It’s no secret that Hollywood is small. For decades, a select group of industry gatekeepers has dictated what and where stories were told. No matter how talented, most people won’t ever get to pitch their ideas to the teams capable of bringing them to life. But even with this knowledge, few truly realize how difficult chasing this dream is.
Roughly 50,000 screenplays are registered with the Writer’s Guild of America each year — but in 2021, 403 movies were released in the United States and Canada. That’s less than a one percent chance to get your script made into a movie, with the odds stacked even more unfavorably against members of underrepresented communities.
Now, a new approach coined Media3 is reshaping the way stories — from Hollywood to hardcover — are told.
An interactive world building experience
A brainchild of creative production studio Clubhouse Pictures and Metaversal Venture Studios, the Omega Runner brand is focused on empowering both creators and fans to help create the stories that live in its universe.
“While not completely relinquishing control of the narrative, the creators invite the participation of the audience and respond. The goal is to enable those who care most about a project or story to contribute to this multimedia storyverse,” said Runner co-founder and Production Executive at Clubhouse Pictures, Bryce Anderson. “This more decentralized storytelling model builds unprecedented loyalty, as fans are more than just consumers — they are co-creators. “
According to Anderson, creatives really only learn what the reaction to a project will be when they put it in front of an audience for the first time. Including community members in the initial creation process enhances the production and lets the creators know if the project is trending in the right direction.
“In Web3, with its vibrant community of creatives with that builder mentality, people are much more willing to look at the potential of a [project], so we bring them in earlier and get that creative buy-in from our community,” he said in an interview with nft now.
Omega Runner co-founder, screenwriter, and producer Blaise Hemingway echoed a similar sentiment citing the advantage for anyone creating a narrative world to get a response from an audience as soon as possible.
“In the traditional Hollywood model […] you’ve already spent millions upon millions of dollars […] and even when you get thoughts and a response from an audience, there isn’t much you can do to pivot your project unless you’re willing to delay and spend millions more,” Hemingway said in an interview with nft now. “When you build a storytelling universe in partnership with your creative community, your feedback is instantaneous. […] You build together.”
Media3 allows creatives to avoid traditional gatekeepers and go directly to their audience. From there, they can onramp the IP to traditional media, like printed comic books, physical merchandise, and content production at a Hollywood scale. Along this journey, audiences can meaningfully engage in the creation, building a multifaceted, communal experience.
And Omega Runner is playing this out in real time.
Empowering the Omega Runner community
From Clubhouse Pictures and Metaversal comes Omega Runner, a Web3 multimedia sci-fi project by Hunger Games co-producer Bryan Unkeless, director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Anderson, and Hemingway.
The story takes place in a futuristic world where diverse rulers and nations compete in a grueling, multi-day race for ultimate control of the planet Omega. The comic series, which includes the first two issues of Runner, is just the beginning of the Omega universe.
At the heart of the project sits the Omega Runner Character Collection, which will drop in March 2023. It consists of high-fidelity 2D digital art collectibles minted on the Ethereum blockchain, with Layer Zero technology that provides holders with unique experiences in both the digital and physical worlds.
Each NFT acts as an access token to the Omega Runner ecosystem and interactive storytelling experiences for holders in the world of Omega and IRL. Through token ownership and granted IP rights via a smart contract, holders can craft and promote their character’s digital identity and backstory as they see fit. By making each Runner NFT a unique character, holders can experience true ownership over their digital identity, carrying it across a collection of Omega worlds and stories that will be co-created by the Runner community.
Fundamentally different from many other community-led projects which harness communal creativity around a single product, the Omega Runner team is steadfast in building a vast constellation of creative output that can support and champion itself.
“Rather than imagining ‘the creation’ as a single storyline or work of art — a book, an image, a game — we need to think of ‘the creation’ as an entire story universe. The whole brand, full of contradictions and multitudes and open to contributions from anywhere,” said Anderson. “Suddenly fan fiction becomes owner-fiction.”
One of the defining features of Omega Runner is its holders-only “Writers’ Room,” where the community can interact with seasoned writers and directors (from both inside and outside the community) to share a full curriculum on how to build a character and tell a story within the Omega Runner universe.
“The idea is to make our community the best storytelling community in Web3 and—as they succeed—their characters and stories have the opportunity to become canon that transcends Web3 and moves into comics, games, series, movies and beyond,” said Hemingway. “We want to empower our community as much as possible.”
This means leveling the playing field for creatives who want to bring their ideas to life in significant ways.
“Now more than ever, it matters less who you know or where you are in the world,” said Hemingway. “If there’s a story and world that you want to bring your unique voice, vision, and creativity to, you not only have the access and the permission but also the encouragement of the creators and the creative community surrounding it — regardless of whether you’re in Los Angeles, Singapore, or rural farmland in Africa. Everyone who wants to participate can have a seat in this virtual writer’s room.”
The expansive Omega universe
As for the project’s future, the Omega universe can encompass an unlimited number of stories. While that all starts with the Character Collection Drop, there’s much more on the horizon.
The Omega universe is ever expanding, with Anderson saying they’ve even planned a Runner TV show. But they’re not in a rush to make it happen. “An animated TV show will take 18 months. A feature would take two years — so it’s important when you’re setting off on a project that will take a not-insignificant portion of your life to complete that you believe in it and believe that it’s good.”
“I want to see Runner on a cereal box. And to do that, we need people to believe in the creative and believe in the execution, and not just the hype,” he said.
With Media3, all of this becomes a possibility.