At the risk of sounding pretentious I want to clarify up front that I have no qualms with film projects hoping on the NFT bandwagon, I did it myself with my first feature film The Fakefleuncer, with some success.
I will however rather focus on some aspects of what has now become widely referred to as Film3, and now that the space appears to be hotting up I’m excited to revisit some of those ideas I had back in 2021 on my first feature film production The Fakeflunecer, but on that production was unable to realise.
For easier consumption on your part I will break this post down into 3 questions and attempt to answer them with my most recent Film3 discoveries and some of the luxury of hindsight.
- Whats possible with smart contracts within film content?
- How can the film production process be made more democratic?
- How can the tokenomics serve the creatives in a fair way?
Whats possible with smart contracts within film content?
Anyone who grew up in the 80s will remember the old choose your own adventure books, the reader would typically be invited to choose the path of the protagonist providing for a more engaged reader.
As a kid I remember enjoying this type of book greatly, because I felt that the protagonists journey and subsequent wants and needs being fulfilled was now in my hands.
Later on some films adopted similar techniques although it appears the format didn’t really catch on in the mainstream, I’d imagine largely due to the potentially enormous amount of production involved in developing so many alternative storylines.
In 2021 I was toying with the same idea for the protagonist of The Fakefluencer, Tom Gillespie, but as it was my first feature I decided it more important to get the film out in the most timely, and affordable manner as a priority.
Luckily the given nature of the stories in which I want to tell using the character Tom Gillespie lend themselves well to the choose your own adventure format. Had I run with the idea back then, the film would have seen the protagonists path broken into multiple alternative pursuits of the antagonist Bitman 360, which as I mentioned would have potentially tripled or quadrupled the production workload.
Fast forward to now July 2022 using my current production titled Hexicans & The Time Value of Money, the choose your own adventure model has once again come up as it has the potential to send Tom Gillespie to different places and connect with new and interesting people.
While I’m now probably too late in the production, I can still see a way to utilise this format in future productions. Here’s how I see future investigations by Tom Gillespie fitting into the choose your own adventure format.
While initially I was thinking purely about in-film engagement I now see that a web-series type model would work much better as it provides for better engagement for the audience to participate in a regular manner.
After a recent call with the guys over at Eluvio, once we had gotten past all the regular discussion around NFTs merch, IP and royalties management within Web 3 content production, they mentioned a neat trick that their software could do where those studios distributing content in certain jurisdictions where certain on-screen behaviours were forbidden were able to develop a smart contract to simply skip those parts of the content that were forbidden.
If you work in film or TV production you will instantly realise how much time and so money this would save, due to not having to create alternative versions of the content for specific jurisdictions.
While that one use case they highlighted was cool and interesting it immediately sent me back to those early choose your own adventure ideas I had. It seemed finally there was a way to have crypto, via smart contracts bring some utility to the storyline itself namely, what if Tom Gillespie hits a fork in the road in his investigation and the viewer is asked to choose which path to go down?
Sounds simple enough and doesn’t need a smart contract you’re thinking, and you are correct! But In addition what if this choice was presented as a vote and the viewer had to cast a vote using their web3 wallet?
Well then, if we think web series format, a smart contract could be structured in such a way that a threshold needs to be met before the next episode moves forward into production. Depending on the estimated production cost of that episode, if the threshold is met the smart contract releases the funds to the production to get started. At this moment those that have voted and so provided production with funding through their vote are issued a claim on the IP that will be created in production of that episode.
This I feel is a great way to utilise the Film 3 infrastructure being developed in a way that provided for both audience engagement as-well as ownership in what is created.
Another way I have been considering for how to best utilise crypto technologies within the filmmaking process are unlocking full interviews or scenes, in particular much of the contents of an interview never makes it into the film itself, instead it ends up being published to YouTube as marketing materials.
What if those person watching the cut of the interview inside the film had a particular interest in the interviewee and wanted to not only see the entire interview but own and/or distribute it? As with my first feature film a QR code could pop up as part of the title card pointing the viewer to a market place where all the uncut full interviews could be minted much like we did with The Fakefluencer character cards.
How can the film production process be made more democratic?
How the IP is handled and distributed could be handled in the smart contract, but when it comes to the IP distribution and royalty management etc, I found one potentially fitting platform inspiring when I recently interviewed with Ian Q Grant (on Crypto Movie Club) on a new service called Greenlit Protocol.
In said interview I suggested that (as with numerous Film 3 projects) it was Greenlit’s ambition to democratise the production process, Ian was in agreement and went on to explain some of he potential ways in which Greenlit could achieve this. Have a listen to the session if you want to hear from the man himself.
For me democratising the filmmaking process is something I spent a fair bit of time thinking about at the start of 2022, although at that time I was merely thinking out loud and did not have the time to look deeper, beyond knowing that what I wanted to do could (and to some extent was) able to be done.
The key factors to democratising the production process I highlight in this post from back in January 2022. Essentially it comes down to providing access for creatives to submit work for a fair chance to become part of something bigger than themselves, in a way that they can sustain their creative endeavours economically.
How can the tokenomics serve the creatives in a fair way?
So many Web3 and now Film3 projects start out with the ask, weather it’s buy this, or mint that they almost always derive all their initial value from a token or coin, it’s perfectly normal – it happens all the time in the regular economy and the media eats up that stuff because money talks.
However I like to start with where in the production chain is the value initially created, where is the long lasting value going to be maintained and sustained longterm? I always arrive back at the same position, people. People are the creators of all IP, people will talk endlessly about their creations and most important people believe above everything that their creations are exceptional.
With this in mind i started to draft out a studio DAO concept called The Bitjoinery, this draft ended up being 3 Linkedin posts you can read here here and here. I was essentially trying to find a good model that wold help Bitjoin Studios transition to becoming a proper functioning studio DAO, preferably decentralised from the get go.
The issue of course was how to kickstart the capital flow wheel into turning, It resulted in an initial treasury fund having to be set up, but not in a project specific token, instead it would be maintained using a collection of various stablecoins, and could only be accessed via the DAO voting mechanisms that pushed projects through the process, which was entirely controlled by the community of creatives that chose to join The Bitjoinery.
Those of you still paying attention at the back will be wondering “okay, so you still need to do a raise” It’s true the Treasury needs some capital to bump start the wheels in motion, this could be archived by:
a. Bitjoin Studios drops 10k worth of stablecoins inside and starts the wheels turning.
Or b. those persons that dig the idea and want to see it start up, join the DAO via a one off entry fee.
If you have made it this far i recommend going and having a read of those early DAO drafts as I am always looking for feedback and potential partners to push the concept forward.
So the answer is I believe the best way the tokenomics can serve the creative in a fair way is to remove it entirely and replace it with something more akin to a traditional organisation, only without any kingpins.
The Bitjoinery DAO once launched and completes one cycle should function no matter who is involved.
Host of the new @cryptomovieclub
Producer of @thefakefluencer
Director at @Bitjoin Studios.
Filmography and latest at https://richtella.com