The future of storytelling is Web3
After years of searching, I have finally found an industry where my left brain gets to meet the right!
I am building Jumpcut, a Web3 entertainment company that collaboratively creates narrative IP (stories for film and TV) with communities. The company combines my experience with digital technologies with my enthusiasm for film and storytelling.
My journey began in 2010 when I wrote a screenplay for a Hindi language movie. I was full of hope when I discussed it with several producers. Many liked the script but they didn’t come on board in the end. Why? Because studio execs had told them they couldn’t take a chance on someone new.
My dream was crushed. I gave up.
Over the years, I have heard similar stories from many writers and directors all over the world. It’s hard for most people to break into media given its heavy reliance on gut and relationships over insight and ability. The end result is an industry that is not inclusive and has a high failure rate. Only 7% of film directors are women, and 9% of TV showrunners are minorities.
The biggest losers in all this are the audience. They’re stuck in a sequel culture and never get to see most of the interesting and original stories out there. While they’d love creative participation with their favorite story universes, they are usually relegated to merely consuming the finished product.
That’s where Jumpcut comes in. I realized that the problem I should solve is not how to get a movie made but how to democratize an entire industry for creators and audiences.
We started Jumpcut with the mission of democratizing Hollywood and storytelling for creative communities. Web3 seemed like the natural platform for this because it brings communities together around shared missions.
Yet today’s Web3 has a long way to go. While story universes like Marvel have rich lore, most NFT collectible projects today are driven by an aesthetic rather than a narrative. People are sometimes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on NFTs today with little to no utility. But storytelling and films are the perfect worlds in which to build utility-driven NFTs.
Imagine if you were an early supporter of Stars Wars and you got to own a 1:1 Luke Skywalker NFT in return! Or if you received royalties or licensing revenues from Lucas Films for having been an early backer. That’s the promise of NFTs. Creative communities can not only back radical story ideas they love but can have creative and financial participation in return.
I am not suggesting that any of this is easy to do. When I decided to take a leave from Wharton a couple of years ago to start up, I confess that this wasn’t the first idea that came up in my mind. After several weeks of ideation, I came up with four different startup ideas:
- A CBD-based beverage brand.
- An herbal medicine brand based on Ayurveda.
- An AI governance solution.
- An insurance-tech startup that can assess AI risks & price AI insurance.
These ideas made great sense on paper in terms of addressable market size, competitive moat, founder-product fit, VC interest, etc. It seemed as though the AI startup ideas were easier or better problems to tackle, especially for someone like me with a tech and data background.
Yet I somehow couldn’t let go of the idea of doing something around stories and storytellers. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that not only is the problem real but also this is a unique point in time to bring creators and online communities together using Web3 and allied technologies.
Today, Jumpcut is serving that need by collaboratively creating narrative IP with communities. We connect writers and creators with audiences to build premium storytelling brands in which our community has creative and financial co-ownership through NFTs or other tokens.
For creators, it gives them creative freedom, meaningful feedback from their audiences, and a more inclusive ecosystem. For NFT holders, they get real utility as well as a meaningful creative outlet and an engaged community.
This is a completely different way to approach how visual stories should be developed and told in the future. And more writers and directors and actors should be part of this revolution.
If you want to learn more about how the process works, check out Uppercut Training Club (@UppercutNFT), an immersive gamified storytelling experience in which action enthusiasts can both experience and help shape an exciting story universe as it is being created by leading Hollywood storytellers.
Filmmaking is Broken for Artists and Audiences– Here’s How To Fix It. was originally published in Entrepreneur’s Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.