‘Silicon Valley’ Producers Tap Ethereum NFTs for User-Generated Comedy

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Decrypt
12w ago2022-06-18

In brief

  • Terrible Pets is an upcoming Web3 project featuring Hollywood veterans such as Alec Berg and Mike Judge.
  • It lets NFT holders use chunks of comedic material to create, share, and potentially benefit from their own online content.

There’s been no shortage of celebrities entering Web3 to drop NFT collectibles, but more and more established creators are eyeing blockchain technology as a way to rethink the creative process in bringing entertainment to life.

Now, some of the comedic minds behind HBO’s hit series “Silicon Valley” have unveiled their own attempt, Terrible Pets. The project will use Ethereum NFTs to “turn content itself into LEGO blocks,” letting owners use them to build meme-able online content, said Fika Media co-founder and CEO Adam Altman.

“Silicon Valley” executive producer and showrunner Alec Berg is a co-founder of Fika, as are producers Jonathan Dotan and Bubba Murarka. The show’s co-creator, Mike Judge—also behind “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “King of the Hill”—is an angel investor and a potential future collaborator for the startup, Berg said.

Berg, also a co-creator of HBO’s “Barry” and an executive producer on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” told Decrypt that while television and film technology have improved over the years, the process of creating scripted media hasn't changed much in decades. Web3 offers a new way to co-create and collaborate with a potentially wide and diverse audience.

“With the technology, there's potential to actually re-architect the way stories are told and the way they're built,” Berg said. “I just think that's super exciting.”

Altman, a tech entrepreneur, said he was inspired by the early pandemic success of audio chat app Clubhouse, which he saw bring people together from disparate backgrounds. He amassed a large following on the service (and became an investor), and alongside Murarka and Berg they considered how that same “social energy” could be applied to creative content.

Altman said he agreed with Berg’s thesis that “the greatest creativity in the world is in the far corners of the internet.” Entertainment studios have talent, resources, and distribution, but simple memes command huge attention and spread all around the globe.

“An 8-year-old in Indonesia can blow my mind on a Saturday morning, when done right,” Altman added.

Terrible Pets is Fika’s attempt to marry those two approaches: creative seeds and technology from well-funded professionals, but with the ability for a community to tap into those resources to remix and share all kinds of content. They’ve developed the premise “like a TV show,” said Altman, but with an eye toward enabling online, user-generated content.

And while the project is built around Ethereum NFTs—that is, blockchain tokens that serve as a proof of ownership for content or other items—they won’t look or function like the popular Bored Apes or other animal-themed digital collectibles.

Building with NFTs

The eight anthropomorphic creatures that make up Terrible Pets’ cast are described as “human-like animals with relatable traumas, wrapped in absurdism.” The cartoon creatures meet at Animals Anonymous, a wilderness camp that serves as an emotional support group.

Altman described the premise as “a fun, vibey thing” to build community and relatable content around, and likened the tone to Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman.” However, the characters revealed to date, such as Sussy Sloth and WAGMI Meerkat, nod to crypto culture and social media.