Soaring with Fan Creatives in the Year of the Dragon
John Cabrera looks at the year ahead, discussing some of the transformation and innovations that await us.
Hello, Remarkists. Happy New Year to you all! Yes, that is a happy 2024, but more specifically, a happy start to the Year of the Dragon. That’s right. We have officially hopped out of the Year of the Water Rabbit and into the Year of the Wood Dragon (the most creative of the five dragons). And I have a feeling this one’s going to be fire!
Dragon years are known for being transformative and ushering in exciting innovations. They are the perfect time to reflect on our goals and chart creative new courses with like-minded friends to achieve them. So, that will be our big push here at Remarkist in 2024.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve been asked—or just personally compelled—over the last two years to explain Remarkist. I’ve also seen plenty of folks from our community attempt to do the same. What is Remarkist? An app? A fandom brand? An opportunity to mingle with actors from TV shows? A community of fans chatting about pop culture? There have been many ways to answer that question, but this piece will define what I believe Remarkist is today and what I hope it becomes.
Since before Remarkist was even a company or platform, we have been riding on a simple yet powerful belief: fans of various franchises should share their unique perspectives and become active partners of their beloved fandoms. To do so, we’ve been building a marketplace of ideas where fans can collaborate and create remarkable things inspired by the franchises they adore.
We started with live audio events, then expanded into collectibles, keepsakes, and puzzles. Now, we include article writing, trivia, and even forum moderation to cater to the diverse needs of our members. And there is still more to come, formats we haven’t even thought of yet. Because every fandom is made up of creative individuals who celebrate their favorite franchises differently. The tools we’re building need to reflect those differences.
Since I was a kid, I’ve identified as a fan—of movies, comics, toys, shows. Maybe you have, too. I think it’s why fans feel so comfortable around one another as we did when we were kids. I know it’s why I went into entertainment as a career. I believe all artists are fans of some past work that spoke to them, inspiring their life in the arts. This is why I’ve been striving to build tools and methods to help more fans realize their full potential—to take what they’ve learned from their favorite franchises and create with it.
Marketplace Duality Dilemma
When building any kind of marketplace, the early days always exhibit a natural tension between serving those who are there to create and those who simply want to enjoy what is produced. Deciding which group the platform should focus on first and for how long is a balancing act. Spending too much time on one side can cause misunderstandings and dysfunctions on the other. For example, I’ve been the platform’s lead architect for two years. But I’ve also been its main creator (providing prizes, officially leading slate watches, and organizing promotional events). Since a lot of my content as a fan creator serves Gilmore Girls fans, it can be easy to confuse Remarkist as a platform built for Gilmore fans, or even just those who joined our original watch parties. However, we’ve had talented creators since day one—many with skills and charisma that surpass mine, along with interests unrelated to Gilmore Girls.
Our community of creators is smaller and more focused. Casual members now just pop in here and there for a watch or to grab a cute Memento. What we need to accomplish in the coming years is a robust, well-rounded community of both fan creators and consumers who use the space and tools we have built in the ways that most serve them.
To balance both sides, 2024 will be the year we expand our broader member base while refining the creator ecosystem and its tools. This will help us reach more audiences and build a stronger, more well-rounded community.
The best way to think about the creator side of Remarkist is as a studio with two principal production spaces: Discord and our official Mobile App.
Our Discord Server has become a private corner of Remarkist, optimized for fan creators. It’s open to anyone who wants to experience the content as we create it. But it’s not an ideal content network, since it can’t scale. Instead, we’ve supercharged this studio with custom bots, allowing members to build fantastic content and experiences within its chat channels. Here are some of the tools we have in store for creators this year:
A trivia submission system for members to contribute to an ever-growing catalog of trivia across countless fandom franchises.
A publishing studio that allows members to open special chat threads they can use as writers’ rooms to compose and instantly publish written works—fiction, commentary, debates, interviews, etc.
A choose-your-own-adventure style writing system for building interactive stories.
A recording tool for capturing, editing, and polishing audio from live events hosted there.
An AI meme creator to build sticky fandom memes and graphics with the help of AI.
And other AI assistants to aid creators in building different forms of fandom content from text to videos.
In addition, we’re creating more tools to turn our forums into a broad collection of fan-led communities. Members can open forum posts around a particular fandom topic and lead chat communities with other like-minded fan creators. We see these forum posts as mini versions of our Discord server and ideal spaces for creators to build relationships with each other that can evolve into collaborations within Remarkist and beyond.
Our iOS/Android app is another place creators can build content and experiences while earning loyalty rewards through a collectibles game. We’ll be exploring ways to bridge our Discord and Mobile App so that the content created in each space is accessible in the other.
This would also come with a bridge of our KRNL reward token, allowing members to earn it from within our Discord or spend it on content and tools throughout our ecosystem.
Starting in March, we will launch an Official Creator Program to help formalize our creator community. This new program will allow us to explore innovative monetization opportunities for serious Remarkist contributors.
To become an Official Creator, Members will need to prove their understanding of our creation fundamentals, including our rules regarding trademark and copyright. In return, Official Creators will receive badges in our Mobile App and Discord, unlocking higher access to creation within Remarkist.
The badges will need to be renewed regularly, and breaking any of our content creation rules could forfeit a member’s status as an Official Creator. This will protect both the platform and consumers of their content. For example, collecting an Official Creator’s mementos will come with additional insurance if the Memento is deemed to have infringed copyright and needs to be removed or altered.
Rewarding Our Community
Since the early days of this project, I’ve been talking about how fans should work together with their beloved brands to grow them. And that is a partnership. Game economies are playful ways to reward loyal Members. But one thing I’ve come to understand is the distinction between casual content engagement and active creation and contribution.
So, we’re making changes to how we reward both sides. This year, we will look for ways to give our creators additional rewards on top of the KRNL they earn through casual engagement. Creators would earn real-world value for their official content contributions and community leadership. To do this, we’ll explore various new reward options, including web3 and potential cryptocurrencies creators could earn when their content is distributed on our network. Allowing members to share in our growth will strengthen our partnership with our creator community and expand the vision of a fan-led content brand.
We want to grow our platform widely in 2024. To do so, we’ll launch an external network of fandom magazines and social media accounts in the coming months. They’ll be connected to our two primary studio platforms (Discord and our Mobile App). When Official Creators generate content in our studio, they’ll have the option to send it to the appropriate network for others to find through organic discovery.
Imagine fans collaborating on articles in writers’ room threads and publishing them directly from those Discord channels. Or submitting Mementos, trivia content, and fandom memes that become designs for t-shirts and other physical collectibles—all available on our network. Creators can even curate these zines and social accounts, helping to shape our brand further.
Through these distribution outlets, we’ll discover more fans interested in creating or watching the creative process. We’ll welcome them into our creator ecosystem where they can work towards Official Creator status and share in our collective success.
As we expand our creator studio and content network this year, we’re excited about the potential for building partnerships with established fan creators and premium artists. By joining forces, we can create a win-win situation where both parties benefit from access to our network and earning mechanisms. This will help us grow our community and provide a platform for talented creators to showcase their work and reach a wider audience. This will also be an opportunity to learn from our community and discover creators outside our ecosystem whom our Members already love.
We look forward to exploring these opportunities further and establishing lasting partnerships to help take our network to the next level.
…And Other Possible Avenues
Our platform will undoubtedly face new challenges, but we should keep in mind that the project is still very young. Things may change as we move forward. While some aspects of Remarkist will remain consistent, such as the core mission of giving fans a voice and helping them build value from their passion, other parts of the project may evolve and adapt to new technologies and trends.
So, it’s vital to approach this experiment with a flexible mindset, and not to assume that the Discord or Mobile App will always be structured the way they are now, or even be part of our ecosystem in the future. Instead, we’ll continue to explore, keep working to achieve our goals in new and innovative ways, and ride those dragons wherever they naturally take us.
Want more? Head over to our Discord where you’ll find tons of other fans there chatting in our forums about the TV shows, movies, music, games and books we all love! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, tumblr, and Spotify for more fandom content—and hit that subscribe button so you never miss a thing at rmrk*st!
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