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Winner Story

Experience Life on Cloud Nine by Champagne and Gyoza

Cloud Niners, an NFT storyverse project known as the “official airline of the metaverse”, partnered with Champagne and Gyoza to produce Experience Life on Cloud Nine. This short film is part of a multi-platform campaign that honors the eccentric vagabond who’s ready to blast off in style to whatever planet or metaverse desired. In 2022, the video won a Gold Award for Branded Entertainment – Entertainment.

We spoke with the director at Champagne and Gyoza, Jonny Zellar, to get a behind the scenes look at the creative direction and learn more about the team and production process.

What inspired the creative direction for this project?
Experience Life On Cloud Nine is one of the first live-action NFT teaser films ever produced. This narrative follows the journey of the 2nd (or 3rd) cousin of the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, as he invites unsuspecting participants to join his world through a series of riddles. No one really knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is, so we surely don’t know who his 2nd or 3rd cousin is! This tongue-in-cheek tone and mysterious character makes for a really fun space to create in.

The film is one piece of a much larger cinematic universe that we’ve created called Cloud Niners. It comes to life as a multi-platform content expedition released through digital collectibles, videos, photos, cryptic clues, and much more.

Then I wrote a first draft of the creative, put together some loose storyboards, and presented it to the team as well as some producers that I had worked with before. Everyone said a version of: “This is really cool, but you’re crazy if you think you can make this for the budget you have!” Many of us working on the Cloud Niners team work in the film industry. We pooled resources to scale up the creative as much as possible, but there’s always a limit and we were working with a modest budget.

So, slightly discouraged, I went back and wrote three brief summaries for smaller alternative concepts. When we talked through those, the producers said: “These are really cool, but wow that first concept was much better.” Yeah, no shit!

Back to the drawing board, Garrison and I went back to the original concept and dialed it down to a place where we thought it maintained the soul of the vision and storyline, but without as many of the big budget elements.

Then we got a reluctant sign off from the producers and got to work bringing it to life.

Experience Life on Cloud Nine by Champagne and Gyoza
2022 Gold Award: Branded Entertainment - Entertainment
2022 Gold Award: Film & Video - Entertainment

How big was the team?
We had quite an amazing team that came together to pull this off. Our on-set crew size was twenty six, we had twenty on-screen talent, five pilots, and of course countless favors. Additionally, we had a handful of people working behind the scenes on logistics throughout the process and a handful of people on our post-production team.

What challenges did you encounter over the course of production and how did you overcome them?
How much time do we have here!?
Most producers will tell you that to make life easier, “Don’t include kids, animals, or explosions into the creative.” Well, we’d like to add NASA airspace to that list. A large portion of the short film was produced at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. We had an incredible time working with the NASA and Space Florida teams, but dealing with anything government-related adds many hoops to jump through and curveballs. I still can’t believe we pulled it off!

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