CAA Signs Jenkins The Valet: Is This A Sign That Hollywood Is Embracing NFTs?
As if 2021 couldn’t get crazier in the Metaverse or the regular-old universe, Jenkins the Valet, a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) avatar on the Ethereum blockchain, valet, and secret keeper, has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation across books, film, TV, podcasts, and more. Together, they will be bringing Jenkins’ debut novel to market in collaboration with a New York Times Bestselling author.
Yes, you read that right. An NFT avatar has signed with the global talent representation agency who works with the likes of Beyonce, Justin Bieber, JJ Abrams, Zion Williamson, and more. CAA’s website says it operates at the intersection of talent, content, brands, technology, sports, and live events. They now count a non-fungible token as one of their clients.
Jenkins the Valet is a digital character and writer created by Tally Labs, a content and technology company in the NFT space. His Twitter following has grown to more than 12,000 followers since May when he first shared his origin story online. Jenkins writes stories about the avatars he meets in the Metaverse, often commenting on current events at the same time he creates backstory and storylines for those characters. The art that inspired the Jenkins character is from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10k images on the Ethereum blockchain that have exploded in popularity recently, accounting for over $500m of secondary market sales.
On August 4th, Jenkins released his own NFT that gives holders access to a members-only website called “The Writer’s Room.” Upon entering, NFT holders can exercise votes on the creative direction of the novel in a “choose your own adventure” format. Additionally, members of NFT community have the opportunity to license their own NFT’s to appear in the book in exchange for royalties. The novel is being written in partnership with a world-renowned, best-selling author. The original Jenkins NFT sold out in 6 minutes, grossing more than $1.5M USD, and there are currently more than 2,200 unique holders of this NFT.
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How Did We Get Here?
You may be wondering how we got here… For the first half of 2021, the NFT space felt mostly like a new frontier that was inhabited only by the crypto-native. Inside jokes and phrases popped up like “WAGMI” (we’re all gonna make it), “!floor” (a command to look up the cheapest available version of an NFT), and “ape in” (to buy and join a project with reckless abandon). These types of grassroots sayings helped bond the community but also made it difficult for some outsiders to join in on the fun.
In recent months, however, NFT projects have started to go mainstream. We’ve mentioned before that Visa purchased a CryptoPunk for $150,000 and that 101 Bored Apes sold for over $24M at an auction by Sotheby’s. It’s also well known that Steph Curry sports a Bored Ape avatar online and that Twitter’s corporate account is an active participant in the NFT community with feature ideas and a token drop of their own.
Now things are heating up even further. In late August, Larva Labs, the company behind major NFT projects like CryptoPunks, Meebits, and Autoglyphs announced that they signed to United Talent Agency who traditionally represent talent across film, TV, and music. This was a major step for the NFT space and the Metaverse at large, as it showed that key stakeholders in the entertainment industry recognized the value in owning and building IP around digital assets.
Just a month later, Jenkins, an individual NFT avatar out of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, signed to CAA. CAA signing a single NFT avatar represents another major signal from Hollywood that NFT characters can be compelling to consumers beyond the crypto space.
“I believe that the next generation of recognizable, household characters will be born on the blockchain and will exist in a Web3 environment. I am honored to announce this partnership and I’m inspired by all of the creativity and white space for builders in the Metaverse,” said Jenkins the Valet. “CAA’s excitement about the project and understanding of our vision says a lot about them. They’ve continuously stayed on the cutting edge of technology and distribution for their clients.”
The book that CAA will help Jenkins the Valet bring to market is different from your typical debut novel. For one, the book will have more than 2,200 people contribute to it. Each of the NFT holders of the Jenkins “Writers Room” will vote on the creative direction of the story that he will write alongside a NYT bestselling author. This is what makes web 3.0 different from web 1.0 and web 2.0 came before it. The line between creator and fan are blurred such that everyone gets to participate in both making and consuming work they care about.
Collaboration And Co-Creation
When we asked Jenkins what his book would be about, he said, “At this point, I can’t even tell you, and that’s exactly where we want to be at this stage. The Writer’s Room will decide every element of the book, starting with its genre all the way through plot twists and the ending. Our whole community will create the framework that me and our best-selling author will work within to produce the story.”
Beyond provisioning voting power for the creative direction to the story, the different Writer’s Room NFTs also map to the role your avatar can have in the debut book. There are four tiers of Writer’s Room NFTs: Valet Tickets; Yacht Keys; Valet Stands; and Yachts. The rarest and most valuable tier is the Yacht. Only 1% of Writer’s Room NFTs are Yachts, and those who hold a Yacht and license an avatar to the story will have them featured as a named character. The cheapest Writer’s Room Yacht NFT on the secondary market is 15 ETH or roughly $44,000, and some Yacht holders have listed theirs for as high as $200,000.
Entertainment x Metaverse
It remains to be seen what Jenkins the Valet signing with CAA means for brands and consumers of internet culture, but one thing is clear: both sides are coming to the table and joining forces to try to entertain the rest of the world with crypto-native characters and stories.