Former Marvel Illustrator To Bring Sky Godz Animated Anime NFT Series To Tezos
Prelude – David Boller, former Marvel and DC Comics artist, also known for his work with high-end clients like Andy Murray/Under Armour and Audemars Piguet is to bring his Sky Godz NFT project to Tezos. Sky Godz is a transmedia project, which includes: an anime streaming series, graphic novel, collectable card game and NFTs.
We caught up with David in this written interview to find out more about the project and his plans to use Tezos.
Sky Godz is a transmedia project, which includes: an anime streaming series, graphic novel, card games and NFTs. The overall story of Sky Godz covers an alien race who came to earth amid a cosmic war to become the gods of ancient times.
It combines Ancient Aliens with modern UFO lore and world mythology all wrapped in a pop-culture anime framework.
The project has been in existence for quite a while and has developed large followings across many social media platforms including Instagram where over 3000 people follow the project.
As well as working for Marvel and DC Comics, David has also contributing artwork for a large campaign for Under Armour of British tennis player and 2-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray.
The Interview With David Boller
Could you give a brief background of yourself? It looks like you have a lot of experience i.e. Marvel illustration, Andy Murray image, Virtual Graphics etc?
I grew up in Zurich, Switzerland and started selling my own photocopied comic books to my classmates in high-school. After graduating I moved to New York and started working for Marvel and DC Comics.
After the great comic book collapse in the mid-nineties I focused more on manga, anime and advertisement. In 2008, I moved back to Switzerland and created several companies like Virtual Graphics and Tell Branding to be independent from publishers and corporations.
I’ve been working as freelancer for 27 years and all that experience is culminating in Sky Godz.
Could you introduce the Sky Godz project? Is it an NFT project/animated series project/Collectable Card Game project, or all (or any) of these?
SKY GODZ is a transmedia project comprised of an anime streaming series, graphic novel, card games and NFTs.
An alien race came to earth amid a cosmic war to become the gods of ancient times. It combines Ancient Aliens with modern UFO lore and world mythology all wrapped in a pop-culture anime frame work.
The transmedia model has been gaining traction in the entertainment world for a while now, which led me to create SKY GODZ, an immersive universe that would be comprised of a flagship anime series, graphic novels, card games and now NFTs.
All this is only possible because the technology is available and I have the skills to make it all happen with a very small team, on a very small budget.
All media are part of a larger story and if you want be part of the entire experience, you would need to get each part. NFT’s are an equal part of the project, but depending on how things are progressing, they could grow in significance.
How long has the project been going (how far through are you)? What challenges have you faced with the project so far?
I’ve been working and building up a following for the anime series for a couple years now. That is the new way of doing things. Start a project, plan it and while you’re in production, build a following on social media and across the communities of your field of interest.
Once you’re ready to publish the project, the audience is there waiting for it. The biggest challenge has been to find financing, which has slowed things down considerably.
This is mainly due to the unconventional storyline and artwork which will have to be proven in a real world scenario. However, the feedback from the audience has been overwhelming, which is gratifying shows me that the project has merit.
When I initially looked at the possibility of creating NFTs, I evaluated several options and quickly found that there weren’t too many out there.
I also couldn’t get very excited about several of the more popular platforms like Wax or Chonkers, plus my project isn’t a good fit for the “fine art” platforms like Nifty Gateway.
Also, high Ethereum gas fees for minting on Rarible seemed prohibitive for my project. At the same time the news of Tezos being used on the several marketplaces made me rethink everything.
I always felt that Tezos had been dealt a bad hand in the 2018 scandal, which held it back from true greatness but the story behind it and the underlying technology were sound.
When do you expect the different parts of the project to be completed? A timeline?
The different parts are being released in stages. The most important and most anticipated part is the anime series which should be done by the end of this year. But smaller projects like the graphic novels, card game and NFTs will start earlier.
When will the first Tezos drop be and what will it likely be?
That will depend a bit on the availability of Tezos on Opensea and the introduction of any other meaningful marketplaces like Kalamint and Tezauction.
I think that by early March they will all be up and running. There will be an initial drop of some of the key poster art with 3D modification, followed by fully animated character cards.
The last collection will be 3D modified cells from the anime, those are one-offs, like you would have collected the old Disney animation cels. But considering how new this technology is, I’m sure there will be new ideas along the way.
We have a paper card game that is almost done which is somewhat similar to that but the NFTs are gonna be very different. Not only is the media more immersive, it will also allow for much more content once the cards are unlocked.
So I imagine the game engine to be simpler but the visual experience to be more interesting.
If funding is an issue, do you see the sale of NFTs as a way to fund the animated series?
That was the initial impetus but I recognize the strength of NFTs as an independent medium and funding took a backseat to creating fun projects.
So, right now, the focus is on what can be done with this brilliant new medium and how can it provide value and entertainment to the collector.
Which Tezos applications/NFT marketplaces are you thinking of using for the project? I.e. OpenMinter, Kalamint, Hicetnunc etc?
The decision hasn’t been made yet. I will wait until all are available and functional. I need to see in more detail what each service provides. I noticed that OpenMinter is very bare bones and I would prefer something more like what Rarible is offering. But we’ll see, those are all just tech issues that will be sorted out sooner or later.
How did you get into the NFT space?
I’ve been eyeing the general crypto space for a while but a friend from the film industry directed me to the potential of NFTs and the Hashmask project (also a Swiss project).
Despite the fact that is absolutely not my cup of tea, I was instantly hooked by the huge potential of NFTs to an almost evangelical degree. I think about it all the time, make sketches, graphs and research the technology.
The project was starting on Ethereum, is that correct?
Well, that was the first logical choice. As I mentioned, this space is still so new that there weren’t too many options. A Rarible/Opensea combo seemed to be the only logical choice.
But it’s just cost too prohibitive to do business in the Ethereum space right now, not just for minting, but just about any transaction. I can’t expect a collector to pay a large portion of the purchase of a collectible in fees.
Have you minted any NFTs before?
I have not, but I understand the basic technology to create the actual token. However, I’m more familiar with the creation of the assets.
Making an animated series with the high-end software I use, is a lot more complex that creating NFT assets, so I’m really focusing on creating great value for the drops.
On your Instagram page you have a vast collection of characters, will you be making these NFTs?
That is an important question. The animated card drops will all be exclusive to the NFT game (which will get a name soon). Transmedia is only transmedia if all assets contribute to a larger story and are individual and exclusive, so reuse is out of the question. I will communicate that very strongly on social media.
Will you be making the quantity of character NFTs available the same as the number in the CCG?
The CCG has 86 cards in the started deck with a booster pack to come. The NFT drop will initially only be around 5 cards. But because they are very time consuming to produce.
Again, since this a brand-new market, I can either speed or slow the production depending on the reception.
How familiar are you with Tezos, are you still in the learning stage etc?
I’m definitely still at a learning stage. Although I’m mostly an artist and producer, I use a lot of software in many stages of my work and get on with it really well.
But I will never fully understand the depth of the blockchain technology. I don’t think that’s relevant, though. What I need to know is, how it applies to what I want to achieve with my project and how I can enrich the marketplace.
Where do you see the CCG space heading in the future? On the blockchain etc?
Down the road certainly, but first the legacy brands need to overcome a lot of red tape. Generally though, innovation comes from the bottom up, especially in the arts and entertainment.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a new creation would shake up the gaming world on the blockchain and the big brands will be left in the dust. I don’t see major brand adoption of the NFT space until 2025. What I’ve see so far on Wax and Veve looks boring.
Are you looking to make collaborations with anyone else in the Tezos space?
There are no plans right now since I don’t see anyone do even remotely similar things content-wise. But again, it’s all new and we will see where it goes.
What are the best channels to stay up to date with the project?
Currently, we have 4 updates a day on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Once the website is live, we will also have a newsletter in order to be platform independent and communicate directly with the subscribers.
We thank David for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish the Sky Godz project every success.
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