NFTs, blockchain, cryptocurrency. How much do you know about them? It can be overwhelming, especially for filmmakers, so Giles Alderson chatted to Orlando Pedregosa – director and VP of Filmio, and producer and co-host Ian Sharp about the ins and outs of the future of filmmaking and the technology involved.
“Crypto’s a decentralised ledger where all the information is stored, in different nodes validating the transactions. This is a very good way of providing an immutable and transparent way of transmitting information and value,” explained Orlando.
He then went on to explain that the interesting component of crypto is rights management and protection – crypto “protects pretty much everybody involved in the filmmaking process”.
Smart contracts in the crypto world also regulate everything autonomously, leaving little margin for error or unscrupulous dealings.
For Ian, “once the penny drops it’s really quite straightforward. I’d recommend our listeners spend five minutes on a YouTube video, and research what cryptography is because when you start saying nodes and algorithms and peer to peer networks, etc., it can be quite confusing, but really it’s about transparency, a way of getting rid of the middle ground.”
A lot of people around the world don’t have bank accounts and rely on using money transfer companies to send money back home. Most of these companies take up to 30% of the transfer amount.
Ian says that “with cryptography, it takes away that transfer.” Provided someone on the other end of the world can access the money or data or film or project, they can get hold of it for a fraction of the cost – “like 0.000001% on the dollar – saving a huge amount of resource and time and costs”.
He also said that it’s the same when it comes to a film, but “it’s just digits and ones and zeros. And you’re sending that film all around the world and you can track where it’s being watched.”
The brilliant thing about it is that you can instantly start tracking your projects and collecting revenue. The money goes straight back to rights holders without having to wait, which is very attractive to investors.
“But it’s not just money – it’s data and it’s value. It’s all about ownership and that’s what cryptography does. It takes away that third party.”
It also allows you to better understand your film’s audience and which territory you should focus your marketing and future film investment opportunities in. “That financial ecosystem is dramatically changed because as an investor, you’ve got access to the information there and then – you can see the data.”
In short: “blockchain is the technology – blocks of information that are consistently being validated by nodes. And it’s put on a chain of information that is continuous and transparent. You can go back and see it forever. You can’t mess with it. You can’t tamper with it. It’s a ledger of information. Crypto is the mathematical framework.”
“The best way I can explain non-fungible token (NFT): it’s basically a limited print of your work.”
Orlando then went on to say that “you could actually sell (a film) through an NFT, with all the delivery materials and contracts in a digital form.
When it’s sold territorially or by fragmenting the rights, it’s registered on the blockchain. You’ve got the rights.” But if you wanted to attract investors or fans to contribute to your project, you could sell off certain ‘perks’ – scripts, posters, naming characters, limited edition merch, etc.
Ian added that “the whole crypto space is ownership economy. People like to own a one-off piece.” But the creator will always remain in the chain, and therefore will always be compensated for any sales and resales.
Last Words of Advice from Orlando and Ian
Orlando: “You have to listen to people who know what the business is about. Be humbled and go and get it done. You have to be resilient to constant nos.
Ian: “We’re all creatives here, but it’s really important that you spend a few minutes to do a bit of research, because this technology, this information is going to be a part of our lives going forward.
You can listen to more from Orlando and Ian here.