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Blockchain-based studio Story DAO seeks to develop new franchise IP

Illustration of books floating above a digital grid.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Two brothers with backgrounds in Hollywood development and crypto investing are launching Story DAO, a new production studio that exists entirely on the Ethereum blockchain.

Why it matters: Story DAO could prove that blockchain has the ability to reshape how Hollywood develops and finances content, as well as provide a new pathway for the development of franchise IP.

Details: Story DAO's co-founders are brothers J.P. and Justin Alanis. J.P. is a former development executive at Lionsgate and Whalerock, while Justin is a web3 investor.

  • The company's backers include a mix of VC and crypto investors and Hollywood writers, including Packy McCormick, Cooper Turley, GMoney, Collab+Currency, Floodgate, Narwhal Ventures and writers Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir.

The big picture: The streaming wars have made established IP the most valuable commodity in Hollywood. This has also created an insatiable desire for content.

  • But despite hefty content budgets, J.P. argues this has made distributors even more risk averse over fear of sinking millions of dollars into a lemon.
  • "[What] everyone in Hollywood feels is that developing IP is a really tough road. You have studios and distributors that control all the rails of the system," he tells Axios. "[Creators] know that there are fewer opportunities to sell. They know original ideas are even harder to sell."

How it works: Story DAO will partner with an established Hollywood writer, who will work with visual artists to create a new narrative universe.

  • These established writers, known as "Story Architects," then tell a story set in that universe.
  • From there, anyone who signs up to be a member — Story DAO is structured so that each narrative universe functions as its own DAO — can offer suggestions and collaborate with the writer on new stories.
  • Story DAO will launch NFTs for each sub-DAO, which will act as part of the governance structure of each sub-DAO, helping to determine project funding and facilitate voting on creative decisions.
  • "What we're doing is really building an open Hollywood production studio and platform where creatives interact with communities, build something together where everyone is incentivized. Really create a bottoms-up grassroots process of incubating IP. The idea is that the only barrier to entry should be how good your ideas are," J.P. said.

What's next: Story DAO hopes to announce its first list of Story Architects in the coming months.

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