🔥Crypto Fireside #17 — Interviews with crypto people.
🔥Hello! Who are you, and what do you do?
SL: Hey! My name is Stevie Long. I’m currently working on a world-first Crypto-Defi funded movie
I came to Hollywood as a young man, because hey, who wouldn’t want to be a movie star? Meet pretty girls and make lots of money while playing pretend. I appeared in a Budweiser commercial and a Toyota Tercel ad campaign in Hong Kong, but otherwise, I was just another guy knocking on doors. I’m a New Yorker and like to think I’m aggressive in a friendly way. So you’ve got to shove the doors open with a smile. But that didn’t help much either. I did notice that when I watched a show or read a part for an audition that the writing, the actual lines actors were meant to say, weren’t great. Look, there are plenty of writers more talented than me, but plenty, it seemed, that didn’t know how people spoke.
Apparently, there were way too many actors in LA and not enough writers. So I started writing. This was before laptops, so I’d write in a notebook during the day, work at a bar at night, and when I felt that I had something good, I’d write it on a computer, at my friend’s desk, since I didn’t own a computer and was sleeping on that same friend’s couch. Things happened fast after that. Year after I started writing, I had an office at Warner Brothers and a 2 picture deal with Harvey Weinstein. Fuck that guy. I’m now a guy in his 50s who isn’t as young and handsome as the twentysomething who came to Hollywood 25 years ago, but I’ve been able to sit in that same coffee shop for a long time and get paid pretty well to write.
I’ve had my ups and downs. Some of you may have seen my writing in shows such as Sons Of Anarchy or movies like Starsky & Hutch. I’m most proud of a little indie film titled ‘Strictly Sexual’. It was the #1 movie on Hulu for years. Even starred in the movie because, hey, why not? I wrote the part for myself. Honestly, I’m not a bad actor, but not exceptional. I think I’m better at writing. The important aspect of that indie movie was how it was consumed by the audience and how profitable it was. My investors made 1000% on it, as I shot it on a low budget and then put it out on something brand new at the time: Internet streaming.
It was risky, but risk leads to rewards. Most people in Hollywood sneered that nobody would watch a movie on their computer, no less a phone. I believed ten years ago that streaming was the future. It was just a matter of waiting for ease of use. Once Smart TVs allowed internet on people’s big-screen TV at home, suddenly they could watch all sorts of movies by pressing one button on the remote. And now, I think funding movies with crypto is the future. Decentralized Financing, or as we love to call it, Defi, is replacing traditional financing, and in this case, film financing.
Movie studios are like banks. They loan out money to a production company to make a film. Just as banks know that Defi can replace them, studios will be obsolete someday, as filmmakers can get the money from tokens. So instead of studio execs getting rich, the audience will get rich by investing in the film’s token.
🔥What’s your backstory, and how did VooDoo Biker Gangs come about?
SL: Now, what kind of movie am I about to make with crypto? Another indie about love? Nah, fuck that. I’ve made heartfelt indie films and big commercial comedies already. What I wanted to make here is just a fun, action-filled horror film. It’s a biker gang-fighting monsters, filmed in an irreverent, ‘Deadpool’ tone. It’s gonna be a blast!
Horror movies translate worldwide and don’t need big movie stars to get people to watch them. VooDoo Biker Gang will premiere on Amazon Prime or Netflix, or one of the other big streamers. It’s a great time to make movies because huge streamers are all buying up every movie brought to them.
AppleTV, HBOMAX, they’re all trying to be the biggest streamer, and they need several new movies a week to complete. So if I shoot this movie for 5 million and sell it for 10 million, that money goes right back into the token. Of course, bags will grow before that. Just knowing what we’re doing, investors are already buying. And of course, when filming starts, there will be promo videos made by the cast. When the film comes out, we will segue from a token that makes one movie to one that makes several movies a year. I’m thinking big — there’s no reason we can’t become a billion-dollar project, a virtual movie studio financing several films a year.
🔥Describe the process of launching or preparing to launch VooDoo Biker Gangs.
SL: If you love tokenomics, this will intrigue you with the simplicity of how it works. Of course, if you have no interest in cryptocurrency and how it works, this will bore the fuck out of you, but hey, likely anyone reading this loves this shit. The tokenomics are simple. There is a 10% transaction tax, and 5% goes directly back to the holders. So there is a huge incentive to hold. 40% of the token is locked, acting as collateral to make the film. So I don’t have to take money out of the market cap to fund it. I borrow against it since crypto is now recognized as an asset. I launched this project out of my pocket, as I’ve had a successful career in Hollywood. There is a marketing wallet, but I haven’t used any of it yet. Once the project grows, I will utilize it. I got hodlers right away, as this is a real utility.
We’re creating something. And what goes better with crypto than intellectual property? It’s all digital assets. I sell or lease a digital file ( the movie) to Netflix. Years from now, people won’t buy a ticket to see a movie. They will buy a token. And that token will allow them to view it in the theatre or watch it at home. Of course, if it is the next Star Wars, people will buy 1000 tokens in bulk, knowing they will increase in value. For now, we’re starting with horror movies with a budget of only 5 million, which I know I can shoot, edit and release on Netflix quickly.
🔥Take us through your daily process of what it is that you do.
SL: So, why me? We know why I’m doing this. I like making movies, and I like making money. The bigger question people ask is why will I succeed. I had a huge advantage in that I’ve had success selling indie films before. While I encourage other filmmakers to do what I’m doing, as I’m an artist first and foremost, I do have many connections for film production and distribution that first-timers don’t have.
What I love about crypto is that it is community-based. Much like making a film, it is a team effort. I was new to crypto, so others helped with basic things like setting up a telegram account! Of course, when it comes to film production, that is my expertise. Most of the stuff where I team up, I do it with Joel Viertel. He recently produced a movie called ‘The Banker’ with Samuel Jackson and Anthony Mackie. He shot that for 10 million and sold it to AppleTV for 20 million, not a bad payday at all.
Apple and Amazon pay a lot of money for movies because their endgame is to have subscribers sell products. Movies bring them into their network. I provide movies. As a content creator, there is a greater demand than supply. Covid stopped Hollywood from making movies for a year, so each outlet is hungry for a new product.
🔥What has worked to attract and retain users?
SL: I love talking to the public about what I’m doing. Typically, raising money for movies, I am pitching a studio or private equity. With this, I’m on Telegram all day, talking to real people worldwide who are buying ten bucks or a thousand bucks worth of tokens.
It’s fun because everyone loves movies, and that is often what we discuss. It is a time-consuming but fun use of my time. Once the token moons, I will be busier doing other things, as the project will be autonomous, but for now, it’s like I’ve just opened a new restaurant, and I’m seating people, bringing them menus, cooking, and sitting down to see how they like the meal so far.
🔥Why did you choose Binance Smart Chain technology for VooDoo Biker Gangs?
SL: I chose Binance Smart Chain because, with the low gas fees, I expect there will be a lot of buying and selling, which is honestly part of why my holders see their bags grow, the reflections from all the speculators. I know if I had put it on ETH, I may have had more diamond hand-holders.
Still, over the course of the token, in the year to come, I expect there will be a lot of buying and selling, and that transaction tax makes my holders richer and increases the size of the marketing wallet.
Speaking of marketing, if there is one mistake I made, I didn’t know how to do a pre-sale and waitlist and all that. I could have probably raised 500 BNB right from the start, which would have given me a nice marketing wallet from the beginning, but I didn’t know about it, so I launched the fucking thing. Instead, I just spent money out of my pocket on advertising on Reddit and PooCoin and all the other places. So that mistake cost me about fifty grand of my own money, but I don’t mind, as I know that not only will I be shooting a cool freakin’ movie, but I might be the head of a studio making dozens of movies in the years to come.
🔥How are you doing today, and what does the future look like? Let’s talk numbers!
SL: The market cap needs to reach 10 or 20 million to borrow against the locked 40% of tokens. It has gotten as high as 2 million, and because the market fluctuates, it has gone as low a half a million. But we all know that on any given day, it can be 10x or 100x in a week. We’re going to reach that tipping point where it shoots up, and likely that will happen in altcoin season.
We would have hit 20 or 100 million by March if I launched in January, but we all know the market dropped 50% in May. I launched VooDooBikers in late June, thinking the market would come back up, and it will. To our credit, we have weathered the dip just fine.
🔥Through launching, preparing to launch or running VooDoo Biker Gangs, what is something you have learned that surprised you?
SL: I’ve been making a living in the creative world for a long time now, so my best lesson didn’t come from crypto per se, just a lifetime of wins and losses. The best lesson, and it applies to art, business, and life, and that is balancing an appreciation of what you have while also wanting more. So much harder to do than say.
I mean, I’ve been working on HBO shows as a writer/producer, frustrated that I wasn’t directing an episode or the show I created didn’t get picked up. On the one hand, that sounds whiney — Don’t fucking whine — But that is a finger on the same hand of dreaming bigger and better all the time. If you’re living in the same place you grew up in and unhappy with your boring job, you need to get good and angry at yourself to get the fuck out of that routine and move to the big city and chase your dream. Because most people are creatures of habit.
So yes, look at yourself and say, “I can do better than this”, but also, as you climb the ladder, enjoy the fucking view. Don’t settle, but don’t complain. I have friends who are series regulars on TV shows, and they’re pissed they never got to be the star of their own show. Again, it sounds whiney, but I understand it. Possibly you have a shiny new car, but you’re mad you don’t have a Lamborghini yet — it’s just man’s wanting for more. Enjoy where you are while working towards the next level.
So often, we tell ourselves, “I will be happy when I reach XYZ”, and it’s necessary to have a goal, but it doesn’t mean where you are at now sucks. So find that balance and work to achieve more while enjoying where you are because if you never do, you will be one of those rockstars who commits suicide.
🔥What have been the most influential things in your life? This can include books, podcasts, or people?
SL: Every time a new technology emerges, Hollywood resists it. I know that sounds counterproductive, but it comes down to monopolizing what they’re successful at. There used to be silent movies, and when “talkies” came along, Old Hollywood hated it. They had their projectors and their theatres and didn’t want to change. Why change what is making them money? But they had to adapt. Nobody remembers this, but when VCRs were invented, the movie studios and TV networks tried to sue them out of business.
Of course, once they realized that they could control that too, they did. Movie Pirating became a thing in the Millenium when the internet began, and once again, Hollywood went crazy trying to stop it. Reluctantly, they had to start their streaming channels, and it broke their hearts not being able to sell videotapes at 20 bucks a pop.
So now, crypto is here, and it will put a thousand middlemen at the studio level out of a job. So they will fight it until they can’t. That is why the people to cash in on it first won’t be the studios but indie filmmakers like myself. Ten years from now, people will be saying, “man, I wish I was there when the movie studios went crypto, I would have made 1000x” — Well, we’re here, so hop on board.
🔥Do you have any advice for other creators, entrepreneurs, or developers who want to get started or are just beginning?
SL: When I was a young man in a lower-middle-class suburb, nobody told me that I could make movies when I grew up. Arts as a career would be laughed at. This might be the first time in history when we can encourage young people to pursue creativity as an actual career. It used to always be, “don’t pursue your dreams, there’s no money in it” — That didn’t stop me and people before me, but now we see that the world as we know it needs writers, videographers, and graphic designers.
Every business in the world needs a website, and that website needs somebody to shoot the video, a writer to craft the wording, and a graphic designer to make it look great. Those jobs will be as required as we’ve always needed house painters and roofers. Sure, you’d rather be writing a movie than writing a catchy web page for a plumbing company, but writing web pages is fantastic if you’re the type of person that can’t function in an office. I could never work in an office. I’ve had to, and I’ve had to work all sorts of shitty jobs as a young man, as we didn’t have the internet to teach you how to do things or show you ways to find work creatively.
Anyone can find work as a video editor right now, anyone. People are filming stuff for their youtube channel or website or hours of footage from their vacation or wedding or whatnot, but don’t know how to edit it or don’t want to. Learn how to operate editing software, then go on some freelancing site looking for work. I don’t know a single video editor who can’t find work. Not a single one. They turn away more jobs than they can handle. That’s just one example. Publish your book, start your YouTube channel, sell your art online. None of this was possible when I was a kid.
🔥Where do you see the blockchain, cryptocurrency, and decentralization space going in the next 5 to 10 years?
SL: I’m hoping that funding the movie with crypto will bring crypto to the masses who don’t yet know about it. Hearing my story, I want to think that people in small towns around the world will say, “maybe I can open my restaurant using tokens since the bank won’t give me a loan”. Because I know there are people who would love to support local businesses, to be emotionally and financially invested in the new restaurant in their neighborhood succeeding. Shit, if someone down the street from me were opening a doughnut shop, I would love to buy that token.
Why should banks own everything around us? Imagine being part owner in all the privately owned businesses around your neighborhood. People working there would earn paychecks and tokens. I want to see crypto change the way we view capitalism. I love capitalism. It’s provided a good life for me, but the current system is made to keep fucking over the poor and reward the rich, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I would love to see Walmart go out of business.
They drive locally owned businesses out of the market and then pay people dogshit wages. If I had tokens in Dave Brown’s Hardware store, I’d say hi to Dave and buy my new hammer there. And Dave and everyone who works for him would be happy to help me pick out the hammer. I genuinely think crypto can help everyone achieve the American dream.
🔥Talk about the Hollywood strike; it seems what you are doing will directly benefit. Do you have a plan to speak to any of these folks about your project and show them how it solves their problem?
SL: Some of you may have heard about below-the-line crew may go on strike, and I think it will be resolved before you even read this. But let me be clear: I support what they are striking over and want the AMPTP to give them what they’re asking for.
I’m pro-labor and anti-corporate, so my sympathies lie with the men and women who spend 16 hour days sometimes working on set. Unions are an essential part of America and Hollywood too. The reason I have a fat retirement waiting for me is because of the writer’s union.
Also, I hope that when cryptocurrency becomes a funding norm, all the employees get tokens as bonuses. Hell, I’ll say it right now, anybody working on VooDoo Biker Gangs, the movie, is getting tokens airdropped into their wallet, and if they don’t have a crypto wallet yet, we’ll make one for them. Employers across the world should do that.
🔥Where can we go to learn more?
🔥Thank you, Stevie!And thank you for reading, Hackers! Follow me here on HN, Twitter, or Medium for the next 🔥Crypto Fireside!
My vested interests include nothing currently 😃
This story was originally featured behind Medium’s Paywall here.