Ever felt like you know a movie franchise so well that you’d be able to take it in a better direction than the people running things?
Well, that dream may soon be a step closer to reality.
A franchise where the direction is dictated by a community rather than individuals is the new goal of filmmakers Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, the duo behind 2018 space film Prospect. The pair are aiming to fund their latest sci-fi venture through the launch of an NFT collection in collaboration with the TAKA Artist Collective.
The project, known as The Fringe, will feature around 10,000 (exact number TBC) NFTs that will be minted this March on the Ethereum blockchain. The NFTs themselves will be characters known as Drifters, with the plan being to incorporate these into an upcoming feature film financed, at least in part, by the mint and royalties from the collection itself.
“We plan to reinvest the profits of the sale to employ the artists to immediately build this new world,” Earl and Caldwell told Mashable. “We’re currently planning the first film in the franchise and our intention is to remain independent. The dream is to keep The Fringe with the fans and out of the hands of Disney and the like.”
The ultimate goal, Earl and Caldwell explained, is a piece of intellectual property owned by the community.
“It’s a futuristic dream, but think Star Wars if you could cut out the corporate machine and unite artists and fans. The legal framework for this doesn’t exist yet and is something we’re actively figuring out. We’re going to have to build from the ground up, but the possibilities web3 offers are tantalizing,” the duo said.
And as for what the NFT gets you?
“Owning a Drifter simultaneously grants unprecedented behind-the-scenes access and membership to a creative incubator,” Earl and Caldwell said. This will involve digital events and competitions (both online and off) only owners can enter. “They also will get a front row seat to the filmmaking process, access to our team of artists, and participate in seminars around worldbuilding elements from spaceship design to asteroid mining methodology.”
The full list of benefits is still being finalised, but so far it includes:
“Drifter owners will get to compete to get their character in the first film and have the opportunity for their character to end up in a variety of in-universe stories.
They will have the opportunity to win super rare NFTs of the film’s lead characters and world elements as they are developed.
All sorts of opportunities to make creative contributions to the universe and win rewards
Access to “The Bench” our community discord server where they will hang out with the artists and filmmakers, develop the world, gain access to the development process, etc…”
This won’t be the first time the worlds of filmmaking and NFTs have collided. In 2021, Michah Johnson’s Aku NFT was optioned by Anonymous Content, and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine media company recently announced a film- and TV-making partnership with World of Women, an NFT collection from Yam Karkai that features illustrations of “unique, cool, and diverse Women living on the Blockchain.”
NFTs are, of course, not without their criticism. Ethereum is currently a proof-of-work cryptocurrency, which means it uses energy for each transaction and has come under fire for its environmental impact. The cryptocurrency is planning to change to a less energy-hungry proof-of-stake model, but it’s still something Earl and Caldwell have considered going into this.
“We intend for our NFT sale to be carbon neutral,” they said. “The ethereum chain is on a trajectory to drastically reduce its carbon footprint; however, it’s not there yet. We are presently working on how to estimate the carbon footprint of our project and make offsets a built-in part of our sale. In contrast to the current filmmaking system’s opaqueness, web3’s transparency allows us to get close to what our actual carbon footprint is and neutralize it.”
Details of the NFT collection’s price and mint date are still TBC, but you can keep an eye on the The Fringe’s official Twitter account for updates.