Launching tomorrow, November 13th, is Back to Earth, the interactive multi-platform narrative where participants find themselves in control of the fate of our world, as they immerse themselves in the expansive storytelling that stretches across a variety of media and work towards saving the human race before it’s too late.
Daily Dead recently caught up with Back to Earth creator Clay Space as well as Benham Karbassi, Founder and CEO of No Mimes Media, the company behind it all, and they discussed their ambitious plans with Back to Earth, the challenges they faced as they utilized various storytelling elements, and more.
Can you start off by discussing how the idea for Back to Earth came along and how you both approached it from your respective positions?
Clay Space: For me, the idea was all about how I could create an experience that felt like an extension of real life. Being a huge proponent of cryptocurrency since 2014, the motivating factor for me was creating a currency that we could give our audience—and that they could then use to interact with our experience in cool ways. There is something truly magical to owning a StarCredit and knowing that you can use it within the world we’ve created, or you can take it out into the broader online world. The borders of fiction and reality really blur at that point.
Behnam Karbassi: Clay Space approached my company, No Mimes Media, about a year ago interested in working with us once he had funding. Within three days, he had successfully funded his crowdfunded ICO and was ready to begin the development process. Our Emmy-winning team, which included experience designer, Steve Peters, and writer, Jay Bushman, dove into the Back to Earth story as well as blockchain and cryptocurrency.
What was the creative process behind all the world building involved with Back to Earth? Considering you guys are working across multiple platforms, it seems there is a lot that would go into getting all of these concepts and things integrated through various forms of media.
Clay Space: The story has been constantly evolving from day one. I started the world with an 80-page script. When No Mimes got on board, I told them to familiarize themselves with the world, find something they liked about it, and then tell a new story based on that. I did the same thing when bringing on the graphic novel team. Each time someone came in with ideas, those ideas ultimately ended up making those first 80 pages stronger and stronger. The process from start to finish has been extremely collaborative, and the result has been a much more compelling and exciting story.
Behnam Karbassi: Clay had a vision for the story world and we worked together to determine how to best pair specific storylines with the appropriate medium. Once the short film was in production with the amazing filmmakers at 3Dar and 3Six Media, we brought on other partners to help bring the other branches to life. For the graphic novel, we tapped the comic wizards at M2, and for the interactive experience, we worked with the innovative teams at Blockdrop and Impossible Bureau. We oversaw all of the different productions, creating a bible and story world guide, and managed the various parts so they created a cohesive story world.
Ultimately, where or how do you see Back to Earth culminating for participants? I noticed in the press release there was mention of a TV series, so is that where you hope this ultimately lands?
Clay Space: I think this story would make an amazing TV series. We have done so much world-building over the last two years that a TV series has written itself. On the same note, our graphic novel would be an extremely compelling action movie. The beauty of making so much content across so many different mediums is that expanding into new mediums like television or the big screen feels natural. This story is made to grow.
Behnam Karbassi: Although each story is standalone, we’d like audiences to consume all the platforms—online, on mobile, in print, on TV or film—if that ends up happening.
What’s been the biggest challenge to creating and crafting something as massively ambitious as Back to Earth?
Clay Space: We’re dealing with cutting-edge technology, both in real life (blockchain) and within our story (biotech implants). People naturally reject things that they’re unfamiliar with, and so convincing them to embrace the story ideas and technology is our biggest challenge.
Behnam Karbassi: The integration of Back to Earth’s in-fiction and real-world cryptocurrency, StarCredits, was the most unique part of this experience. Communicating that to audiences (and buyers) and removing the barriers to entry quickly became a priority. The way we’ve built it, a player doesn’t need to know anything about crypto, exchanges, or blockchain tech in order to understand and use StarCredits for exclusive content, clues, and merchandise discounts.
If you had to explain Back to Earth to someone who has never experienced multi-platform storytelling before, how would you describe it for them?
Clay Space: Imagine being able to email a character in your favorite movie and actually getting a response.
Behnam Karbassi: Simply that Back to Earth is a story that immerses you across video, audio, phone, and email. Stuff you use every day, connected by fiction.