that I could have some time alone and I presented it to him. And I'll tell you what that presentation was like.

Speaker 1: Probably the one, one of the most fun presentations I've ever, ever worked on and presented. And because like I said, it just, it just started all the ideas just started coming with how, with how you could build, take that story that he's already, already worked on for all these years and create an NFT on of it. And then be beyond that, be able to, to, to be able to add so many extra features and, and, and utility and functionality and, and community engagement, all those types of things. Um, those types of ideas just really started to come through pretty easily. So that's kind of how we, how we got started in that. Um, and it, and it really comes out of necessity. Um, because, because here in South Africa, as, as I mentioned, the, the funding for this, there's just not enough. There's not enough, uh, people to be able to, who can afford to be able to give to, to essentially a charitable project. That's creating a movie about autism awareness, that's going to be released for, for free to the public. And so, and so there were, there were times where, where the project was wasn't, wasn't going to be able to be finished. And so reaching out to the web three community, reaching out to the NFT community is a whole new whole new audience, a global audience that we can, that we can reach from, from here in South Africa.

Speaker 3: Love it. I'm gonna, um, share my screen quickly, cuz I would like to talk a little, I I'd like to dig in a little bit to how you've kind of brought Sam the hedgehog to life as an NFT. Um, so hope hoping this works, uh, in the actual podcast, uh, recording itself. Yeah. Okay. So this is on gala galas. So, uh, Glaxo another, uh, partner of story prima as well, a great NFT, um, uh, exchange and distribution platform. So really excited to see it there. Um, maybe talk about the, uh, galas partnership. Like what, what, what was it about, uh, Sam, the hedgehog and the NFT that brought you into the Glaxo?

Speaker 1: Um, yeah, I think, I think the, the main thing there is that is that Lexus gives you the opportunity to be able to add all those extra utility layers as part of your NFT. So many NFTs are, are just a JPEG. And so we like to, we like to say not just a JPEG when we talk about our project or similar projects. Um, and so we're able to add in the utility traits badges that describe every single detail of, of each layer, whether it's the background or Sam's prickles or his hat or, or whatever he is holding his hands, all these objects and props, which are from the film, by the way, um, these are handcrafted props and handcrafted sets from the film and then there's 2d, uh, animation or illustration, uh, on top of that. Um, and so, so yeah, we have physical redeemable and digital redeem, as you can see here.

Speaker 1: Um, and the badges, like I said, explain all of the, all of the artwork layers. Um, but I think, I, I think what really stands out with the badges in particular, which I like to highlight the most is the fact that we're able to explain a little bit about why there's, so there's the deep tell that we put into each NFT is there, for example, like there's, there's, uh, certain, certain arm actions that that Sam does in, in each of the NFTs and one of them is called stemming and that's where he is waving his hands up and down. And it's essentially, it's essentially an, uh, what autism, a person with autism or an autistic person would, would do to, to self sooth in a way. And so that's something that I think is foreign to a lot of neurotypical, uh, people. And so, so using these badges, we're able to, to essentially educate and spread awareness and spread education about, about autism and autism acceptance.

Speaker 5: That's one of the things that's one of the things that I notice note test immediately about, um, about the NFT when I saw it. And I think it was something to do with the wallpaper. It was like the level of detail that you guys went into, um, from a story point of view, you know, to support the, the, to support the environment and to support the immersion and the story you went in this so much detail. Um, and that, you know, to me, that really tells like great, great story making. Um, and it's just, so it's just so exciting that you're actually educating as well, like providing that, um, you know, for, for example, that, that Steming arm action is

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Speaker 5: People are gonna look at that and, and firstly think, well, what is that? And then, um, and then learn about it. And, you know, that's, that's more information in, in their mind and, and that's more acceptance out there, so really great, great job on that case.

Speaker 3: Yeah. We've, we've been, uh, we've been obviously studying the NFT space and, and all the pro project they're in. Um, I haven't, I can't say I've seen too many that utilize utility traits in any form, um, or the scarcity traits or the rare traits, however you wanna refer to them as an educational vehicle, but, um, that's brilliant. So yeah, I, I did, I went ahead and bought my own, um, mid to my own. So I guess what, what I could expect now and what I hope our audience, uh, gets out there and makes their own, um, and what can we expect that, uh, eventually our characters will be showing up here and, yeah,

Speaker 1: Yeah. So, so we, we, we haven't done the art art to yet, so that'll probably be at the end of the month. Um, and then, and then there's also the drop of the, of the badges, which is all those descriptive traits. That'll probably happen at the same time as the artwork reveal. And at, at, at a later date, we'll also be dropping, um, various utility trait. It's like the cameo appearances, um, props from the film, um, merchandise from the film, that sort of thing. So, so each, each NFT stands a chance to win or to win to, to have one of those many different types of utility trades that we have.

Speaker 6: Yeah. I was gonna jump in there earlier and say, my, my favorite of utility traits is the comeya role. And so we actually did a similar thing with our Indigogo, uh, project, uh, campaign a while back and, uh, in 2017. And we had, we designed a bunch of the like background characters off of, um, people that contributed to the campaign. So we're doing the exact same thing. Now we've got the final cl scene and we've got 10 slots, uh, because the films 60% complete, they're still, you know, room to squeeze a few more background characters in and, and we're gonna, 10 people will get a cam role and they can send us a photo of themselves or their dog or whoever. And we'll design a character. nice based on, uh, based on that property in the film and you can yeah,

Speaker 3: Love it. And so the mid is on, I think another nine days it's live and for nine more days, and then, and then the reveal at that point.

Speaker 6: Yeah. So April is autism awareness world autism awareness month. 2nd of April was world autism awareness day. So we, we launched our public sale on the 2nd of April and it's open for the full month of perfect of April. Uh, uh, yeah. And then the reveal happens, uh, it's like two or three days later, gala galas rolls the dice and jumbles all the numbers and , amazing. Yeah. However that works and everyone gets to see what they got.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Exciting.

Speaker 6: I, I did wanna, um, just tag onto what James was saying earlier, if I may, David. Yeah,

Speaker 3: Please, please.

Speaker 6: Um, just to touch back on the, on the storytelling and how so, one of the things that I got really, excuse me, excited about this whole NFT thing was, uh, specifically for Sam, the hedge of was, um, it's opening up the, you know, new ways of funding and community building and stuff like that, but it it's opening up new ways of storytelling as well. So, um, when we were so, so one of the things that made it a no-brainer for us was, um, that we've got the characters, we've got the sets. We could just, you know, photograph them and, and put them the, the, um, the effort needed to get the NFTs artwork together was, um, you know, it wasn't nothing, but it was relatively easy. But when we were going back through the, the, the sets, cuz uh, we hadn't worked on the, on the film for a little while.

Speaker 6: And, um, we, we had a lot of interns coming through when we built the sets. Um, and adding little everyone's like added their own little piece. And I remember looking at the school noticeable, which is you can see the sets up here that the school office is there. and this is notice board. And one of the interns had written something about, you know, please don't eat the playground grass or whatever. And I was like, that's, they're all I that's gonna it into the film. No, one's gonna be to see that. But when we put the wall or that background into the NFT, there's it opens up new ways of just fleshing out this universe and showing little details like that, that would never have been noticed in the, in the film, but have, have been put in there. They'd been thought about somebody sat, the haven't thought about that.

Speaker 6: Like what, oh gosh, I've gotta make a school notice board prop, what am I gonna put on the school notice board? And, and if someone's like put a little piece of themselves in there and thought about it and um, like the, the, the family photos on the wall there, um, they actually feature quite prominently in the, in the, um, in the film, in the opening sequence, but, but there's a, there's a story behind each and every one of those films and you only, uh, photos, and you only see them for a couple seconds, but you know, there's, there's photos from when Sam's a baby and, uh, you know, the family photo. And they went to, uh, the, the photographer studio and Sam threw a foot and he like sit still for the photos. So the best one they got is like mom and dad holding Sam and Sam was doing, you know, causing chaos. And that was, you know, bad day in life was the time family and anyway. So it's just like, yeah, no, Immersive is a whole new, um, yeah. Format for, for storytelling.

Speaker 5: I it's really high value because you watch the film and you enjoy the film and learn from it. But the, the NFTs, even if you're just, even if you're just browsing, it slows the film down for you. And it allows you to go back almost frame by frame and see the, the detail that's that's been put into set. And that's sort of one thing that I really want to, to touch on because, you know, um, the NFD world is, is, is full of, um, artwork of varying qualities and standards. Um, but the sets behind you are absolutely incredible. Like, can you go into some explanation of just how much difficulty it it takes to, to build that. In fact, I'm sure I saw in my research of your studio, I'm sure I saw you. You Laing, um, if that's the correct term

Speaker 6: Yeah. So there's a little, have

Speaker 5: You built, you built that on a lathe, have you?

Speaker 6: Yeah, so, you know, we thought, ah, this will be easy. You know, we'll be able to buy half the props off of like miniature stores and dolls houses. You never quite find we've been able to acquire a few things that way. But the rocking chair was like, this is Sam's rocking chair. It's an important part of the, he, he rocks on the it's, it's a former stemming. It helps. We're like we wanted a really nice rocking chair and we, we like this sort of old school style. We just couldn't find one. It was pretty enough or the right scale or anything. So eventually I was like, okay, fine. We're just gonna make it. Um, but wow. Then we didn't wanna just sculpt it out of clay. A lot of our, a lot of our props have been sculpted out of clay. Let me just go this one.

Speaker 6: Yeah. So like, here's the, the globe on top of the bookshelf, um, we use scopy clay, but, uh, which is really great. You bake in just a, um, you know, a home oven and painted up with acrylic. It, most of our stuff has been built like that, but we, we wanted the wood textures. And so I went down to a rabbit hole of like, let's make, make this rocking chair. Okay. So it's easy, right. We just need to put a couple pieces of wood on a layer then we'll, but then I couldn't use a normal layer cause a normal layer is too big and eventually long story short, lots of YouTubeing and Googling, uh, uh, we have a little Dred rotary tool and a, a like custom built lathe rig that ran off the Dr. Rotary tool and then used tiny little, um, wood carving, uh, chisels to then lathe all the components. Uh, and then they're all this really,

Speaker 5: Isn't just storytelling. This is, this is arts and crafts meets storytelling.

Speaker 6: Yeah. It's

Speaker 5: Absolutely incredible down to the textures and fabrics that you have. And I mean, I imagine even the wallpaper and I see, I see brick work behind you. Like, are those, I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if those were real miniature bricks

Speaker 6: yeah. So this is, this is for another project that we're working on for a client actually, uh, those bricks were interesting, cuz I don't know if you, you, you might not be able to see, but what makes them come alive is the, is the shadow, right? And they, the 3d shape of the bricks. And so the way we did those was we sculpted them out of sculpty clay as well, but like a, a little, like a little segment with like jaggedy brick, edges. And, and then we made a mold and cost a whole bunch of them and then they could fit together and we kind of tiled the whole, the wall with that and then they get painted after it. So yeah, we like to along the way and I mean the, the wallpaper up there, it's in, it's in one of the NFTs, I think we printed out like 30 or 40 different versions before we got all the right colors and the right whatever. And um,

Speaker 5: And you designed it, your team designed that House, Somebody came up, somebody came up with a concept and then you, you guys divine it, this is no ordinary NFD project

Speaker 6: Now. So someone sat and painted little watercolor of

Speaker 3: Like, yeah, I mean, when you talk about the

Speaker 6: Rarity flowers and

Speaker 3: The rarity traits have the heart and soul of, of the artists in them, um, and it's pure creation, so that's pretty epic. Amazing.

Speaker 6: And I think, you know, you're talking about this story telling, I mean, for me the story of a hedge grey sheep and the that's one story, but there's another whole story of like how film was made and yeah. You know, and, and that's, that's kind of like a concurrent that's part of the story really. Uh, you know, and that's why, that's why we've been trying to, um, put out, we we've shot loads of behind the scenes footage at every stage of creation. And, um, you know, I grew up like watching like glory of the ring, you know, hours worth of behind the scenes. Uh, and I love that stuff like, oh my goodness, that's how they made the all costumes or the, this the, that. And, um, I, I just remember that was for me as a, as a youngster, that was like the magic where the magic was. And, um, so we, we, we're trying to tell the story of making the story as well as, you know, the story itself. It's part of the story.

Speaker 5: And then that's one of the value buy-ins of the NFT. Is it, um, Matt, you said that some of the props are, did you say some of the props are available with some of the NFT tricks? Is that

Speaker 1: Correct? Yeah. Yes. So, uh, a, a small amount of, of the NFTs will get the, get the prop utility trait, which literally will mean that we have, you have to docks yourself first, um, and tell us where you live, but we'll send it to you. Um, we've been discussing how we're gonna package it and, and display it to be able to send off to, to whoever wins those, those things. Whether, whether it be just a, a, a hat from, from the film in the NFTs or, or an actual piece of furniture, I think there's, there's, there's a few different types of props that we'll be giving away

Speaker 5: Is Sam's rocking chair one of those giveaways, or is that staying with you, Mike

Speaker 6: Over Mike did buddy . Yeah. I, you know, maybe as like a high value, one of one or something eventually . So I, I think this was not part of the initial, uh, batch of physical redeemable, but there's, there's, I mean, there's so many more to choose from. So, um, yeah, when we, like Matt said, we want package it nicely, uh, in a little, um, container, you know, like a little display container with a nice, um, badge on it and stuff. And so be kind of like a, a really nice keepsake display itself.

Speaker 3: I'd love to, um, pivot a little bit away from the story, but not too much, because I think it's a really important connection point. And that's in the intellectual property that you're essentially packaging in a beautiful way in the NFT. So the community is, you know, owning, I assume they're, they're Sam, the hedge ho and the attributes associated to it. Um, so I'd like to use that as a segue to talk about community and how, how are you guys approaching community engagement with the NFTs? What are the plans or what have you done, or what do you plan to do there?

Speaker 6: You wanna think?

Speaker 1: Yeah, sure. Um, I think, I think one of the, one of the first things that we've done as, as a project was, was just to, to be, to be recognized and entrenched with the, with the autism community, which is, which is surprisingly quite, quite, um, large, even on NFT Twitter, like, uh, uh, um, if you, if you're, if you're a part of that, uh, social network, um, we've, we've met so many different, um, different people who either have children or who are themselves, um, uh, are autistic. And so, so that's, that's really one of the first things that, that we've tried to NCH ourselves with. Um, beyond that, I think, I think it just goes back to goes back to, to be being able to, to get people, to be a part of a part of the film. And so, so really that's, that's getting to, to see the behind the scenes content to be able to, to have early access to the, to the film before we release it publicly.

Speaker 1: Um, and, and, and just be able to have all those physical things that, that, that really tie you back to the film. And so that's, that's one of the big things that, that we really wanted to, to really lean into was that was that we're not, we're not some, some big movie studio that's printing 10 million t-shirts and selling them at, at every, every single, uh, outlet mall across the kind, I mean, the, this is, this is a community project done by real people. And so when you join our discord, you can, you can ask questions, engage with us and, and we'll actually answer. And I think, I think that's a, that's a big difference between between the regular film industry and, and an industry like, like this with web three and, and what we call film three. Um, and so, yeah, I think, I think getting people interested is, is one of the first, first hurdles.

Speaker 1: So, but once, once they find out about how, how rich this entire entire project really is, I think people really become, become quite quite close spans. We have quite a few people that, that are very near and dear to us already. And, and the community itself, obviously being built upon, upon acceptance of autism acceptance, it, it just lent itself to a whole, a whole, a whole nature of, of, of just ex of acceptance. And, and yeah, I think community is, is the word I'm really looking for here, but, but yeah, so I think, I think that's one of the main things that we're trying to do. The one thing, the one thing is, is that, is that we can't really offer like rev a revenue share because this film is going to be, be released free of charge to whatever new network or platform is, is able to take it.

Speaker 1: And so, and so we're not necessarily trying to, trying to appeal to anybody's, uh, sense of, of, of investment. This isn't an investment to be able to, to flip the next day and sell for, to, for, for twice what you paid for. This is an investment in, in a project with real people with real results. Um, and, and I feel very strongly that this, that this project is, is one of the few out there, um, that is actually trying to tackle something and do it without, without dollar signs in their eyes. Um, and so really that's, that's kind of the main goal. And so it really has to be a grassroots thing that, that, that we have to, it, we have to bring people in, we have to show people and, and get them interested as much as we're interested in this, in, in telling this story.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Maybe I could jump in on that as well, in terms of like the IP and the business model and so on. I mean, what matters described really stems from much earlier in the Sam, the hedgehog journey where we committed to release the, uh, the final, short film, um, to the public. And, um, we, we made a decision quite early on that. Um, you know, we tried to sell the, the idea, but we're told at festivals that there isn't really a business model for short films, you can't on really seller short form. Isn't really a market for that. Most, most short forms are, are like R and D projects for, you know, Pixar or their, um, uh, grant funded, uh, in Europe, that sort of thing. Um, so we, we thought, well, let's, let's try this differently. We gotta, we gotta come up with in innovative ways to, to fund original storytelling.

Speaker 6: And we, we with, we tried corporate sponsorship, which almost worked, it didn't quite, we tried the crowdfunding route and that, that helped us to enabled us to build all the sets, which was a huge milestone. And, and then NFTs came up. And so, so at its core, it's always had a, a very like charitable kind of nature. And a lot of people have put in Goodwill, um, into the project, like, you know, voiceover actors giving their voices for free and stuff like that. And, um, so we, yeah, so, like Matt says, it's not really a project that, you know, meaning for you to flip and, and, but then there's still the, there's still the IP. And we hope to then like next stage, like what can we do, maybe we can then a picture fully fledged, um, series to Netflix based on the, on the IP. Um, and then we can start talking about yeah. Revenue sharing and stuff like that.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. Yeah. That's amazing. Uh, you know, I love, I gotta jump on, um, Matt, you, you threw out a term that's, uh, new to me, maybe not to you, James. Um, but, uh, film three, love it. Let's tell, tell, tell us more about film three. Did you guys come up with that or is that already a term that's

Speaker 1: Floating out there? I, I, I wish I came. I wish I came up with that because when I heard it for the first time, I was like, that's, that's gonna stick. That's gonna stick. Um, we've seen, we, we've seen people talking about web three. Nobody knows what web three is. We still don't really know what it is, but we just know it's something above and beyond of what web two is. And, and the same can be said about, about film, um, especially in the NFT world. I mean, we saw, we saw first, it was just pixelated JPEGs. You know, you, the, the, the earliest Ts were, were very, very simple. And then you started getting the ones that are hosted on I IPFS and have a bit higher data, data size. And so people were posting their artwork and then it, and then it turned into photography.

Speaker 1: And so naturally we're seeing, and naturally we're are seeing all these different industries, like first it's art, then it's photography, then it's music and now film and animation. And so, and so when we call it web three, I think film three, I heard it for the first time from, from a, a, a friendly project, um, that we're associated with the hat man, they're creating a horror film, which is completely different from our film, but still we're both in this, in this ecosystem of NFTs and film. And so he called it film three and, and ever since then, I, I love, I love using that term and it, because I think it makes people realize that there's a new way to do, to do these things. Yeah. And it just really encompasses all of it.

Speaker 6: Yeah. If I could, I've been there and add to that. Um, I think we, I think film three is gonna be a, a, a big thing this year. And I think that a lot of the established filmmakers are, are taking notes. And I've been in a couple spaces where, um, uh, the conversation's been really fascinating and I, I think it has to do with bringing little bit of that, like web three ethos, uh, de of, you know, decentralization and, um, you know, maybe there's another way we can make movies. You don't have to be a massive giants, you know, massive streaming, giant, or Disney or whatever to, to make a film. You it's opening up a new way for independent producers to, to create stories and, and build communities, um, of their own accord and not, uh, you know, not have to rely on the, on the big gatekeepers, um, of the industry to, to get anything made or anything distributed or, um, so, so, yeah, I think it's, I think the simplest way of describing film three is, is just applying that decentralized web three, uh, kind of not philosophy, but, um, uh, the ethos really, uh, to the filmmaking, um, uh, sphere.

Speaker 6: And, and I think it's really exciting. I think I, I was trying to think, okay, so we've got, we have three form three, what an three, and it doesn't quite work for animation, but maybe we'll come up with something. But, um, uh, yeah, it it's, you know, I think that it's the future. We don't know exactly know what it'll look like in all the details, but it's certainly opening up a lot of exciting new, uh, opportunities.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And I think it's global, right. I mean, you know, the internet was a promise of kind of removing barriers across a couple of coup a number of fronts, right. Whether it be political, social geographic, um, we're certainly seeing that in web three, as evidence by the fact we've got a, um, a diverse group here, talking about your story today, um, on that we, we are coming up on time. So I don't want to keep you guys too past, too far past the, the hour. Um, so I, I'm gonna jump to a couple, uh, a couple closing questions if you don't mind. Um, and that's really simply, you know, you guys have come so far, you're minting this month on a great month for autism awareness. Um, and we certainly hope to get the message out to our audience. Um, but share any lessons learned for, for the folks that tune into story PR and wanna learn about NFT projects and storytelling and creative. Um, any key lessons learned as you've kind of gone on this stage of the venture to launch the Hege fund,

Speaker 6: Uh, ID say, number one, money doesn't grow on trees. takes hard work and effort and, and you need, you need something of value. Uh, you know, you need, you need a story that's compelling or a project that's compell. Um, and, and yeah, you've gotta get that first. Um, you know,

Speaker 3: Yep. You've got that.

Speaker 1: I, I, as I mentioned earlier in the, in the podcast, I'm a, I'm a, I work in marketing and this is completely blow my mind about how to market a project and how to get people interested. You, you, can't just, I mean, it's, it's not field of dreams. If you build it, they won't come. No, you have to put in the hard work, you have to keep talking about your project. You have to get as many people to see it. And, and it takes a long time, takes hard work in a long time and hours and hours above and beyond the actual technical and artistic, uh, uh, efforts that you need to put into the project. Um, just marketing your project is incredibly difficult. Um, yeah, that's a, that's the big one for me

Speaker 6: And consistency. You gotta, you gotta, you gotta be consistent. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Consistent, persistent, um, boots on the ground, get the hard work done. Amazing. Yep. Um, we've got two, two final fun questions that I close with, but before I jump into those standard, uh, questions, um, I want to check in with my good friend co-founder colleague and co-host James. Um, any final parting questions for Matt and Mike before we go?

Speaker 5: Um, yeah, Mike, I, uh, I found a, a video and YouTube of you giving advice to the, sorry, my dogs in the background, uh, giving advice to the, um, uh, to the, um, students who were graduating from Johannesburg animation studio. And there was a line that stuck out with me and it was, um, create don't consume, um, or, or something for that effect. I just,

Speaker 6: It's better to create than to consume.

Speaker 5: It's better to create them to consume. And I, I think it's just poignant, um, for, for film three and web three, um, that if you're going to consume, then you must assist in, in creating another, or that's, you know, propping up a project or jumping in discard and, and bouncing ideas off people. Like it's a real opportunity for, um, audiences to help create before they consume, you know, so, um, yeah, I'm really, really impressed with what you guys are doing here with, with all the hard work and all the, um, and all the innovation and, and the message behind the story as well. It's just so good.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Thanks so much. Thank you. That line was a, a play on the, uh, it's better to give them to receive, uh, kind of idea. And, um, yeah, it's, it's, it's sort of a kind, a personal sort of philosophy to try and live by

Speaker 3: Again, I think, you know, we'll shamelessly plug, um, the hedge you fund NFT, cuz you guys are clearly modest and purpose driven. Um, so we'll shamelessly plug it, um, with our communities, go out and get your heady fund NFT. Um, and uh, so, so check out the links in the, the podcast posting and for those of you watching on you YouTube, um, click on the lakes below to get your, uh, heady, um, okay. Final, final, two fun questions, um, NFTs and their future fad or enduring

Speaker 1: I'm. I, I, I told Mike many, many times that this is it's gonna be just like crypto was in 2017. Everybody thought it was a scam and guess what? 99% of them were, but in the end, the good ones stick around new projects come along. That that are brilliant and innovative. This technology's not going anywhere. This is just the beginning. I think, I think this it's breaking down the walls for how people are gonna be able to, to invest in projects that they want to invest in and people that they want to invest in. Um, and I, I, yeah, I think it's definitely the start. Just the start of, of what we're about to see.

Speaker 6: So the wild west phase.

Speaker 3: Yeah, yeah, totally good point. Yeah, definitely enduring, but you know, there's gonna be, um, many bad actors to shake out, um, and lots of work to be done to make, to make, you know, web three and NFTs more, um, uh, consumable by the masses if you will. Um, but since we all agree that it's an, uh, capability, um, how long until you, how long until a decentralized autonomous organization, um, is standing up there accepting a mainstream award, like an academy award, short film, Emmy, Grammy, that sort of thing. What do you guys think? How many, how many, how many years

Speaker 1: Sam, the hedgehog is gonna win at NSE?

Speaker 3: love it.

Speaker 6: I think we'll see that sooner rather than later, as someone winning an award, this, this space is moving so fast. Uh, yeah, it's gonna happen.

Speaker 3: We agree. Well, gentlemen, thank so much for your time today. Um, absolutely a pleasure to speak to you and you know, there's very few truly purpose driven, plenty of mission driven projects, plenty of projects with a vision and a creative spark of inspiration, but, um, yours is clearly purpose driven. So thank you for your time and we wish you all the best of luck and we'll be out there, um, helping shell, uh, Sam, the hedgehog, and getting folks aware and jumping to, to raise the fund through raise funds through the hedge, the hedge fund. So thank you for your time. I

Speaker 1: You fun. Yeah. Thank you. You so much for having us. It's been fun. Thanks.

Speaker 3: Cheers guys. Cheers

Speaker 6: For us. Thanks so much cheer.

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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