Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and think back to a time when a movie blew your mind.
Welcome back. Enjoy this feeling and hold onto it.
I was 12 years old and I was watching a VHS copy of monty python and the holy grail, sit cross-legged on the carpet. Our 19 inch TV was lit by the afternoon sun; Particles of dust swirled across the screen, a glittering halo promising salvation.
The opening image showed dense fog drifting over some sort of moody, primeval, blue-tinted mythical landscape. I heard the sound of an approaching horse…saw its rider cresting the crest in the foreground – a helmeted king, his head held high with the great dignity of righteous purpose. But he was only mime riding a horse: his servant soon appeared behind him… and pounded coconuts together. there was no horse, just a very accurate sound effect. The king shouted “STOP”. The servant froze. I lost it.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail made a joke of the cinematic conventions I had soaked up my entire young life without realizing it. It occurred to me for the first time that movies are did of people working together, a conspiracy to fool the audience. The more I learned about Monty Python and other filmmakers, the more I wanted to be part of this guild of film magicians, wizards of the subversive.
What I never thought about until much later was who exactly paid for all this magic. While most of the movies I watched were funded by huge, publicly traded companies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was funded by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other musicians seeking a tax write-off. Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones had never directed a film before, and the studios refused to fund such a utterly ridiculous film.
In fact, every new era of cinematic storytelling since the invention of film has been fueled by renegades who broke with old financial models. Out of Paranormal Activity to stretch back reservoir dogs, out Night of the Living Dead back to The 400 beats Groundbreaking filmmakers have had to look outside the system for funding.
In the late 19th century, before films as we know them today, early film directors had to rely on alternative sources of funding for obvious reasons. Always fascinated by stage magic and acting, George Méliès went so far as to sell his shares in the family’s shoemaking business to buy his own theatre. But Parisian audiences of the 1890s were jaded – they had seen all the tricks before, in every theater in the city. Méliès worked tirelessly to invent new ones and finally came up with 30 fresh tricks. But by the mid-1890s, he needed something more to keep butts in the seats.
When Méliès attended a presentation of the Lumière brothers’ new cinematograph, a film camera, he was blown away. He offered to pay 10,000 francs for one of the machines on the spot, but the brothers declined – they weren’t constructing their new instrument for magic tricks. It should be a tool for scientific investigation.
Undaunted, Méliès figured out how to build his own movie camera. He founded his own film studio and leaned heavily on the conventions of the theater. He invented his own special effects, editing tricks, and other innovations that became the grammar of cinematic storytelling. And because he paid for everything himself, no one could contradict him over the months and his production became longer and more complex.
What emerged from this completely new production process was the first real motion picture a trip to the moon, about a group of astronomers traveling to the moon and back, encountering aliens and capturing one. Audiences around the world had never seen such a thrilling spectacle, and this one film set the stage for thousands upon thousands of films to follow.
It’s no coincidence that the first film was directed by a magician – the term “movie magic” is as literal as it is figurative. And that’s no coincidence A trip to the moon was independently funded – the true magic always is.
In this current bear market, it’s easy to lose hope. What is cryptocurrency good for anyway? We at $FLIX believe it to be magic dust and rocket fuel, the stuff of dreams. We believe in a golden age of filmmaking coming, powered by Web3 innovations.
Just as every other golden age of cinema began with experimentation and risk by outsiders, we believe our community-funded film model will produce the next generation of great films, create new expressions of old feelings, and expand the opening of the possible. This is the promise of $FLIX: a community-based, decentralized film fund where investors and audience are one and the same and where we decide together what magic is made.
So think about that feeling, that feeling of being blown away by a movie and knowing that you can make it possible again, it’s still possible to go to the moon and we can all go to the moon, if we believe in ourselves moon together.
ABOUT MICHO RUTARE
Micho Rutare is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and producer. During his tenure as head of development at The Asylum, he oversaw the creation and development of the Sharknado films as well as over 100 other feature films, including DEAD 7, which he produced with The Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter. Rutare has written, directed or produced features and episodic content for Syfy, Lifetime, MTV, YouTube Red and Sony Home Entertainment. He is a co-founder of the Win America Back…PAC and produced viral anti-Trump ads for the 2020 election. Rutare is a sixth-generation Rwandan-American and Michigander. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he co-directs the production company American Meme.
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