Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.
An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.
At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.
In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”
With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.
Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”
One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.
As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.
“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”
In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.
Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”
To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.
In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”
As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”
Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.