VUELE: An Interview with Cameron Chell

Movie collecting just ain’t what it used to be. As video stores shutter and DVD racks shrink, more content is moving exclusively into the online space, mainly to our favourite streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. Want to own your favourite shows like Disney+’s The Mandalorian or Apple TV’s cult hit Servant? Sorry, monthly-subscription option only. Even if you can “buy” something off of iTunes or Google Play, you’re really only leasing that content long term. Good luck trying to sell it to someone else or pass it on to your kids. 

Modern problems require modern solutions and that’s where the new blockchain NFT platform VUELE (pronounced view-eh-lee) comes in. Blockchain? NFT? Like lots of cyber-speak, you may be confused on what these are or how they van help solve the movie collecting problem in a world where anything can be ripped or copied for free a hundred times over. To clear all that up, we chatted with VUELE co-owner Cameron Chell about the platform’s launch via the first ever feature film distributed via NFT, Zero Contact starring Anthony Hopkins. Let’s dive in:

To start, can you explain what a “Non-Fungible Token” (NFT) is?

A good way to think about it is that it’s a piece of digital content that lives in a blockchain. That basically means that it’s on a public or private ledger that allows people to have access to it, but it can’t be copied. You attach ownership to it and you create a limited number of them.

Basically at the end of the day, you’ve got a piece of digital content that has value because it can’t be ripped or distributed by anybody anywhere.

So it’s digital content that functions similar to physical content?

Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. That digital content could be a picture, music, video, any number of things. But you can create a limited amount of them (thereby) creating scarcity. That’s ultimately what gives it value.

If I purchase an NFT, am I able to sell it to someone else?

You can do that on the (VUELE) platform. You absolutely have the ability to sell or trade it or buy other pieces of digital content.

It lives on a blockchain, so when you sell the rights to have access to it, you don’t have the ability to access it anymore. Like if you sold them a DVD and they take physical possession of it, you can’t put it in your DVD player and watch it anymore because you don’t have it.

Moving onto the platform itself, how did VUELE get started?

Currency Works itself has been doing blockchain development for quite some time. We have launched Motoclub.io platform which is basically digital collectible NFTs for car collectors. And if we look at something like NBA Top Shots where they’re taking highlight moments from the game the night before and creating limited copies of them from special angles and selling them to fans who wanna own a limited copy of that dunk from a particular player.

Rick Dugdale and I have known each other for quite some time. Rick is a Canadian filmmaker in Hollywood making movies on $5-20 million-type budgets. We both live down in LA and we’ve been talking for years about the impact of blockchain on the film industry.

The more we looked at the distribution of digital content and the use of blockchain in doing it, it just became clear that films in Hollywood had all the characteristic traits of collectibles. There’s super-fans out there who love the content, there’s people who follow actors, etc.

We’ve all had our DVD and Blu-Ray collections in the past and since the advent of streaming, we really don’t have that experience anymore. We have the experience of paying a monthly fee to watch a movie. We don’t think this takes away from that, but we think this brings back the opportunity for people to get early access to movies rather than waiting for streaming or theatrical.

This is something that can come in right in front of that and say “Hey, if you wanna see the premiere of this latest movie, then you can be a part of the drop if you’re in the VUELE community (and) see this before anybody else sees it and (also) to see special content.

So the NFTs that we’re putting forward (including) Zero Contact, the first movie that’s featuring on the platform, the copies that you have as an NFT are entirely unique. They might have interviews with the actors and directors, they might have outtakes, they might have bits of the movie that are a little bit different than you’d see in the theatre. As a movie fan, you’ve got a piece of content that you and only a limited number of other people own and nobody else can access to that content unless they buy it from you.

NFTs seem to take away some of the anxiety of a streaming platform no longer hosting a favourite show.

That’s a great point. Content today tends to be all about consumption and that’s not necessarily about curation or appreciation for the art. If I wanna go buy a Mazda 323, I can go to a car lot and I can be one of 10 million people who have the Mazda 323 or a souped-up Mustang. It’s still cool, but there’s a million of them.

But if I want a custom job and I wanna have something that’s truly unique because I identify with Mustang, then I’ve got the option to get specialized product and that really doesn’t exist in the (media) content space anymore. But with the advent of NFTs, that’s changing quickly.


Tell us more about VUELE’s debut feature, Zero Contact.

That really is all about Rick and the work that he had done with Anthony in the past (2015’s Blackway) and his credibility as a producer and director and financier in Hollywood. It’s incredible the way they shot the film and the script is really solid. Sir Hopkins took a look at it and said that this is something he’d really like to be involved in.

To be candid, I’m really focused on the technology, the distribution and the product development side of it. Rick is the one who has those relationships in Hollywood and is bringing that content to the table.

That movie is currently set to drop in the first week of September, correct?

You bet. So initially there’s an auction of what we call the “1 of 1” which is the NFT that will have some unbelievable content that won’t ever be available in any other format. I can’t give too much away, but there’s actually a couple of movies in that content drop; a couple of versions, a couple of lead actors, incredible interviews, unbelievable outtakes, even an opportunity for someone else to be starring in the movie. A deeper description of all that will (later) come out.

Then what happens is what we call a drop. A drop is less-rare content, a limited number of NFTs that will have amazing outtakes and interviews that won’t be available anywhere else besides these 10 NFTs.

Then there will be another drop that might be 1000 NFTs and that will be a little less-rare content, but still content that will never be available anywhere else.

Can you expand on what the user experience for this will look like?

So to be clear: in that first week of September, that’s when the auction will occur. Then it will be sometime (later) in September that the (other) drops will occur. The drops are what you register for in order to get one of the first copies which are totally unique.

Let’s say you’re successful in being able to be at the front of the line for those first thousand, then what will happen is you’ll have an account on VUELE just like a Netflix account and that would be your digital collectible area for movies. In that space, you would simply be able to watch the movie collection that you purchased. Or if you decided to, you would take that movie collection or other NFTs and you’d be able to trade them on a trading platform.

So as more and more content is released, star-driven movies and NFTs that are similar to that, you will have the ability to buy, sell and trade those with movie fans.

You mentioned you already have some features besides Zero Contact in the pipeline?

I can’t disclose who they are, but we do have other star-driven films that are part of the line-up that will be coming out over the course of the year. I think what’s exciting about that is that we are seeing a very open-arm approach from Hollywood. 

Hollywood is not viewing this as something that takes revenue away from something else. This is an additional revenue stream as part of the distribution ecosystem. We see it as fitting in as the premiere (outlet) for collectors and fans to be able to get their hands on the content first and for it to be unique content.

Do you see VUELE offering other forms of content besides feature films?

We’re certainly not limiting our thinking to being star-driven feature films, but that is the first initial area that we’ll stay focused on for some time. Certainly the opportunity for independent directors or platforms to revolve around NFTs to help finance movies are all entirely possible. For the most part right now, it’s really all about driving those star-driven films and getting adoption within the space as a whole.

Where do you see VUELE in five years?

We would like to think of it to be the premiere place for people to express their movie fandom via their collection. Everything from potentially being the leading indicator as to how well a movie will do based on how well the drops are doing and really a key marketing piece and additional distribution form for Hollywood. Five years from now, I think it’ll be as commonplace as Netflix is today.

You can register for the Zero Contact drop at Vuele.io 

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