Screenings to suit your Schedule
Imagine being able to watch your favourite films and documentaries with your loved ones or community at the same time. On Livetree, screenings enable you to schedule a time to watch together. This will help you and your friends share some memorable moments, watching films that enable you to sit forward and engage with insightful stories that will inspire you to make a positive change to the world.
Music from the New Jungle
“We don’t want to be here. No one wants to leave their own nation, to be far away from their home country, to be away from their mum and dad. But leaving was our only choice.”
Poverty Within the Eyes of a Child
Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are, and the lack of social support has left some of the most vulnerable children in terrible situations. In this revealing documentary, ‘Poverty Within the Eyes of a Child’, we’re introduced to Kylie and Becky, two eight-year-old twins who live in a household of 12. Their parents are unemployed, and the girls are having to face adult responsibilities long before they should. The children are unable to go to school and face imminent eviction due to circumstances out of their control. Find out more here on the Eyes of a Child documentary.
The end of the centralised entertainment industry by Ashley Turing
By Ashley Turing
The way we engage with content is changing. In a little over 10 years, we’ve gone from Blockbuster video —remember the days of VHS and “Who taped over the wedding with the football?” — to Subscription and Netflix Video-On-Demand (SVOD the “S” is for subscription). There’s no question that access to content has improved, but we are beginning to see new problems with the digital entertainment model. The centralised internet behemoths are replicating many of Hollywood’s bad old practices that exploit through a lack of transparency. We have come to accept this behaviour as normal, but not for much longer. Today we now have the technology to help change the dynamic.
Entertainment is a powerful societal force. Great scenes in films and catchphrases from TV shows are part of our cultural fabric, collective consciousness and personal frames of reference. Entertainment guides our culture, our values and, if you believe some Trekkies, our future. No disrespect to Trekkies. I’m a closet one myself.
This blog examines the future of entertainment and the learnings we can use to make that future decentralised, better and fairer. I’ve broken it down into what I term the ‘ages’ of the internet, on the basis that the profound change in our relationship with content has been driven by the progression of that technology.
Web 1.0: the birth of the hyperlink and email
Before 2005 (roughly) the internet was a slow and cumbersome beast. We’d crank up our modems and wait.
For those of you who were there, this will bring back memories:
For those of you who weren’t, listen and wonder at our patience and fortitude.
We lived in a world of progressively loaded images — remember fuzzy-to-clear pic downloads? Gopher and bulletin boards were the norm; receiving emails was an infrequent pleasure. The online universe was positive, optimistic and full of opportunity. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of an internet built on egalitarian principles had been born.
Streaming media was all but non-existent — bar the likes of Winamp (I was fortunate enough to work with the founder of Winamp – but let’s save that for another blog.
Back in the early days of Netflix, you may remember its DVD postal rental business. It would mail DVDs to you and you would then have to mail them back. You could also buy DVDs. It’s worth remembering that Blockbuster still managed to blow Netflix away at the time (Blockbuster peaked in 2004).
Web 2.0: centralised internet giants dominate markets using your information
My background is in computer science/artificial intelligence (AI). The reason AI wasn’t a mainstream proposition when I studied it was because you needed to process a mountain of data to make machines seem intelligent. The truth is that computers are dumb. To make a computer appear intelligent, it needs a considerable amount of processing power (CPUs) to compute and match algorithms (patterns) against huge sets of data. To figure out key features — the things that really matter — it has to process a lot of patterns. And I mean a lot.
Information is the key to our markets. As human beings, it is the most valuable commodity we possess. Prior to 2005 (roughly), cloud computing didn’t exist. Networked “big data” hadn’t really been invented. Google was actually a pioneer in this field with the launch of the Google File System, which stores and processes data across multiple machines.
With ever-faster internet connection speeds, along with unlimited data storage and processing power (‘big data’) available at giant data centres, we are now in the age of Web 2.0. But we are also facing its less attractive consequences.
Web 2.0 also saw the rise of Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and ‘big data’. What we have today is AI used over huge data sets to manipulate markets and dominate industries. Moore’s law — which posits that overall computer processing power doubles every two years — remains true. The tech giants have taken advantage of it. They have hooked up the old AI theories to a network the machines powerful enough and with enough storage capability to imitate intelligence. Intelligence they then use to ‘help’ you into thinking you want to buy what they want to sell you.
Web 3.0: the decentralised future of entertainment
Web 2.0 is all about centralised trust. You hand over trust in the form of your data to centralized corporations in return for services. We have no option but to trust these centralized companies —internet overloads— because they hold the power. In the entertainment industry, they dial out creativity in exchange for your money. They are building Hollywood within a centralized system, and replicating the “Hollywood Exec’s” bad old ways with algorithms.
Is there a solution?
I believe there is, which is the reason I founded LiveTree. Our mission is to create a fair, transparent, community-powered film, TV and content network. I’d like to say here that I dedicated LiveTree to Aaron Swartz, the late, great computer activist. I’ll be writing another blog to explain how Aaron’s spirit lives on in our operation.
Now the technology is finally here to meet the challenge. It’s called blockchain. No longer do you need to hand over your life and security to a centralised entity in return for the content and services you need to survive in our complex, connected world. Decentralised systems are a way of creating peer-to-peer trust. They enable you to create a contract with someone without the need for a third-party — a Netflix, a Facebook, a Google — to manage it and, significantly, profit from it. It’s shared, immutable and unchangeable. So it builds confidence, no hiding or dodgy dealing.
At the heart of LiveTree ADEPT (Advanced Decentralised Entertainment Platform for Transparent distribution) is digital-rights management. It enables creators to connect and create contracts (licenses) directly with each other. It’s a genuine once-in-a-generation paradigm shift. With ADEPT, you control what gets made, rather than Hollywood, Netflix or one of the traditional content gatekeepers. You then reap the rewards from that content, as well as the community you have created to help realise it. You are in control of the algorithms. Better and better, the whole process is completely transparent and open source. And you earn from entertainment’s digital token — LiveTree Seed — which moves the control from centralized powers to you.
In other words, you get to be part of how the content gets created which generates a community, you get to control, your profit and your future.
Livetree vs. Kickstarter: A Filmmaker’s Guide
As a filmmaker or a script-writer, a director or a producer, you know that it is hard in these days of massive, multi-million dollar blockbusters to get your art onto a screen and in front of people’s eyes.
Crowdfunding has come as a blessing, then. It offers you a direct link to backers so you can put money to paper, and paper to screen.
That is, until everyone heard about it. Now, on sites like Kickstarter you are but one voice in amongst a multitude of others all baying for potential investors’ attentions. Kickstarter’s business model is that of a scattergun. You put your project out there for all to see, and it is but a bobbing head in a sea of others. You have to rely on the individual investor’s good tastes and patience to sift through all the potential projects and find the potential in yours.
The crowdfunding industry was crying out for refinement, and so refinement has come. LiveTree is your gold pan.
LiveTree and the Film Industry
LiveTree isn’t just a middleman mindlessly pushing your product from the supplier to the buyer. We are invested in film and, more importantly, in your film. We have forged strong partnerships in the film industry, such as with the British Film Industry (BFI).
In fact, right now we’ve teamed up with the BFI Future Film Raw Shorts Campaign and will be looking for ten projects to kit out with £500 and access to BlackMagic cameras. We’ve also partnered with the Kent Film Office to get your projects shared while simultaneously getting more stuff filmed in Kent.
We love creativity. We love films. It runs in our DNA and as a result you will benefit from our expert team who will nurture your project from conception to completion. We offer you access to the footholds you need to wrap your toes around, as well as a supportive environment; people who love film and are committed to getting your project off the ground and onto the screen. Not only because if you succeed, we succeed, but so to because we love popcorn, a dark room, and the feeling as the opening credits roll.
In addition, because of our links with the BFI, you can translate your project’s online presence to real
life, with opportunities for introductions and announcements at film festivals like the BFI Future Film Festival. We also partner with Euroscript so you can benefit from their expertise when it comes to improving your script.
As a result of our links to the film industry, investors approaching LiveTree will know that your project has already been scrutinised both creatively and financially. So they will be more willing and more eager to put their money where their interests are piqued.
LiveTree is just that, a live tree. A living organism firmly rooted in the values of community, creative endeavour and charity. And from the tree extend the branches. Whereas other crowdfunders like Kickstarter set you up with a platform and then you’re on your own to promote yourself and hope people listen, LiveTree is with you from launch to landing. LiveTree’s system of branches incentivises people to share your project. Branches are members of the crowd who promote your project via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and, as a result of doing so, receive commission. How much? You decide.
To boot, LiveTree has its own branches all ready for you to cling on to. We partner with bloggers, magazines, creative communities and general movers and shakers, all of whom will receive commission for sharing your project to their wide spheres of influence. More importantly, though, we partner with charities.
In fact, charities are at the core of what we do.
You can pick a charity to whom a percentage of the funds you raise for your project can be donated, and in return they will share your project with their supporters. Together, everyone benefits. You create, you donate, good gestates… (too corny?)
And there are more twigs sprouting from the branch network.
Film buff? Seen a project you love? Want to monetise your passion for it?
The invited circle means that if someone joins LiveTree either by being invited through your friends page or by clicking on a branch link you created, then you become their sponsor. You earn commission every time they pledge to a crowdfunding project.
So it is that LiveTree spins the first cog, and slowly but surely other cogs join, mesh and spin too, and gradually communities are built and connected. All mutually benefiting from each other’s passions. The result? Great art that otherwise might not have got made, gets made, seen and, just as art is supposed to, impacts.
Unlike other crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, with LiveTree you need not rely only on the goodwill of the crowd. LiveTree’s links mean that it has real focus in making your project a reality.
In addition to our intrinsic ties to charities, we are linked to local authorities, grant makers and brands. These partners have pledged to offer grants matching the funds you’ve managed to raise, following the satisfaction of certain prerequisites.
A Career in Film
Unlike Kickstarter or any of the other crowdfunding pretenders, LiveTree isn’t only concerned with ensuring that just one film you happen to have made gets funded and produced. We want to help nurture, grow and bloom a career in film. If that’s what you want.
That’s why LiveTree offers access to equity crowdfunding. Whether you’re producing a short film, a feature, or starting a production company, Equity crowdfunding through LiveTree offers you the chance to open up new funding channels.
We partner with Red Rock to ensure that you get the best service in Equity crowdfunding. Simply put, equity crowdfunding is the process whereby the crowd invests in your business in exchange for shares in your company. That shareholder then has a bit of the ownership of the company and stands to profit when the company does well.
The take away, really, is ‘why not try crowdfunding?’ You’re a creative with a dream that needs financing. Crowdfunding is risk free – it doesn’t cost you anything except your time. Not only that, in setting up a crowdfunding page with LiveTree, you get to test your product in open waters to see if there is a market for it.
So get involved, and together lets makes sure there’s more options in the world for film fans beyond Marvel’s next super hero collaboration.
Crowdfunding Regulation and Implications for Project-Creators
Crowdfunding is a relatively new method of fundraising for business-based and creative projects. The regulation surrounding the industry has been rather piecemeal.
In Europe, an attitude of waiting to see how it all turns out is pervading. Whereas in Britain regulators have put their best foot forward and made proactive inroads into regulating the industry.
As with any area of law, crowdfunding regulation is far too expansive to cover on a page. This post is intended as a brief overview of regulation in the area.
The UK Crowdfunding Association
The UKCFA is a self-regulating body to which LiveTree voluntarily signs up.
It is useful for fundraisers using LiveTree to know about the UKCFA because it releases a Code of Conduct to which we have to adhere. This is meant to protect you, the project-creator. It requires:
- processes to be put in place to ensure that user information is kept safe and secure so it can be accessed in the event LiveTree ceases to operate;
- hiring competent, professional, honest people and making sure we have the appropriate systems and processes in place to run LiveTree safely; and
- having proper complaints procedures, and treating complaints fairly and in accordance with applicable regulation.
In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the equity and debit-based crowdfunding market. It is an independent financial regulatory body given its mandate by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (as amended).
The FCA is only responsible for regulating loan-based/debit crowdfunding, and investment/equity-based crowdfunding. It does not regulate reward-funding or donation-funding, since backers of these projects will usually not be doing so for financial gain.
LiveTree works with project creators to find a funding solution that meets their needs. This means less complexity and less bureaucracy to get your project funded.
If you want to start making your project come alive, get involved!
Tis the season to build networks – inside the invited circle
Inside the Invited Circle.
It’s the Christmas season, and that means parties! Everyone loves a good party, but some more than most: we all know a friend who loves to make introductions. A name just came into your head just now – yes?
I have to admit – I’m one of those people. I love being able to help bring a great combination together, if it’s romantic, professional or even just conversational. And of course I love it when it happens to me. Even more, I love the people who can do it with real style, so that I don’t feel the pressure if it doesn’t work out. I’m sure we’ve all felt the dread on hearing the phrase ‘you must meet so-and-so, you’ll love them’ or even worse ‘you’re going to get on so well with what’s-his-face, you’re so similar’ – because if when we meet so-and-so or what’s-his-face and they’re a tool, you start to wonder whether they think you’re like the tool.
But some people really have the knack, and to them I am eternally grateful. They flourish both in the party season and throughout the year on Facebook.
Putting the ‘social’ in social media.
They’re the people who are always tagging you in someone’s post about a great rental opportunity – just when you were panicking about spending another month with your mad flatmate. They’re the people who create a messaging group to introduce you to a potential colleague – just like they said they would. And you’ll know them best of all as the people who are always enthusiastically shouting about your new start-up, side-line or crowdfund project – just when you thought no one was listening.
There must be a place where these wonderful people can really develop their inner promoter. They have the gift of creating connections in a world where everything is a potential marketplace and where networking events are king.
LiveTree gives those people the chance to let fly their secret marketing professional. And as part of the unique Invited Circle, they get rewarded. Because as anyone will tell you, word of mouth is the most powerful way to advertise.
Any project, if it’s a piece of art or a new business, needs more than just a lump of cash to get started – though goodness knows that helps. Businesses need suppliers, short films need a crew and every person who is going out into the world and trying to make their ideas take flight, needs a team to support them and keep them moving.
When people put up money to contribute to your crowdfunding project, they get Facebook shout-outs, posters, a signed t-shirt and all sorts of swag. Even private companies make money from it: your data is being bought and sold whenever a link is shared or a post is liked. But what about those champions who might not have the ready cash, but who tirelessly campaign to get your project seen? What about those who put you in touch with great people who can help you along? Well I guess you owe them a pint.
Get into the invited circle
LiveTree creates a network, not only of creative people and suppliers, but of great influencers and communicators, and rewards them for their efforts. Not just the supporters, and certainly not those mega-rich businesses looking to get their hands on your data. The invited circle allows those matchmaker friends who are always on the look-out for the next great team to get paid for their good work.
They might be the sort of people who are always trying things out and telling people about it. They might already have a blog and a following. Or maybe they’re just dedicated to the fine art of a good introduction.
That person you thought of at the beginning of this blog? Share this article with them. They could be making more from their talents than just being owed a pint by everyone on Facebook.
LiveTree vs IndieGoGo: important differences explained
LiveTree vs IndieGoGo: important differences explained
Before launching a campaign, all project creators want to ensure they’re using the best crowdfunding platform to suit their needs.
Many creators will have already ruled out Kickstarter, which gives you £0 of funds raised if you don’t hit your full target. LiveTree and IndieGoGo both let you keep all your cash, whether or not you reach your crowdfunding goal. With that in mind, we outline in this blog how LiveTree compares with traditional crowdfunding platform, IndieGoGo.
Potential reach: how far your campaign’s message will spread
Individual recommendations are the best way to get your crowdfunding campaign funded. People are much more likely to donate to a project if the call-to-action comes from an online voice we trust – be that an old friend you know personally or a prolific blogger you admire.
What most sets LiveTree apart from IndieGoGo is that, with LiveTree, there’s a huge incentive for people to promote your project among their own networks.
In short, users get paid to share your project.
LiveTree harnesses the power of the recommendation through one beautifully simple idea: branching. When a user shares your project to their own network, they become a ‘brancher’. Then, when anyone donates via that link – or branch – the brancher will earn £££ at a percentage you set.
The implications of this are huge. Branchers get to realise the value of their own online presence, which otherwise will invisibly line the pockets of data-harvesters like Facebook and Google. Everyone is given that crucial extra bit of incentive to share the projects they believe in.
This is why LiveTree campaigns spread like wildfire, and why so many campaigns hosted there smash their funding goals. By comparison, only 28.4% of IndieGoGo projects reach their goal at all. There’s nothing like branching available on IndieGoGo.
The human touch: how LiveTree and IndieGoGo support their users
Another important factor to consider when deciding between LiveTree and IndieGoGo is how much help you’re going to get along the way.
Every LiveTree project receives bespoke support from LiveTree’s crowdfunding experts, from start to finish. They’re experienced at providing insider guidance for all kinds of projects that are seeking funding on all different scales.
From the moment you sign up, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Support Analyst from LiveTree. You can call up your Support Analyst for advice at any stage of your preparation and campaign. Analysts can also connect you to additional grants, communities of influencers, and funding partners like the BFI – all at no extra cost.
A major disadvantage of IndieGoGo is that its sprawling scale and impersonal infrastructure mean that the platform is flooded with projects: some brilliantly put together, others not so much. To make matters worse, IndieGoGo’s ‘featured projects’ are selected by an algorithm; you’re unlikely to ever talk to a human being. As a result, potential backers can’t see the wood from the trees. And, indeed, because of the lack of human intervention, IndieGoGo’s brand has been damaged by ‘scampaign’ scandals in the past.
Doing good: LiveTree’s integration with charitable donations
LiveTree directly facilitates donations to charities and social causes. Project creators can optionally select a Project Charity and choose a percentage of the funds to be donated. In return, the selected charity will help market the project through their own powerful reach.
The IndieGoGo brand, with no charitable function built into its platform, simply doesn’t have that same feel-good factor, which is so vital to projects going truly viral.
Here’s how LiveTree integrates branching and charitable giving into your campaign:
So which is more expensive, LiveTree or IndieGoGo?
With all the above features in mind, you might expect to pay through the nose for the bespoke LiveTree service. In fact, LiveTree’s fees are less than half of what IndieGoGo charges.
With IndieGoGo, you’ll pay 5% of the total amount raised plus payment processing, which is between 3-5%; this means that up to 10% of your funding can be lost to IndieGoGo’s fees. By comparison, LiveTree’s fees are set at 4.65%, all in.
With fees far lower than IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding sites, LiveTree gives project creators the freedom to let branchers and charities share in the benefits of their success.
With LiveTree, hitting your target is just the beginning. The revolutionary and ethical LiveTree platform will help to create passionate, invested communities around your project.
Got an idea in mind? Start fundraising like never before with LiveTree.