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Blocked And Chained Entertainment Industry; Freed By ‘Blockchain’

Democratizing film making would enable creators, investors, and fans to have an open channel between each other and share ideas, all in a decentralized ledger. Actually, “blockchain,” is a record-keeping technology popularly known as being the founding layer beneath the ‘Bitcoin network’.

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This is an age of exactitude. Technology has rendered us thus, since binary arithmetic formed the core of computing. Binaries are the building blocks of Arithmetic and is axiomatic! Life vests in truth. Arithmetic is truth and axiom!

Per the Biblical reference, what did not let the building of the ‘Tower of Babel’ complete so one could climb the stairs to heaven ever, was the confusion created by Jehovah, the God from the heaven, in the language of the people building it.

Perhaps that dream lived, until digitally brushed, the Tower was contructed in a film released in 2016 of the same name directed by Michael Bay. True to its spirit, it had actors from nation to nation only to lend credibility to the confusion of language. The limited point being that the digital technology made possible what Jehovah disrupted.

The age of truth is here and it is irreversible. This is the second in a series of articles planned to demystify Blockchain. What better than the entertainment industry to do so? It is time the false Gods will escape in the light of Block chain technology.

There are two problems that plague the entertainment industry today. Credible storylines and Finance. A casualty of the times we live in, the multitude of screens and apps etc that we see, the fast-moving digital imagery and flipping scenes have sliced our minds so we store nothing. It offers and keeps us busy consuming clip after clip, none of which remains stored, or at best is stored in several compartments, so the chance of it being assimilated or even traced later is nil. Enter Block-chain!

Don't we consume our Facebook post just as quickly as we purge it and then move on to the next post. This produces a convoluted, asymmetric mind map, left without and bereft of its own thinking abilities, let aside purpose. Much like many a mindless film! If only, we turn this on its head and convert the screen play of a film, which is basically a stringing together of the scenes as is conventionally done, albiet with a slight slant on Block-chain.

Thus, we create every scene and every sequence into a chronological collection of events connected as a chain and stored only to be recalled in any random fashion to create more story lines and let the chain grow with more events and more sequences, even picked up randomly from other stories as well, we create a blockchain of sequences. This is how innovative film making must happen if it has to move away from the classic or even outdated storylines and scripts.

Imagine a film story crowd sourced. Imagine just a word thrown up like a ball that then morphs into several balls in the cloud. Such crowd sourced ideas will be the nodes of the blockchain. We still have the producer-director duo intact who keep dishing out inane stuff, for fans who remain distant from the production process, and side-lined to merely watching finished work that isn’t necessarily tailored to their tastes.

Democratizing film making would enable creators, investors, and fans to have an open channel between each other and share ideas, all in a decentralized ledger. Actually, “blockchain,” is a record-keeping technology popularly known as being the founding layer beneath the ‘Bitcoin network’. Let’s change the ‘Bitcoin network’ to ‘film sequence network’ for a while and see the enormous possibilities. The AI technology at hand will then create multiple story lines using the sequences picked up at random from the chain. So, if a bitcoin buys a house another buys a plane and yet another buys a yatcht and this is just three offshoots of the stem that is the bitcoing that emerges from the root that is the blockchain. In a way, AI will bridge the sequences into a credible continuous narrative. Both Bollywood and Hollywood would only be richer with the new content. Add Science fiction and we will have ‘make believe possibilities’ beyond imagination, like those plots that travel around stars, back in time or even to a scary dystopian hereafter time on Earth. They could even create new Bollywood romantic tear jerkers or comedies.

Often, we hear film making funded by the black money and the underworld. Consequently, exploitation is rampant at all levels. Extortion, drugs and threats are the by-products. Several genuine artists and thinkers have had to either leave the profession or join the gangs as they say.

This will help clean the film funding. A highly centralised industry, where every aspect of film making is centralised. Be it, Development, Pre-Production, Production, Principal Photography, Wrap, Post-Production or Distribution, every aspect is centralised. Everything is designed and executed, from casting to distribution, by a few people and the command begins, runs and ends with them. Can a film be created out of a completely distributed network?

Prior to 2000, film making was not even recognised as an industry in India, rendering it ineligible for bank financing. It was only natural that film producers, directors and actors were forced to find alternate revenue streams to make their movies, often from suspicious sources with strong links to criminal organizations. Even as some funding has been made available after the corporatisation of the film industry and the regulations coming into being, the collaterals and the interest rates make it unviable and leave it short of breath enabling the alternate and dubious funding channels to continue to thrive.

Can we have Blockchain entertainment studios like the ‘SingularDTV’? It lays the foundation for a decentralized entertainment industry. By building the future of rights management, project funding, and peer-to-peer distribution, it empowers artists and creators with powerful tools to manage projects from development to distribution. Like the world started to open its eyes to the true potential of crypto as an alternative to fiat currencies, the film industry too must find alternatives to traditional story-telling, with it, it must find ways to infuse clean money.

There are no fresh ideas to the big screen in the film industry today. We sometimes hear about the odd director who produces a masterpiece so he or she gains access to the elite film club. More often, we hear about artists starving and working on odd jobs to make ends meet.

Blockchain might just be film’s golden ticket to fostering more star equity, cultural diversity and bringing about more consumer inclusivity. ‘Markets and Markets’, a marketing research company, predicts that the global blockchain market will grow to $39.7 billion by 2025 from a mere $3 billion in 2020. We need to break exclusivity barriers and go around traditional avenues of fundraising. We need to reach out directly to the viewer. If only we can ask those buying tickets at the box office to green-light and fund a film, film creators can then democratize the industry, making it more inclusive.

The possibilities are endless. For funding films, investors could sell tokens, a popular instrument on blockchain used for securities and utilities to raise funds for a project and pay dividends to token buyers.

MovieCoin, a couple of years ago was founded to finance films through token issuance. Litecoin Foundation too, recently produced a Johnny Knoxville horror film in an effort to use blockchain in the film industry as a means to crowdfund films. Even Filmio, Inc., a blockchain-based film project platform, located in San Diego, allowed film makers to upload their projects and market them to an audience that could decide on their acceptability, while investors check fan engagement and decide if they'd like to fund such projects. This is just the beginning. The world is joining the chain, block by block. It's only a matter of time before the film industry gets there. When it does, we could see more meaningful films made, and more importantly, with clean money.

Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost! Tr: there’s still more real/reel life in the film. The period is chnaging and there is another period (.) after the period (.) and its all evolving. Don't just remain excited. Remain excited..

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Dr. S.S. Mantha

Former Chairman of AICTE, Dr. Mantha is an eminent academician. At present, he is Chancellor KL University and Adjunct Professor, NIAS, Bangalore.

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Yogesh Kochhar

The author is Corporate maven and a happiness evangelist

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