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The astonishing success of the 2016 film Deadpool is no secret to anyone. It made $783.1M at the checkout. What is less well known is that Marvel and Fox Studios were reluctant to make the film. Fortunately, an accidental leak of test images got a mind-boggling response from netizens, forcing studio executives to green light to the movies.
While we may never know if the leak was really accidental, it showed the power of the masses and how that power can influence filmmaking for the better. The advent of Web3 and its underlying technology will help raise the bar and result in a new era of filmmaking: Film3.
At present, the global film industry is still the playground of the few production houses. Everything from casting and financing to distribution is easy for those affiliated with these production companies. But smaller films, indie filmmakers and up and coming actors find it nearly impossible to break through. The result? The public only sees those movies that studios want them to see, and countless good scripts, ideas, actors and directors are frowned upon before they ever make it to the big screen.
The new era of filmmaking, powered by Web3, aims to change those power dynamics and create a world of new opportunities for films and filmmakers.
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The evolution of movies with the internet
You may wonder how Web3, the new iteration of the Internet, can lead to a new era in filmmaking. But if you look closely, every stage in the evolution of the Internet has led to a significant shift in content consumption patterns.
Between 1990 and the early 2000s – the Web1 era – the Internet was a one-way publishing medium, where users could publish information and wait for it to find its readers. Likewise, Film1 was the era where filmmakers made movies and hoped to find their audience. Producers would provide a schedule, date and time, and those who tuned in at the time could consume the content.
Then came Web2, which allowed for two-way interactions between users and content. At the same time, Film2 was the era where studios and filmmakers came together to make films and bring them to their target audience.
The rise of streaming services during this time made it possible for people to consume movies and other content anytime, anywhere. But just as the tech giants control Web2, the major production studios dictate Film2.
Now, with recent advancements in blockchain technology, we are at the beginning of a new, decentralized, reliable and more secure iteration of the internet called Web3. On Web3, for the most part, users have ultimate power to control internet platforms and their activities. This internet iteration results in a new era of filmmaking, Film3, where the public, not the studios, own and control the entertainment industry.
Film3: Challenging the power dynamics of the film industry
The rationale for the development of Film3 is simple: the public should be at the helm of the entertainment industry. Today, studios select scripts, finance and distribute the films. The public then consumes this content and gives their verdict.
But in Film3, the audience will explore script ideas and casting choices, and even be given the freedom to crowdfund their favorite ideas. Studios only come in at a later stage to fund and distribute these films. This bottom-up approach ensures that great content takes precedence, real talent is recognized, and filmmakers have complete creative control to bring their ideas to life.
This may seem a bit far-fetched, but it is already in action, thanks to blockchain and its byproducts. Trevor Hawkinsa filmmaker widely known for his work on the feature film Lotawana, created an NFT collection to fund his new film. The collection contains 1,000 unique NFTs, each selling for $1,000. They represent co-ownership of the film and a share of the profits.
The foundation of Film3 is therefore already being laid. Every aspect of traditional filmmaking, from ideation and production to finance and distribution, will undergo a metamorphosis. Decentralized production houses using cryptocurrencies and NFTs will transform movie financing. The need for intermediaries and significant upfront investment will fall to an all-time low. Movie-related DAOs will ensure audience participation in important decision-making. Virtual cinemas and metaverse theaters will be a huge part of Film3’s distribution landscape, allowing people to experience movies in unprecedented ways. In addition, emerging actors and filmmakers will be able to create brand and industry connections using social tokens.
All this just scratches the surface of what is possible with Film3. This new era of filmmaking is likely to open up countless new opportunities for creators, producers, distributors and artists, creating a space where everyone can thrive.
Adapt to the ways of Web3
Over the past century, the movie industry has undergone and adapted many changes, from single screens to DVDs and then to streaming services. However, the transition from Film2 to Film3 will be the biggest yet. It will challenge every aspect of filmmaking and open up new dimensions to the industry.
The good news is that the film industry is open to this transition. Last year, Hollywood Insiders have experimented with incorporating NFTs and cryptocurrencies, and they are lining up for the metaverse. If the implementation goes as planned, the world will enter a new era where films and their creation have a very different process and meaning.
Jake Fraser is head of business development at Mogul Productions.
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