Left Fielder Media (LFM) has unveiled Member 16, a new sci-fi Web3 entertainment project that includes diverse storytelling.
LFM is getting ready to show off more about Member 16, designed over the past couple of years as a cross-media series merging love, action, and thrills within a world shaped by human evolution and commercial space exploration. The sci-fi project will be bankrolled with the launch of non-fungible token (NFT) digital assets that will give the first glimpse into the universe.
Member 16 is based on a universe where space tourism is common, and it’s as easy to visit the stars as it is to get on an airplane bound for another city, said Dom Cole and Stephen Philms, founders of LFM, in an interview with GamesBeat. The aim is to create comics, short-form content as well as a feature film and more.
Previously, Left Fielder Media signed a deal with Web3 game studio Neon, which is making the highly anticipated shooter game Shrapnel. The idea for that project was to bring the characters of the ambitious Unreal Engine 5 multiplayer game to life and give fans a reason to get engaged with the storytelling and lore behind a fresh set of characters in Shrapnel. LFM’s job was to create a lot of backstory for the sci-fi character, using diversity as a jumping off point. And Neon will assist LFM with its asset launch.
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“I really love these guys,” said Mark Long, CEO of Neon Machine, in an email to GamesBeat. “I met them when I was at HBO and people were coming out of the woodwork hoping to get connected to the Hollywood part of the company…. I ended up working with them myself instead.”
LFM is the creation of Cole and Philms, two friends who grew up in Atlanta and now specialize in developing and producing story lore for gaming universes that can also be used in a variety of creative media, including film, comic books, and digital collectibles. Their company started in 2020, and they see these projects as a way to level up cross-media storytelling — and bring diversity into fields like sci-fi. The duo refer to themselves as a “media tech studio.”
Cole and Philms want to see more diversity in stories about future technology and science fiction, and they want those characters to be dynamic and authentic. So they create lore, or the back stories for characters who appear in the video games like Shrapnel, and they’re excited about the opportunities for their kind of storytelling to cross into different media as fans gobble up engaging stories about their favorite characters across different media — something that modern creators prefer to call crossmedia rather than the tired word transmedia that was associated with Hollywood failures in the past.
Member 16 will be an immersive series that will merge the realms of media, tech, fashion and storytelling, said Cole and Philms, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We’re really excited about what the future of space exploration looks like,” Philms said. “We’ve been having a lot of conversations with organizations like NASA and Axiom Brands. And then we have a partnership with organization called Gen Space. We’ve just been looking to further this narrative on what space exploration looks like.”
This ambitious project promises to redefine the way audiences engage with narratives, combining film, digital assets, comics, products and fashion capsule collections to create a multi-dimensional experience. They’re building story driven, immersive content for people to enjoy.
“We’re communicating what’s supposed to be coming down the pipeline and next five to seven years to keep space technology accurate. So as we’re building our story world, we’re able to sit down have conversations and they’re giving us key points and guiding us,” Philms said. “They’re helping us design our space suits and we’re turning those into Web3 assets as part of our digital asset campaign.”
By embracing technology and innovative storytelling techniques, the small studio wants to pave the way for a new era of immersive entertainment and audience on boarding. LFM has been one of the first companies to secure an overall deal with Neon Machine, the maker of Shrapnel.
“We’re storytellers at the core. Our background is film,” Cole said. “We want to advance storytelling.”
In this world, an inventor named Irvin Mingus creates a way to travel to the stars and builds a company, Augenvius, to take people to the stars through its spaceports. The world has various stories, characters, and events like assassinations. Augenvius is a pioneering entity specializing in innovative solutions for Space Exploration and Commercial Space Development. Leading a fleet of cutting-edge spacecraft, their flagship, ‘The AUGE-1,’ stands at the forefront. Augenvius boasts the world’s premier commercial spaceport and proudly hosts the first “Space Station In Space.”
“For us, in this near future, space exploration is just as common as getting on a plane,” said Philms. “We’re introducing people to the backdrop of the world first.”
Member 16 offers a blend of digital assets and comics at its core, crafted by top creatives and technologists. Partnering with Avolve, a digital fashion house in Amsterdam, LFM ensures an immersive experience that seamlessly integrates narratives, gaming elements, and high fashion concepts.
Owning these digital assets unlocks exclusive content and experiences, akin to a luxury loyalty program, providing fans with deeper immersion into the Member 16 universe.
In a move that blurs the lines between fiction and reality, Left Fielder Media is set to release a series of fashion capsule collections inspired by the world of Member 16. From thoughtful streetwear to modern story driven accessories, these collections offer fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in the aesthetic universe of the series. With collaborations with top designers and tastemakers, LFM wants to redefine the concept of branded merchandise in the digital age.
“With us, being storytellers at our core, we were able to partner with this fashion house, Avolve,” Philms said. “In our first introduction to this world that we’re building, which is a cross media world where we’re talking about narrative stories, gamified experiences, immersive experiences — we’re going to be dropping a Web3 digital asset coming soon.”
Cole said that the aim is that the audience will be able to wear the things they see in the show, whether it’s a film or TV show or something else. The team has a partnership with a luxury watch brand.
“Partnering with the luxury watch brand is not just about the watch,” said Philms. “There is an entire storyline catered to that which is going to attract people that are watching. We have the story that connects to another story that connects to our worlds. We’re just finding different ways to onboard people using technology and product and merging those worlds together.”
LFM wants to build a narrative about space exploration, space education and other areas as well, with different partners helping to build out each element, Philms said. The “gamified experiences” are vague at the moment, as is much of the project.
The idea is to help video games and other sci-fi media reach audiences that have been overlooked in the past and to bring authenticity at the highest level that showcases their cultural perspectives, said Cole.
As an example, they worked with NASA engineer Sabrina Thompson to make sure that all their space and technical language is accurate. Part of their interest is in inspiring diverse people to take an interest in future technologies.
Cole and Philms started Left Fielder Media to extend their reach into industries such as the metaverse, blockchain, gaming, film/tv, fashion, exhibitions, immersive and live event experiences.
Launching digital assets
Those who bought the Shrapnel tokens from Neon will get whitelisted for a spot to buy the Member 16 NFTs, which take the form of digital assets, not tokens.
Those Shrapnel fans who own the Hassan character — created by LFM — will be able to get access to more rewards in the future.
“That’s how we’ll be able to cross the universe going forward,” “People call it Web3. We just like the approach toward the digital asset, where you reward people continuously over time for owning something. We just love that. We think that will be a huge thing in the future. That’s our approach. It will be things like fashion, gamified experiences, a comic book, a film.”
But at the outset, they will release a trailer teasing Member 16 and then try to generate interest in the brand. They will show off a spaceship design approved by the former NASA engineer and current academic Sabrina Thompson. Fans will begin to see the digital assets that have been created.
Then LFM will sell the digital assets (NFTs, designed by Avolve), like keycards for spaceships, which become akin to having a ticket into the world’s spaceport. With each drop, fans can buy the NFTs. In the long term, there will be more accessible items in partnership with education partners, and holders of the assets will get free rewards over time.
Philms said that the NFTs are designed to have utility, with more purpose than just a mere speculation vehicle. And that should help others believe that LFM has the right intentions in the Web3 space, which is full of crazy dreams and scams. They want the NFTs to have functionality.
“I just love the loyalty reward idea,” Cole said. “You just continuously reward people who are on that ride with you.”
Cole has been in entertainment for over a decade and he has experience as an entrepreneur, music supervisor, creative developer, and writer/producer. In 2017, his film won the Gentleman Jack Real to Reel competition with Jack Daniel’s at the ABFF (American Black Film Festival). His work has been featured at SXSW, internationally distributed in Southeast Asia and streamed on Amazon Prime and Apple TV Plus.
Philms is an award-winning creative director. He started in 2011 as a film and tech creative director working with the startup Mobilefilmworks, a pre-Netflix mobile video streaming service designed to provide movies to international audiences. He produced in-house content while assisting on global projects in Rio de Janeiro Brazil with the Rio Film Commission.
His work has appeared on platforms such as Comcast On Demand, the Bronx Museum of Arts, and more. He has worked in photography, fashion, and art direction.
Cole and Philms collaborated so much they decided to create their own startup. And that’s how Left Fielder Media was born. They considered raising money, but they felt like their creative vision was strong and didn’t want to have that diluted. The project has been in the works a couple of years.
“Storytelling is more important now than ever has been because you want to entertain and educate and onboard people to your experiences,” Philms said. “It’s important that we speak with authenticity.”
They have also been embracing AI technology, Cole said, as that has exploded in the past year.
“We’ve had great experiences with our workflow,” Cole said. “It’s been making it better. It doesn’t take the creativity away. It just enhances it, in my opinion.”
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