Verified Labs co-founder Jon Heder, who is also known for the smash hit comedy “Napoleon Dynamite,” joins Verified Labs CEO Justin Trevor Winters on "The Hash" to discuss the upcoming animated comedy about the FTX debacle called "FORTUN3," debuting this fall.
Our next guests want to bridge the gap between entertainment and web three. Joining us now to discuss is the actor best known for the smash hit comedy Napoleon Dynamite, John Header and verified lab, Ceo Justin Trevor Winter. Welcome to the show to you both. Hello. Hello. Hey, everyone. Thanks for having us. We're uh we're, we're zooming in from our prison cells. So um we, you know, this is white collar crime, nice bookshelf collection, camp fed looking good. Got a lot of books going in those prison cells. All right. On the topic of prison cells. Let's talk about this. You have a project in the works called Fortune. It is a satire of SPF and FTX and all of this drama that we spoke about in the first part of the show. How closely are you following? What's going on? Are we going to see the bale being revoked in the animated series and follow the follow the drama as we are now. Like, what can we expect? Yeah, great question. Thanks for starting the top of the show, the FTX debacle. Um You know, we, yeah, we teamed up with uh a web three. native animation studio, uh tune Star uh to produce the series. Obviously, John uh is starring in that series alongside TJ Miller. Um We thought it was a great opportunity for us to utilize Web three technology simply because, you know, when everything went down with FTX, uh you had a bunch of traditional Hollywood scooping up the rights to the story, the Russo brothers, Adam mckay, you know, there's a TV show in the works, there's a movie in the works, but we're doing an animated series and we can push out content weekly um because of the technology that we use and so we can really stay up to date on everything that's happening. And as you know, the trial is going to be starting here soon towards the latter part of the year, we will be premiering uh the series in the latter part of the year as well. Um So we'll really be keeping up with everything that's happening in real time, making sure that we are making fun of everything and everyone, no one is safe uh in the world that we are creating. So we're super excited about it and excited to have John voicing one of those characters. I think he's voicing uh Caroline Ellison, right? I'm sure it's, it's pretty much a grab bag for uh who I can play. Just reach in like, all right, who's gonna be this week? Maybe we'll just switch it every episode. Exactly. John, what's your favorite, like absurdity within the whole FTX collapse because surely you have a lot of material to draw from. There's so much uh reporting that's gone on here. So I just am always curious for people's personal take, personal favorite, uh especially uh through more comedic lens. What from the FTX implosion strikes you as most funny? Um I think what's most funny is, it's pretty much Greeks me. II, I think, uh you know, there's some interesting looking characters but no, I, I mean, I, when I was approached about doing this project, I was like, wait, what, what, what is this? So I got on and I started, you know, reading up on kind of the story and just learning a bit about each of the players involved. Um And um I just think, uh you know, at the heart of so much of this is all this talk of the um this altruistic uh uh philosophy that they fall, uh follow, um which, you know, is kind of like, you know, they're all following some kind of like this new, like helping the world by how, you know, like tearing down other things. But, you know, here they are all in uh hot water right now and uh kind of facing these serious things. So, I don't know, I, I think um there's some um interesting uh uh you know, karma happening right now. I'm not sure, you know, I'm not sure, but I, yeah, I, I'm trying to make sense of it all as we go along, just I wanna ask about some of the other endeavors you guys are working on. I, I came across a video for you guys actually just yesterday, there was Tupac was involved, Whitney Ernest Hemingway somehow. How do you guys come across like purchasing this IP and then developing it into products for, for Web three? What's that whole like process look like from a business standpoint? Yeah, great question. Uh You know, John and I co-founded Verified Labs a little over two years ago. You can consider us like a web three agency or studio or an agency in the sense that you represent actors and actresses and musicians and athletes and brands, you mentioned, Tupac and Hemingway. Uh There's been a joke in the industry that we represent a lot of dead celebrities as well, uh which is just that we work with a lot of different estates. Um Basically, we bridge that gap, we bring them into Web three and we, you know, execute on any sort of vision they ultimately have. Uh we're a studio in the sense that we also create uh film TV, uh video games, animated series, uh digital collectables. Um really anything and everything space as long as it has a web three component to it. So we look at traditional avenues for distribution but also non traditional avenues. So releasing content specifically on the Blockchain. Um So yeah, I mean we, we've both John and I have worked in the entertainment industry for over two decades. So we have so many connections and access to uh different pieces of talent. Uh I worked at creative artists agency and innovative artist for a long time. So really a big part of that is just talking to the department specific talent, asking what their vision is of web three, what they want to create and then executing on that. So every contract is kind of different and every entity is different. Um Some estates are really, you know, excited about leaning into technology A I um you know, as an example, we teamed up recently with Steve mcqueen Estate uh and Triumph Motorcycles. We released a digital collectible, which was a really cool 3d immersive experience where you could hang out in the mcqueen garage with a Triumph motorcycle there, Queen Portrait. Um It was fully immersive so you could experience it in Sony Spatial Display or with VR and A R technology. That was just the first step. We sold the digital collectible, sold several 100. It built a community of people that are part of the Steve mcqueen racing team. And now we're gonna deliver on a road map where the future is bright with. Uh we're hoping to do films. Uh The mcqueen estate just created mcqueen films where they're looking at doing three different potential biopics on Steve Queen, we co produce and then also on top of that utilizing a technology to create a racing simulation and video game where we literally bring Steve mcqueen back to life, his likeness, uh his voice. Um And you know, you can watch the film, you can play the game. Um The simulation is gonna allow you one of, one of the films we're talking about is the uh 12 days of or sorry, 12 hours of searing where uh mcqueen raced for 12 hours uh in a Porsche against Ferrari Mar Mario Andretti. And so we're gonna replicate that race. So you can actually race alongside mcqueen uh in a Ferrari or in a, in a Porsche. Uh So it's, it's kind of, you know, utilizing web three to distribute traditional content and then also gamifying it through different experiences. So every everything's different with everyone that we work with, but we're, we're excited to be in the space and keep exploring it. John, let me throw it your way. Like you just seem to be in crypto, right? You're doing a bunch of things, you got the tunes star thing, you got this thing, you got that thing. Like we just can't get rid of you over here at coin desk. And I just wanted to ask you, I think like last time you and I spoke was at consensus back in Austin in April. And obviously a lot has transpired in Hollywood with the right strike. Uh Clearly a lot of conversations around uh more equitable distribution around uh intellectual property. So I wanted to just ask really like, how has the more recent development in the entertainment industry, like informed your perspective on why you keep experiencing with these web through technologies? Well, we'll see how this de develop with these recent, we say recent developments, we'll see how it develops. I mean, with the strike where, you know, everything is kind of up in the air, we're trying to figure out how, you know, uh writers, actors are gonna be uh compensated. Uh Moving from here on out when we have to deal with uh burge burgeoning um technologies like A I and uh just with streaming services that have been around for ages now and, and we're still trying to catch up with figuring out fair compensation. So, um you know, what's great about this is, you know, when I was entered this world, really, it was more as a place where I could create um create content, well, get back into illustration and drawing, but also start out um ideas that we can turn into animated shows into possible movies, um just content and you know, with learning about how the system works and a lot of that, it feels like, OK, this is a little kind of more while it seems complicated also seems simple. You dealing with uh these crypto wallets and um and how you are compensated and how everything is like there's no middle man. It's really this, this decentralized uh area we get. Um you know, it goes straight to the artist, it goes straight to uh the, the creators. And so I think, um you know, it, it's, it's, there seems a lot more fairness there but maybe because it hasn't become corrupted yet. Um And, you know, there's not too many fingers in the pie quite yet and maybe never will be. I think that's uh the kind of the, the feeling that I get from when I, you know, I attend some of these conferences and talk to uh uh all you guys who know way more about this than I do. Um But uh it's so far it's, I've been, you know, my hand has been held for quite a lot of this process and I feel pretty good about it uh to piggy back off of that. Uh you know, John and I support the WG A strike, the sag after strike. Um 100% I think what's really interesting is we have quite a bit of support from the W and from S A because a lot of the projects that we're working on do fall under the independent new media contracts. So they not only support us, they're uh you know, encouraging us to work because they, they still want their writers and their actors to be working, you know, and to be generating revenue and income. Um And so we're trying to facilitate that. So obviously, we don't work with any companies that are struck. Um But we focus primarily right now, especially on uh continuing to develop in web three. So more of a nontraditional approach to development, producing and distribution. So really, you know, we're hoping that we can continue, you know, can continue supporting the artist. And to John's point, you know, we just love the technology, we love Blockchain technology, we love being able to utilize uh smart contracts. So like John said, the artist, the creator is actually getting compensated for the work that they do. You know, we we've been in film for a long time and and quite often when you sign a contract, you will be enticed to take points on the back end or percentages of a film TV show. And if it makes money, then you're supposed to make money. But so often that money disappears, right? Because the the powers of people can say, oh well, we spent extra money in marketing or insurance or we lost money here and you know, when you utilize watching technology and smart contracts, if you sign a contract and you own a certain percentage of that film uh or project, then the money goes all it right? Because of that smart contract that's following all the financial. So it's much harder to hide or bury that money and and artist is actually getting compensated for the work that they do. So we support that uh as well and are excited about how that's going to continue to affect uh traditional entertainment. All right, guys, we're gonna have to leave it there. Thanks very much for joining the show and we look forward to seeing um all of these projects come to life. Thanks so much for having us. Thanks guys that was verified labs, co-founder John Header, along with verified labs, CEO and co-founder Justin Trevor Winters.