With "The Nouners," an animated series for adults, Nouns, an open-source intellectual property (IP) built on a number of Ethereum NFTs, is entering the television market. Additionally, the show is staying true to its origins by only releasing the pilot episode through an NFT access pass. The project is produced by independent creators and was first supported by a grant from the Nouns DAO community.
The Nouns project's vibrant pixel characters, which are based on a variety of objects and creatures and all wear boxy glasses (or "Noggles"), are used in "The Nouners" to create a cartoon aimed at adults. AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE, "South Park," and "Robot Chicken" come to mind when I feel the absurdist vibe.
The 11-minute pilot episode takes a decidedly sarcastic approach, showcasing creators pitch various initiatives to try and spread the Nouns brand in a lo-fi style to match the pixel avatars. Only in this case, they're making a pitch to a supreme deity with a "Wizard of Oz"-style twist, along with plenty of language, sex, drugs, and other adult themes.
The Nouns DAO, a group of Nouns NFT owners who collectively control a treasury of roughly $43 million worth of ETH as of this writing, is actually the organization to which "The Nouners" was pitched. The projects that are supported by that treasury include, among many other things, toys, comic novels, a parade float, and brand alliances.
The idea for "The Nouners" originated with Executive Producer Mike Rekola and his team, who last August submitted a one-minute animatic and the concept to the DAO. Because Nouns was created under a Creative Commons 0 (CC0) license, anyone can use the IP to produce a project similar to this one without the DAO's consent. It has complete open source.
But in this instance, the DAO's Small Grants committee granted the $15,000 USDC request to pay for the pilot episode. According to co-showrunner Sean Flanagan, the premise of the pilot episode was influenced by his experiences navigating the DAO proposal process and communicating with online psuedonyms. He said in contrasting it to the traditional film world.:
“It was complicated navigating the waters of an organization of faceless people around the world,”... “This process was very mysterious and new—which is what led to the creation of the Wizard of Nouns in our pilot. We were making educated guesses based on the voice of a man behind a curtain. This became the inspiration.”
After witnessing other creators ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars for things like Nouns-based story bibles and animatics—"anything but a finished product," in his opinion—his team made a very modest request for the pilot episode funding, according to Rekola.
The "The Nouners" pilot episode is complete, however accessing the token-gated gateway and watching the video requires an NFT access card. Rekola stated that they will need to sell 3,200 of the NFTs to get the money necessary to finish the second episode, which is now halfway through production. The pass costs 0.003 ETH, or less than $5 at the time of writing.
The pilot feels tailor-made for an established audience of Web3 fans because it features a Nouns-based and Nouns-funded episode about Nouns and the funding process. Future episodes, according to Rekola, will examine a larger range of topics and won't be as as meta.
The creators of "The Nouners" are curious to see how it fares with viewers and whether there is enough interest for the next episode, let alone a whole season, as it is an experiment, like so many of the projects that Nouns DAO has supported thus far.
Another test of how Web3 technology can support funding and bring various creative ideas to life is also being conducted in the expanding Film3 industry. In this instance, it is likewise based on a decentralized asset that many individuals are building collectively through their own inventions. Nouns is a sandbox with many creative possibilities for Rekola. Rekola added:
“Nouns is an ideal partner for the show because its IP is undefined, CC0, and fully ripe for exploration”
“Nouns aren't limited to kids, nor crypto bros. All are welcome in the Nouns community. This is why the Web3 space is amazing. No legacy media company would ever let random filmmakers have fun with their brand.”
“Do you think Disney would ever let us have the chance to experiment and make a mature audience-themed Mickey Mouse cartoon? I don't think so,” he added. “But Nouns would.”