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 beginning of another journey for project founder Sam Korotkov.
Since the launch of its NFT collection back in August 2021, and its inception months before that, Korotkovs had always held a bigger picture in mind. That is, to be a pioneering project using NFTs as a way to build fandom and launch a media property. Sam describes,
“[Glue Factory Show writer, Colton Dunn] likened it best in terms of a reverse Comic-Con. We’re starting from a collectible. We’re generating community, and then we’re bringing the community in on the show creation process.”
Quotes are condensed and edited for clarity.
From a Love Of ZED RUN and Animal Welfare To Creating an NFT TV Show
“The actual genesis of the idea was a bit of a joke.” Sam recounts. “You know, what happens to the Zed Run horses when they get stuck on the virtual racecourse. Is there a virtual glue factory?”
As much as the joke taps into some dark humor, it was an idea that stuck with the project founders. Besides that, it connected directly to something they care very much about. As Sam notes,
“We’re huge animal lovers. And so we wondered how we could use this technology, to really hone in on 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 the horses.”
To that end, the project always had its philanthropic aims. Part of its initial roadmap was promising (and delivering on) a charitable donation for the benefit of horses. Beyond that, the concept of doing an animated show started to come into play. And once a mutual friend connected Centaur Studios with actor/writer Jon Barinholtz (Superstore, MAD TV), the concept began to take off.
The Glue Factory Show Community writers’ room
Overall, the Community Writers’ Room is the part of the Glue Factory that Korotkov speaks most fondly of. After all, it’s the part that best represents Centaur studio’s commitment to encouraging community creativity and input.
A major factor in setting up the Community Writers’ Room was Barinholtz, who is credited as the show’s creator and de facto showrunner. He was the one to break down the way writers’ rooms work in Hollywood TV shows. There, writers come together to break the story, then flesh it out individually with separate writing assignments.
Centaur Studios saw that as a perfect template to recreate with the Glue Factory Show community of NFT holders. And so, they did just that.
The Glue Factory NFT Tv Show Boasts Industry Veterans
To clarify, the Glue Factory Show core writing team is stacked with industry veterans other than Barinholtz. To list, there’s Colton Dunn (Superstore, Key & Peele), Katie Rich (SNL, Chicago Party Aunt), Rob Belushi (Chicago P.D., How I Met Your Mother), and Jim Wise (MAD TV, The Jay Leno Show).
This experienced team of comedy minds did the work of developing the show. Then, they created six writing assignments. These gave the Glue Factory Show community a chance to pitch their own wild and hilarious ideas.
The Inspiration Behind The Glue Factory
Another fun inspiration for the Community Writers’ Room came from Sam’s observations of the writing communities on Reddit. There, he would frequently see writing prompts posted, with people responding in their own unique and creative ways.
“That was a bit of inspiration for doing this. Bringing people out of their comfort zone in an anonymous way so that they can spark creativity within themselves.”
With that said, Centaur Studios 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.
“It’s about how we can mediate that balance between community involvement [and high quality]. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal here is to also sell the show”, they added.
The biggest challenges creating an animated NFT TV Series
Clearly, there is no shortage of challenges for NFT project founders today. Even more so for the Korotkovs. They have to balance being the founders of the Glue Factory Show with being the principals of a production company, Centaur Studios.
For example, Centaur Studios speaks about the natural tension that arises between the rapid pace of the NFT space, and the sometimes glacial speed of animation. Tied to that is the tendency of NFT communities to want to see frequent progress and updates. Things that didn’t always make sense to provide at certain points in the process.
“In animation, you have an animatic stage. And let me tell you, animatics are super disappointing. Now retrospectively, we can share much more of that because the community has seen the final product. But I guess there was a conscious decision to ensure that people will understand the quality of what we’re creating.”
By the same token, Sam adds that it was important not to “give too much upfront, just in case things change,” as they so frequently do in the process of developing a show. “Because we didn’t want people to get married to a certain idea.”
The fine line between trailblazing and working with existing systems
One major topic for Centaur studios is its approach to IP from the perspective of today’s NFT space.
Notably, holders’ IP rights have been a major topic of conversation in NFTs for months. Especially since the marquee NFT project, Bored Ape Yacht Club, went with a model that granted holders full IP rights over their Apes. In fact, the increasing demand for IP rights was a factor in Yuga Labs’ acquisition of the CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs.
For the Korotkovs, retaining IP rights was very important. Not because they aren’t committed to the tenants of Web3 – they are. However, the reality is that holding onto it mattered when it ultimately comes to pitching Glue Factory Show.
As Sam explained, “We’re unlocking the community side of Web3, but we understand that studios and networks might not be ready for the bigger conversation.”
In addition, he noted how there are other ways to bring the community along beyond just giving out IP rights.
“The fact that we’ve built this with our community is central to our pitching process and the product we’re delivering. The writing rooms, the assignments, we see that as an ongoing aspect. Token holders will always have the ability 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 marketing specialist, Josh Ong. Sam tells the anecdote of Ong calling Glue Factory Show a literal “Trojan Horse”.
“We’re bringing this big, horse-entertainment-thing to the masses. If all goes to plan, inside the horse, there’s NFTs and Web3. But people are going to be accepting this gift of entertainment, not knowing that they’re bringing NFTs into their lives.”
That description shows how the Glue Factory Show founders approach working within the existing entertainment industry as Web3 creators.
“We can’t just smash down this pathway that’s always existed to sell a show. We need to play by the rules, but we can bring people along wherever possible,” said Sam.
To be sure, 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 the animation studio Struthless Studios, titled – by the Glue Factory community – Space FHorse.
All in all, the light-touch approach Centaur Studios are taking is to give the show its best chance to succeed. What’s more, the success of the Glue Factory Show will only open doors for other NFT TV shows. As Sam concludes,
“Our business name, Centaur Studios, is all about creating stories and myths and ideas. And we see Glue Factory as just the first chapter – one that we can build upon with our community.”
Be sure to check out the hilarious pilot episode of the Glue Factory show here.