THANK YOU CHOP NATION!!!!!
Feb. 5, 2023

The World of Live Entertainment with David Carpenter

The World of Live Entertainment with David Carpenter

We have released one of our vaulted episodes featuring David Carpenter. We hope you enjoy as we dive into the world of production and broadway!!!

David Carpenter is the CEO of Gamiotics, Inc., a live entertainment software company that enables real time communication between audience and content and is powering the next generation of immersive and experiential entertainment. Gamiotics mission is to deliver authentic experiences through audience agency. He is a twenty-year veteran of the entertainment industry and a Tony nominated producer. 

He is currently a managing partner in the new interactive experience, The Twenty-Sided Tavern. Bringing a D&D style RPG game into live entertainment space using Gamiotics technology to power the audience engagement, this exciting new project will premiere in 2022.

Sierra Nevada Pressure Washing
Your veteran owned and family operated pressure washing business to clean the outside of your home!

Support the show
Transcript
Dustin Steffey:

This week's episode is brought to you by Sierra Nevada pressure washing family owned veteran operated and located locally. There's no better pressure washing company than Sierra Nevada pressure washing. As we get through the winter months here, please keep them in mind. Head on over to their Facebook profile at Sierra Nevada pressure washing and or head on over to their website www dot Sierra Nevada pressure washing.com To keep up on their specials for spring again, Sierra Nevada pressure washing veteran owned family operated

Jaden Norvell:

Welcome to your top rated business entrepreneurship self development and smart investment podcast. This podcast is hosted by creator and founder Dr. Dustin Steffey and also hosted by coach, music producer and influencer yours truly Jaden rush Norville, we are blessed for many accolades such as being nominated for the People's Choice Award for Best Business Podcast, as well as raising over $5,000 last year for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well as the Boys and Girls Club, spending a global reach or podcasts in the top four downloads in four countries. Without further ado, welcome to chopping wood fire ladies and gentlemen, let's chop it up

Dustin Steffey:

Hello, and welcome to an episode of chopping wood fire you are joined with your host Dustin Steffey Jaden is on a hiatus with coaching the last few games of football. So you guys are stuck with me until Jaden can get back. With that being said, I have a couple of housekeeping things. One, we have gone through some changes with our social media, all of our social media is the same however, we are starting to ensure that the content provided to you is perfect, and that all communication is open. So that way you guys know what is going on, we are getting into the end of the year, which means that there's going to be changes going into the new year because if we're a business that doesn't change, then we're failing. So we don't want to fail you guys. We want to exceed expectations and be able to provide you the quality content that you guys deserve. So with that being said, please keep up on all social medias on your favorite social media platform. We are on everything. So that includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, tic toc. And of course, our website if you guys want to keep completely up to date, I recommend heading to our website to start our website is www dot chopping with fire that ch o p p i n with feiyr.com that houses everything to keep you guys up to date and has links to all of our social media. That being said, that's all the housekeeping I want to dive right into it with our expert today. Currently, we have a unique expert that really is going to be able to give us some good added value today. His name is David carpenter. He has 22 years of entertainment experience bringing in technology within into live entertainment. With that being said, David, how are you? I'm great. How are you doing? Good. New York. I know that's where you're you're in the upper part of New York, right? It's pretty there. It's fall. It's fall. It's great. I live in I live just outside of New York City in the suburbs. And it's like perfect fall. You know, war was warm up until yesterday. But

David Carpenter:

yeah, it's more it's gorgeous time of year up here. And I actually just I just got back from Chicago, where I was for three weeks and the weather was perfect. So it's like I've been I've been all over the I've been all over the north part of this country. Last in Alaska a couple of months. That's awesome. Yeah. See in Reno, the weather's bipolar. Because basically we had summer all the way up until like, last week. So we weren't getting that cold back cold weather. Now it's starting to it's starting. It's starting to hit it. I've been staying ahead of it as I've been as I've been traveling back east slowly but surely.

Dustin Steffey:

Yeah. You never can tell the weather where I'm at it just it flips a switch on us here. So we actually had a snow a couple days ago so it was pretty crazy. Yikes. And now we're not even Yeah, I'm not ready for that either. Just like the people that put up Christmas lights like in October not ready for that either.

David Carpenter:

Yeah, right. Exactly. Yeah. Wait till everything's giving wait till everything's doing

Dustin Steffey:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I am not ready for that at all. So your your entertainment veteran, you have to technology that you've brought into the entertainment industry. Let's, let's take a step back for a second for everybody to just kind of have them feel like where your journey has been. So tell me a little bit about yourself.

David Carpenter:

Yeah, so, um, I, I've worked in a theatrical entertainment. I worked in vehicle entertainment for most of my career, I moved to New York right out of college and started working on Broadway, in producing offices, and we originally started and then I worked. I worked in sales and marketing for a long time and various places on Broadway. One of the places I work was was DreamWorks theatrical. So I was part of the sales and marketing team that brought in the original production of Shrek the Musical when it came in, which I think was in Oh, eight. And then that which was, which was a great experience. It was a it was a lovely show. And, and after, but it didn't work. Unfortunately, it didn't it didn't sell it and so on up on Broadway, it was also it was also like a family show in a recession is not a it's not a fun place to not a fun place to be because families tend to tighten their wallets first. So I worked. I worked for another producer for about five years running up running a production office and learning, you know, learning more about financing and development, and getting some really cool, got projects moving. And then I left that office and with a former partner started my own production company, which I have for about five years, there's a company called tilted windmills. And while I was at tilted, I had the distinction of producing a play called puffs, which puffs is a parody of the Harry Potter universe. And it was a huge hit. It ran in New York for three years, and is now the number two most produce show in the US right now. I don't produce it's late, but licensed like every high school middle school in the country does it in some way shape or form, like Google Alerts, especially in the fall, right like Google Alerts tend to go a little crazy on the other title the show just because it's like the foul play that everybody does. The really funny, kind of beautiful, poignant story. While I also I produce on Broadway CO produced on Broadway did a bunch of stuff there. But while I was doing this, so I've always been a big video gamer and sci fi fan and fantasy nerd and board gamer. And you know, gaming was always like part of my life, but always like my hobby, like the thing that I was doing outside of it. But I took it very seriously. As anyone who's played board games with me can attest, and or video games for that matter. And I stumbled upon this play, that was a for lack of a better word. But basically what happened is that it was it was a it was a rom com and the audience was handed remotes like for button like push button remotes when they walked into the theater. This was many years back in 2013. And basically the audience would vote on this show when they where they wanted it to go. And it was a rom com was with a guy going on a date with a girl. And they voted on. Like, what he wore, which girl he went on a date with where they went, what the dialogue was set a key moments in time. And it was funny. But it also it it um, depending on how the voting was done, like how what they voted for the audience would they get they get like 10 different endings, right. So if they voted very successfully for the guy all the way through, he slept with the girl at the end, they voted very negatively for the guy the end. He would like throws off of a bridge or something terribly dark like that, right. And I just was very kind of caught by this idea of bringing in this concept of gaming because it was it's gaming, right? You're making choices, you have agency and this idea of agency with a live entertainment space. And I've never seen anyone successfully execute a concept like that before. Now, the show itself wasn't terribly good, right? Like if he wasn't, it wasn't a very good show. But the concept behind it I was really taken with and so actually option, the show and I started working on it, go to the author and take a note to save his life. But while I was doing that, one of the things I said was like, Look, you can't hand an audience something when they walk in the door, right? Like that isn't like that's not a scalable idea, you know, even in live in our team or anything. But I love the idea of them having agency. What if we take it to the phone and the other times like, oh, we explored apps are too expensive in the back then. And you know what happened? I don't know what it costs now. But an app itself will cost like three to $1,000. And Bill is like I just there's no way I'm gonna do that. I was like, Oh, hi. I don't think it's an app. I think there's something else. And very luckily, I got hooked up with this programmer named Dave Keane, who was at one point his career was the senior architect of the Sony PlayStation Network. Right. And, and he was working in healthcare at that point, but was a big theater lover. And we connected and I said, Hey, I have this really weird problem. And he was like, what if we make it an app? And I'm like, I don't think it can be an app. He's like, Well, you're right. He's like, You shouldn't be an app because you can ask someone to download something before they go to a live event. Right. Like, like, it's one thing I think we now know in terms of app app development. Like, we see a lot of resistance now to people downloading more and more apps on their phone for a lot of reasons, right? Like, I have a few apps that I that I like, and I keep but mostly apps on my phone I don't ever use now. And I for a logger timorous. He said, he said, Well, what if it was web based, and it was web based, and it's disposable. And that's what I'm after. He said, All right. And he built the first iteration of what is now gaming on IT software. And, and so I had that, so So basically, what happened was, I had this software. But I didn't have a show, because the author and I parted ways after about six months, and I commissioned a new show. And I started working on that as a side project for a couple of years. And really, what the, what the function of gaming addicts is, is that's a two way communication device between audience and content, it allows the audience to be able through the web browser, on their phone, make choices and take actions collectively as a group or individually that affect the content that's happening before and in front of that. And during this time, we've seen the rise of experiential entertainment and a really significant way. And I kept thinking, Gosh, experiential entertainment is, is is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. But it's, it's going to hit this limit in terms of what it can do, unless we unless we bring technology into it to give more purpose to the audience in these experiences. And so that's why that's where I started really kind of driving game biotics at that point. Um, so So I had so I had Bruce a Broadway show back in 2019. A lot of snow show, producer brain leaks on Broadway. And then my partnership broke up with my former partner, and I took control of the companies and more importantly, I took control of the software company. And in January of 20, I started focusing full time on the software company, and then the pandemic hit in March. So that was fun. And I'm sure you get a lot of pandemic stories on your podcast and like, Oh, God, what, what, because we're all now have them, right? Yeah, right. Yeah. And especially in an entrepreneurship podcast, there's a lot of like, well, what do you do? Like what happened during that time period?

Dustin Steffey:

We have yet to have one on our show that like, describe flopping right, during the pandemic, because it was a lot that did flop unfortunately, what weren't prepared.

David Carpenter:

I mean, there was no, there wasn't a way to be able to prepare for that pandemic, right. I mean, we saw it coming. I would say, I would say, I would say I remember, about two weeks before the live entertainment shutdowns. A lot of entertainers shutdown was like, roughly March 12, and 2013, when suddenly everything globally went went dark. But two weeks before I started thinking on the mark is the remember the market start getting really volatile. And investors started saying, I can't I can't get I can't write a check right now. I gotta wait one second, for the market volatility to stop. I remember the day before the shutdown, I said to my former assistant, I was like, this is on a Thursday, I was like, if we come in tomorrow, we should have a talk about what's going to happen next. And then and then I don't think I ever saw him in person again, actually. It's like, I don't think I ever saw that guy ever again in Berkeley. Because like we because we, you know, I'd stayed upstate in New York. And you know, the shutdown the office, and like that was that. But during the pandemic, so since everything shut down, basically what I did is I, I took I took the software, and I call it a bunch of friends of mine, who entertainers who are all at work. And I said, what if we just entertain people using the software and try and develop something, and they're like, Sure, I'm game, I'm not doing anything. I'm collecting unemployment. And so we started this journey that went on for about 18 months, where I created a production company that existed only over zoom, a live entertainment production company over zoom, we thought either at home or wherever they were in the country, or wherever they were in the world would use game bionics to play along with our shows, right? And so it was all live action. So the actors were actually reading from a from a Google document that had hyperlinks to jump where the audience chose them to go on that journey. And we did murder mysteries and branching narratives. And, and, gosh, a Christmas show a Halloween show, we did escape rooms, we did game shows, we did puzzles, I mean, we get all manner of things. And that's where I learned actually what gave me Onyx was as a as a software platform in terms of how it had the ability to be able to communicate in real time to audiences out at a live event. And, and and get connectivity right? And so we were able to form this relationship with this online audience where they felt very connected to each other because they're all participating in the entertainment a lot of people compare it like oh, it's like Jack box and I'm like, Jack box isn't like Yeah, I mean, like, you know, like your career lens, but like you and your group of friends are playing a game together live, but what I'm actually doing is a live storytelling event right? Or a lot you know, it's something something that and that is driven by the agency of the consumer. So we would we develop these murder mysteries right? Where we have, you know, four or five actor actors or actresses I'm on screen with a big script. And we built this much gaming mechanic into it, where we're because we do like we do like a Wii. So I did I did at I did 20 hour long shows in 18 months, right? Like I worked at a furious pace to put all this stuff out, right. And one of them, some of them are mysteries that we did, there was a mechanic where the audience would make a seemingly innocuous choice at the beginning of the show, they vote for this, they vote for that, or they take this action, and that would determine who the murderer was. So the activity show up not knowing who the murderer was right when they would start the show. And it was a really interesting dynamic. Wait, it's like playing like playing flu with your friends, right? When you play clue as a board game, you don't know who the murderer is, when you start, it's wrapped in an envelope. And you've got to go through it. I'm right. And we built a storytelling device around that same concept to then that that allowed the audience to vote and participate in trying to figure out who the murderer was. And it was super, super fun. So I shut down that company, the online fracture, we may have, I guess it was May of 21. And, and because it was like, No, I didn't want to do zoom entertainment anymore. No one should do zoom entertainment like that. It's not a performance platform or broadcast, Opperman, I stretched the imagination, but one of the one of this, that I needed to go back and focus full time on the on the software company, because I had guy had, I had gotten angel funding, raised about a half million dollars over the over the pandemic and angel funds. Just by virtue of the fact of like, Hey, I have the software and it's working. And once I've retained what comes back, and I can move this in the rain I like, you know, help me help keep this going. So, you know, but I was getting kind of the end of the angel funds that I need to really concentrate on seed round and right, you know, angel funding and seed round funding are two entirely different things, that the stakes are very different. The what you're doing is very different. And you know, it took me six months to figure out how to get the right get get the right place on on the seed round for the company in terms of what what I was building as a software company. Because there was that I'm sure you talk about the show, there's that I had started this in a b2c environment, right with doing the online production company. But that wasn't what the software company wanted to be the software is a b2b company. And so I actually had to learn how to pull myself away. And that's ironic. So I'm going to talk about another b2c company in a second. But I had to pull myself away out of the habits of being in a b2c company and really start focusing on what it meant to be in a b2b company to launch the launch this and also start start thinking about a closer to a SaaS company, meaning other people being in to use the software. So I did a six month journey on trying to figure that out and get to the right place, which ultimately was successful in securing a seed round. Um, but, um, so so. So I go on that journey. And one of the things that we had produced on the online production company was a live action Dungeons and Dragons style gaming experience, where we had players we had, we're using radionics, for audience interaction, and we had a store game master or dungeon master. And of everything that I did, that one struck the loudest chord, who not only with me, but also with fans. And so as I was shutting down the online production company, the two people who were who worked with me at this, this previous one, I went to them, I said, I think this is the thing, I think this is the thing, right, I think this is the thing that that I want to pursue because it's a beautiful application of my software. And I really love this idea of bringing an RPG live event to the stage in a way that nobody else has ever been able to do before. Let's pursue this right. And so that is a that is a the title of show is called the 20 sided tavern. And, and it's like I said, it's a live action RPG event that is in the style of a dungeon Dragons game where the audience is using the software all throughout the show to choose pathways and decisions that affect the show and the game as it's being played out. And so we started, we started at the Philly Fringe Festival a little over a year ago, we put on a we put on a couple of performances just in front of a random audience just being like, it's awesome folding tables and a bunch of props and having no idea what we're doing. And the audience went nuts for it. I mean, just went nuts out of the gate in a really huge way. And me and my partners in that venture were like, Okay, we have something here, let's go figure this out. So, right around that time, I, I, I secured my seed funding. And remember saying to the investors, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna do this one thing over here, right? Like, I'm gonna build this software company. I'm gonna do this one thing over here and they're like, they're like, that was like they're like, Okay, let's see it go but don't get too distracted. Right. And, and I ironically, like what 20 siirt has grown up to become is the first and my first Enterprise Client for my software company. So by I am also the CEO of the 20 star tavern company as well along with two partners, we built a live entertainment production company based on this idea and are having wild success with it right now. So, so I haven't talked about it more, but that I think that in a nutshell, is my journey.

Dustin Steffey:

I think that's a pretty robust journey, to be honest with you. A couple of things that popped up that I wanted to hone in on one description of the different investors, I think that that's a that's a good thing to define, especially for entrepreneurs that are looking to get funding. So I'd like to dive into that. And then I'd like to dive in afterwards to some pandemic evolution. So lessons learned from the pandemic, and like where you're heading now, because I think every country in the or every country, I'm sorry, every company in the country has evolved. Yes, pandemic. I mean, it hasn't disappeared. But they've evolved. I mean, we didn't have very many jobs that were work from home. And now, it seems like a lot of them offer the flexibility of a blended atmosphere now of working from home or and or going to work or both.

David Carpenter:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, sorry, go ahead.

Dustin Steffey:

So I think I think we dive into kind of the different funding strategies like what is an angel investor? What are some of the different terminology so that way people know and then we'll dive into the pandemic evolution?

David Carpenter:

Yeah. So so I had to, I had to learn startup financing from scratch in the last three years. And I say that because I have been working in theatrical and specifically in Broadway and off Broadway for most of my career. And the financing for that is fully different than anything else in the world, right? And in fact, doesn't make any sense at all. Have you ever talked to a yacht or talked to a Broadway investor you talk to people like it is a, it is a very weird world governed by a very strange set of rules from the New York State Attorney General's office in the SEC. There are similar similarities to start dancing, but it's also a very specific set of circumstances in order to finance a financial live entertainment play. So I didn't like financing that way. I mean, I break millions of dollars, in my years in financing, but on on on theatrical, but I never I never liked it, I think that I think the main issue that I had with it, and this gets kind of a little bit of a deep cut in at the upper financing is that one of the weird things in theatrical entertainment versus like movies and film, or movies and television is that the, the, the work, the scripts, in movies and television are owned by the studio, right? And in theatrical, they're there. They're the right, those rights are ultimately always retained by the author. And what you do is you option that right from an author, you don't buy them outright. And so when you're doing an investment, the investment the company doesn't actually own any IP, right, what it owns is the the the exclusivity on this particular piece of work, and the right to income from future traffic, ticket sales, you know, depending on production, depending on on subsidiary rights or other things, but the ownership stake is always retained by the author. So in an option agreement, there's a time limit on it. So it's not something you can scale, and it's not something you can sell, there is no exit in in theatrical right? So you can make an enormous amount of money, like Hamilton makes an enormous amount of money Lion King makes an enormous amount of money. But there are those are the rare exceptions to the rule. So as I started kind of getting into it with gaming addicts, you know, I had to like I said, I had to learn a whole new language. And so we're getting so you know, you're kind of your first round, right is like is, is basically saying, I have an idea, I need money to pursue this idea, right? And I'm going to I and my journey on this is going to get to either a prototype or a minimum viable product, right? Like something I'm gonna I need money to show that my idea, potentially, I can build it right. Not even I can sell it. Yeah, I can build it. And that is an extremely high risk investment. So an angel investor, a lot of times in the in this world, our friends and family, there are people who know you personally, people who may have invested with you before, right and other in other rounds, but it's a high risk investment, because it's not really secured against anything because you haven't actually built the product yet. So what is that investment security gets? Because you're not going to have patents. You're not going to have copyrights when you're building a thing that all comes in time and so a lot of the vehicles that the financial vehicles and I believe this was by if I have my history correct, this is pioneered by white Y Combinator back in the day is through what's called Safe agreements, right? Which are simple agreement for future equity, right. And it's basically a piece of paper that says, If I am successful, and I get to an equity round meeting, like I got I raised Ronny, you will get a, you will get a bonus for for the money that you put in right now, that's it not secured against anything, does it if the company goes belly up the next day, right, that's it, you lose your money. And it's a very, very high risk investment, right. And so a lot of but a lot of Angel rounds are run through or run through safe investments. You know, back in a napkin calculation, most people raise anywhere between three and $500,000 in a safe, because that's usually about the limit of people writing small checks, in order to do it, or how much you're gonna be able to raise on that, against that, in fact, I found that, I found that now several times, which is like, the, the limit for me seems to be somewhere around three to $500,000, that, um, find a willingness and stage before you want to start securing it before you need to show progress to investors for them to either come in for more. So I'm gonna be honest, I raised about $500,000, on a safe over the over the course of the over the course of the pandemic. Now, these were all family, friends and previous investors of mine, there were a few new people in the pile. But they were all people who knew me or knew the work that I'd done before. So it was important that I had a track record, right as, as someone, you know, working in live retirement or as an entrepreneur, good or bad, I needed to have a track record. And that helped me get that fund financing run so, so the seed round, different, right? Because you are many times securing that against equity or convertible debt, right? In that you are and you are going for a larger amount of money. Okay. So in order to build traction, right, I think that's what that's what you're kind of like so so I built my prototype, build my MVP, now I actually have to build the actual product now, right, and sell it to consumers and see if there's traction in the marketplace. And that route, like that's usually anywhere from a million and a half to $3 million. In most tech companies, most most things were to see and saying, Alright, I need to build a team. And if I need to finish the product, I need to roll it out. And I gotta see if I can get some early clients and establish a baseline of sales or interest that can start generating revenue, right? So you know, when that when you get to that point, you're talking about valuations pre money valuations, the company post money valuation of their company, like, Alright, I'm gonna give you a million and a half dollars, what do I get? Right? What's my stake in this company, versus what's your stake in this company, versus what the original wrestler stake in this company so, so, um, and the seed round, and investors tend to be still risky, right, there's still a lot of risks, but it's little bit less, because you've proven that you've gotten something working, right. And now you're gonna go to market with it, and see if there's a strategy. And then after that is when is when you start getting into either second seed or a Series A, or where it's like, I have money, I have revenue, I mean, all my benchmarks from from sophisticated veterans say, once you get to a million a year in revenue, you know, and your, your your annual run rate is sitting at about a million a year, then you can sit down and open up a series a for five to $10 million, right, depending on how you're going to sit your music evaluation, and then you're moving up into more and more sophisticated class of investors, people are running larger checks, larger offices, larger venture firms who have who have no interest in writing small Texas. That's actually the hardest part about all this is that the people with a lot of the money are not interested unless they're writing a million or two or $3 million checks out of the gate. Because there's not a big enough bet for them. They can't make enough off of $150,000 or whatever it is, right. Um, so yeah, so that's, that's so I learned I learned how to do this right through the pandemic, and I'm still learning like it hasn't the education period hasn't stopped.

Dustin Steffey:

I think the pandemic has evolved us, right. Yeah. So if we look, if we look at evolution, it's evolved us. And I think Furthermore, we're all still learning. I don't think we have the perfect solution right now. But I think that we're getting closer and closer each day that passes, because the pandemic changed us. And we all all of us that own a business, outside of working in normal nine to five, right? We had to evolve and we had to evolve and pivot on the fly, or else we we failed. And so I think it's important to one, congratulate you on making it through the pandemic because there were other businesses that weren't so fortunate, but to to really just understand that, like us as business owners, we're still evolving right now currently to perfect that equation. Yeah. And so, I come in, I commend you, right for for for making it for through because there were other casualties that were involved that didn't. And it's unfortunate and it It's upsetting because I'm a very big proponent of entrepreneurship often, obviously with my podcast, but I'm also a big proponent of it, because I feel that's what we were founded on. And that's what drives money into the economy is the small businesses, the large businesses, yes, they drive money into the economy. But do they drive it in the same manner as a small businesses like the small businesses really like? I think drive the economy a lot more in my opinion.

David Carpenter:

Yeah. Well, and that's also I mean, like, I was saying to you earlier that one of the things about gaming addicts is that it's a b2b business, which I'm really interested in. I spend, I mean, like, when you are producing a show, or you're producing a theatrical, you're actually effectively running a b2c business, right? You're selling tickets to consumers, right? Creating Content selling things as a consumer such as what you do right directly consumer funding, forgive me Onyx is like one of the one of the things that I'm after for, is I love experiential entertainment. Right? Experiential entertainment is everything from what secret cinema is doing over in the UK, and soon to be in the US to what Sleep No More does to escape rooms, right? I mean, you could look at Disney World as the largest example of experiential entertainment, like you're in an environment that is crafted for you to tell a story and give you an experience that is specific. Yeah, well, of course, the US has a big experiential attainment, content producer. So there's a lot out of them. And they keep in there, and it's they're rising, there's more and more stuff that's starting to happen. These these galaxies quest, have you heard about that, which is the star, right? That's experiential entertainment for short, right? It's also very expensive, but it's that type of thing. We're starting to see more and more of this. But one of the things that I identified early on was that there wasn't a lot of access for experiential creators to be able to build commercially successful models, right? When when meow Wolf is a great example. I mean, they are they're absolute geniuses at what they do. But it took a three and a half million dollar check from George RR Martin to get that company off the ground in the early days. So not, not everybody can can build something, you know, can can get that three and a half million dollar check to start right. Not to say that they started that point. But but you know, it's a tricky thing. So one of the things with gimme Onyx is that, because it's a web based, and because it's software, it's a platform that allows you to build branching narrative experiences, right there allows you to build a new type of storytelling experiences where the consumer has that agency to make decisions that affect the experience as it's going along the changes, the experience is happening in real time. And I was always struck by this idea that experiential seems so far off from the everyday content creator, I was like, well, that's stupid, because we needed to democratize this a little bit more, we need to create a cheap platform for people to be able to and I don't mean like, an accessible platform, cheap is the wrong word, but accessible platform for people to be able to interact with their audiences and build their version of what they want experiential or audience interaction to be. And that and that's one of the founding pillars of Guinea Onyx Is that is that is providing the software into the hands of content creators so that we can see an economic revolution happening within experiential entertainment. And by many, many, many more people spending a lot less money building their own things, right. And like, that's, that's what technology is supposed to do. I mean, that's what that is what technology has done right? Throughout our lives for the last 40 years. And the fact that everybody can use it, like remember, it was, for a while it was microsoft word now like that Google has, you know, has document and it's spreadsheet applications that are free to use for anyone, anywhere on any computer, right? So like that democratizes our ability to be able to do business down to anybody being able to do it. And I think there's something really from an entrepreneurial level, is that if you're in this system, where only only the wealthy right, have the keys to be able to do stuff, you're not creating a very vibrant economy or ecosystems for creators, right. And and and I'm seeing that in experiential entertainment, where where there isn't a lead, there's certainly a little bit of an elitism that's happening, but the people who have access to funding or the access or have the ability have the talent that's like, well, how are you building the next generation? Right? How are you giving them the tools to be able to create on their own not inside another system? Because that's kind of what I'm after long term with, with what I want for Guinea ox to be able to do is to be a tool in the hands of content creators all over the world to say, well, I want to do my own type of thing. I wanna do my own game right I want to do my own like experience without with that, that that I don't there's no rules. There's no one telling me what to do. I just have the software platform to go create it on. Um, yeah, so that'd be so like, in the gaming world. Unreal Engine has done a really interesting way of doing that. Creating Games is a very expensive proposition. But if you look at some of these backbone, like pieces of software and architecture that drive a lot of stuff, they're driving a lot of the development that's happening in AR and VR right now in a really great way because they made their platform accessible, to be able to drive new types of content. So like, there's a reason why VR hasn't taken off is because not enough content creators have access to tools to build high quality content, like it simply does. It hasn't been there hasn't been there for the last decade. And we're slowly starting to see that change now that these tools are becoming more readily available and easier to be able to use. So I'm after that in a lot of entertainment spectrums. I love live entertainment, like I like I have my entire life. But But to your point, you know what your point on entrepreneurship at some point on the on people like part of it is just like having the ability to create and build something without a being cost prohibitive? Right. So there's something about the hunger biotics that I'm after on that. I mean, first things first is like, I'm building the first experiences myself, because someone has to right, I'm not gonna wait around for somebody else to build, like, I'm gonna go to pave the way about how we about how we build these things. And that's, that's something that I'm doing. That's what I'm doing right now with Morningside tavern. Yeah, I,

Dustin Steffey:

again, it all goes back to evolution, right. So all of your conversation has, has shown us kind of the, I mean, it's not the be all end all of evolution, but it's shown us how a business has evolved during the time of the pandemic, right. And I guess where, where my question is, with this is, with you evolving post pandemic? Is this the new normal? The what I'm trying to get at is their businesses that evolved, right, like I was telling you that have worked from home and all of that some of them reverted back. Right. And they did not keep the same structure, post pandemic, which I think is a failure, because I think most businesses that succeed today, are the ones that change over time. And so I feel if you're not changing with the environment, then eventually you're going to fail.

David Carpenter:

Well, I think the new normal question, I think the numeral because initially, I think what the pandemic did, is that accelerated existing trends, right. And, and I would say, I would say the work from home, like if the pandemic hadn't happened, people were already itching to work from home anyway, people are already wanting it to happen. So there were, you know, it might have taken another decade before we had rethought how this pile this office environment works. And obviously, there are people like, you know, kicking and screaming against this idea, right. But there, we were already looking at a trendline. of what of what workers were wanting out of experiences. Right. So So I just think it I think it vastly accelerated that trendline. From me, in experiential experience, what was rising at a fast clip, right? And that's just that is based on the fact that, that consumer habits change every generation, right? The kids don't want to do what their parents did. They want to go and in and our entertainment habits are changing greatly, right. And I think the pandemic accelerated that. The saddest thing for me was I went and saw a movie at a movie theater a couple of weeks ago. And it had been the only things I saw on the movie theater during the pandemic were the Marvel releases, right? That's it, everything else, like everybody was watched from home. But there's no reason why people can't go back to the movies right now. And I am when I walked in, I was actually really quite sad because I was struck. This was a Friday night, right? Or a Sunday night, whatever it was, right. And I was just struck by the fact that when I was a kid, because I'm 45 years old, now, when I was a kid, when I was in middle school, that is what you did on Friday nights, you went with your friends to the movies, you got popcorn, it was packed, there were lines out the door. And we're seeing this trend line of like consumer entertainment is has moved to primarily at home now. And the movies are up in the screens for a brief period of time. And then but we were seeing we were seeing that we were like, we were seeing that trend years ago, whereas it used to be that a movie could play in a movie theater, or they were going back to the 80s Right? Playing movie theaters for you know six months, it would stay on the screens, right? Like if it was popular, which is concerning. Right now. It gets in and out in like three weeks whatever doesn't have a huge opening weekend that could be two weeks right? And then they're out and then their second I kinda like the the movies themselves aren't because the consumer habits were already changing before the pandemic of saying we got to opening weekend or not. And now it's kind of moved to war in the movie theater and then we're immediately online. Right? Which is like, it's the people don't gather at the movie theaters the way they used to consumers. Consumer entertainment habits have changed. When it comes to watching film and whatnot. So watching film like that people want to stay at home and watch it at home. So it's so yeah, I'm not I'm I just think it's I just think it was an IT acceleration of existing ideas not necessarily a chain like a radical change. Right.

Dustin Steffey:

Yeah, I agree. I agree with everything that you brought up with that. How do you feel moving forward? How do you feel with everything changing the future? What do you think the future is going to hold with evolution of our businesses? I mean, a pandemic changed the way we do business. I mean, like you were saying, the movies even have changed, where more people are just doing things at home? Do you think that that trend is going to continue forward? Or do you think that we're gonna go back to having more socialization outside of the house?

David Carpenter:

Well, I don't think that we've ever not had socialization outside of the house, right? I mean, I think that I think, obviously, I work in live entertainment, like, I'm a big believer in the gathering of people like together in a place right to do something, because I don't think that you can replace LeBron came in, in any way, shape, or form, people will still go to concerts, right, that that certainly will still happen. But I think that I think that I think what we do in the live entertainment arena, in terms of what it is that we're consuming is, is is going to morph, they're going to change and, and audiences today don't want static experiences, they want dynamic experiences, they want to feel engaged, they want to feel listened to, they want to feel involved, I think that we're going to see a change in that in that trend towards towards more dynamic, more engaged content than we have seen before. And social media obviously has changed has has been a disrupter and all of that, which is your your community of people who are liking the same thing that you like, and the people that you can talk to, and the people you interact to now can happen with anyone all over the world. And so you are, you're able to form different types of communities now, around the content around the ideas and the things that you like doing in a really different more global way. And this is obviously this has been going on for the last 20 years now is that we're seeing how social media is participating in, in the engagement around the subject. So like, for instance, like what one of the things that that we have on 20 Tavern is that we have a very vibrant discord. Because Discord is a place where gamers like to gather full stop already, right. And we opened up our Discord channel to give our fans direct access to the actors and the creators of the show, to be able to engage with them in conversation. And it's amazing, right? Like, it's amazing, because first off, it's a safe space for the creators, they can participate or not, the actors are just bigger not. There isn't any. Like it's not like meeting people at the stage door or anything like that. But it allows them to form a an ongoing conversation with the fans in the fandom in a way that has never been able to be done before. And so I love I love our Discord. I think our Discord is an amazing place because it is simply about engagement, and validation and recognizing and sharing the joy of the thing we're doing. But it's also giving a little level of access to the fans, not only to the creators, but also to each other about this thing that they love. And it's all and it's all happening. It all happens in real time. It's Discord is a place for conversations, you know, Twitter, and Facebook is not really a place for conversations, you know, don't really get in, like you might get into a fight on, you know, on someone's wall. But it's not a place that facilitates conversation. Discord is discord has become really interesting in terms of facilitating conversations. And then of course, you have this outlet of podcasts, which are wonderful ways to disseminate information and ideas and thoughts and things where you can have that passive experience as a user and listen to what's going on. So the fact that we have so many channels now informs us in entertainment creating, right like, like we have to be able to engage on a lot of different levels, not just put on a show. And I love that I find that terribly, terribly exciting. Because at the end of the day, it's about fan engagement. It's about it's about creating a community and creating a fan engagement and the more tools we have to build to do that more ways we have to engage the better the product ends up being at the end of the day.

Dustin Steffey:

Yep, I agree with you on that. I just got a question that came in. So gamey optics has changed. Live entertainment, right?

David Carpenter:

Well, I want to I am not there. I don't I wouldn't say I've changed anything quite yet, but I'm working on it.

Dustin Steffey:

I think it's heading that way though. I I strongly feel it's heading that way. With that being said, what else do you see? Or even where else do you see gamey objects being used outside of live entertainment?

David Carpenter:

So there's a there's something that we're working on right now, which is in the oddly enough in the museum space, right, which is, I love the idea of being able to not have a passive experience at a museum. But if I want to go on an adventure, I can go on an adventure at a museum. And again, this is As a kid who grew up with all those sci fi books about going on adventures in museums, right, and the audio guided tour, well, wonderful information is a is a linear journey that is told to you about what's happening. And you don't have any agency in that journey other than I'm going to press this number and listen this next track. And so I'm developing, give me a tool and give me optics that allows us to then create an experience out of museum space. And I used magazine by example, this could be just about anywhere, but to be able to create an experience where your choices determine where you go, and what you learn and what happens next. So that you could come back and do it again, and go on a totally different adventure. And be able to do it over and over again. We see that on 20 sites, however, in terms of audiences coming back, because it's never the same trip twice, I want to take that idea. I don't want to apply that idea of agency and adventure, and a dynamic storytelling and dynamic experiences based on the choices that I make as a consumer, not what I'm told to make. And I think that that is actually a really powerful idea. And some that I'm pursuing very hard. Because I think I mean, it is election day, we are recording this on Tuesday, the eighth, right? That we are never that agency and voice in in our lives is never not going to be really important. Moving forward. Right? Because we are we are in and I say that, you know, on both sides, everybody wants to have a voice. Everybody wants to have agency. And I Oh, and I think that that what I'm doing in the entertainment spectrum, is I'm just doing entertainment, not doing politics, but then it's entertainment spectrum, is is is answering that call, and say well, what if what if we were able to give more choice in, in our experiences? Netflix did did it back in 16 1617? With Bandersnatch. Right? They they they they created a show now that wasn't a new idea, right in any stretch of the imagination, what what they did, and it was but it was novel at the time because I watched Netflix on my ps3, I think it was ps4 Probably ps3 and was able to choose the direction the story and I knew people who were like I went down every single possible thread on that thing I did that I played that whole thing through and through. And I remember thinking, gosh, they're really onto something. It wasn't a very good show, right? Like content wise, it wasn't a good show. It's never gonna be the first time you try it. But it provided this this intersection of gamification and entertainment that I was already working on and saying, Oh, this is this is kind of what we're, this is kind of what I'm after now. Right? It's gamification is everywhere in our lives, right? sports, sports entertainment, they call it sports, entertaining, for reason, sports is just gaming. Right? That's all it is. It's just it's just a game. It's a live action game that people are playing. And so as we start to find these intersections of where the agency is where the audience can have agency, I think that's where we start seeing change. That's what and that is what I'm interested in it.

Dustin Steffey:

I think there's some good things coming out of gaming Audix. And I can't wait to see what the future holds for it. Because there's so much more that this application can be used for. And I'm sure in the future, we're going to see it all over the place.

David Carpenter:

Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree.

Dustin Steffey:

So congratulations on finding a niche that is important, in my opinion. And that is fun, too. So I mean, all of us that go into entrepreneurship, we like to try to do something we're passionate about. So I think that this is your passion as the podcast is mine. So I I definitely appreciate everything that you've given to us today. One final thing, if you could leave our listeners with one key golden nugget, which I know you've left a lot of them in the episode but one very important nugget, what would you leave them with?

David Carpenter:

Oh, I mean, you know, I always say people, the the nose, like and this is this is something that this something that an investor of mine said to me, and this is a quote attributed to several people right now, but it's really every no brings you to a yes, you cannot let someone who say no to you get you down you have to say this is this is just one more step towards getting to a yes. Because if you get mired and I do, right, like I absolutely do get mired in the rejection, you have to take a step back and realize that 99% of the people are going to reject you, right? It's just the 1% that's gonna get you across the finish line or you know, but but you can't you and learn something from every No, why did they say no? Is it me? Or is it them? Right is my idea goes out and you'll reach a point where it's like, no, the idea is good. They just don't get it. But in the beginning it's the idea isn't good. You're not selling this right. And learn how to sell it right. And then when you get a yes, learn from that. Yes. And make that yes, better. Right. But you're still gonna get nose after you get Yes, it's right. And so it's a it's it. I was calling it it's a trench fight. right you're just in a trench fight, trying to get trying to get this stuff done. And, and you just have to you just have to steel yourself against it. It's It is a tough, tough business, especially if you're not if you're not walking the table with, you know, a, you know, you know, trust fund, right to start a business like if you're if you're bootstrapping it yourself, you're doing yourself like it is it is a, it is challenging, but you know, nothing easy is worth it.

Dustin Steffey:

If anybody wants to get a hold of you, David and kinda is interested in everything that we discussed today, what's a good medium to get a hold of you?

David Carpenter:

Right through the website, David at Guinea audix.com easily accessible, you can find me on LinkedIn, LinkedIn is really easy as well. I'm very visible. So yeah, that's the best way to get a hold of me.

Dustin Steffey:

Awesome. And I'll provide relevant links in the episode description and make it easier on the listeners and on you. Perfect. I appreciate everything that you've given to us. So thank you. Thank you for coming on.

David Carpenter:

Thanks so much. Thanks for your time today. Appreciate it.

Dustin Steffey:

Yep. Thank you.

David CarpenterProfile Photo

David Carpenter

CEO

David Carpenter is the CEO of Gamiotics, Inc., a live entertainment software company that enables real time communication between audience and content and is powering the next generation of immersive and experiential entertainment. Gamiotics mission is to deliver authentic experiences through audience agency. He is a twenty-year veteran of the entertainment industry and a Tony nominated producer.

He is currently a managing partner in the new interactive experience, The Twenty-Sided Tavern. Bringing a D&D style RPG game into live entertainment space using Gamiotics technology to power the audience engagement, this exciting new project will premiere in 2022.