StoryCo and ‘Halo’ showrunner team up to launch ‘Disco Ball,’ a blockchain-based immersive story that’s a model for Hollywood’s move into Web3
StoryCo, the blockchain-based creative platform from brothers Justin and J.P Alanis formerly known as Story DAO, is launching a new immersive storytelling concept — “The Disco Ball,” billed as a “first-of-its-kind interactive narrative unfolding across the StoryCo site, social media and real-world interactions.”
Kyle Killen, the original showrunner of the “Halo” series on Paramount+ (adapted from the Xbox game) and creator of Fox’s “Lone Star,” is the lead writer — or “story architect,” in StoryCo parlance — on the project.
The experience, which went live Thursday, is set against a glittering outer-space backdrop, as illustrated by artistic brother duo Shelby and Sandy. Participants solve puzzles along the way as lead character “Captain Alma Cooke and her team of astronauts on the International Space Station… are thrust into an existential journey to save the multiverse,” StoryCo said.
Like other Web3 storytelling projects, “The Disco Ball” is looking to build a community, and would-be participants are asked to sign up for a free StoryPass (read: NFT) that will allow them to collect digital art from the project. At the end of “Disco Ball,” NFT holders “will assume control over the infinitely expanding Disco Ball universe.”
Those community members will have control not only over creative decisions but over each project’s treasury, said Justin Alanis, which includes NFT sales, IP licensing revenue, and royalties. Half of all net revenue from projects like “Disco Ball” would then be split among the treasury’s members after its story writers and creators are compensated.
The “real-world interactions” available to StoryPass holders are being kept under wraps for now, but Alanis said that clues in the story are in “both physical and digital spaces that allow participants to interact with and help” the characters.
The Alanis brothers are part of a new wave of storytellers looking to create direct relationships between creators and fans using blockchain, though they are looking to use more layperson-friendly terminology as they do it. (Hence the term “StoryPass” instead of “NFT.”)
“The goal there is to show how amazing this new technology can be to incubate this intellectual property, and then gradually fuse in all of this Web3 technology to show how additional incentives, rewards, access ownership models can then be an accelerant to our underlying product market fit with the creators that we have on the platform,” Justin Alanis told Insider.
The Alanises’ vision is attracting Hollywood traditionalists like Killen, who is also known for creating ABC series “Mind Games,” starring Christian Slater, and NBC’s “Awake,” starring Jason Isaacs.
The company has “created a pathway for an entirely new form of storytelling, allowing for a freedom of creative expression that previously didn’t exist,” said Killen in a statement. “I’ve long been looking for a way to immerse the audience more deeply into the story by making them a part of both the story and the creative process, and the technologies made available by StoryCo now enable that to happen.”
StoryCo also just raised $6 million in a seed funding round led by two VC firms — crypto-focused Collab + Currency and Patron, which is focused on “backing founders building towards an interactive and multiplayer internet,” per its website.
Among the round’s other participants are Floodgate Ventures, Blockchange Ventures, Sfermion, and Flamingo DAO, plus angel investors Lloyd Braun, Sabrina Hahn, Packy McCormick, and GMoney, as well as other execs from talent agencies WME and UTA.
“Despite Hollywood and the entertainment industry growing into such a massive business around original IP in recent years, the creative talent which help to imagine and bring these stories to life are often overlooked and excluded from the value they help to create,” said Patron general partner Jason Yeh in a statement. “We believe that better models will emerge which help emerging creative talent to capture and share in the value around these IP.”
Check out the pitch deck that helped StoryCo raise $6 million in seed funding for its blockchain-based collaborative storytelling platform.