Can NFTs revolutionise funding for films and creative projects?


I’m saying look here’s the screenplay, you can read it if you want, you can access the whole production process. Here are the characters, the environments, any ideas, anybody? Just building that community from the ground up as the film is being made. People can win all these opportunities, whether it’s to audition for the film, get a role, have a character named after them, get all the sneak peeks, get scoops on casting, seeing the proof of concepts or the rough animatics. All the way to the very end when they actually get to see the finished product. By that point it’s been a real journey, a real experience.

And since it’s a modern film that’s mostly green screen, there are probably lots of digital assets to go around right? To turn into NFTs.

Yeah, totally. And that’s kind of another reason why I did it. We’d already built a sort of whole digital environment in Unreal Engine 5, a whole scene using the pods, animated and put to sound and music, just as a proof of concept. So, we already had the assets there. So I was like, this feels like a bit of a no-brainer. I really should do this.

And likewise I think we’re going to give away props and costumes. If you go to a movie set, when the film is finished, they tear down the sets and throw it out. But I’m thinking, let’s actually offer it to our NFT holders, give it to the people that supported the film. Why not own the door from The Matrix? Seriously, someone would love that door.

Concept art from Amygdala, in which criminals are trapped in ‘mind pods’.

Couldn’t you do all this with traditional crowdfunding, like Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is super competitive, there’s not a lot of promise. It’s just contribute X amount of dollars, we give you a t-shirt or a jacket. This is a real investment. An NFT isn’t just ‘hey give me some money’. It’s like, ‘invest in the film, become an investor, a shareholder in the actual production’. Because the NFT you’re buying is also part of limited edition, and is part of a community DAO.

A percentage of the actual wholesale goes to that community DAO, and they can decide what they want to do with the money. But then the ticket, you know, if you equate it to a movie ticket, is actually worth money. So it’s like going to see a movie, paying 22 bucks, and then a month later selling the same movie ticket for $100. There’s real intrinsic value there for the person that gets involved, and I think that’s really interesting.

Who are you expecting to buy these NFTs? Are the hardcore sci-fi nerds into crypto? Are hardcore crypto people going to want to be cast in the film?

I think it’s those people who understand NFTs, and what they mean, and how you can benefit from them. That’s the core audience. But in terms of who those people are, it’s very broad. Even on my Discord, one of the most active people, I can tell just by their little description, is an interior designer who loves a coffee and an NFT. But I’d love to onboard just general people that perhaps aren’t aware of this kind of opportunity, or this space, but that are interested in sci-fi and movies in general.

I understand you haven’t pinned down a mint date or exact price yet. But do you have any early idea of how well the sale will go? Will it sell out?

That’s the really frustrating thing about it, you just don’t know. The guys I’ve partnered with, Sports Moments, they did a collection of 2500 NFTs and they had one guy just buy 40 straight away, and he had no idea what it was. And often if you look at NFT projects, say there’s a collection of 10,000, they usually exist with only 5000 owners. People will buy two, maybe flip one and keep the other.

The market has dropped considerably compared to this time last year. I think if I’d launched a year ago or so, I would sell out just instantly because everyone was buying everything. A bit like the .com bubble. It all just moves so fast, and it’s so reactionary. One minute everyone loves this, then literally the next day everyone hates that.

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But the way I see it with this project is I don’t have to sell out for it to go into production. Even if I sell 30 per cent of the first drop, that’s enough for me to basically do all of the concept art, build the world, create the characters for the second drop, start to build some animatics. So it’s enough to actually really propel the project forward. And once you do that suddenly you get the film industry interested because they can see it coming together, they want to get on board as well.

You mentioned the DAO. Assuming everything goes really well, how involved are they going to be in deciding the future of this franchise?

I mean if we have a reasonable DAO we can say look guys, what do you want to do? Do you want to develop a game? Or there’s a spin-off TV series we could do. Or if you really want, everyone can cash in the DAO and take the money.

One thing I would love to do is actually to build a cinema in the metaverse for the launch, premiere the film also in the metaverse. And that might be a suggestion, say ‘hey why don’t we buy some land in the sandbox, build a cinema with a design based on the theme of the film?’ I think that would be really unique.

Based on your experience so far, do you think this is going to take off as a way to fund creative projects?

I think so. I’d imagine someone like James Cameron [the filmmaker behind movies including Avatar) would be all over this. If he had the time. It’s almost a revolutionary way of making a film. If Warner Brothers has created its own IP [franchise], then it’s like, we can actually monetise the whole movie-making process along the way.

For instance, our second drop is going to be based on the main characters from the film. Now, if I can cast someone before that, I would try and do the NFT in their likeness. Then we could sell that for more, and allow the actor to have an investment in that as well. That’s kind of unique. The actor gets a fee for actually being in the film, plus a bonus fee based on the sale of the NFT.

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