We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. The yellow brick road is heading to the blockchain, thanks to a new digital/physical experience from the producers of Amazon’s original animated kids series Lost in Oz (pictured).
LA-based Bureau of Magic—in partnership with blockchain infrastructure company Simba, 3D-printing platform Toybox and virtual collaboration platform Bluescape—is gearing up to launch Passport to Oz this June. The NFT platform will be available on the Passport to Oz website and also in Simba’s NFT marketplace.
Built on the blockchain, the family-friendly platform is a membership-based experience where purchasing digital collectible NFTs provides access to an exclusive Lost in Oz animated short film starring Dorothy and Toto, as well as a 3D-printable toy line featuring Dorothy and Toto action figures and a range of collectible elements from the series. The short is expected to launch by this November.
Bureau of Magic (BoM) also plans to use sales from the NFTs to help fund the development and production of a Lost in Oz animated feature film. If the sales goal is achieved, Passport holders will gain digital access to the film through blockchain verification prior to a planned theatrical release.
BoM will sell Passport to Oz at four yet-to-be-disclosed pricing tiers that will vary to appeal to families entering the NFT space for the first time, as well as seasoned cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Families won’t need a crypto wallet to purchase a membership because BoM wants to appeal to them with familiarity, ease and education about the technology, while also providing the level of value and verification that’s expected from NFTs, says executive producer Mark Warshaw. Families can purchase Passports with a credit card on Simba’s marketplace, and their NFTs will be automatically minted on the blockchain and can be re-sold.
Every tier will unlock digital access to the short film, toy line and, potentially, digital access to the feature film. As a bonus offering, all former and current Lost in Oz cast and crew will be eligible for an exclusive limited “Emerald Edition” digital collectible.
BoM isn’t sharing its NFT sales target at this time, but the company is in discussions with investors to help supplement financing and accelerate the path to feature production, should that be required, says Warshaw. The prodco is aiming for a December 2023 digital-first movie premiere.
Though plot points are still under wraps, both the short and feature will continue the modernized Lost in Oz story for six to 11s, but with a strong emphasis on family co-viewing and plenty of entry points to welcome fans of other iterations of L. Frank Baum’s iconic Oz franchise who don’t know much about the Emmy-winning animated series.
From a pipeline perspective, the new content will combine real-time rendering technology with traditional key-frame animation. So far, BoM has been running tests in Unity and is seeking the right animation partner to run an Unreal test to assess the best real-time tech for the workflow of all future Lost in Oz animated content. The prodco plans to work with multiple studios and is currently in discussions with several companies.
As for the platform’s fan engagement strategy, BoM’s creative team will participate in online “writers room” conversations with Lost in Oz fans via its Discord channels. Select storytelling elements, such as the Oz characters that will join Dorothy, Toto and their friends in the feature film, will then be voted on by Passport holders. It’s similar to a choose-your-own-adventure context, but with a community-based dynamic, according to Warshaw. BoM previously integrated choose-your-own-adventure storytelling into its 2018 Amazon Alexa skill Lost in Oz: Dorothy Gale & The Wizard’s Labyrinth.
BoM’s overall goal for the project is to bring digital and real worlds together in entertaining and immersive ways, says Warshaw.
Still wondering what an NFT is? Check out this quick explainer.