Blockchain Technology Breaks Down Hollywood Walls – Part 1

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We’ve all heard about the value that Blockchain can deliver to individuals and businesses. But what about the iron-clad Hollywood entertainment industry?  

Whether we are talking about blockchain, DeFi, Smart Contracts, or NFTs, the themes are consistent – the largest of which is decentralization which cuts out brokers or intermediaries whose control allows them to siphon off profits.  

The hallmarks of blockchain technology include speed, efficiency, security, accuracy, equity, inclusion, and reduction of costs, just to highlight a few.  On the blockchain, layers of technology aim to protect, manage and control sensitive data.  

The ability to streamline the process of data management and exchange saves money and time.  An open marketplace grants access to all without having to meet certain criteria.  Digitization allows for fractional ownership, which translates into expansion and greater diversification of assets.  And the list goes on.

But, is it possible to break up an establishment of nearly 100 years of corporatized Hollywood through this technology?  In assessing this landscape, we see new opportunities arising with the advent of blockchain technology, smart contracts and NFTs. 

The first question we might ask is “what’s not working with the current system of the filmmaking and television industry?” Also, what impact would decentralization have on the entertainment industry?”, “what would it look like for the future of film and television?”, and “how will it impact fans of their beloved entertainment?”

Well, we dove deep into these questions by seeking insight from a blockchain company that’s at the leading edge of the intersection between financial technology and entertainment.

Film.io began in 2015 as a “passing in the hallway” idea.  Five long-time creatives and technologists, who’ve spent years working together often lamenting about the brokenness of the entertainment industry, came together to conceptualize a solution.  While blockchain technology wasn’t in their immediate line of sight, it soon became the obvious solution.

This budding blockchain company was founded a year later by this group of five co-founders: Bryan Hertz, Chris Davis, Ian LeWinter, Don Richmond, and Corey Hertz.

Their aim is noble: to disintermediate a 120-year-old industry and revolutionize the way Hollywood works to fund projects.

So, what really does this mean?  And what was the impetus for turning to blockchain for help? 

Here at Gokhshtein Media, we sat down with Ian LeWinter,  co-founder of Film.io, who has 30 years of experience in the creative industry.  He’s managed communications in the technology and entertainment verticals, implemented strategy and branding for large corporations, performed as executive producer on a number of television shows and full-length motion pictures, and was the co-creator of the world’s first superhero created in real-time on Twitter back in 2007 – a superhero named Blank.

If these credentials say anything, they give a nod to the high caliber company of colleagues who’ve together brought this idea from a passing thought into a full-fledged blockchain company.

History of Hollywood Entertainment

 To understand what’s broken, we first have to look at how Hollywood decides which film and television shows will get produced and be available for you, as an entertainment viewer. 

LeWinter explains:

“Back when Hollywood was first founded, it was a bunch of wacky people who wanted to make movies.  But when Hollywood started to corporatize, it also started to build these really high walls.

If you think about the entertainment industry today, it’s about a $120 Billion per year global industry.  Of which, 80% is controlled by 6 companies.  And, in those companies, there may only be legitimately 50 people who can greenlight a movie or television show.  So, 50 people are controlling the entertainment for most of the world.  Well, that doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The problem with this is clear. 

Under a centralized system, individuals and businesses are subject to regulation by those who hold the purse strings.  Hence, with regulation comes the limitation of opportunity for the masses. 

But, with the application of blockchain within the film and television ecosystem, greater levels of equity, diversification, inclusion, and equality for film and television equate to a greater spectrum of entertainment content. It also leads to increased opportunities for new and established creators to get their projects funded and produced. There is also greater involvement on the part of fans in terms of influencing, participating and interacting with the creative direction of the film and television entertainment industry.

Loosening the Grips of Control

LeWinter shares his thoughts on the opportunities being presented by blockchain technology:

“Let’s be honest, the decision-making process around what films and television shows get made is based on what has the most financial upside, not what is necessarily the best potential content. 

For instance, how many movies last year were Marvel movies?  Don’t get me wrong, I love a great Marvel movie, but there’s got to be more than just Marvel movies.

And, as you push outside of America, the truth of the situation gets even bleaker.  The ability for people to participate and interact in the entertainment industry becomes even slimmer.”

LeWinter continues:

“We wanted to create an open marketplace where literally anybody with a computer or computer access can participate.  If you are on the Film.io platform, then anyone around the world can launch a project.

Fans are kind of an afterthought of the movie industry.  They don’t get to participate in helping influence what gets made.  They get to go to a theater and pick from what’s being offered.

So, we combined these two things – access and what we call ‘fan validation’ – as the cornerstones to creating this decentralized filmmaking ecosystem, which places Hollywood decision-making onto the blockchain and into the hands of creators and fans.

We see it as a collaboration between creators, fans, and investors who all have a stake in having things change from where they have been – for far too many years.”

Join us for Part 2 of “Blockchain Technology Breaking Down the Walls Around Hollywood Entertainment” where we dive into the function of a DAO and the opportunities (and considerations) of NFTs for both fans and creators.

As a teaser of what’s to come, LeWinter drops this thought:

“We are just at the beginning of seeing all the innovative ways where people can be granted participation in the filmmaking process.  The industry is changing, fans are becoming more a part of everything.  And I think that 10 years from now, fan influence over the creative process will absolutely be a huge thing.”

 

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