If you ever thought the FTX saga seemed destined for a television adaptation, the entertainment industry agrees with you. Last year’s collapse of the rotten-to-the-core crypto exchange is the inspiration for an upcoming animated comedy called “FORTUN3.”
Announced at Comic-Con, “FORTUN3,” which premieres this fall, will serve as a kind of origin story for SBF and FTX – the products of an easy-money culture mixed with unbridled tech optimism, explains John Attanasio, co-founder and CEO of Toonstar. Besides the FTX parody, viewers can expect references to other business boondoggles driven by egomaniacs with a messiah complex (think: Theranos and WeWork). T.J. Miller of “Silicon Valley” fame will voice the SBF clone.
“[The series] is based on a real-life cast of characters that lend themselves very well to cartoons,” Attanasio told CoinDesk. “We're going to be taking the stuff that you see in the headlines and then bring that into the series.”
“FORTUN3” is the latest in Toonstar’s “interactive series,” which add a generous helping of Web3 to give fans avenues to participate in the creative experience. The studio treats community participation via NFT-based applications as its key differentiator – an idea ready for a wider audience, Attanasio believes.
“Through the narrative, there’s going to be a lot of universal themes that hopefully will appeal to [people] not more versed in crypto,” he said. “We also believe that entertainment can be one of the use cases that can help take Web3 mainstream.”
In the case of “FORTUN3,” viewers will be able to level-up their involvement in the series via an online game – which users can access via an NFT – which will be set in the same universe. While the exact gameplay is yet to be revealed, it will involve some kind of market – one that will be deeply affected by events in the show. Considering the effect of FTX’s collapse in the real world, fans should expect a bumpy ride.
Besides Miller, the “FORTUN3” cast includes Jon Heder (best known for the movie “Napoleon Dynamite”) and actress/model Amber Rose in its supporting cast. Heder co-founded Verified Labs, a creative agency that partners with Toonstar on Web3 projects. Their last collaboration was “Space Junk”, which also starred Heder and premiered at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in April.
After its experience with “Space Junk,” Toonstar learned a lesson about artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential to be an accelerator for deepening the kind of fan engagement the studio is looking for, according to Luisa Huang, COO of Toonstar.
“AI is such a powerful companion tool for community engagement,” she said. “Having an AI companion as a co-pilot, to be a kind of creative partner, has been so successful to get the community active in participating. In Space Junk, we had [an AI] ‘co-pilot’ for story creation. And what we saw was that there was basically almost a 30x conversion rate [when using the AI].”
From the Comic-Con debut to the casting of Miller, it’s clear Toonstar sees the new series as its most mainstream play yet. While the title of the series is obviously ironic, it could turn out to be surprisingly apt if, from the ashes of FTX, “FORTUN3” could build success in Web3 entertainment.
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