Blockchain has gone Hollywood! That’s what an independent
filmmaker and a blockchain expert told the audience at a recent Morris Tech
Henning Morales, a filmmaker, author and motivational
speaker, and Lindsley Medlin, founder of NJ
Blockchain Center (Raritan), discussed the impact of blockchain technology
on the movie industry at the Morris Tech event on September 11, in Chatham. They
told the audience that blockchain could transform the way movies are made,
distributed, marketed and seen.
Blockchain is defined as a distributed ledger that puts transactions
into groups (blocks) that are linked together, using cryptography to secure
them. It’s commonly regarded as the underlying technology of the highly
volatile cryptocurrency market, but it has unlimited applications for many industries,
Morales, who showed the audience an unreleased movie short
depicting his life as a troubled teenager growing up in northern New Jersey,
plans to use blockchain technology in his filmmaking. “Our intention is to put everything on
blockchain to maximize the benefits,” he said.
Using blockchain will improve the tracking of money
generated by the viewers watching his flicks, Morales said. This will play a
key role in the films’ revenue-sharing model, which would be used to compensate
social-media influencers for their part in promoting the movies to their large
“tribes” of followers.
Morales’ planned films will be based on real-life situations
with inspirational messages. “We want to tell true stories and get away from
the fantasy [movies] that young people are being exposed to.”
The film industry is ideally suited for blockchain, as this
business is viewed as the least transparent and most reliant on middlemen in
the entertainment world, he said.
Blockchain will enable investors, filmmakers, talent and
others to get a clearer view of how money is spent on a movie. Over the years, Hollywood bean-counters have
been accused of using murky and questionable accounting practices in the
financing and distribution of movies. “In an industry rife with accounting
deception, this would be a welcome improvement,” said Medlin.
Besides giving smaller, independent filmmakers more control over
how their movies are made and distributed, said Medlin, blockchain could also
eliminate middlemen, who may be “taking a disproportionally large share of the profits.”
Blockchain also could be used for crowd-funding movie
projects, replacing the more conventional method of raising funds from a few
large investors. One recent example of
this form of democratization of moviemaking is actor Wesley Snipes’ plans to
launch a $25 million fund that will allow fans and others to help finance films
and share in the profits.
The technology also would reduce the unlawful copying and
distribution of movies by giving filmmakers greater control over the
distribution and viewing of digital copies of their films.
That’s because blockchain creates a “digital uniqueness,” meaning
that items created in the digital world cannot be duplicated, according to
Blockchain also permits smaller businesses to reduce the
risk and costs associated with marketing and advertising a movie, particularly
if they are using social media marketing and influencers to pitch their
With a cryptographic token-based blockchain system that
provides a revenue-sharing model for influencers, businesses will no longer
need to pay in advance without knowing if a film will be successful. Medlin
said that this approach gives businesses the ability to pay afterward based on
successful results. It also helps ensure that influencers are actively involved
in promoting the film.
Morales admits that his decision to use blockchain to
produce, promote and distribute his movies is hardly a new concept. Blockchain had
already become an attractive option for independent filmmakers in recent years.
But in the tech business, it’s typically the first wave of
adopters who benefit the most. “You don’t have to be first, but you have to be
early and be different,” he said.