Founder/CEO of media company Rise Entertainment, Rocky Shi is a well known film/television investor and producer. One of his many passions is in NFT technology. Follow along as he discusses the evolving roles of NFT and blockchain tech in the film production industry.
Having irrevocably disrupted the art world (estimates for 2021 sales alone range from $25 billion to $41 billion), non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are now being applied to the entertainment world where content producers are using them as multi-purpose tools for everything from fundraising to fanbase interaction and more.
From Blockchain to Blockbuster
A case in point is a film now in development whose plotline centers on the teenage programmer behind the most revolutionary technology since the internet: Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency. The film is based on the bestselling book, The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto Hackers is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum, penned by cryptocurrency journalist Camila Russo. The book won stellar reviews, with Bloomberg Businessweek calling it one of the most fascinating titles of 2021.
Already highly anticipated due to the book’s acclaim, the film is garnering additional interest thanks to top-tier talent on board: Oscar-nominated director Ridley Scott, well-known for directing major hits such as Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and The Martian. Scott is slated to produce the movie along with his Scott Free Productions associates Vera Meyer and Tom Moran as well as Alejandro Miranda of Versus Entertainment. Russo and Francisco Gordillo (a crypto hedge fund co-founder) will serve as executive producers.
Opening Doors with the Power of Ethereum NFTs
To help finance the movie, the filmmakers are leveraging the power of Ethereum NFTs by reaching out to the crypto community. Rocky Shi notes that consumers are invited to not only invest in a limited-edition, original piece of art through a purchase from the Infinite Machine NFT Collection — a w — but in doing so, also help finance the movie (the first feature-length professional film about crypto), become part of the audience, and create an exciting new pathway for “regular people” to take part in the creative process.
By minting an Infinite Machine NFT, the purchaser becomes part of The Infinite Machine’s DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization – essentially a crypto club that works with a shared goal in mind which, in this case, is funding and supporting the film and its artists. The NFT holders get members-only perks such as multi-tiered movie meta traits that allow for interaction on the film. NFT holders can nominate delegates to oversee the DAO’s operations, with members of the DAO eligible to become associate producers and the DAO itself receiving an executive producer role in the film. The proceeds that are applied to the film’s production budget are used to cover actual hard costs of moviemaking and to compensate the NFT artists. This is considered the first major NFT collection where more than 90 percent of the resulting images employ the Ethereum octahedron in their designs; the project further sets itself apart by using the NFT collection to fund a related film production and create a platform for emerging artists around the world in the process.
Another NFT-based newcomer will be the Degen Trilogy, a three-part cross-platform movie project launched by crypto platform coinbase.com, in which members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club community can submit their collectible NFTs for a virtual casting call. The platform will offer the audience educational and interactive elements, crypto airdrops, and IRL events that speak to the collaborative aspect of the platform even as it further draws them into the world of web3 — a new iteration of web-based blockchain technology. Films like these, with NFT in their DNA, may become instant hits in part due to their built-in crypto community.
Bringing Ownership to the Audience
Other start-up platforms (e.g., moviecoin.com and mogulproductions.com) have also launched with the goal of making film investing and profit-sharing accessible to everyone by way of their own blockchain cryptocurrencies. People can invest as little or as much as they wish through transparent transactions deployed without human interaction via smart contracts on the blockchain. What’s more, the true fan or collector can also purchase movie props converted into presale NFTs and express opinions through votes, video chats, and other engagement opportunities, all of which can shape the narrative and build a deeper connection to the film.
Diluting the domination of the existing Hollywood film industry financing dynamic by means of a decentralized, democratic cryptocurrency platform seems, well…almost like a sci-fi movie plot. Only time will tell how well this one plays out — but Rocky Shi explains that the sneak previews are absolutely mind-blowing.