The Creator-Made Movie Coming to Theaters ⭐

Without help from a major studio

Good morning. Daily active users have slumped 23% on X since Elon Musk took over in November 2022, according to new data from Sensor Tower. FWIW, TikTok and Instagram have also lost users…but only by about half as much. Maybe going back to the name Twitter could help?

‘Ryan’s World the Movie’ Is Headed to Theaters

“Ryan’s World the Movie: Titan Universe Adventure” will tie together live action with animated characters from the Ryan’s World channel / Ryan’s World

Kids creator Ryan “Ryan’s World” Kaji, who has over 36 million YouTube subscribers, is releasing a live-action and anime feature film, Ryan’s World the Movie: Titan Universe Adventure, in 2,000+ theaters this August.

Key detail: Kaji plans to release the movie without the funding and distribution of a major studio, copying a play from both Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour and Yes Theory’s Project Iceman films. Kaji will partner instead with media studio PocketWatch to debut the film, according to Bloomberg.

Some context: Navigating the Hollywood theater system without a studio’s backing comes with unique challenges, Pedro Paiva, head of operations at Yes Theory, told us. 

  • In Paiva’s experience partnering with Cinemark for Project Iceman, theaters want to know both audience size and expected number of ticket sales. 

  • “The math they’re doing in their minds is like, ‘how much can I give of this real estate versus the opportunity cost of just putting in a Marvel movie,’” Paiva said.

The upshot: Self-distribution can be a narrative asset. “If you find a way to do it, and nobody let you in, that also strengthens the brand and even strengthens the story of the movie itself,” Paiva said.

Zoom out: Last year’s Hollywood strikes disrupted the flow of incoming projects for theaters and streamers alike. Creators are filling the gap, from MrBeast’s Amazon game show to Cocomelon’s forthcoming movie with Universal Pictures. 

“I think we’re starting to see the competition within these traditional spaces changing and evolving and we’re trying to understand what’s the barrier between a free content and paid content experience,” Paiva said. 

How This Esports Veteran Became Offbrand’s COO

David Gorman (left) joined Ludwig’s (second from left) creator events studio after working in esports / Beyond the Summit, David Gorman

Last year, David Gorman became the chief operating officer of Offbrand (the creator events studio started by Ludwig Ahgren) after over a decade of working in esports.

We talked to Gorman about his journey and where Offbrand is headed →

How he got here: Gorman was a broadcaster and managing partner for esports production studio Beyond the Summit (BTS) from 2012 until last year.

  • His team made the decision to shut down BTS amid the “esports winter” in 2023.

  • With Offbrand hiring, Ahgren asked Gorman to come on board (BTS had built trust with Ahgren by producing his events “before he was a big name,” Gorman told us).

What does a startup COO do? Gorman mostly focuses on managing the company’s 20 employees day-to-day. But? “In practice, I’d say I’m the CFO, the COO, and probably our main point of contact for legal [specifically contracts],” he said.

What’s next for Offbrand: The studio is focused on building a more “sustainable” process, starting with extending the leadup time in between events.

  • Gorman said Offbrand took on QTCinderella’s Streamer Awards in December, leaving them roughly two months to produce the live show.

  • “Live events are stressful…we believe that the more time you have to bake, the better it’s going to turn out,” he told us.

This is part of our series covering the operators who power creator businesses behind the scenes—read more here. Know someone we should highlight? Hit reply and let us know.

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The Latest on the Potential TikTok Ban

TikTok’s launches a Youth Council while the app’s risk to national security continues to be evaluated / Illustration by Moy Zhong

It’s been two weeks since the House of Representatives passed a bill that will force TikTok parent company Bytedance to sell the app—or risk being banned in the U.S.

The latest headlines:

  • Vice President Kamala Harris said that the Biden administration has “no intention to ban TikTok.” Harris told ABC that while the administration has “national security concerns about the owner of TikTok,” it’s still a “very important” way for people to share information and generate income.

  • Senators called to declassify TikTok-related briefings. A bipartisan group of lawmakers said that “concerns raised by the intelligence community” should be shared more broadly to “better educate the public” as to why TikTok poses a national security threat.

  • TikTok launched a Youth Council. The company announced it’s now soliciting feedback from a cohort of 15 teens (ages 15–18) on how TikTok can best educate its younger users about content moderation and more.

➕ Community Tab

Press writers Hannah and Nate here. Who’s headed to Los Angeles for The Information’s 2024 Creator Economy Summit next week?

We’ll both be there and would love to meet any readers going. Reply to this newsletter so we can coordinate—see ya there!

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