Here’s Why filmmakers are abandoning crowdfunding platforms and are in favor of NFTs
For years, independent filmmakers have turned to crowdfund sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe to raise funds for their passion projects. Crowdfunding has helped many cult classics come to fruition, from critically acclaimed action comedies like King Fury to award-winning horror films like The Babadook. However, the entertainment industry is changing. The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the in-person reliant sectors of television, music, and film to a shadow of their former selves, forcing creators to think outside the box when embarking on new ventures. NFTs are a new, robust, and growing ecosystem that exists at the intersection of art, technology, and finance. Now, musicians, actors, designers, and others can use blockchain technology to fund a variety of projects. As the strange wide world of nonfungibles expands, filmmakers have begun to wonder how they, too, might be able to avoid traditional funding avenues to reach a new, digitally-native demographic of backers.
Who is funding movies through NFTs?
NFT films have recently become popular. Interest in the burgeoning new NFT market sector is steadily increasing, with award-winning actresses such as Jennifer Esposito, Reese Witherspoon, and even the larger-than-life Anthony Hopkins becoming active at the intersection of film and NFTs. Beyond the household names, perhaps the best example of using NFTs to fund a film comes from pioneering photographer and filmmaker Julie Pacino. She decided to fund her upcoming feature film “I Live Here Now” not through traditional channels, but by combining her passions into an NFT project, as she was already well-established in the Web3 ecosystem.
Pacino’s project Keepers of the Inn is a collection of 3,356 photographs taken during the rehearsal process for I Live Here Now. And, as if to add substance to her endeavors, Utopia, a prominent independent film distribution company, joined Pacino to help produce her feature film shortly after the NFT dropped. Of course, Pacino isn’t the only one looking to use NFTs to fund a film. Only a few months after Keepers of the Inn became popular, Yes Theory announced plans to launch a 10,226-piece NFT collection that would allow fans to collaborate with them on a new film project.
The Iceman film easily captured the attention of the NFT community, as it was centered on an impossible journey to complete the first-ever long-distance triathlon in Antarctica. Yes, Theory had established a reputation for unique and unconventional endeavors, allowing the American digital media brand to consider NFTs instead of accepting a $1.25 million production budget to complete The Iceman. Notably, their community was only slightly surprised.
Beyond indie films and documentaries, production studios of all sizes have begun to recognize the power of NFTs. Perhaps inspired by the growing market for NFT-fueled content from companies such as Yuga Labs and Doodles, Rooftop Production, and Karlab Studio (creators of Dance and Despicable Me 2 and 3), they set out to change the way movies are made. With PLUSH, a French film set to be released in 2023, the two production companies will be leveraging not only the power of NFTs but also the power of the community to fund and create an animated feature film. PLUSH’s creators hope to create a 50,000-piece collection, making whoever collects their tokens a co-producer who will receive a share of the film’s profits, access to special screenings, and more.
PLUSH’s collector incentives are undoubtedly one-of-a-kind, but they are part of a common thread in NFT film-funding efforts. NFTs, in other words, are not one-time transactions. Unlike other traditional funding methods, NFTs challenge the status quo of the vendor/consumer relationship. Most intriguing, NFT-powered films can interact with their audiences in previously unimagined ways, frequently rewarding viewers, opening communication directly to target audiences, and more.
The pitfalls of NFT crowdfunding
For better or worse, NFTs tend to give creatives a case of “shiny object syndrome.” When launching a Web3 crowdfund, organizations can and do get caught up in hype cycles, not fully understanding the implications of their entry into the NFT ecosystem. Some achieve spectacular success, while others fall short of even their most modest objectives. Perhaps this is due to a lack of precursors. There is no solid blueprint for constructing a long-lasting NFT. Aspiring NFT executives should take cautionary tales seriously to avoid the mistakes of those who came before them.
Creators and businesses must conduct thorough research before launching an NFT project. Before dropping an NFT project in its virtual lab, Faus spent months researching NFTs and infiltrating himself into the community. Many celebrities have attempted to enter the NFT space without first testing the waters. And, more often than not, it comes back to bite them, and they are perceived as nothing more than money-hungry marketers on the lookout for a quick buck. As a result, aligning with your prospective collectors is critical, especially in Web3, where trust can be scarce at times. Remember that launching an NFT project is as much about money as it is about telling the story of relationships, so getting ready for the adventure is a good idea.