The Web3 and NFT space is making huge inroads into the entertainment industry, and we have a lot of big names starting to take notice of its potential. This exciting episode features Seth Green and Matt Colon of ReplicantX, a new PFP collection from Steve Aoki, Seth Green, and the makers of Robot Chicken. ReplicantX is the trendsetter of on-chain community-driven storytelling. Stay tuned for this episode and learn all about ReplicantX as our hosts pick Seth and Matt’s brains. Learn all about the pros and cons of minting friendships on the blockchain, plus why we now live by the words, "Thou shalt respect the 'bago," and how the early '90s classic comic books still are guiding our present-day Web3 livelihood. Tune in for all these and so much more!
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Matt Colon & Seth Green Of ReplicantX, The First Ever Show Produced On The Blockchain
This is Seth Green and Matt Colon of ReplicantX, the trendsetter of on-chain community-driven storytelling. We are on Edge of NFT, the trendsetting podcast, bringing you the latest stories within the NFT ecosystem. Keep listening.
Stay tuned for this episode and learn all about the pros and cons of minting friendships on the blockchain, plus why we now live by the words, "Thou shalt respect the 'bago," and how the early '90s classic comic books still are guiding our present-day Web3 livelihood. Don't forget, we put together a gathering called NFT LA that brought out thousands of the world's most innovative doers in the NFT space. Head to NFTLA.live to get tickets to our bigger, bolder, and better but also as intimate and impactful event happening in Los Angeles from March 20th to the 23rd, 2023. See you there.
This episode features Seth Green and Matt Colon of ReplicantX, a new PFP collection from Steve Aoki, Seth Green, and the makers of Robot Chicken. An industry veteran, Seth Green is an actor, voice artist, comedian, producer, writer, and director who has entertained audiences for nearly four decades. Green has starred in countless films, including iconic roles in cult classics like the Austin Powers trilogy opposite Mike Myers, Can't Hardly Wait alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt, Without a Paddle opposite Dax Shepherd, Rat Race with Whoopi Goldberg, Old Dogs opposite Robin Williams and John Travolta, Idle Hands alongside Jessica Alba, and The Italian Job opposite Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron.
In 2008, he co-founded Stoopid Buddy Stoodios with partners John Harvatine, Matt Senreich, and Eric Towner. The prolific animation Studio has produced multiple critically-acclaimed series, including its flagship show, Robot Chicken. The series, now in its eleventh season, is not only Adult Swim's highest-rated original program but has won multiple awards including three Emmys for Outstanding Short-Format Animation Program and numerous Annies including a Best Directing win for Green. Other hits from the studio include Adult Swims, Titan Maximum and Hot Streets, Sony's SuperMansion, Hulu's Crossing Swords, Marvel's MODOK brand, and Netflix's Buddy Thunderstruck. Seth is yawning at his list of achievements. When you get bored with your own, it's a slog.
We get it. What's next?
Let's give Matt a chance. We scoured the internet for any information on Matt. We're doxing Matt compared to Seth.
We had him do a quick IMDb for Seth but we scoured the internet for you.
We had to scour the internet. Matt hasn't achieved much. He's hiding it all.
In the dark web.
Diamond mind Matt Colon is redefining talent management as YMU's Global President of Music as well as managing superstar producer DJ Steve Aoki. Colon directly oversees the US Music Division and leads global strategy and integration across the world, creating synergy between the UK and US music divisions. He also leads the growth strategy for the organization with new manager acquisitions and key hires, leveraging an agency built on unconventional thinking. Managing elite clients in sports, music, social, art, literature, and entertainment, YMU combines its rich understanding of diversity and culture to go beyond traditional management. There are a couple of other chapters here. That was chapter one. Let me get onto chapter two.
You forgot that Matt has also been a resident advisor to NFT LA and helped to make the first one that much more epic. Thanks, Matt, for all that.
Seth, do you usually get without a paddle quoted in your recent credits?
It depends. People know me from who knows at this point. I've been with people most of their lives.
That's my favorite bear attack joke of all time.
Your cat has been there right along with you the whole time.
For seventeen years, I got this ass in my face. That's her favorite protocol. This is the POAP.
There you go. Subbing in for Jeff Kelley is the one and only Zach Sekar, our head of NFT LA and resident Twitter Spaces MC. Zach, it's good to have you on the show.
It's great to be here. This is going to be a fun one.
Seth, we talked about decades of incredible things that you've been doing to entertain the world. Stoopid Buddy also had a lot of milestones and success since its inception, and now ReplicantX. How has all of this good stuff that you've done in the past helped to create the mold for what you're doing with ReplicantX?
I've always been interested in emerging technologies and how they relate to entertainment. Distribution is the main obstacle for most people trying to make a name for themselves or any brand trying to get any publicity. The fun thing about Web3 and NFTs is being able to take advantage of immediate distribution. That's what got me interested. It started with Steve Aoki and Matt coming to us and saying that they wanted to create linear content on blockchain, which sounds cool.
There's an immutable stream of data and information. Even if you're identifying NFTs or blockchain as a certificate of authenticity, the idea of being able to mint programming or even open the door to some kind of collective ownership over any large-scale IP is interesting to me. When they approached us saying they wanted to make something, we all said, "That sounds like a great idea."
It's less of why not than the why. There are a lot of whys. The why not is because it can fail. It was too expensive. Nobody is going to like it. It will destroy your career and reputation, but the why is so much more compelling. It's the opportunity to be first in the space and set a tone for how this thing should unfold, which I always think is important. The tone of it is critical.
In the introductions of any of these kinds of technologies that bring people together or potentially rip them apart, the tone is the most important thing. It's probably my biggest grievance with anything that Elon Musk has done since he has taken over Twitter. He invited and fostered a tone of communication and interaction that is valueless in my opinion.
Break it down for us a little bit. It's the next chapter in the Character X saga. We've got 4,000 NFTs.
The background of the character is Steve did his first NFT drop or that giant big wave with Beeple and 3LAU in March 2021. In that reflection, there is a lot of great art and gritty stuff. The one thing Steve wants to do is take his signature. When he writes Aoki, the O has little extra eyes and a little mouth thing in it, "Can we turn that into a character?" He wanted to show up in a few of the NFTs. For whatever reason, those NFTs became the hallmark of that collection.
We then started speaking with Matt who is Seth's partner and the rest of that team about what this could be. They came up with the idea, "Let's take that character and see what he would look like. Let's give him a world. Let's see what he would look like as we ideate out from that." They created some rivals. We call them Chonk and Swole. They took what was a figment of Steve's imagination and gave it a real life in the world and a personality. That was what we did.
Our first drop with Stoopid Buddy was called Dominion X. It was a sizzle reel or a little short animated film. We dropped with Nifty Gateway in August '21. It sold out in a few minutes. People got different scenes. We played by the gamification of the collection. People got different scenes. They tried to combine scenes and mint new scenes. Eventually, at the end of six months of gamification, they were able to mint the entire long-form version of it.
We also gave out the physical puppets that were used in the show. You could see it was an actual physical collection, not just something you see on the computer. Not that it's a bad thing but it's a different style of animation. We talked about what we would do next. Seth's partners were like, "That was a lot of fun. There might be something real here. What if we tried to make a real show out of this? People seemed to like this short."
Season 11 of Robot Chicken came into play. We had to take a slight pause on the dev for a few months while we did the gamification part, and then picked up the conversation at the beginning of 2022 and started ideating what would be a way to finance it and grow the community because we have 400 NFTs, which is a relatively small community. How do we grow it? What are popular PFPs? What can we do with it? Long story short, it all came to something called ReplicantX. We replicated Character X, the character, and different iterations of it.
The money from the sale went to finance the first episode of this short animated series. We now have thought about what it means to be a holder more than just, "It's my PFP," but what if you could participate in the writing of the show? What if you could see it as it's being done? It's a physical collection. You're watching someone behind a computer screen. You can watch someone physically making these puppets. Seth has been talking about it way better than I can but they set up real sets, stages, and cameras. It's a real live production on a 1/6 scale or something.
Seth, how does it feel to have thousands of additional writers in the writer's room with you?
It's a new concept, but what we're talking about is a new concept. You wouldn't apply that philosophy to a standard pilot for television. You're not going to get 10,000 people to gang-write a feature. It's untenable. That's why all of the choose-your-own-adventure interactive stuff that people have tried to pitch for a theater experience doesn't work because you only get the majority of the collectors. Unless you're doing something like Bandersnatch, which is a personalized interaction and get this, it won't work. This is fun because it's designed specifically for this purpose.
You're creating a scenario by which this whole audience of passionate enthusiasts are collectively writing the intellectual property that they all own. That's a completely different idea. It's not like we're saying, "Let's get 10,000 people to write a Batman movie, a Spider-Man movie, or even a compelling story about a guy and a girl breaking up over the summer." You're specifically saying, "All of these people are already invested in this idea. They like these characters. They want to be a part of telling the story." We just have to shape the experience in a way that allows for that.
Some of it is making it as simple as an A, B or C. We're asking people to come up with prompts. We will say, "What is Chonk's favorite food?" They will give us all of these kinds of suggestions. As a result, we know things that will fit in the narrative of the storytelling. It's less like what happens in this episode than when Chonk opens the refrigerator, what does he find? We focus on the points of ideation so that everybody can collectively be involved but we tell a story along the way.
In a longer view, in this pretty new version of community-based writing, how much do you expect the community to evolve the characters themselves?
There's a real opportunity for it because we started all of this stuff with almost nothing. Through each of these points of persona that the holders help us to define, we determine what the personality of this character is. The audience or the holders are collectively incredibly involved in the growth and evolution of the characters.
I'm looking at it now. I'm in our Discord. Some of them are completely aesthetic, "What poster hangs over Swole's bed?" That's like, "You're going to see the poster. I chose that or I voted on that." "How does Chonk soothe a crying baby?" Whatever they choose is going to be what happens on screen, "What does Character X Dream about?" That's a blank palette. You can come up with whatever you want. The way we structured it was we partnered with an artist named pplpleasr and another one named Maciej. Steve has done a collaboration with both of them.
They have a platform called Shibuya, which is more of a choose-your-own-adventure narrative storytelling. We partnered with them. There is going to be a version of this where you get to watch an animation and choose what happens next, but we want to get people involved a little earlier than that. Rather than us spending the next 3 or 4 months animating all these scenes and these end results, let's have people involved in what that's going to be.
It's what they're voting on now in our token-gated Discord. It's like Whose Line Is It Anyway?. It's an improv show happening in our Discord, "Give me a prompt." People shout out 20 to 30 suggestions. They will narrow those down to the ones they like. Those will become choices in the Shibuya experience. These are who are involved from day one from the writing of the episode.
Later on, we will start designing things, "What color do you want this chair to be?" They can take some ownership over what they end up seeing on screen. When we do this thing, it's not going to be a completely polished animation. They're going to see little armatures. It won't be a fully finished thing because you're part of the production experience. You're going to see an 80% done thing. You're going to pick the ending. We're going to animate that ending in real-time and then go back, color correct, animate, and do the SFX and all that stuff but they're also doing it.
We joke that it's the South Park version, "Can you animate in real-time?" They're going to animate for four days. That's the setup. People will have a day to vote, and then they're going to animate for another two days the end result. On day 7 or day 8, you're going to see the fully-produced fifteen-second short. We're going to put all these fifteen-second shorts together to make a two-minute episode.
We're also dangerously bending the audience's expectations with respect to the speed of a capable accomplishment. When you're talking about stop motion, it just takes time because it's time-intensive. When you make a stop motion, you have to build everything. There are a lot of hacks with respect to just a photographic background. We learned from the Mandalorian that you can shoot a giant LED screen behind a stop-motion setup.
Depending on the scale, it looks like a flawless fall-off background, but it is one person or maybe a team of people at best moving something incrementally, and then taking a picture of it frame by frame. It's like cinema in that you build the sets. You light it with proper shadows and actual beautiful lenses and all this great technology. At the end of the day, a single person has to move the thing and click. Over hours, it looks like a sequence.
When you said it's like cinema, I want to see somebody do a movie with real actors but they have to go stop motion position actors. Does somebody do that?
Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer video is that. There have been a lot of versions of that where people have used human beings as stop-motion props. OK Go did one. The effect that it achieves is not worth it for an entire film.
It's an expensive massage bill for those actors.
You should watch Waking Life. It's Richard Linklater's movie. That's a cool example of that.
That's one of my favorite movies.
I watched it in so many various stages of inebriation.
That's what it's there for.
You said inebriation. Drunk History is a cute one.
I was so sad they canceled that show.
Did they? I'm glad there are so many episodes.
There's a library.
There's a lot there.
They had so much more to make. I'm upset about it.
It's a genius show. You mentioned the Discord that's open for the holders of ReplicantX. Can you tell us a little bit more about the development process for the collection in and of itself? How has that been rolling along?
It was interesting because, at one point, we talked about doing claymation. We talked about physically doing it, and then we realized that trying to make 500 traits physically and taking photos was not economic.
I saw somebody do that early on in NFTs. Somebody made a stop motion or rather an asset trait spectrum that everything was handmade. They only did 2,000 of them. It's an insane thing to do. It's also not necessary. I don't know that you get an extra benefit from having photographed it.
That was the takeaway. At the end of the day, what are we trying to accomplish? Number one, we're trying to grow the community. Number two, we're trying to finance the first episode. Number three, you want something that people can flex, floss, and use for some sense of identity. All that didn't predicate it being physically manufactured.
At the end of the day, what are we trying to accomplish? Number one, we're trying to grow the community. Number two, we're trying to finance the first episode. Number three, you want something that people can flex, floss, and use for some sense of identity. Click To Tweet
We never would have been able to get back in black. We had that upfront spend more than we could make to produce it that way.
The Stoopid Buddy team brought in a handful of illustrators and came up with a bunch of drawings and character acts. Steve kept going, "Yes and no," and narrowed it down to the current illustrator who did the entire collection. It was a matter of coming up with traits. That was Steve and the Stoopid Buddy team going back and forth on what are the traits that suit the collection because of what it is and some of the storytelling that we have done. Some of it is taking cues from cultures, whether it's diamond hands or gold grills. There's Pixelmon's Kevin in the collection. There are a couple of Goblintown NFTs hidden in there.
It was a lot more work than you think to do a good collection and have the traits well distributed. We're still working on the rarity as we speak. Seth, God bless, you didn't have to do any of this part. We're going through them, looking at them all, and seeing. There's a tool you use to put it all together. You make a bunch of rules like, "The glasses go on top of the head, not behind the head. The hair goes on top," but then you realize the hair goes on top but it went over the glasses. We have to go back, change that rule, and render the whole damn collection out again.
You do it 500 times. You go through them all like, "The belt buckle felt is on top of the jacket instead of under the jacket. We forgot that one.” We go back, change that rule, and render the whole thing again. You keep going through this process. Even when you're done, you have to render more than you think because even if the rules are all right, some of them are aesthetically shit. I go, "That's a bad trait. I don't know what we were thinking. We can't have that many clowns in the collection." You see these things pump out. You're like, "How hard could it be?"
We had a similar experience with PizzaBot where we intended a much larger collection than we were able to mint. It's that same process of separating them. I had to go through all of those. That was an insane review process.
We had a collection of 4,000. We had 10 people taking on 400 each. I looked at them twice. Everyone had to do 800 of them one by one, "The hair is not quite right."
What you're not saying is the overwhelming part for me, which is in the midst of that, you've got Steve touring and performing all over the world. You've got A0K1VERSE launching and crushing it. You're the guy that's calm, cool, and collected. It seemed like you were having a blast.
Matt, you always seem to keep your cool. How do you do that?
Seth, we have put out enough fires that it's just another fire.
In this next segment, we're going to try to throw Matt off. I'm kidding.
Matt, you've done a lot in this space. Eathan was joking but not everyone appreciates how long you've worked with Steve and how much of a glue in the Web3 movement that you've played. What's it like for you in this space working with visionaries like Seth and Steve? What inspires you?
I've been with Steve for twenty years. The fun thing about working with Steve is if it was just music, I probably would get bored. Don't get me wrong. The money is great but like anything, it becomes a routine. You figure it out. The great thing about Steve and the part I love and the part I hate is he always wants to do something new. Every year or so, I have to figure something out.
In the beginning, it was learning how to be a music manager, learning how to do music production, publishing deals and record deals, and how to market a record but in 5 or 6 years, you figure that out. He wants to do a movie. We did a Netflix documentary. He wanted to do a book. He owned an eSports team. Every year, he gets some new hair up his ass. He's trading cards. He owns MetaZoo, one of the hottest trading card companies in the world. I'm learning what a booster pack is and the minutia of some of this stuff. While part of me is like, "Another one," it's what keeps it interesting.
Web3 was a different experience than everything else because everything else was a preexisting industry. We're going to make a documentary. I met a bunch of documentary makers and reps and figured out how the industry works. We have done a few of them together. We're doing a movie and a TV show about his dad but that's a preexisting world. You learn it and try to insert your foot in the door.
With Web3, we have to get into something at the very beginning. We have a lucky blessing. We have another artist I represent named RAC. One of my partners is 3LAU who has been in NFTs for 6 or 7 years prior and Web3 since the very beginning in early 2020 and late 2019. We got to get our foot in the door at the very beginning. When that first wave hit in March, we had six drops already lined up.
We made a killing in March and April because we had been working on this since the prior summer and fall when everyone else was scrambling, "How do I make an NFT and get something up by the end of the month?" In the first week of March, 3LAU made $11.8 million or whatever it is. He had another drop two weeks before. We had RAC drop the week after it. We had eight drops across all of March and April because we had been building, not realizing it was going to be what it was.
All that said, we got to know more people because it was a brand-new industry. WhatsApp groups and Telegram popped up. This is also the middle of COVID. I say this often. I've made more friends in Web3 in the last two years than in the prior twenty years combined easily tenfold. You're all adult men. You make a new friend every year or two. They come and go.
It's very challenging to make new friends, Matt, especially if you have a preexisting persona that strangers are aware of. I get all comers. I feel like I'm aloof because I spend my entire day surrounded by people. I make a bit of an effort to take any time for myself. As a result, I don't make any new friends but it's that same shit. Steve told me we were working together. I was like, "What's up with this NFT? I saw that they're being recognized by Sotheby's. It's becoming art and collectibles."
He was like, "Buy one of these Apes, hang out with these people, and meet all these new artists." Next thing you fucking know, I'm this deep. It's because guys like you, Matt. You're such good ambassadors for the space. Emphasizing a tone and insisting on a behavioral model like civility and encouragement like access. It is good. It's why so many people have followed you.
I have a lot more friends now because of Web3 and doing this show. Web3 is what brought Eathan, Jeff, and me together to do the show. We saw so many friendships minted at NFT LA, business deals done, partnerships, and collaborations. There's something about this space that's special that you can't define but it's there.
Should we have functionality at NFT LA where you can mint your friendship on the blockchain? Is that what's happening now?
There's something like that.
There's some facial mesh of the two people or something.
That feels like a replacement for Twitter circles or Facebook friends. Friendships are in your heart. You don't need an NFT to prove it.
Friendships are the real gains to make.
Friendships are in your heart. You don't need an NFT to prove it. Friendships are the real gains to make. Click To Tweet
It's easy to want to help people out in this space to be successful together.
Onboarding is everything. We all win if the community grows. You want other people to have success because they're bringing more people into the community. You're genuinely happy when people make a lot of money whereas, in other industries, there's a finite amount of people out there to consume. Someone else's win might be your loss. In this world, it's such a small community. Seth, how many hours did I spend with you to teach you how to make your NFT and use your wallet?
It took me a while.
If Seth gets into it and he likes it, he's going to talk about it. That's going to add more people. It's a little bit of an Amway mentality. You're trying to onboard people like vegans or Born Again Christians.
You said it was Steve who onboarded you to Bored Apes, which has certainly become part of your Web3 story that some people know. I had the pleasure of seeing you at VeeCon. You showed your White Horse Tavern trailer, which was fun. Fun fact, I used to live two blocks away from that bar in the village of Hudson. Since then, I've had a question that I would love your perspective on. It's around this interesting topic of digital property rights.
You've made this show. Famously, that Bored Ape token was stolen. You no longer had access to the wallet controlling it. You've since recovered it but at that time, you were talking on stage. I thought that moment was super interesting because let's say White Horse Tavern goes and it’s a huge commercial success, and someone else has control of that token. Do you have any idea what would happen if there was an IP lawsuit to come about, especially in an anonymous situation?
Before I went public with the fact that it was stolen, I consulted multiple intellectual property lawyers. Having spent the last almost eighteen years of my life making Robot Chicken and being front and center to all the precedent-setting, intellectual property, copyright, and legal debates as high as the Supreme Court over the last eighteen years, anytime these kinds of things get debated, I've paid attention to it because it becomes your armor in doing a show like Robot Chicken. We don't ask for permission because all of the comments and jokes that we make are well protected under what's considered fair-use parody.
With something like the NFT, there are a lot of things. Number one is that the Yuga contract doesn't stipulate any kind of term wherein you create a derivative license from your ownership of the token. It isn't determined. It could be presumed that once the token trades hands, that token no longer covers the intellectual property that was lawfully created by the person who held the token as the ability to create derivatives from it.
That's one because you would say that if you sold a property, you would no longer be entitled to future residuals from that property once you sold it. It's the same as when you bought it. Let's say you bought the rights to a song. You wouldn't automatically get all of the royalties that were made from that song in its history. You would only get new royalties from the time wherein you owned it. That's all law.
The thing about this was I created a derivative from the cameo, and the Yuga contract only covers what is referenceable in that cameo or the single front-facing quarter portrait of this character that only goes as low as his nipples arguably. It doesn't even cover his elbows. Anything that I innovate on top of that character becomes my property and is a derivative from the original thing and not referential to the original thing, so much so that it would have taken the guy suing me. It would have taken them making a claim against my current thing and saying that they were the legal owner of it for anything to happen. As soon as they sued me, I would have to demonstrate and countersuit.
I had so become inexorably intertwined with Bored Ape 8398 that hundreds of articles were written all calling me an idiot, a rich dummy, or whatever they said. They all mentioned the name of the show, White Horse Tavern, and called Bored Ape 8398 Fred Simian. By that, I had hundreds of data points of clear examples of the public knowledge of both my connection to that character and that character being called Fred Simian, so much so that I could get an injunction against this guy ever being able to exploit it past that because of the potential of marketplace confusion.
That was why I tweeted, "This could get us into a precedent-setting intellectual property debate but I would rather avoid all that. Give me a call," which is what happened. The guy reached out to me. I tracked down his wallet. We had the same CryptoPunk. I was like, "I'll bet this guy and I would be buddies." He was in the Apes early. He was a successful guy who was in the NFTs as escapism. We bonded over that. I offered to give him what he had paid for it because he wasn't a thief.
I had four assets stolen and then sold on four different platforms. I only chased down the Ape. That was the legality of it. We wouldn't have gotten into any kind of Dutch unless they came after us. It is stuff that's still going to get determined at some point. Somebody is going to take some of this to court. The main flaw in the Yuga contract is it doesn't stipulate the term wherein you can license whatever the thing is and what happens on either side of the ownership of it. It's not a big flaw but it's a flaw that somebody could have exploited.
I have a related question that is to me even more fundamental than the necessarily settled law. That's almost like the nature of ownership itself. Is being able to say that I'm the only one that knows the private key to get into the wallet that currently has this token the same thing as ownership? Have we decided that?
I don’t know. The ownership is defined by the term of the individual contract. It's going to get tested across all these other points when any given owner attempts to create a greater derivative. Some of it is still unknown. Right now, the deal as everyone understands it is you're able to get the benefit of some artist's creation and the valid feedback from all of the other holders of this project to try and send your character up on stage.
You can say anything you want about it, and you still get to fall back on this existing collective. Look how supportive every Ape holder is of any Ape holder that's trying to do something, whether it's the restaurant, the comics, Jenkins, or whatever version of it is. Anybody that holds this is trying to prove the value of these icons in mass pop. That's what it's going to take.
Do you have anything that you're building that will have a similar community IP ownership?
I've got a lot of hopes that White Horse could turn into something that has other NFTs connected to it, whether it's a membership thing or a free drink at the bar, or whether that gets into any storytelling. There's something there, whether it's an AR experience. I'm not sure yet but that's a place where we're trying to ideate. Both PizzaBot and the Globitron project or the B-Bots that I put out are both the same thing. As the founders, we are building out the available public intellectual property. Any of the holders can build on top of it using the assets that we give them or the NFT that they buy.
There's a little bit of a reckoning coming on all this IP. For my friends that are IP attorneys or create IP, there's an internal debate over what happens when two Bored Ape restaurants open next door to each other. For the average person, it's Mickey Mouse. All the Apes are the same. They just dress differently. To your point, the whole issue that got brought up is Seth got his Apes stolen. People assume that you lose IP rights. IP doesn't exactly work the way Web3 wants it to work. Sooner or later, someone is going to challenge what we base all of our assumptions on. We're all assuming, "IP freely changes hand when you buy and sell a thing. I own it now."
There is a little bit of that if you look at the way a studio like Warner Bros owns derivative rights to Batman into perpetuity. They continue to give another person a shot at the keys. Each time, whether it's Chris Nolan, Matt Reeves, or another director like Tim Burton, they're like, "This is Batman." You could say for that moment they get to activate that token. There is a version of this that goes into the future where the icon or the Bored Ape is itself the thing that's well-known.
Each one of these projects is different. That's the hard part. Every one of these things is going to hit a little bit differently. I don't think there's ever going to be an Apes movie the way there could be a Deadfellaz animated series. A Deadfellaz animated series could work the way the Smurfs work, whereas the Apes, just because of the icon that they have become, the way they all roll out into mass pop is more exciting than ever seeing a movie of all the Apes at the club.
All these projects are different. They have all given away their rights slightly differently. People like the Doodles have a specific vision for how their fee is going to roll out.
I want to believe that. I'm still holding to the belief that is coming.
This is an awesome conversation. You have some deep thoughts on it. It's also up to the communities. Setting the tone is part of all this. It's what we want to make of it. That's what's exciting about all this too. Folks like us like these domains because the rules aren't set yet. We get to help create them, break them, bend them, and figure out what it's going to be. That's a good segue to your Buddy Code from the Stoopid Buddy Stoodios outlining these redeemable qualities. You value working with teams, different ranges of projects, and stuff. How do you see those core values showing up day to day?
We have to give people a couple of these. My favorite is, "Thou shalt respect the ‘bago."
When we started the studio, Matt and I teamed up with Harv and Towner who were animators on the second season of Robot. Towner won an award for his animation on the first Star Wars special. These guys broke off from the production company we had been working with and set up their little boutique animation facility where they were trying all kinds of crazy stuff and innovating technologies like reverse engineering the camera on the iPhone to try and get microlenses to hyperfocus and all this cool stuff.
As part of the proof of technology, they produced a short called Superbago. It was two animated characters driving the country in a Winnebago trying to stop crime. It's a great thing. It proved a lot of technologies. It's the same stuff we used to make White Horse. All of that compositing and actual live-action photography composited with animated characters is the same way they did Roger Rabbit but with none of that stuff.
I'm telling this so poorly. The whole point of this is they had to buy a Winnebago to shoot this thing. When they finished shooting it, they were like, "We own this Winnebago now." They couldn't bring themselves to sell it. They parked it in the driveway of their little studio, which itself was a small house in North Hollywood that had a big garage. They converted that into a studio and had this Winnebago park outside.
The whole time we were talking about teaming up and going into business together, we were both having very high-level meetings with incredibly important executives inside this Winnebago. It became the whole mood. It became this vibe like, "It's going to be cool. The head of Sony Animation is going to come and sit in the captain's chair. Don't worry. It spins around. We're going to have a meeting in this fucking Winnebago."
It was so silly and leveling in a way that we were like, "This is a good way to bring everybody down to the same space so that nobody feels awkward or unvalued." This is the truth. There is a Winnebago code of ethics. It's stuff like, "Share the road. Clean up after yourself. Don't pollute," or whatever it is. When they were cleaning up the thing to renovate it, they found the Winnebago code of ethics.
We adopted that and made it even more specific to how we want our workplace to run. It's a highly creative job that is hard, challenging, and demanding. We like to emphasize that it doesn't need to be difficult. Everybody can be a valuable participant. Everybody has to bring their A-game. Nobody makes it about you. It is all about what we're trying to make. That's the only thing that matters.
Everybody is working late. Everybody needs something extra. Tell us what it is. We will all work together to get it and make it. In this limited sprint, we will have a show, a movie, or whatever it is. That's the goal. The Buddy Code reflects the type of environment that we want to make for everybody that works there. It emphasizes how dependent we are on all of the participants to make that a reality.
That's reminding me of Rick Rubin. He's got the Shangri-La studio where he does production. I don't think it's a Winnebago but there's one of those traveling vehicles that has beds in it and stuff that's equipped with a studio in it. Interestingly enough, I've been listening to the Broken Record Podcast a lot lately, which is a great podcast. Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, and a couple of other interesting folks interview musicians.
Rick has a similar ethic to what you're saying when he says, "When you're in the studio, it's just about the music." That's all people are thinking about to the point where they have this weird thing. They do a good take and then get out of the studio. Somebody is like, "It was a great take." It's like, "Next take. We're just making music here. We're not reflecting on it or meta-ing it. We're making music. It's the number one focus. Everybody's purpose is to do that."
I want to read through this for the audience so they get a sense of what we're talking about, "Mission: Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is a collective of artists, ideators, tinkerers, builders, animators, and creators and a place where friendship, honesty, creativity, and trust all have a seat at the table. Our success is a result of a simple idea: Things that are worth making are best made together."
The Buddy Code, "Thou shalt be a good buddy. Thou shalt have a can-do attitude. Thou shalt create every day." I like that one. That's a very everyday people attitude, "Thou shall clean up after oneself." I can see a sink-full of dishes here somewhere, "Thou shall respect that neighbor's workspace. Thou shalt respect the 'bago. Thou shalt not spread false rumors. Thou shalt communicate, not complicate." That's a big one, "Thou shalt suggest ideas that make for a better Stoodio."
We're at the philosophy bit. We want the best idea, and it doesn't have to be mine. It’s like, "We need the best idea. Who's got it?" We have gotten comfortable with making snap decisions that people are like, "Is it A or B? I'll go with B," and then we live or die by that. The more we all work together, the better it works.
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There are so many parallels to Web3 and what inspired so much innovation in such a short period of time. It's the idea of working together and being creative. The big key to having solid ethics is important. If we can inoculate ourselves from some of these bad players in the industry, anything is possible here.
It is challenging because it's two arguably diverse industries coming together. There's this entire financial component that built blockchain technology, and then there are these artists, collectives, and creators. It is like using it in a completely unintended way. It's not what it was designed to do. It's going to be better at doing this thing. It's edging all of this philosophy of pumping, earning, all the selling of it, and emphasizing the collective.
There's a lot there that we can unpack. We will have to continue this conversation. We're excited about ReplicantX. This is groundbreaking stuff that you're doing here. We've got a whole track on film and animation for NFT LA, but this is a small community at this point. There are not too many people doing stuff that's this unique in the space. We are going to keep watching along. We will have to get an update from you at some point along the way.
Let's take it to our next segment. We want to get into Edge Quick Hitters. These are fun and quick questions to get to know you a little bit better. There are ten quick questions. We're looking for a short, single-word or few-word response, but feel free to expand if you get the urge. Josh and I will alternate ask these questions. Let's hit it. We will start with Matt. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
The first thing I remember purchasing in my life would be an LL Cool J cassette tape of I'm Bad.
That's hip. I like that. Speaking of Rick Rubin, he was involved there early on. Seth, how about you?
It may not be the first thing I purchased but it's the purchase I most remember. It was a birthday of mine. I had gotten $6 or $8. I had been eyeing this Shogun Warrior. It's a five-inch all-metal spring-loaded rocket fist and all this shit. I had seen it in the store behind the window for weeks. I was like, "What does $8 even look like?" I couldn't imagine I would ever have it but I dreamed of this thing. It was metal and heavy. That's not a short answer but that was what I bought.
I love it. You put me in that mindset. I'm going to kick the next one right back to you and put you on the spot here. What is the first thing you ever remember selling in your life, Seth?
This had to be in '93. I collected a bunch of GI Joe figures and made some trades and sales.
Well done, young hustler. Back to you Matt, what is the first thing you ever remember selling in your life?
It's similar. I have geek cred. It was comic books for sure. I was a comic book kid. At some point in the mid-'90s, I was going to Comic-Cons at The Shrine, buying and selling comic books, hustling comics from the neighborhood store, and trying to sell for a profit to some guy to buy another comic book and work my way up the comic book ladder.
I like that imagery of working your way up the comic book ladder.
Gareb Shamus is the Founder of Comic-Con. He's also a big player in this space. I was on a panel with him. He's doing a collab with ChopraVerse coming soon.
That's Wild. I know Gareb all the way back from Wizard because Matt Senreich was the editorial director for all the Wizard publications. It's the whole group that became the core of San Diego Comic-Con. That's so fun.
I saw Wizard number one in a little bag and backing board.
I've got their number one with the ad on it.
Matt, back to you. What is the most recent thing you've purchased?
I bought an Adam Bomb Squad Badam.
We heard about that.
I'll buy a couple more when we're done here.
There you go. Seth, what about you?
The same thing. I bought three of those Badams. I'm eyeballing ThankYouX's project.
You're not chilling.
Don't buy it. I want it.
Seth, what is the most recent thing you sold?
I sold a Punk.
Will you get another Punk? Do you have a Punk?
I don't want to talk about it because I'm eyeing it.
We will see what happens there. Matt, what about you?
My forever PFP is a CLONE X that looks like me. It looks weirdly identical to me. I specifically bought it because I didn't like CLONE Xs. My one big sale is my forever Ape. I said, "I'm going to buy something I don't care about. It will look like some ridiculous attachment." I bought another one. Twice now, somebody will hit me up saying, "Are you willing to sell your CLONE X because it looks like me? I'll give you another one in exchange because they're about four plus some ETH."
I sold one. The guy gave me, "Here's another CLONE X plus an ETH. My other friend wants the other one you have. Would you sell to him for another CLONE X plus some ETH?" I'm weirdly trading four CLONE Xs plus ETH on top. As long as you buy them as humans, there's a good chance somebody will pop up in the next few months who's like, "That looks like me."
There's some alpha there. I'm trying to figure it out. Does everyone look like you? Does everyone think that they want to look like you?
They're buying random ones. I buy ones that don't have a weird tongue, just a normal person with a hat.
It's not a bad play for CryptoPunks either if you can grab them.
Not everyone has a type.
I'm too attracted to the weird Punks like gap tooth. You think about the fact that they're punks. It's not supposed to be cool looking. They're supposed to be like, "What a punk that guy is."
Here's the next question. Let's hit Matt first. What's your most prized possession?
I'm going to rule out the expensive stuff. I have some collectible cars. I have a Back to the Future poster on my wall here that I'm looking at. Seth, I don't know if you've seen it. It's a subway poster from before the movie came out. Instead of vertical, it's 6 feet long and 3 feet tall. It's one of those giant subway posters. It says, "Coming July 3rd to a theater near you." The poster guy is like, "Have you ever seen a Back to the Future subway poster?" I'm like, "No." He is like, "I've been doing this for 30 years. I've never seen one either. There is no deal, discount, or negotiation. Take it or leave it."
That's a cool one. What about you, Seth? What's your most prized possession?
I had a storage unit robbed fifteen years ago. It absolved me of a real desire to possess things. Things that I've collected at this point are not prized possessions in the same way, but the stuff that I buy is stuff that I want to be able to see. I bought this Brett Easterbrook. That's the stuff I buy. I had an opportunity to get a slabbed Amazing Fantasy #15 signed by Stan Lee. I jumped at that because I never imagined it in my life. I owned that and got to meet him and work with him and stuff. I was like, "I'm going to fucking buy this." Come on. I love it. You look like a young The Rock. That's what's crazy.
Matt is holding up a picture of him and Stan Lee.
Did you get that slabbed after? Did he sign that?
He came to my office for this interview thing. I secretly got to do an interview with Stan Lee so I can get him to my office. I got him to sign it. I got it afterward. It didn't have his signature but they did write on there, "Stan Lee," written on the cover in marker.
They didn't authenticate it.
They weren't there. Somebody wrote Stan Lee on the cover.
That is the thing. It's impossible to get that book. Any of the books that he signs automatically go to five because somebody was beating on the cover.
Stan Lee's signature is the most common thing in comic-book-dom. You have a better chance of finding out why he didn't sign.
I do love that.
For the next question, let's go over to Seth first. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service or experience that is currently for sale, what would it be?
It's probably a plane but there has to be an electric plane that isn't killing the environment. Being able to get around the country and the world is the most valuable thing.
In an environmentally friendly way, that's great.
Check out Verijet, Seth. I had to take a prop plane with Baron Davis from Utah back to Santa Monica Airport. It's the most environmentally friendly and safest plane in the world.
How about you, Matt? If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, or experience that's currently for sale, what would it be for you?
For me, it is a car. I love collectible vintage cars. There's a Ferrari from the early '70s. I would love to get it if I had $500,000 lying around and collecting dust.
Matt, check under your chair. We've got the keys. I'm kidding.
Is this a parachute plane? This is the coolest-looking thing.
It's 100% carbon-neutral.
It comes with duct tape.
Josh, hit them with the next question. Seth might buy a plane before the show is over. Matt, if you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
My sense of humor.
I love a sense of humor but I would say adaptability.
Seth, back to you. If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from future generations, what would it be?
That has probably gotten you pretty far in life.
It annoys my wife all the time though.
It's over-talking when home with the wife. We will narrow it down. What about you, Matt?
Mine is the opposite of Seth's. In public settings where I don't know people, I can get relatively shy and introverted. I wish I had a little more courage to be a public speaker. I hate giving toasts at weddings. That's my phobia.
We were going to announce you as the keynote for NFT LA. Can't we do that?
I always take offers.
Here are the last two questions here. These are easy ones. We will go to Matt first. What did you do before joining us on the show?
I raced home from a meeting in my office, which is two minutes away. I still was four minutes late.
You've got a little exercise in there. That's good. How about you, Seth? What did you do before joining us on the show?
I drove home from the office where I had a lunch meeting. I had timed it well enough that I could prepare myself this bottle of water to drink during the show.
You're hydrated. Here's the last question. Seth, back to you. What are you going to do next after this show?
I'm going to say hi to my wife who just got home.
It's always good to say hello. Matt, what are you going to do after the show? You may have told us.
I have to wrestle with my kids for a while.
They love that wrestling. That's Edge Quick Hitters. That will pretty much be our show but we want to make sure that before we roll off, we want to know where folks can go to learn more about you and the projects that you're working on. Make sure and give us those links, websites, and all that good stuff.
Do you want us to give us what we're working on?
Web links, websites, handles, and stuff like that.
For Steve, it's A0K1VERSE.xyz. That's our token-gated community where you get alpha, events, merch, and all stuff. Separately, for the project with Seth, DominionXShow.com is the website.
Is there anything else to add Seth? Did that pretty much cover it?
In most domains and most things, I'm pretty easy to find. I'm so vocal about all the stuff that I'm doing. Check it out.
We have reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFT. Thanks, everyone, for exploring with us. We've got more space for adventures on the starship, so invite your friends and recruit some close strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to Spotify or iTunes, rate us and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Look us up on all major social platforms by typing EdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks, Matt and Seth, for joining us.