Plush: can we fund an animated film in NFT?

The idea is surprising, but it is of course a collection of digital teddy bears that the animated film will have to fund Plush. These stuffed animals will be the heroes of the plot in this film, which involves Rooftop Production and the Karlab studios. French studios who have already shone particularly with their animation work on hits like Minions Where Asterix and the secret of the potion. A rather unexpected story for Gaëtan Simonot, director of Rooftop Production: “NFT was brought to my attention by a client of mine. Until then, it was a technology used to produce poor quality animated images, but this client wanted to give the NFT collections another use, especially by integrating 3D. animation in them It was just by looking for who made the best 3D that they came to see us It was this client’s colleagues who discovered my work, they were seduced by our portfolio and the work on the series Arcanum ”.

To give credibility to the skills of his relatively young studio, Gaëtan Simonot has secured the collaboration with the Karlab studio, which is already working on the films ofAsterix by Alexandre Astier and Louis Clichy, as well henchmen. From there, the 50,000 NFT coins were born for the collection. Every potential buyer has to spend € 1,250 to get a teddy bear, with a look and outfit randomly generated by an algorithm, which is kept secret before purchase.

A major technical challenge: deadlines

The film is scheduled for release in Christmas 2023 and aims for particularly short production times. It is therefore no wonder to see its very influential cast already start promoting the film on social networks. Whether established actors like Gérard Darmon or Kev Adams, singers like Gims or Dadju or internet stars like videographer Ludovik or streamer Doigby, everyone has already passed on this film and NFT collection on their personal stories.

Gaëtan Simonot explains: “Illuminart is a company based abroad and focused on creation. So they created designs for us and they will handle the marketing. But since they do not do 3D, this is where we come in. Thanks to their connections in the cinema, a real exposure is given to this project, much higher than what I had expected ”. An exhibition accompanied by true creative freedom. In fact, apart from a few promotional aspects such as voice-over orientations, Gaëtan Simonot assures us: creatively, the studio had free hands. “How long have we not been trusted as artists?” excites the director of Rooftop Production.

Laurent Guittard, director of Karlab, is also quite carried away by the horizon of possibilities that, according to him, opens up with this technology: At Karlab, we are primarily looking for projects that can give us the opportunity to express ourselves artistically. This is not the first NFT project we have been offered, but the previous one had no soul, it was a hell where the only goal was to create quick profits. Karlab quickly disconnected and we moved on. There I find a real interest in the project, which looks much more serious than many of the soulless projects that have appeared on the internet for over a year. We are convinced that it is a technology that will count in the future and that it can offer a fantastic playground! ”

NFTs largest contribution: the film’s co-producing audience

However, there is one aspect of the production where the animators do not have completely free hands: each buyer of one of the NFTs becomes the de facto co-producer of the film. He gets a share of the film’s receipts, of which 80% goes to the co-producers, as well as the opportunity to influence the script. If the proposal may at first glance seem like a screenwriter’s nightmare, Laurent Guittard relativizes the influence the proposal has on his work: “In any case, you can not start animating a scene without having some of the characters, but also without being ready for the script. Therefore, there are necessarily fixed dates for each sequence, necessary for the realization of these ”. So understand: the different periods in which the public will have the opportunity to vote to define the briefings they want to give the scenario will therefore be organized in an order that allows the animators to start with a defined plan.

“There is already a certain narrative skeleton, says Gaëtan Simonot. What public opinion will strengthen are certain details in the scenario: more espionage? An impossible love story? The influence in question will be thematic: As a father, I will ask the producers of the next popular animated film to talk about environmental themes, for example ”. The public interest is to retain a role with certain limitations, the animators can in a more educational way explain the field in which they operate, thus guaranteeing their hundreds of co-producers that they will not affect the visual quality of films. From the interactions with the public that the director of Rooftop Production sees going further, to the choice of the release date, which is of course a big problem for every co-producer: “It’s also an opportunity to show the reality of the limitations of our profession, to take the public to discover our work, a bit like it was DVD bonuses, but in real life!” A project that the producer of Martin Scorsese has also thought of, which plans to offer NFT buyers attached to his next film the opportunity to get to the filming of it.

A project that has something to ask about

However, some professionals in the NFT community have some questions about the reliability of this project. The financial target of 50,000 NFTs at 1,250 euros per unity seems especially too ambitious. Doubt is all the more appropriate as there is no legal obligation to reimburse if the amount is not fully withdrawn, unlike what is done on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. In addition, the ‘White Paper’, which defines the rules for this fundraising, promises buyers of these NFTs a fee according to their purchase. A principle that is simply prohibited by the financial authorities in this use.

In addition, the site’s argument highlights theatrical successes of henchmen or other Karlab films have a limit: The Illuminart team in charge of the Plush project has never participated in any of these films. We can therefore express reservations about their ability to carry out a film project, especially since the star’s agents cast for the characters’ voices have still not confirmed the effective signing of a contract.

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