A couple of weeks on from the BFI email (we got back to them, asking how we could develop this further and abate their concerns) Mike came into the office with some thoughts.
On a weekend “Gastro Walk” (a walk along the coastal path, making enough food stops to ensure you eat more calories than you burn) he had been chatting to a friend who is very interested in decentralisation, permaculture, and generally sticking it to the man. He was excited about something called Steem.io, a new platform that was a kind of blockchain Facebook-cum-Kickstarter, in which content creators could be paid without the need for ad revenue.
Later at home, Mike spent some time googling “blockchain funded film” and stumbled upon a whole developing world. A decentralised infrastructure creator was funding production of a film called Braid. Harnessing the power of the crypto Ethereum, the raising of the film’s production budget allows all investors to see returns from the back end of the film profits.
Like us, Braid’s director Mitzi Peirone had decided that the traditional routes to funding and distribution weren’t right for her film. She felt that studios wanted her to “dumb down” the story in order to reach greater audiences.
Looking further into it, we discovered a whole new world – there was much more to this than the poster child Bitcoin. The company, Singular DTV offers artists a new way of working and funding their projects. This is how it empowers both the artist and the audience. By removing the powerful studios, creators and consumers can have a closer communication, and both have the opportunity to get exactly what they want.
We were really excited about this avenue, and immediately reached out to them, outlining our project and journey thus far.
Serendipitously, we emailed at the perfect time. They replied quickly saying that this was potentially exactly what they were currently looking for – an animated feature with a strong female lead to sit alongside their TV, music and live-action film properties. SingularDTV were about to launch an online platform called Ethervision, a Netflix style video streaming service, all based on the blockchain.
A week later we were on the phone with her, explaining how we had used Artella, how we had funded ourselves to this point and what we wanted to do next.
We don’t say this lightly, but the call was bloody brilliant. Both our visions synced with each other, and they quickly expressed an interest to work together. We were presented with two options.
“Option one is to just fully fund you ourselves”.
It’s almost like we didn’t need to hear option two, which was to fund the project through their Tokit system, an equally epic proposal. Kim suggested we should meet, and as they were soon heading to Zurich to launch DJ Gramatik’s campaign, we should meet them while they were on our side of the planet.
So the next thing we knew, we were packing ourselves off for an early morning drive to Gatwick, where we jetted off to Zurich.
We arrived late the night before the meeting, grabbed some food and headed back to our Airbnb. The next morning we had breakfast, and spent the morning poring through the materials we’d brought, clarifying messages and figuring out how on earth you purchase GRMTK tokens following their launch the previous evening, to attempt to make sense of this new ecosystem.
Our stomachs fizzing with butterflies, we headed to our rendezvous point and met the team. Immediately we were surrounded by excitable chaos. This hour slot may have been the culmination of the last few months for us, but for the Singular team this was just another meeting in a day full of launches. They were fresh from the Gramatik concert the night before, and they were only an hour away from the next massive launch of the day.
Release forms were brandished towards us, and a five man documentary crew laden with booms and cameras filmed the meeting. If this had felt surreal before, we were now being thrown head first into a whole new world. Like the pressure wasn’t enough already!
Yet, we needn’t have worried. The conversation went well (especially when Jason mentioned he was the proud owner of some GRMTK tokens – “well now we have to work together!”), and both sides were full of excitement about the collaboration.
And then the following day, Jason ran the Athens marathon. As you do.
When we arrived back in the county (Jas having smashed the marathon), we caught up with the Singular guys again, and contracts began to get drafted up. It was a somewhat lengthy process, but by early June we were heading off to visit a Notary Public to stamp the signed deal.
Here we are, eight months on and in week six of production on OUR ORIGINAL FEATURE FILM BACK FROM THE DEAD RED.
Check out how Singular started their journey by watching this super cool video: