South Park and The Book of Mormon Creators Raised $20M for AI Entertainment Startup Deep Voodoo
Scoot over South Park and Salt Lake, it's Silicon Valley's turn for some fun.
Thank you for checking out the first issue of Braun & Brains! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be testing the cadence, format, and content style. Feedback and topic suggestions are encouraged. Today, I'll discuss some of my favorite things: trash TV, broadway, and AI startups.
TL;DR The writers behind South Park and The Book of Mormon musical raised $20M for their AI entertainment startup Deep Voodoo, led by Connect Ventures. The creative team's first video in the space was Sassy Justice on Youtube in 2020, using a deep fake Donald Trump.
As the saying goes, the best AI founders are satirical entertainment writers... right?
Nowadays, I can't scroll past one content creator without them mentioning "niching down" as a growth tactic. Whether or not you believe in finding a niche, Trey Parker and Matt Stone obviously don't.
You might know the writing duo from the show South Park, the musical The Book of Mormon, or their acid drop at the 2000 Oscars (lol). Now, Trey and Matt are taking on AI.
In December, the creators secured $20M for their AI entertainment startup Deep Voodoo, led by Connect Ventures. The funding marks the first investment outside their independent entertainment company, Park County.
Deep Voodoo's work with AI
Most notably, Deep Voodoo was behind the VFX for the face-shifting scene in Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5" music video in May 2022, which included deep fake versions of Will Smith, OJ Simpson, and Kanye West.
Their first video in the space was Sassy Justice on Youtube in 2020, using a deep fake Donald Trump reporting news out of Wyoming. Since its drop, it has garnered more than 2.5M views. According to Collider, Matt said that the show came to be because "before the big scary thing of coronavirus showed up, everyone was so afraid of deep fakes [and] we just wanted to make fun of it because it makes it less scary."
My thoughts on AI in entertainment
I recently read the memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died by former iCarly child star Jennette McCurdy. A great use case for deep fakes could be lowering the number of hours child actors have to work on set. At this point, we know AI is scary, but it's time to see what the benefits could be to its mass adoption. I'm looking forward to seeing where Deep Voodoo goes!
Prediction for Deep Voodoo
They will continue to do AI with music videos and will produce shorts for a network using deep fakes, like the strange show Cake on FXX.
“It's not a faith in technology. It's faith in people.”
Fun Fact: Trey has a thing for Japan
Trey Parker majored in Japanese at the University of Colorado and has visited Japan more than 50 times. He even has a Japanese-inspired hilltop retreat in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, that you can check out in Architectural Digest.
- Your favorite hotel lobby serves looks, overpriced lattes, and probably smells like the grown-up version of Hollister in the best way possible. The first hotel lobby I fell in love with was Public Hotel in NYC, and the most recent was The Maker in Hudson, NY. The hotel's staple scents have traces of Palo Santo, which you might know from Le Labo if you are someone who can actually afford to a night at those hotels. If an $80+ candle is too much for you, I suggest trying out Palo Santo Incense from Whole Foods for ~$6.
- I’ve been playing around with Tribescaler, an AI platform that helps users write better hooks. If you want to improve your Tweet game in 2023, check it out! Shout out to the co-founder Alex Banks for introducing me to this magic.
- Tahitian Vanilla housemade from Cafe Skye during a sober January date. They have $15 wine flights on Wednesday and a great mezcal drink called Oaxacan Zen if you are drinking. When you go, tell the owner Cameron I said hello!
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