2022 - Remarkist Year in Review (Hey! That Rhymes!)
A look back at the past year of explorations, discoveries, challenges, and gems.
What a year–both exhausting and thrilling, to be sure! We began 2022 on a sinking app—one that was already breaking apart at this time last year. We were still months away from app migration, but we endured and somehow made it to our one-year anniversary with a successful transition to beta.
For me personally, this year came with an unexpected cross-state family move and some challenging new chapters as a son, husband, and new father. And it somehow all managed to align with some critical points of this bold new venture.
The year was packed with a lot of… stories. Stories we watched together and stories we wrote together. Even some stories we overheard from one another in passing. Let’s look back at this wild second year of the project!
A Spectacular Summer
It was so super to see 🎵… a sensational we 🎵… make this summer to be so SPECTACULAR! 🎵 And it was. The Super Sensational Summer Spectacular was one of the silliest, craziest, most exciting things I’ve ever attempted to pull off. And I cannot thank our members enough for helping us achieve that daring feat.
In January, we started drawing up plans to celebrate our one-year anniversary 🎉🎉 with a festival-like month of programming centered around our first series: Gilmore Girls. Remarkist officially began in April 2021, but May was when it took off, so it seemed right to plan a May celebration. But when my wife and I decided in February (rather suddenly) to sell our Los Angeles home and move to Las Vegas, planning this celebration became… challenging–to say the least.
My family found its dream home in Vegas, but we couldn’t move in until the end of May. So I had three options: keep the celebration in May (a timeline that already seemed tight but would now be complicated by a move taking place during the month itself), shift the celebration to June and put a pause on really settling into our new home in until July, or post-pone until later in the year. In hindsight, I think the best choice would have been a fall celebration to align with the show's vibe. But with a new app just released and momentum that I didn’t want us to lose, I chose the second option.
It turned out to be a wild and thrilling month despite managing the festivities amid boxes and plastic-wrapped furniture. We had watch parties at all hours of the day and night for every episode of the series–including the revival. We hosted nearly 30 guests, including some of the main cast and side cast, writers, designers, and crew. We ran a fan fiction reading series and multiple trivia sessions with prizes, and we added a popular new Remarkist format called the Jukebox Jam 🎧–a real-time jukebox session where attendees pick music to listen to together.
Our @twoshoes charity team designed and hosted its first campaign during the Spectacular, The Great Animal Rescue, based on our Memento and KRNL game system. It was a scavenger hunt that led participants through our Remarkist ecosystem. Members cracked Memento riddles that unlocked new areas of the hunt. It inspired all kinds of playful collaboration and raised over $800 for zoo animals displaced or injured by the war in Ukraine!
But best of all, we found a fun new method for bringing awareness to our favorite causes.
That charity initiative was also tied to our long-awaited Amazingly Awesome Abounding Auctions. I’ve been talking about auctioning off some of my old series memorabilia since we released our KRNL game system. The idea was to incentivize playing the game and collecting our KRNL tokens by making them the only tender for winning prizes. And members have been harvesting them from our system since 2021 🌽🌽.
Another reason I chose to go ahead with June for the festival was to make good on this promise and finally allow dedicated KRNL harvesters to put their earnings to the test. We ran the auction over the final weekend of the Spectacular, and members bid on nearly 100 signed collectibles, including a script, a DVD boxed set, drumsticks signed by Keiko Agena, and much more. One of the more unique prizes was linked to a micro memoir I would begin to write this year—reflections of my time on the show, one mini-chapter per episode. I auctioned off each of those chapters with the assurance that they’d be the only manuscript copies in existence.
I took a couple of months off before starting to fulfill those auction items, including the writing of that memoir… then I took a couple more months after that… and then another two months after that… and finally sent the gifts to their winners in December… along with a portion of those written memoir chapters.
2022 featured four Slate shows–official programming hosted and promoted by Remarkist.
We rounded out the ASP universe with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel seasons 2 through 4, along with the one and only season of Bunheads–a series most of us agreed ended too early. Our Maisel watches were full of all kinds of community games. We played dress-up with hats on social media 👒🎩, created Jell-O molds filled with meats and veggies, and shared all kinds of bespoke cocktails of our fancy 🍹🍸🥃. We even had a couple of guests who worked on the series join us for some watches.
Our vampire-inspired membership continued their dive into the Buffy-verse with Seasons 2 and 3 🧛. We met the beloved new characters Kendra, Oz, Miss Calendar, Spike, Drusilla, Faith, and Wesley. And we are now ready for a plunge back into the Hellmouth. Let’s just hope the Master hasn’t figured out a way to keep gracing us with his monologues.
And in 2022, we traveled to the town of Schitt’s Creek for the first time with a slew of new viewers and fans to guide them. We played a fun sports-style bracket challenge on social media called the Tournament of Threads 🧶, where community members predicted which of David Rose’s most memorable sweaters would be crowned the Sweetest Sweater.
The community also hosted dozens of watch series throughout the year for over a hundred franchises, from The Great British Bake Off to American Horror Story. Remarkist members hosted over 2000 events this year, and over 400 more are already scheduled for 2023!
Most of our year, though, was consumed with app building📱🛠️–testing new features and tweaking old ones. It was a tornado of bugs 🌪️🐛🐜🪲🦟🐞🦗 and unexpected changes for our membership to endure, and we’re grateful to those who have helped us along the way and to everyone for their patience.
Our last app was essentially a website in mobile form. And it was definitely trying to bite off more than it could chew. Luckily, we could transition to our real app just before the old one completely shattered from the weight of hundreds of Mementos, over a thousand scheduled events, and nearly 100k KRNL transactions!
Our new app spent most of the year in beta. We were able to roll out on Android and iOS simultaneously, which is typically unheard of. For our iOS users, we had Testflight builds, and for Android, we had versions released on Console. We also had a special team of community members called the @labcoats testing our newest features as we developed them. And we developed a lot in a matter of months.
Using our rebranded ecosystem style, we unveiled a new home feed as a model for future styling in the app. Animations began rolling out for actions like harvesting and Memento claiming. And we finally released our much anticipated Audio Dens! These are Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces-style audio rooms with our signature couch (stage) and beanbags (audience).
And as the year drew to a close, we officially submitted the app to both the Google and Apple app stores. We were approved before the holidays and are now an official public app!
So where are we going?
We used to have a slogan on our website and socials that described the ethos of our project and those who were following it. “Story lovers and fictional world explorers on a journey together.” We haven’t used it in a while. But I still believe it accurately describes Remarkist. At its heart, this is a platform for creativity—the discovery of new ideas through the exploration of stories we love and the commentary we create around them. We began by just watching a tv show together. It was where we met and got to know each other.
We were like (pardon while I wax 🕯️ allegorical for a sec) a crew of treasure seekers, meeting nightly at a port-side tavern to hear bards sing epics 📜 of their travels abroad. We shared laughter, inspiration, and camaraderie within those cramped wooden halls. So we began to plot our own nautical quest ⚓, scribbling our ideas onto table tops, dreaming of where this all might lead (of course, some of us were there just to hear the bards sing, and that’s okay too).
But if 2021 was the year Remarkist began to visualize its journey and map it out, then 2022 was the year we started building. Marching out to the shipyards with wood and tools to construct a vessel that might take us on adventures worthy of their own songs.
Building for the journey is part of the journey, but it can be tedious. It lacks much of the play and revelry of the vision phase. It’s prone to infighting and conflicting interpretations of the blueprints, and the work involved can sometimes feel thankless and unfulfilling. It’s where you always lose a portion of your adventure party. Some don’t like the shape that the ship is taking. Some don’t believe it will float. There are those who sense it’s being built to sail places they don’t want to go. And still, others realize... they just aren’t into shipbuilding. Which is fair.
But for those who are still here—for those who remain curious—the good news is we have a vessel. It’s not the prettiest galleon. But it floats. And it should get us to our next port. And so 2023 is the year we set sail ⛵. Our final destination is not 100% clear. Journeys of exploration are all about discovery. But we do have some idea of the harbors that await (did I lean too heavily into Pirates of the Caribbean on this one?)
2023 will focus heavily on the joys of discovery. We’re putting aside tens of thousands of KRNL for all kinds of fun games and community events throughout the year. We’ll lean on our community much more in 2023 to guide us into fun adventures. We’ll work with you on games and puzzles for your own hosted series and events. We’ll drop more Flash Challenges on our socials and Discord server. And we’ll unveil some elaborate campaigns throughout the year meant to delight.
One of those campaigns involves the memoir I’m writing; those who won a memoir chapter may want to pay attention in the coming weeks. Those who didn’t win a memoir chapter may also want to keep an eye out 👀… especially if they have some of my oldest Mementos.
That’s another thing we hope to make clearer in 2023: why Mementos matter. Until now, Mementos have mostly served to augment our KRNL earning system or as commemorative curiosities. But in 2023, we’ll begin using them in ways that provide access to deeper experiences and perks to show why they can be worth paying into.
During our Holiday Hiatus this year, collectors of three of my oldest Mementos—Valedictorian 🎓, It’s Muh Party 🎂, and the infamous Nuptials 💒—were able to combine them into a new Memento called 55 Yellow Daisies 🌼 which hints at access to some cool stuff this year. It also hints at more Daisy Mementos to come… and who knows what all of those Daisies might combine into and what that might unlock.
With a stronger focus on community next year, we will work closely with members to provide as much transparency about the project as possible. Our weekly Coffee Table Sessions will resume in January. This is an ongoing AMA series, each week focusing on a different topic. Anyone with a Town Hall Memento can join those meetings on Sunday mornings or afternoons. If you don’t have a Town Hall Memento, get in touch with me, and I’ll send you one. We hope these sessions clarify what we are doing behind the scenes and where this project is headed.
We’ve been calling our blog a magazine for a few months now. We’ve been testing new in-line formats, new stylistic changes, and planning a complete rebrand that launches tomorrow. In fact, some of you might have noticed we quietly changed the domain of the blog to mag.remarkist.com… or that you can also access it from rmrk.st.
If you check back tomorrow, our blog will no longer be a blog. It will be a pop culture and fandom-focused magazine that follows a standardized monthly format. But we are most excited about how we plan to integrate Mementos and community-created content into the publication to evolve it into a true, first-of-its-kind fandom-led zine!
One of the first big value adds for Remarkist was the inclusion of Gilmore Girls actors who watched episodes with us. Over a dozen cast members joined us in 2021; we more than doubled that this year. It’s time to branch out and build partnerships with leaders of other fandoms. As our ship passes through various harbors this year, we’ll be exploring ways to bring artists, actors, writers, directors, and creators onto the journey as Remarkists themselves–hosting special event series and dropping Mementos that provide access to more of their content and perspective.
New App Features
Our app will continue to evolve this year. We’ll get some new screen designs–Event pages and our Worlds tab are first on the docket. We have a bunch of new animations coming. It’ll continue looking better and better. We’ll also be testing new restrictions on scheduling and RSVPing that we hope balance the harvest difficulty our European members are mostly experiencing right now.
And in early 2023, we’ll unveil a new subscription service that will include monthly KRNL allowances along with features such as streak insurance 🩹, private auctions 🔒, additional harvest boosts ⬆️, wider scheduling windows ⌚, and scheduling of Audio Den events 🎙️ that come with higher base rates.
We’ve been mulling over ways to keep our servers running so we can continue building and expanding. We want to give members a way to support our project growth if they’d like to while providing us an avenue to thank them through equitable allotments of KRNL and premium features. We’ll provide more details as these ideas take shape.
Thank you to everyone who has filled 2022 with such rad experiences here at Remarkist. We look forward to more adventures in 2023—more watches, laughter, ideas… and maybe even some original stories 📖.
Not a Remarkist member? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Join our project as an early adopter and grab your unique @membername. Install our app from one of the links here, and be one of the earliest to collect our KRNL token while earning rates are high. KRNL fuels Remarkist’s fandom economy of events and collectibles.
Step 2: Join our Remarkist Clubhouse Club—Clubhouse is a separate mobile app on iPhone and Android that we use right now to meet and watch content together. You’ll need it to actually join us for our real-time events, and you’ll need to be a member of our club there to see those chat rooms.
Step 3: Join our Discord Server—this is where hundreds of Remarkists are geeking out over the shows we love 24 hours a day, and it’s where you can get the latest developments on the project.
Step 4: Check out our website at remarkist.com for a splashy birds-eye view of the biggest stuff happening in our ecosystem.
Step 5: Subscribe to this magazine so you can stay up to date on all the exciting stuff coming to Remarkist!