The premiere of the Glue Factory Show pilot episode last month was the biggest milestone so far for the NFT-based series. At the same time, it represents the start of another journey for the project’s founders, Lauren and Sam Korotkov.
Since launching his NFT collection in August 2021 and creating it months before, the Korotkovs have always had a bigger vision in mind. That is, to be a pioneering project using NFTs as a way to build fandom and launch a media property. As Sam describes it,
“[Glue Factory Show writer, Colton Dunn] compared it best in terms of reverse Comic-Con. We start from a collector’s item. We create a community, and then we involve the community in the process of creating the show.
Quotations are condensed and edited for clarity.
How Zed Run and the love of animals led to the creation of the Glue Factory Show
“The actual genesis of the idea was a bit of a joke.” says Lawrence. “You know, what happens to Zed Run horses when they get stuck on the virtual racetrack. Is there a virtual glue factory?”
Even if the joke draws on dark humor, it is an idea that has remained with the founders of the project. On top of that, it was directly related to something that was very close to their hearts. As Laurent notes,
“We are both big animal lovers. And so we wondered how we could use this technology, to really refine the idea of community, as well as draw attention to animal welfare. And we did it in a very Australian way, putting together this very dark art around horses.
To this end, the project has always had its philanthropic objectives. Part of his initial roadmap was to promise (and fulfill) a charitable donation to benefit the horses. Beyond that, the concept of doing an animated show started to come into play. And once a mutual friend hooked them up with actor/writer Jon Barinholtz (Supermarket, MADTV), the concept began to take off.
The center of the Glue Factory Show experience is the Community Writers Room
Overall, the Community Writers’ Room is the part of the Glue Factory that the Korotkovs speak of most fondly. After all, it’s the part that best represents the couple’s commitment to encouraging creativity and contributing to the community.
Barinholtz, who is credited as the show’s creator and de facto showrunner, was a major factor in creating the Community Writers’ Room. He was the one who broke down how writers’ rooms work in Hollywood TV shows. There, the writers come together to break up the story, then flesh it out individually with separate writing assignments.
Lauren and Sam saw this as a perfect model to recreate with the Glue Factory Show NFT-holding community. And so, they did just that.
The Glue Factory Show writing team is made up of comedy veterans
To clarify, Glue Factory Show’s core writing team is made up of industry veterans other than Barinholtz. To list, there’s Colton Dunn (Supermarket, Key & Peele), Katie Rich (SNL Chicago Party Aunt), Rob Belushi (Chicago PD, How I Met Your Mother) and Jim Wise (MAD TV, The Jay Leno Show).
This experienced team of comic minds did the development work for the show. Then they created six writing assignments. These gave the Glue Factory Show community a chance to showcase their own crazy and hilarious ideas.
Balancing community excitement and producing the best show possible
Another fun inspiration for the Community Writers Room came from Sam’s observations of writer communities on Reddit. There, he frequently saw writing prompts posted, with people responding in their unique and creative ways.
“It was a bit of inspiration to do that. To get people out of their comfort zone anonymously so they can spark creativity in themselves.
That said, the Korotkovs knew they had to engage their community in development. At the same time, they still want the show to be the best version of itself. As Lawrence said,
“It’s about how we can balance that balance between community engagement [and high quality]. Ultimately, the ultimate goal here is to sell the show as well.
The Biggest Challenges of Creating a Web3 Animated Series
Clearly, there is no shortage of challenges for founders of NFT projects today. Even more for the Korotkovs. They have to balance being founders of the Glue Factory Show and being directors of a production company, Centaur Studios.
For example, Lauren talks about the natural tension that arises between the fast pace of the NFT space and the sometimes icy speed of animation. Related to this is the tendency of NFT communities to want to see frequent progress and updates. Things that it didn’t always make sense to provide at certain points in the process.
“In animation, you have an animatic scene. And let me tell you, the animatics are super underwhelming. Looking back, we can share a lot more because the community saw the final product. But I guess there was a conscious decision to make sure people will understand the quality of what we create.
Similarly, Sam adds that it was important not to “give too much head start, just in case things change,” as they so often do in the development process of a show. “Because we didn’t want people to marry a certain idea.”
The line between being a pioneer and working with existing systems
One of the main topics Lauren and Sam discussed was their approach to IP from the perspective of today’s NFT space.
Notably, incumbent intellectual property rights have been a major topic of conversation in NFTs for months. Especially since the flagship NFT project, Bored Ape Yacht Club, opted for a model that granted holders full intellectual property rights to their apes. In fact, the growing demand for intellectual property rights was a factor in Yuga Labs’ acquisition of Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks and Meebits.
For the Korotkovs, retaining intellectual property rights was very important. Not because they aren’t committed to Web3 tenants – they are. However, the reality is that sticking to it was important when it finally came to presenting Glue Factory Show.
As Sam explained, “We’re unlocking the community side of Web3, but we understand studios and networks might not be ready for the bigger conversation.”
Lauren adds, noting that there are other ways to engage the community beyond simply assigning intellectual property rights.
“The fact that we’ve built this with our community is central to our pitch process and the product we offer. Writing rooms, homework, we see this as an ongoing aspect. Token holders will always have the opportunity to contribute to the universe of the Glue Factory.
Glue Factory Show is a “Trojan horse”, bringing Web3 to the masses
One of the most important touchpoints for the Korotkovs came courtesy of friend, advisor, and Web3 marketer, Josh Ong. Sam recounts the anecdote of Ong calling Glue Factory Show a literal “Trojan Horse”.
“We are bringing this great equestrian entertainment stuff to the masses. If all goes as planned, inside the horse there is NFT and Web3. But people will accept this gift of entertainment, unaware that they are bringing NFTs into their lives.
This description shows how the founders of Glue Factory Show approach working within the existing entertainment industry as Web3 creators.
“We can’t just break that path that’s always been there to sell a show. We have to play by the rules, but we can bring people where we can,” Sam said.
Certainly, the Korotkovs have big plans to continue pushing the boundaries of Web3 entertainment. Including involving the community directly in the early stages of their next NFT collection. A Star Trek-inspired collaboration with animation studio Struthless Studios, titled – by the Glue Factory community – Horse space.
Overall, the Korotkovs’ light-hearted approach is to give the show its best chance at success. Plus, both Sam and Lauren point out that the success of the Glue Factory Show will only open doors. Both for the Glue Factory Show and other Web3 entertainment projects. As Sam concludes,
“Our corporate name, Centaur Studios, is about creating stories, myths and ideas. And we see Glue Factory as the first chapter, the one we can build on with our community.
Be sure to watch the hilarious pilot episode of Glue Factory here.
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