Tally Labs Update: The Future of Writers Room; The Status of Azurbala; and an Introduction to Avenue
We’ve been quiet lately. We’ve been quiet on Twitter, and we’ve been quiet on Discord. About 6 months ago, we were firing on all cylinders and we were not shy about vocalizing it. We had just finished Bored & Dangerous and we were driving fast to the Azurian mint. Then we teased our PFPs, and well, you know what happened…
After we revealed those PFPs, it became obvious that bad art wasn’t the only thing we needed to work on. We’d been running too hot with the way we spoke about our project. We were excited to share our work with our community and that excitement manifested itself in mismanaged expectations. We got incredibly clear feedback from the community that they wanted us to keep our mouths shut and build back to regain the trust we had originally earned with our work and our output.
That’s what we’ve been doing. It’s been an outwardly quiet period for Tally Labs, and we know that sometimes that’s been hard for the community as they wonder if work is getting done. It’s certainly been hard for us as we’ve wanted to share more, but we learned something from you all and from the projects that have excelled in the space. It’s important to shout from the rooftops when you’ve got something legitimately special to share. And when the work is still in progress, it’s better to keep your head down and get to a point in time where you’re ready…
Privately, we’ve been planning and organizing an update to the Writers Room that we think brings it back to its roots, a brand new launch of Azurbala, and more. We’ve been working with our Azurian Community Council, our Artist Council of Bryan Brinkman, Waheed (AllSmilesss), Mando, and OSF, and we’ve re-organized internally to ensure that we’ve always got the right people working on the projects they’re best suited to crush. This has been a hard but necessary 6 months for us.
Now that the first quarter of 2023 has flown by, we are excited to start to showcase a lot of what has been going on behind the scenes.
In other words, we’re excited about sharing more about the go-forward plan across every Tally Labs project.
In this post, you’ll see:
- A recap of key milestones we’ve hit together
- A glimpse into what’s to come over the next few weeks and months
Further, this will not be a one-off post from Tally Labs. Going forward, you’ll see regular updates from Tally Labs in this format. We need to earn the community’s trust back, and that does not come by being silent. We are still working to find the middle path of appropriately building in public without talking too much while projects are underway and not yet launched. We will iterate based on your feedback — we want to give you a clear window into the happenings at Tally Labs while also making sure we don’t share too much before we’ve got something proper to roll-out. We’re also open to any thoughts you all have for additional formats to share progress.
We hope these regular updates (be it monthly, quarterly, or other) help provide a glimpse behind the scenes of Tally Labs. We’re a team of 19 folks from all over the world working our butts off every day. We also understand that it can be generally difficult to always stay up to date with the latest of everything going on, so we hope this type of share-back (one that is zoomed out across everything we’re doing) is helpful.
In this update in particular, we’ll be covering three things across the Tally Labs verticals and community:
- Writers Room — Where we’ve been, and, more importantly, where we’re going
- Azurbala — What’s been going on behind the scenes, status check, and the return of the Jungle
And lastly, we are really excited to introduce something new to the space that touches the Writers Room and Azurbala but also spans wider to solve some clear issues in web3:
- Introducing Avenue, a new solution (currently in beta) to help creators and communities grow together — What it is, why it’s important, and what you can expect from it
We are coming full circle on Bored & Dangerous with the claim process for B&D Funds to kick off April 20 (more information can be found here). We’re paying out $365,000 back to the community!
Beyond that, now that we’ve got more than 1,200 characters licensed to the Jenkins fiction podcast, we’ve started episode creation.
The podcast writers at SALT Audio have completed a first draft of the pilot episode that they were able to write without knowing each of the licensed characters.
Now that we have provided them with a full cast with the closing of podcast licensing (thank you to everyone who licensed your characters!), they can continue to work on episodes and insert all of your characters. There will be Writers Room questions that they have for the community throughout the process. There will be more opportunities to impact the creative soon.
Where We’ve Been
Writers Room is only getting started, and we’re excited about the future of community-generated content. Reflecting on some (not all) highlights of our favorite points during this journey with you all:
- May 22, 2021: We purchased Ape #1798 for .46 ETH ($1,068)
- May 23, 2021: @JenkinsTheValet Twitter is created and we post his origin story
- June 2021: We assembled an amazing list of advisors such as Andy8052, GMoney, Adam Brotman, Jacob Martin (TheNFTAttorney), Drew Austin, and Josh Ong.
- August 4, 2021: The Writer’s Room launches, selling out of all 6,942 NFTs in 6 minutes
- August 31, 2021: Jenkins the Mutant is born (huge mistake)
- September 22, 2021: We partnered with CAA to sign Jenkins the Valet — the first individual NFT with representation by a major talent agency. Cathy Hackl from Forbes wrote this piece
- November 14, 2021: We announced that 50% of all Net Profits from Book 1 will flow back to licensors, marking another “first” in the web3 space.
- November 28, 2021: We officially launched the Writer’s Room member portal, where voting on all plot decisions and licensing your own IP to the book occurs.
- January 3, 2022: Licensing closed, with 4,075 Apes/Mutants licensed to Book 1, all receiving royalties for leveraging their IP.
- July 11, 2022: We officially launch Bored & Dangerous mint + free claim, the first community-generative novel authored by 10x NY best selling author Neil Strauss, art by MBSJQ, music by MurdaBeatz, and IP + backstories from licensed Bored/Mutant Apes
- July 14, 2022: We announce the next licensing opportunity for the community — a fiction podcast with award-winning SALT audio
- September 13, 2022: We open source our licensing agreements for the entire NFT space to use to help further IP development in the space
- November 23, 2022: Goodboy is missing… Jenkins embarks on his venture across the Metaverse to find his beloved best friend… but he needs your help
- November 30, 2022: We open jenkinspodcast.com character creation tools (over 9,100 characters ultimately created)
- December 14, 2022: We announce results of WR community vote on which communities Jenkins will be host podcast episodes — Jenkins will be visiting Bubblegum Kids, Inhabitants, GOATZ, PCC, Goblintown, and the Plague in his search for Goodboy
- March 24, 2023: We close licensing for the Jenkins Audio Podcast, with over 1,200 characters licensing their IP
- April 8, 2023: We announce detailed mechanics for B&D licensing fund claim, including in-depth mechanics on KYC process as well as a non-KYC option
This is only the beginning for Writer’s Room, and we look forward to continuing to build with you all.
What the Future Holds
Our ambition for Writers Room is the same as it’s always been — for a diverse community of people to lead a reimagination of collective creativity and content development.
Together, we showcased Bored & Dangerous as a proof of concept of what’s achievable with collective creativity and the power of holder-owned IP.
While B&D (and now the podcast) are great opportunities and larger proofs of concept, the intent of Writers Room was always meant to be a place that focused on community inputs rather than just outputs. In working to prove the model, we’ve spent almost 18 months making in-roads in Hollywood and working on larger scale media. That ambition is not stopping, but at the same time, we want to scale the Writers Room to support more community members making more content more frequently. It’s challenging to make the Writers Room a place that delivers constant value when we’re beholden to the slow lead times of longform media (Books, Podcasts, etc). Each of these are major endeavors in and of themselves.
Said simply — Writers Room is a place where creatives come together, worlds collide, and new forms of content are created and celebrated. This needs to be happening MORE than it has.
This is the ethos and vision we want to foster with the Writers Room. And frankly, we haven’t done the best job of creating this environment on the community interaction and content creation level. Moving forward, you’ll see changes to the Writers Room that will include more opportunities for community members to exercise their creativity with character development, scene building, world building, and more. We believe there will be some really fun and incredible franchises that spin out of the work that we do together.
The future of the Writers Room is a bet on the community, the creativity of holders, and the ability for us all to dream and create together.
Movement in the Jungle
We know things have been quiet in the jungle city of Azurbala.
The artists (led by Ty Carter and with experience at Pixar, Disney, ActivisionBlizzard, Sony, Epic Games, and more) have been cooking on the new art. All art, at every phase, has been shared with our Azurian Community Council as well as our Azurian Artist Council. Ty has interacted directly with both groups, and we’ve taken tons of input from them that have flowed through to the new PFPs. We are not going to make the same mistake as last time where no one sees the art before the reveal. All of the directions we’ve been running in have been informed by the survey questions you all answered for us after the original mishap.
At the same time, our team has been acutely focused on building Azurbala out for the long term in a cohesive, purposeful, integrated, and meaningful way for the comeback. We failed to live up to one of our Tally Labs company values (“Make it Amazing”) with the v1 Azurians, and now we’re very excited about the return of the Azurbala franchise.
Azurbala is more than a PFP, although we know that first and foremost we must nail the profile picture. While that’s our primary focus, we are also really excited about the potential of this IP, and its growth with you all. As such, we’ve been dialed in planning and working with awesome partners in Hollywood and beyond to set this franchise up for success. We think holders will have a lot of fun. More on this in due time.
As much of “soon” is a meme in this space, all we’d like to leave you with today is that internally at Tally Labs there seem to be some rumblings from the Jungle. We think they may be reaching you shortly…
Writers Room and Azurbala have a major thing in common which is that the community is the secret sauce. Neither project is anything without the community members who bring their passion and creativity to the table each day.
Many of our holders, and people beyond our own community, know that at Tally Labs not only are we creators but we’re also product designers and engineers. It’s been in our DNA since Day 1, first with the original Writers Room software and then with the Azurbala Members Site.
We’ve learned so much about the best ways to engage community members and highlight their incredible insights, and often we’ve found ourselves wishing we could do even more. Well, now we can, and so can other creators in the space.
We’ve spent countless days talking to many of you over the last couple years, and one thing that has consistently come up is that we’re all hacking together different tools to engage and reward community members. Beyond that, community members often grow into creators themselves, but the hurdle to build within a project or in an adjacent manner is really complex! Trust us, we know because Jenkins started that very way as a side project within the BAYC community.
To that end, we’re excited to launch Avenue, a platform where Writers Room, Azurbala, and many other projects will be able to engage community members, reward them for their creativity, and create spaces where “fanon” can grow into canon; where everyone can contribute to the development of projects, brands, and franchises they love.
What is Avenue?
Avenue is a software platform designed for creators, builders, founders, and community members to connect, collaborate, and drive growth of their respective brands. Avenue’s suite of tools are optimized for maximizing engagement and allowing community members to make their voice heard in many aspects of the project.
Writers Room members will see Avenue play a key role in the new roll-out of how we all work together to create characters, scenes, worlds, and franchises that people love. Azurians will use Avenue to help build a franchise with Hollywood ambition. And many other creators and community members will use Avenue to finally connect in structured ways that help large groups of people drive projects and ideas forward.
What You Can Expect to Start Seeing
Avenue is just in its first inning, and we are really excited about iterating, improving, and developing the software further. One of our favorite things about software is that you truly can build in public. Community members who end up on Avenue can expect to see updates launched weekly, and we can’t wait to see where we are even a few months from now.
As with the iterative nature of software, we don’t expect to get it perfect at first. But what we will do is remain nimble and continue building this out to help creators and communities both get the most out of the experiences in their projects/brands.
For now, we are beginning to roll this out in beta form to early partner communities. And as we stated above, both Writers Room and Azurbala communities will play influential roles on the platform.
We’ve been quiet as of late, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Now we look forward to sharing what we’ve been up to. Our communication and our building in public will be consistent from here on out as we continue to push and build-out the various franchises under the Tally Labs umbrella. You’ll start to see more in the coming weeks from each vertical, but to summarize:
- Writers Room — We are closing the first licensing loop with B&D, progressing into the next stage with the podcast, and look forward to shifting the project back to its roots. We are focused on the collective creativity and inputs from the community rather than solely focusing on outputs.
- Azurbala — Ty and the team have been cooking on the art, and we’ve been showing the art to community members and trusted artists each step of the way. We’ve been dialing in the strategy of our long term franchise build-out, and we can’t wait to push it so much further with all of you. The !bala engine should start revving again soon (and more to come here)
- Avenue — We will be rolling out Avenue, a software platform for creators and communities to collaborate, connect, and drive forward the projects and brands we all care so much about.
As also mentioned, we will continue incorporating these “Tally Updates” into a more regular cadence (monthly or quarterly). Most importantly, we intend to take your feedback for how to best share what’s going on.
Thank you again to everyone for your patience and support. Now let’s roll.
The Tally Labs team