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How Doomsday Entertainment and DOOMSDAYX Funded a Music Video with NFTs

Behind the Work 137 Add to collection

Doomsday Entertainment director Gregory Ohrel and executive producer Danielle Hinde, with the team from DOOMSDAYX, talk about the directorial process, independent artists exploring the web3 space and how NFTs can fund the making of an entire music video, write LBB’s Ben Conway and Josh Neufeldt

How Doomsday Entertainment and DOOMSDAYX Funded a Music Video with NFTs

Production company Doomsday Entertainment partnered with Barbados-based artist Haleek Maul for his latest music video - and all seems very normal on the surface. The video contains striking imagery, impressive VFX and a paradisiacal location: all quintessential elements that have come to be expected from modern music videos. But underneath the surface is a tale of innovation in the music industry that might just give some hope to aspiring artists at the dawn of web3.

Partnering with web3 creative tech studio DOOMSDAYX, Haleek Maul funded the ‘Verified’ music video through the minting of over 1,000 NFTs. During the 12 months prior to this project, Haleek had taken the music and crypto worlds by storm by breaking the record on Catalog - a music platform where artists sell audio files as NFTs - when he sold four songs from his INNER EP for a total of 56 Ethereum, valued at $235,000. The 1,000 ‘Producer NFTs’ and 25 ‘Platinum NFTs’ were available to be minted at a cost of 2ETH, and allowed Haleek’s supporters to directly fund the production of the ‘Verified’ music video. Obtaining one of the NFTs also granted fans exclusive access to behind the scenes content, governance rights for creative and marketing decisions, accreditation as an associate producer and more.

Now that the video has been released - described by Doomsday Entertainment as “a stunning visual polyptych of Barbados proper” - the DOOMSDAYX team has auctioned it off as a one of one NFT, as well as 10 separate ‘music video moments’ NFTs, in partnership with NFT marketplace OpenSea.

To discuss the production of the video, how NFTs can be a viable source of funding for artists and the intricacies of building a web3 ecosystem to connect fans with creators, LBB’s Ben Conway and Josh Neufeldt spoke with Danielle Hinde, Owner/EP at Doomsday Entertainment, director Gregory Ohrel and the DOOMSDAYX team.  

LBB> Why did you decide to collaborate with Haleek Maul? Was there a previous project of his that inspired this partnership?

Danielle> We saw Haleek was breaking records on Catalog by selling his tracks to web3 fans, and he shut down the ‘Friends with Benefits party’ in Miami with an amazing performance. He’s been an independent artist for many years, but we thought, “what if we rally behind this talented crypto-native artist with a web3 funded and produced a music video to give him the success expected from major label artists?” And here we are today, with 1.5 million views on the music video already in less than a week.  

DOOMSDAYX> Haleek Maul is extremely inspiring to us. Not only is he a really brilliant person and talented musician, but he’s also been paving the way for independent artists via his work in the web3 space. He has broken records selling his music as collectibles and has created a ton of noise in the community, so he felt like a perfect first partner to start with. Most importantly though - we love his music. 

LBB> When you first heard the song, what ideas for the video immediately came to mind?

Greg> Since I knew Haleek was from Barbados and that we all wanted to shoot the music video on the island, I really wanted my ideas to be related to it. That’s why you have the girl with a dress made of the national flower (called the Pride of Barbados.) Also, the flying fish is a strong symbol, as is the flag facing the storm (they very rarely touch the island, I always thought it was fascinating), and some other very typical elements from people in the video. The music and Haleek's lyrics were giving this freedom of creativity because it's a very rich track.

LBB> You mentioned that much of the project utilised web3 technologies. Can you tell us more about the development process?

DOOMSDAYX> The video was funded by a 1025-piece NFT collection. The NFTs were based on two tiers - ‘Producer NFTs’ and ‘Platinum Producer NFTs’. ‘Platinum NFT’ holders got individual associate producer credits and ‘Producer NFT’ holders got a group associate producer credit. The idea with these was that we could bring the community into the creation of a video, with behind-the-scenes access, conversations with the production team, director and artist, and have them rally around what we hoped would be a very impactful music video in the crypto space. Utility for those NFTs didn’t stop with the videos. As DOOMSDAYX’s first-ever collection, their holders will have access to our entire ecosystem that is being built out via new mechanics that are still in development. 

LBB> Funding a music video with NFTs is undoubtedly a very new idea. Has this project drawn additional interest or attention to the use of crypto technology in today’s society?

DOOMSDAYX> It’s certainly made a lot of artists turn their heads! We are excited to continue to find new use cases for music on the blockchain and feel that we’ve only scratched the surface with this first collection and video. 

LBB> What was the final budget that you raised from the NFTs and had to work with on the shoot? At what point did you know the amount you’d be working with, and did it impact your creative ideas and opportunities?

Greg> This is more a producer question, but I felt very free on that video. The limitations I had came from the fact that these shoots don’t happen very often on the island — which is a bit more used to documentaries, etc — but in terms of budget, we had very nice freedom of creativity.

LBB> What was the production process like generally? How was the atmosphere on set and with the cast? How long was the shoot(s)?

Greg> We shot for three days. The mood was great because lots of people from the crew were extremely proud to shoot a Bajan video, for a Bajan artist, showing so many details of the culture and way of life of Barbados. We were always welcomed in all the neighbourhoods we did location scouts in.

LBB> How much interaction and input did you have from the ‘producers’ who bought platinum NFTs, both before and during the production? 

Greg> We had a few calls and chatted with them via Discord, and I feel the producers were really enthusiastic about the project. We really tried to show them all the processes of creating a music video — which can be long, sometimes challenging, and always full of surprises (especially when you have absolutely no idea how much effort is involved.) For example, just to put the artist on a little rock for playback in the middle of the ocean.

LBB> One of the coolest shots in ‘Verified’ is when Maul shatters the glass and falls through. What went into achieving this shot, and in general, how did the team at Doomsday go about producing the VFX?

Greg> This shot was very challenging. Because we were in Barbados, it was actually very hard to find plexiglass big and strong enough to hold Haleek and Chiief at the same time, while also being wide enough to be able to shoot them from below without seeing the structure holding the system. We created a double-layer of plexiglass which was tested both by the executive production company before the shoot, and also by the grip and on-set VFX team to make sure it was solid and safe! It finally turned out great thanks to their effort, and to the efforts also of Mathematic, the VFX company working on that project. It was very complicated to film, but with everybody’s help, it makes a super cool shot.

LBB> What was the VFX production collaboration with Mathematics like? Why did you choose to partner with them for this project?

Greg> We actually worked with them on my previous music video for Residente. They are very nice and talented people who are up to the challenge, so it was a no-brainer decision!

LBB> How did you find all the vibrant locations you used in the shoot? What different settings were you looking for in the video?

Greg> I really wanted the video to feel authentic and not like the usual postcard you might think of when you imagine Barbados having not stepped foot on the island, or having only stayed at the beach without exploring the whole place. This is actually exactly why I am making a little bit of fun of that ‘limited’ image one can have of Barbados: when the shot of the people playing volleyball on the beach actually turns out to be just a calendar image, and then they’re brought into a much more real and authentic location. I really love all the places we shot in — they were full of colours, full of life, and everybody in the streets were happy we were showing their hood.

LBB> How did you shoot one of the final scenes with the birds flying past Haleek on the rock in the sea?

Greg> It's a secret, I can't talk about it. But to give you some hints, this island was in the ocean, but not super far away from the coast, and the fish’s presence is thanks to some magical digital work. 

LBB> Do you have a favourite shot from the video, and why? And what was the most technically or creatively difficult scene to shoot?

Greg> My favourite is maybe the one with the goat in the car, because I love the double layer of the message it gives, with Haleek chilling on the seat next to it. I am also very proud of it because we filmed it without hurting the animal. It took a lot of respect and patience — making sure the goat was feeling comfortable and waiting for it to turn its face at the right time in the direction of the camera to have the perfect shot.  

LBB> How did you select which ‘moments’ from the video to use for the NFTs?

DOOMSDAYX> We have all had working copies of the video while Doomsday Entertainment was going through the post-production process. There were always certain scenes that we were looking forward to seeing in full colour and with final VFX. They were resounding favourites amongst the team. 

LBB> What led to your partnership with OpenSea? And what does this ability to re-sell the NFTs add to the campaign? 

DOOMSDAYX> OpenSea was inspired by our novel take on music NFTs and contribution to the ecosystem, and offered us a spot on the home page in celebration of the auction. As a group of collectors, this was a high honour. Reselling the NFTs is not specific to DOOMSDAYX — you can buy and resell any NFT. Our hopes are that pieces that become more historic and coveted over time will find their place in secondary markets, with organic price discovery. But ultimately that is for time to tell and out of our control. 

LBB> What challenges have you faced during this project? How did you overcome them?

Greg> It's the usual task of directing a music video. A lot of unexpected events happen, like rain and wind the day you are supposed to shoot the introduction, making it a real nightmare to perform a stabilised movement. But as usual, in this kind of situation, you need to adapt, be patient and trust your team who is doing its best to achieve the best shot you can in the conditions you have!

LBB> What has the response to the campaign been like?

Danielle> The response to the video has been overwhelming, especially considering Maul started out with about 7,000 Twitter followers, and now has about 1.5 million views on this video. The Bajan community is so proud to have such incredible production quality brought to their country, and they have all been so excited to get so much international attention.

DOOMSDAYX> The response has been really positive. We’re so happy that the community loved the video as much as they did because so much work went into it on the Doomsday Entertainment side and also for our core team. Ultimately, we are so happy to create a piece of art that will always exist and that we are proud of. 

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Doomsday Entertainment, Fri, 29 Apr 2022 16:24:55 GMT