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Breakpoint 2023: Building Publique: Filmmaking Through Web3

Published on 2023-11-09

Robbie Shelston introduces his Web3 animated film projects and discusses the potential of Web3 for crowd-funding and audience engagement in filmmaking.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


At Breakpoint 2023, animator and filmmaker Robbie Shelston presented his vision for the future of filmmaking in the digital age, utilizing the capabilities of Web3 to fund and develop animated films. Drawing on his experience with his first film funded in this manner, "Offleash", Shelston shared his insights on how Web3 can disrupt the traditional entertainment industry and empower creators. Following "Offleash", he introduced "Publique", a larger animated universe that will take community engagement and crowd-funded film production to a new level, with plans to expand across various entertainment platforms.

Key Points:

Filmmaking in the Age of Web3

Robbie Shelston shared his journey from working with high-profile clients to exploring Web3. He fundraised for his film "Offleash" by auctioning NFTs of ten animated characters and three concept art pieces. The character that fetched the highest price at auction became the film's protagonist — in this case, a poodle named Isabella. This innovative approach to filmmaking not only financed the project but also gave investors creative influence and a production credit, fostering a tangible connection between the creator and the audience.

The Challenges and Solutions in Modern Entertainment

Shelston elaborated on the problems facing the entertainment industry, such as the reluctance of studios to take on new ideas, resulting in a plethora of sequels and remakes. With strikes highlighting creators' dissatisfaction with being undervalued, Web3 stands out as a game-changer, providing creators ownership, encouraging risks, and fostering deeper connections with fans. For Shelston, "Publique" is more than a project; it's a pathway to revitalizing how original content is valued and creators are rewarded.

Introducing "Publique"

"Publique" is Shelston's next ambitious project — an animated universe where each character is a unique collectible, expanding the participatory model used in "Offleash". The plan is to auction a new character each week, inviting collectors to become producers and contribute to the storytelling process. "Publique" transcends the format of films and aims to branch into a comprehensive entertainment experience including apps, games, books, and more, promoting empathy and human connection.

Facts + Figures

  • Robbie Shelston is a Los Angeles-based animator, director, and Web3 creator.
  • Shelston started his Web3 career in 2021 with a collaboration involving Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man.
  • He successfully fundraised for "Offleash" by selling ten character NFTs.
  • The auction winner's character choice led to a poodle named Isabella becoming the film's protagonist.
  • The NFT collectors were credited as producers and received exclusive updates and early screening invitations.
  • "Offleash" has been accepted into film festivals and is available on YouTube.
  • "Publique", the upcoming project, features a living, breathing cast of collectibles, with a focus on non-dialogue visual storytelling to connect with an international audience.
  • Each short film will follow a different "Publique" protagonist.
  • The project will utilize social media for storytelling while films are in development.
  • "Publique" is set to launch in Q1 of next year with a free, collectible experience for fans.
  • The existing fan base includes over 500,000 dedicated followers on social media platforms.

Top quotes

  • "Everyone has a story worth telling."
  • "One that takes these ideas of film fundraising through collectibles and expands on them."
  • "Digital ownership creates a stronger emotional attachment to an IP and it turns casual viewers into champions of the project."
  • "Major studios are risk-adverse...original ideas aren't valued, creators aren't valued, and they're replaceable."
  • "Public will utilize blockchain technology as a tool to create meaningful and fun experiences without ever needing to explain the tech behind it."

Questions Answered

What is the significance of Web3 in filmmaking?

Web3 enables filmmakers to secure funding and engage with their audience directly, bypassing traditional studio systems and fostering a creative partnership with viewers. Robbie Shelston's "Offleash" serves as an early example of this new approach.

How does "Publique" differ from traditional film projects?

"Publique" is unique in that it operates as a crowd-funded, animated universe where audiences participate as collectors and producers. It leverages non-dialogue storytelling to connect with a global audience and will span multiple media forms.

What role do fans play in Shelston's Web3 filmmaking model?

Fans become integral parts of the filmmaking process, influencing the narrative, funding the films as collectors of NFTs, and fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to the success of the project.

How does Shelston plan to navigate the challenges of the current entertainment industry?

Robbie Shelston seeks to counter the industry's conservatism and undervaluation of creators by capitalizing on Web3's potential to democratize idea ownership and incentivize creative risks.

What is the projected timeline for "Publique"?

"Publique" is slated for launch in the first quarter of the next year, starting with a free collectible experience that introduces fans to the project's Web3 ecosystem.

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