If you're a creator feeling daunted by the gatekeepers of production, you'll love Clay Space, the star, creator, and crypto-finance-wrangler of a new trans-media platform project known as Back to Earth. And, not for nothing, he's a man whose very name demands the attention of sci-fi lovers like us, whether the gatekeepers like it or not.
Back to Earth is a live-action series, an interactive experience, and a graphic novel that has also been animated. "Our multi-platform approach is our way of telling an in-depth story that builds a bigger and more engaging world. Each facet ... tells a unique story within our world," Space tells SYFY WIRE. "At times, a character in one story will cross over into another, creating a rich experience for devoted fans. Of course, you don't have to watch everything in order to know what's going on. Each piece stands on its own."
But what makes the project seem truly revolutionary is its relationship with cryptocurrency, including bitcoin funding, and its own fidicuiary creation, StarCredits, which are used in the story and also have value outside of it.
"Ownership of our digital token (or cryptocurrency), called StarCredits, can throw fans directly into our story, while giving them more freedom over their experience," says Space, a blockchain and bitcoin early adopter. "StarCredits are much more dynamic than a 'currency.' Sure, you'll be able to use them to buy content and unlock clues within our interactive experience, but you can also hold them to receive exclusive content and rewards, trade them for major discounts in our online store, or even sell them for money on an exchange.
"You can think of StarCredits as a ticket that grants you special rights, and the power to choose how you want to experience our world. And you're not the only one using StarCredits -- the characters in our world use them too!" says Space. "StarCredits do have a monetary value, and that value can fluctuate up or down depending on their demand. While there will probably always be a market for people who are trying to trade StarCredits for a profit, the way we are designing the interactive elements in our world will shield the average user from any dramatic fluctuation in value. We want fans focusing on having fun and enjoying the entertainment -- not worrying about money."
The story itself is influenced by two of Space's favorite shows, Black Mirror and The Walking Dead, "and you can definitely see elements of those stories," says Space. "Back to Earth takes place in a (not so distant) future where everyone uses brain implants to connect their minds to the internet. When these implants get hacked, they turn all their users into angry, brain-dead animals called ragers. Think of them as zombies -- except they don't want to eat you, they just want to kill you."
As you can see in our trailer debut above, which displays all the facets of the multi-platform world, one of the main characters is Vince, played by Bruno Gunn, who played District 2 Victor, Brutus, in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Walrus in "The Stray" episode of HBO's Westworld, among many others.
"He's the driving force of the story. … He personalizes the destruction of the modern world. So when you follow him, you see why he's made the decisions he's made. You watch Vince become radical and extreme, and you understand why," Gunn tells SYFY WIRE. "What I love most is that Vince is both the good guy and bad guy."
Gunn also loves the many dimensions his character takes on, as Vince goes from platform to platform: "You get to follow the character arc on multiple platforms, which gives you a different experience with that character."
But how does a veteran actor like Gunn hook up with a "kid" like Space, a newcomer from New Mexico? As they say in the biz, bitcoins talk. Gunn was blown away by not just the story and the fact that Uncanny Valley director Federico Heller was on board, but also by the way Space was able to finance the project thus far.
"He's figured out a way to raise money to fund his project ... It's just mind-blowing, it really is. He's doing something now that all the studios are wanting to do. They know that this is a way to raise money without going through the normal avenues. It's pretty amazing," says Gunn. "When I found out about the project, I said, 'Wow! ... I talked to him on the phone, and I was just super impressed. I thought this kid was sharp, and the story is great, and the idea that they're doing; you know he raised like a million dollars in less than 48 hours?"
And that was in Bitcoin. Which, I'm not sure if you heard or not, has exploded since Space first got into the cryptocurrency.
"I've been a proud owner of bitcoin and a member of the community since 2014. Back then, and still to this day, very few companies were finding ways to combine entertainment with the blockchain. I knew I had to fill that gap," says Space. "Bitcoin proved that all of this is possible. It is still the most valuable token on the market, and people are using the money they've made from its meteoric rise to reinvest in the industry and build applications that are going to change the way all of us use the internet. It's very exciting times."
It's also potentially a game-changer for the entertainment biz: "No other story has ever had a token that you can own and use," says Space. "Our team whole-heartedly believes that this could change the future of entertainment -- and the exciting part is that it's a win for both fans and creators."
If that sounds like a winning bet, and the trailer above has you revved up to spend some Star Credits, then head on over to Back to Earth's website to follow along on the progress. No dates for release just yet, though, as Space and company are still in the process of securing distribution.
What do you make of the idea of cryptocurrency changing the financing paradigm? Let us know in the comments.