During the Golden Age of Hollywood, five gigantic studios produced almost every major motion picture. Producers, actors, directors, cast and crew – even screenwriters – were all contracted employees of single studios and were assigned to many projects a year by the big execs. Most films earned respectable returns, and the runaway hits more than covered the losses of the year’s biggest flops. As long as the film industry ran, studios were in business.
After the vertically integrated system broke down, big studios downsized and esssentially became backer-distributors rather than production companies. They would hire production companies or freelance creatives to work on their projects. With less control over the production process and monetising at fewer stages, studios took fewer and fewer risks, ultimately leading to the highly formulaic, reliable, massive-scale tentpole productions we see from the big studios today.
This opened the doors for independent cinema to fill an artistic void in the film industry. However, this meant people were specialising in essentially unreliable and largely unprofitable films. Small-scale film financing largely became a gifting economy, forcing the best creators into a network of boozing, schmoozing, nepotism, connections and wealth. Any original talent without access to this network will have a hard time indeed of getting their film made.
So where does that leave a prospective filmmaker today? Crowdfunding, when it emerged ten years ago, presented a radical new alternative to outdated industry standards for funding. Even some big names like Charlie Kaufman ($406K) and Spike Lee ($1.4M) turned to crowdfunding to realise their passion projects. However, crowdfunding ultimately depends on fandom and altruism, and could never become a fully sustainable model for film funding.
Here at LiveTree, we are revolutionising the way films are funded. Because we are using blockchain technology, small financial transactions can be made throughout the world with great efficiency, meaning that royalty contracts remain profitable for financiers on tiny scales. If the LiveTree community notice a pitch that they love, want to see more from a new director or need to see a sequel to a sparkling indie flick, they can pool together and fund the project with Seed tokens, the world’s first film and television cryptocurrency.
The blockchain enters each backer into contracts of rights and royalties with creators which cannot be altered or dishonoured. This is of great contrast to the purposefully opaque and notoriously unreliable royalty agreements made through studios. Audiences can fund the content that is meaningful to them, and then earn their share of the profits. Meanwhile, creators can be assured of a scaleable fanbase for their content. Fewer middlemen and fat cats leads to a fairer, more reliable, more equitable deal for creators, as well as much greater creative control.
The alpha version of LiveTree’s own streaming channel, Blossom TV, launches 5th November, so why not register now, stay up to date and discover the future of entertainment.
Discover the true value of storytelling.