South Korea is always keen on bringing up something new: cuisine, traditions, tech and entertainment. Their unique perspective is influenced by the mixture of asian and western view of things. Sam Chi, producer of the legendary korean “Oldboy”, is just like that — he came up with a new idea, that has potential to revolutionize entertainment industry. To learn more about it, we sat down with Sam and had a talk with him.
Bitnewstoday.com: Well, first question might sound a bit general. Blockchain in movie industry is not that popular and understandable if compare it with fintech or logistics. Why do you think it is important and how it can be implemented?
Sam Chi: Well, blockchain is a technology, but it influenced so many other industries and that including movies. And that's not about logistics — from the point of movie people the main thing is decentralization. The “hottest” movies cost big Hollywood studio millions and millions of dollars. So tell me, can you invest in a movie right now, can you do it?
Q: Well, that was unexpected! Why should I?
A: Ah, come on! Don’t you wanna be associated with a movie? That's so much more than just watching it! You’ll be able to say “Hey! I was part in this movie!” Don’t you want to be able to do that? I mean, a lot of people will be eager to do so!
Q: Well, maybe for royalty and all that stuff *Laughing*. But well, what about financial side of things?
A: Ah, yes-yes, that's good money too! But there are a lot of people who love our movie industry, and it’s not just about movies. Let's look at a bigger picture, entertainment side in general. Music, games, series — I mean, there are so many people who just want to be a part of k-pop, no matter what, that it’s mind boggling.
But they don’t have access to the stars, so they can only buy their merchandise or watch them on Youtube. With this decentralized system it gives them a chance to be an integral part of something more. Beforehand we didn’t had an opportunity but now we act. So, i think that blockchain is so much more than just technology.
Q: But why not use crowdfunding platforms for investing, for listening portions, for watching?
A: Crowdfunding is an absolutely different thing, you have to keep that in mind. Simple crowdfunding does not give you all the elements and power of blockchain. Let’s talk about legal side of things — there are many complicated moments that don’t bother blockchain. While many aspects of the crowdfunding became highly regulated in many countries, that makes things very different from country to country.
Q: And what about taxes?
A: Well, that's the headache of the main producer of a project, it can be a band, it can be a movie — he will be responsible for legal side of things.
Q: So, if I invest in a movie through blockchain, they will get more money if I would’ve invested through traditional crowdfunding?
A: First of all, more than anything else, it’s not only about the money, it is about making it easier for everyone. Our crowdfunding principle is… Let’s call it a “paradigm of mystical chain”. On one hand you will have those wealthy people with millions. And on the other you will have two year old indian girl that loves k-pop.
Thanks to the blockchain that girl will be able to directly pay just ten dollars and get all the products associated with our project. Also a lot of crowdfunding campaigns are not exactly honest with it’s backers, and serving as a proxy. While we are the direct creators of the projects, where makers oversee it from the start to finish. Plus, crowdfunding is a temporary project — you are there for two-three years, until product is finished. In a manner — this is like those things related with logistics you were talking about.
Q: I wonder if you know that last year there were several projects from movie industry aiming to gather their money by blockchain and by launching ICOs but they all failed. Can you tell us why?
A: Oh, it’s mostly because of their lack of understanding and having a clear view. Just creating coin is one thing but there are many things that can go wrong. They failed because they were lacking clear identity and concept of what they are trying to do. Simply put - they were lacking substance.
Q: And what do you think about brand power, your personal brand included, what if Warner Brothers or Netflix will start to do something like this? Couldn’t people become unhappy with this idea while thinking “Why we should give something to the industry giants? We don’t have nearly much money as you do!”
A: This is a good question. From a point of view of a common person — movies are simple, you buy a ticket and go see a movie, look at the actors you like and get a sense of satisfaction from it. That is how “Go see a movie” looks for general public. But actually making a movie is much more complicated than that — there are a lot of unforeseen elements going on in there.
For instance, big studios have a lot of money behind them but they are also going through a long process of consideration if its worth it or not. But because of the blockchain there might be another independent filmmaker, with a movie that was not possible before - just because of the combined process of investing and decision making, marketing and branding in the same time. Now anyone with an interesting and not mainstream idea can make a project that costs million of dollars because there is a lot of people who will want to make this movie happen.
Q: Alright, well, the next...
A: Oh if you are not clear i am trying to make you understand, feel free to ask.
Q: No, i mean i can’t understand why not reach out for companies while trying to collect money from ordinary people.
Q: Well those are other people money and i cannot say there reserved for Disney or anyone else.
A: if someone else is willing to pay you to make projects you’ll do it. But it shouldn’t be about money only.
Q: Are you saying they shouldn’t make any profit from it?
A: Not exactly, it’s just if Disney looks and thinks “that movie is going to do so well” then they shouldn’t take money from anyone else, just their investment.
Q: And what if Disney will build a blockchain platform, are they going to make money as well?
A: Of course, because of their brand power! That's the power of their branding. Disney is a great company, but let’s be honest - no one considers them a movie company, they are marketing company now.
Q: *Laughing* That's just what I wanted, thanks a lot!
A: Well, this is true, sorry Disney, but unlike them there are very genuine movie producers that just want to make movies. And they are those players we want to work with.
A: Do you know about the situation with the stolen scenarios, from Game of Thrones, for example? How do you think - can blockchain help with this?
Q: Yes, absolutely, blockchain is a thing that is finding a way through history, everything is recorded - so anyone can see if records of everything is on the blockchain and it is far more transparent.
A: But what about situation if someone is publishing my original work that was off the blockchain and blockchain sees not the author, but the publisher as the creator of the scenario. What can be done about that?
Q: I personally have a solution for that. First of all - computer is a lousy place for keeping scripts, so it’s partly your fault. And maybe you should’ve created it on the blockchain from the start. So even if it would’ve been stolen - it would’ve been clear who did it!
Q: Well, and for the last question - tell us about your implementation of blockchain, how do you plan to use it?
A: Well, i don’t want to repeat all that we’ve discussed about crowdfunding, but our goal is go give everyone from around the world an opportunity to fulfill their dream, and we are able to do so because of the blockchain. We want to make sure that their visions are fulfilled. And that's where we want to make sure that they are given all the opportunity to do so.
Q: Which movie will be the first?
A: Ahh *rubs hands* Hopefully some collaboration with Russians! I really want this happen! But this is a secret *shush*
Q: Oh come one, just give me a sneak peek, where, when, with whom?
A: Well, definitely with someone from Hollywood as well, but well it was so frustrating for me to see that russian deep eastern culture remains unseen around the world. We also want to work with people that invest, that take time and adjust to the current situation of the movie industry. It’s just - there is so many things in Russia that we want to see and create a movie that makes everyone proud!