Keep it Genuine with Frank La Natra of The Battle Bunnies NFT

https://medium.com/illumination/keep-it-genuine-with-frank-la-natra-of-the-battle-bunnies-nft-b987a1b037d6

Community update: Battle Bunny edition! We’re catching up with Jon Briggs and Frank LaNatra to uncover the latest news on the community, the coveted Spartan collectible cards, how to get in the upcoming VR world, and more. Join us down the Rabbit Hole, or watch the full video here.

Jon: This is going to be a cool way to give an update to the community. Congratulations, Frank, on the successful launch of the Genesis collection of the Spartans man! We went through a whirlwind to get to that point, but it was worth it, and it was fun. We already had a head start and were in a spot to start delivering before we even launched the Genesis collection with the animation and the VR. Now we have an even bigger head start leading up to the 5,000 collection of The Battle Bunnies.


The Genesis Drop

Frank: Initially, we were going to start with the 5,000 collection, and then we realized that the Spartans really should lead the charge and be the first line of defense. So we got together with our community and pulled that off. And that was, I think, spectacular.

Jon: A hundred percent, man. I love what we did and that we did things right. We went against what people in this space told us to do, like using crazy FOMO tactics. But, we stayed true to who we were and our principles. The goal wasn’t to build a huge community with impressive numbers. It was to build a meaningful community. You’ve been amazing at it, Frank. You’re in the Discord more than any artist I’ve seen in any project. You and Christa chat with people by name every morning. Some of them are old, long, lost buddies of yours. Like you just told me, you shipped something out to a guy in Estonia that was your college roommate.

Frank: Yeah, I don’t even remember his real name, but I know his Discord name, and we talk all the time. I’ve listened to these people’s voices as they joined us in voice chat. And talk about art and life.

Jon: It’s a fascinating world, man. So tell us what you think the big, essential takeaways from this first drop were. What did or didn’t you expect? What surprised you?

Frank: It was not what I thought it was going to be.

Jon: We knew it wouldn’t be easy going into it. But I think we went into it with the right mentality: there’s always something that we don’t know, especially in the NFT world. You can claim to be an expert, but the reality is that things change daily. So everything from a technical standpoint, from Discord security to website and minting, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work making sure that we did it right. Everything went great, there were some bumps, but it looked like a smooth mint from the outside.

Frank: Yeah, it went well! I’ve even seen & heard people in the community talk about it and how it was one of the smoothest mints they’ve ever been a part of. That was what was most important: people’s experience. It’s always about experience. We do the same thing with our tattoo shops: it’s about the experience.

When you walk through our door in discord, it should all be about the experience you receive, whether the owners, team, or the creators greet you. And I think that’s what people love about the project and The Battle Bunnies.


The VR World

Jon: The whole idea of this project is as a community-driven storytelling animation that creates real IP. Like star wars, in the beginning, we’re combining all of these things, these great ideas that you told me about years ago, and we’re building it together along with the community.

The animation is already in development. We’re starting to model it. We’re finalizing some 2d and 3d content and the VR world. Tell me what you thought about the VR when you went in!?

Frank: It was awesome. Just to be under the bunny tree. And see the size of it. I saw the images when you guys first sent them over. But you don’t realize just how massive it is until you’re actually in there and stand under it. And that’s the whole idea behind the bunny hearth tree. It’s the symbol of The Battle Bunnies, their home, their original clan. So it should be massive. It should be something that people like the bunnies can see when you’re at the mountains of the Imaginük Falls. So it’s almost like a beacon.

Jon: And the plans that we have in there are huge. So as we’re building out the world, there will be experiences that, with Oculus or VR goggles, you can jump in now. And you can still jump in on your desktop, but we’re going to be putting new and unique things in there. We’re also going to do things like scavenger hunts; there’s already a ship for the Pirate clan, snowflake valley for the Valkyries, and the Shaman Swamp.


The Story

Jon: The storytelling experience in this universe is going to be next level.

Frank: That’s another thing I’m excited about; we’re reaching out to the community for them to be a part of helping name the lands for the battle bunnies. These people get to be a part of building and defining the universe.

Jon: Yeah, and the people that are a part of the community as we’re building out the animation, now they’re characters’ in there. So Plebe and HIO are Shaman characters. Ms. Firefly is in there next to Christakins, Founding Bunny.

They’re part of the story, and we’re very grateful for them being part of the community and helping us get to this point.

Frank: Yeah. I love some of the stories that many of our Spartan holders already submitted; there are so many great ideas and thoughts we wouldn’t even think of. So it’s exciting for us to find ideas that we can bring to the project. And I know it’s exciting for them, too, to be a part of everything.

Frank: It could be on the set of star wars. While Lucas is writing star wars, I just give my thoughts or input now and then.

Jon: Yeah. Maybe Yoda would be called Knarf or something.

Read more of the Battle Bunny Stories.


Spartan Holder Utilities

So let’s recap some of the stuff that the Spartan holders have already had because you guys have been very generous in giving physical stuff. So let’s recap what the Spartan holders have already received at this point?

Frank: Well, one of the things that we did recently, in celebration of The Bunny Hearth Tree launching within the VR space, is we turned the original artwork into an NFT and air-dropped one to every Spartan holder wallet as a gift. So now that will be the first of the land collectibles. That was a way to surprise and celebrate with them because if it weren’t for the Spartan holders, we really wouldn’t be here. They helped us lead the charge into getting this whole Battle Bunnies world out there. I have a whole plan for the collectible lands as in NFT tokens. Because I love collectibles, and I think people do too. Just how many people got excited about the bunny hearth tree when that was airdropped.

Jon: I think the most significant point, too, is we always will show love to the Genesis collection.

Frank: Yeah, we recently sent out custom sticker Battle Bunny packs to all the Spartan holder winners of the contests we’ve been running. Like sticker packs of The Queen Hares Revenge, the pirate ship, and the Krags of Kroy. And I know we got one of King Hareld floating around here somewhere.

Jon: Yup. And somebody from the pirate clan named Queen Hares Revenge, right?

Frank: Yes, that’s right. There was a contest for the pirates to come up with the name of their main ship. And so it became Queen Hares Revenge. I painted it, and now it’s part of the history and the lore. Yup. Some people have won some canvas prints of the hearth tree, which will have some utility in collecting aspects of it as we go further. The one thing I’m most excited about is the Spartan collector cards.


The Spartan Collector Cards

Jon: Yeah, this is what I want to see. So every person that minted a Spartan is getting their specific Spartan that they minted as a physical collector card.

Frank: Yes. A physical collector card that will be hand signed by Christa and me will then be sealed, encapsulated, and then sent out to them.

Jon: Okay. So we have them here, and we’re handling them with gloves so we don’t get our oily fingers all over them.

Frank: Yeah! So the top corner number is the NFT number. All right. And your bunny also has a rank. So this #7 card is the battalion leader. This one says general. There are all the different levels of the Spartan army, and their actual status is broken down. So the green number in the green circle is their exact level number. So that is a level 29 Spartan battle bunny.

And what dictates it? If you look at all the little stuff on the cards, there are numbers next to them showing you which items, traits, weapons armor they’re holding and the rarity and level number of each item, which then totals up and gives you their actual level number.

Frank: And then whatever their level number is tells you, whether they’re a general, a Supreme commander, a battalion leader.

Jon: Got it. And there are game mechanisms that go along with it, right?

Frank: Exactly where they sit in the army, and then the cool part is —

Jon: you got me super nervous touching them now.

Frank: Ah, don’t be nervous; I’m just messing with you. I just don’t want to get them greasy.


The RPG Game

Jon: I’m also excited for the RPG game that Christa is putting together in Discord.

Frank: Super excited. It’ll be called The Rabbit Hole. It’ll be in Discord, and you can play at your own pace. We’re not sure if we’re going to keep The Rabbit Hole open at all times or we might open & close it at specific times. But the premise is that you’re hopping down the rabbit hole thru the lands of The Battle Bunnies.

Jon: There’s a mysterious character that leads that?

Frank: There is. So our narrator, the Mysterious Stranger, will guide you along your path through the Ferchett’s Island west and The Battle Bunnies world as you quest, adventure, slay foes, and earn treasure. And everyone will be able to play in your class too. You’ll start at The Bunny Hearth Tree, the center of the battle bunnies land in Imaginük Falls. And you’ll start to do quests and meet and battle foes along these quests. And in defeating your foes, you’ll earn treasure chests. The idea is to find treasures and stuff from all your enemies. And as you do that, you’ll be able to go up in levels and upgrade your weapon. As well as move on to new and bigger lands to fight bigger and better foes and enemies. AND there’s possibly going to be NFTs in there. There could also be physical prizes: canvas prints, sticker packs, or certain things. I’m going to hide things that we’re building throughout the world and send people on actual quests.

Jon: So say you find a sword or a specific weapon. That will be useful in different games or parts of the world.


Creating Real IP

Jon: So I think you know, from Food Fight Studios, we’ve been busy creating; it’s exciting cause we’ve got the Genesis collection launched successfully. So now we get to create, and I love our production meetings. We’ve also been traveling around to different conferences, which has been cool. We went to a marketing mastermind where I gave a talk on the battle bunnies on what it is to a group of high-level no-joke marketing professionals, which was awesome. A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I were in Phoenix at the Creator Economy Expo. And that was geared towards web3 NFTs and tokens. So we made a lot of connections to help support some of the battle bunny ecosystem, which is amazing. There’s a lot of stuff that’s happened. We chatted about LaNatra Art University because you and Christa have a huge passion for teaching. So fundamentals of character design will be an excellent class, and you’ve been giving them in the Discord. That’s another benefit to anybody in the community, specifically Spartan holders now, where you’re teaching them how to draw.

Frank: Christa and I are up to almost three o’clock in the morning, just talking about the project. We’re just getting to the starting line. We launched the Spartans, but that was just a warmup for the marathon.

Jon: We were delivering before we even got to the start line. We’re going to be delivering after it as well. So we’re always under-promising and overdelivering.

Frank: The other aspect of this project is all the work is hand done. So everything that we need or anything we are doing moving forward has to be hand-drawn and designed.

Frank: Even the cards, we had to custom create all the cards and then make all 300 cards. So we are putting a lot of time into doing it every time we need assets for the game.


The Community Will Always Come First

Frank: The idea for The Battle Bunny NFT was born on November 26. And technically, we could be moving faster in a lot of ways, right? The Spartan launch was March 26th. It’s May now. But look at all the things we’re delivering and what we’re about to show. We’re at warp speed. We move at a different pace than most projects. You hear all these different things about what’s demanded in the space and all of that. For us, it’s important not to follow the rules strictly. It’s about being genuine. And creating something extraordinary for people, there’s so much love and passion behind everything we do for this project.

Frank: At the same time, give us your ideas. Tell us what you’d like to see; tell us how you would like your bunny or personality to be part of it somehow. Because that’s what’s beautiful about this, too: it is community-driven, with the story, the animation. You’ll get to see many people’s personalities come out in this. Some of this is an escape for people, as well. They have serious jobs, you know, 9-to-5. They have to live in the real-life world. And when they come into our discord and come hang out with us, they really can just be themselves.

Jon: I respect that we’re building this thing the right way, and you’ve made it a point where if people weren’t engaging in the Discord and being part of the story. They can’t stay. We cleaned a bunch of people out in the discord. Cause we don’t to be a project that people come in and out and just flip things and that stuff, it’s not what we want.

Frank: We want people who want to be there. Who love what we’re doing.

Jon: It takes a lot of guts because many people are trying to put up fake followers and bots. But you are taking them out and ensuring that this thing is built up the right way. What we’re doing as an animation studio, we’re doing things in a much different way. We are flipping the model that the lion roars and the executives of those types of companies, you know, typically those are the ones making all these decisions and the ones making all the money. And the consumers coming in to watch the lion roar, all they get to do is pay and get entertained. You’re entertaining them and allowing them to be part of the story, literally their names; some of their names are characters in this thing, and they can participate in the upside because we’re building real things, real IP.

Frank: We also wanted it to be the community’s baby. It’s all of ours, and we want to see it grow.

Jon: Right. If they see some cool things, getting them more involved in the story is something that I’d love to see, but also more engaged in the project and treating this like it’s their own because it is. It’s been amazing to see the people reposting and helping us out because this is their project. There’s strength in numbers, especially in this space; it’s those that are truly genuine that are going to outlast all.

Frank: And we love you and your friends; bring them in because we’ll love them as well.

Jon: That’s a differentiator with this project too. The Carkyous is a land that was co-built like Jesse Smiths. It was on Ink Master and all of those things. So they’re a linked project in many ways; the story is different, but we’re helping build the land and helping each other grow; there’ll be others that we’ll bring on to help build that story. Check out Carkyous and Jesse Smith’s projects. They’re doing things differently, but they’ve been super supportive of us.

Frank: You’ll also find some of their creatures in our rabbit hole and some surprises from bored to death. (B2DC) And also, there are people in the community that I talk to on a personal level and get their suggestions. Reach out to me if you have ideas, suggestions, or things you’d like to see. This community is filled with amazing people with great ideas. We need to work together. You know, it takes a team. So as we continue to build the people who understand that we’re building this out the right way, people aren’t going to see us sell out or do crazy marketing tactics that many projects do. We don’t need fake FOMO tactics to get people in our discord. That’s what this project is. It’s real. You know, it’s real people behind this project that have a lot of passion for what we’re doing here, which Christa and I have always taken pride in. We teamed up with Food Fights because you’ve always had the same mentality to be genuine, transparent, and honest about things. And that’s what we want for this. With that formula, you can’t fail.

Jon: Can’t fail. One more thing too. I will say there are always Easter eggs. So pay close attention, and watch all the videos. There will be things that will be beneficial, but I leave it at that.

Frank: Right. Be plenty in The Rabbit Hole too.

Frank: Thank you guys so much, everybody, for everything. There’s so much more to come. Thank you for your support because we wouldn’t be here without you.