Non- fungible tokens, popularly known as NFTs are integrating blockchain and storytelling to empower content creators. Media and entertainment industry veteran, Ceslie Armstrong recently joined Cheeze, Inc. as Vice President of Content and Executive Producer, heading up the Cheeze Content Studio, Originals. Trailblazing her newest discovery, she tells us how photographers, collectors and consumers can benefit from the new platform that allows users to sell their digital assets
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE EVOLUTION OF CONTENT OVER TIME?
The evolution of content over the years is directly tied to its medium of distribution. In 1964, Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase: “the medium is the message” and it largely still applies today. If we look at the mediums of distributing content at its most base level, one would beat a drum, or simply have a conversation. The continual innovation of delivery systems is what drives the evolution. I have produced content across every medium including print, digital, linear broadcast, and live performance. The storytelling skill is a constant. Honouring and producing for the medium is what evolves. The compression technologies have been tantamount in the speed of how our content is delivered. And now, blockchain and NFT technologies are taking the reins. These are incredibly exciting times for everyone – especially storytellers.
HAVING WORKED WITH SO MANY PRODUCTION TEAMS OVER THE YEARS, WHAT DO YOU THINK UNITES THEM?
I have always found that the most successful production teams (no matter the medium) are driven by the love of the story and a solid work ethic. An authentic appreciation and respect for each other is important as a rhythm to the workflow emerges. That paves the
Ceslie Armstrong, Vice President of Content and Executive Producer, Cheeze, Inc. way for creative thinking and hyperawareness. This is why many successful projects and works have the same teams. Production teams are not unlike sports, business, and other teams. When one has a solid team, magic happens.
THREE TECHNOLOGIES/EQUIPMENT YOU SWEAR BY FOR PODCASTING/CONTENT?
Preparation. Workflow. Execution. If one
has not followed some sort of process to tell a story, or conduct an interview, then there is no technology, nor equipment that matters. For podcasting, I always recommend (especially for beginners) to not geek out on the hardware. Cool looking mics are just that. Focus on the content and post-production.
WHAT MADE YOU SAY CHEEZE?
The experience, credibility, and diversity of the world-class team at Cheeze, Inc.; and, the business model of photographyfi rst is unlike anything I have seen in the media, entertainment and tech industries in a long time. Our CEO, Simon Hudson, listened to the audience and users who wanted an elegant, lightweight, and functional service to organize, manage, and share their images. He has overdelivered with the Cheeze app. Our Originals division that I head up, is really a dream come true for so many of the incredibly talented photographers that I have had the pleasure of working with throughout the years. Finally, a tool and process to authenticate, honour and showcase their work, while producing compelling multimedia stories that will live forever. It’s just so cool.
HOW DOES CHEEZE HELP CREATIVES?
We believe NFTs are an evolution of a creatives approach. Currently people who use Instagram and social channels to showcase their work hand over all rights the moment they post. We feel that Cheeze is a way to put more power in the hands of a creative person meaning they can generate revenue immediately for their work and have a transparent register of how it is being used. The same as a user has an @account on Instagram we see them having an @account on Cheeze to showcase all their NFTs.
DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE BEHIND A PLATFORM THAT COULD HELP PEOPLE MAKE BUCKS ON THE BLOCKCHAIN WITH THEIR PHOTOS?
Not specifically; however, I have been a blockchain devotee for a long time. I also never thought I would produce a six- camera live audience series that would stream online. Photos tell stories and the distribution channels are the enablers. At Cheeze, we provide the full ecosystem in an easy-to-use app so our users can focus on their photos that have yet to be shot.
NOW THAT YOU ARE, WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF NFT?
NFTs in our opinion are the future of transparent ownership. In the photography world this has been a problem for many years. Our goal is to re-imagine this space by allowing people, as well as brands to manage and mint their collections on the blockchain. Our beautifully designed app will let people mint an image, as easily as posting a story to Instagram. We are very confident that NFTs will become the main way that people manage ownership of items.
HOW DOES NFT ESSENTIALLY WORK?
NFTs are essentially a trackable way and transparent way for ownership. By wrapping or minting an items, in Cheeze’s case a photo, into a token and publishing it on the blockchain allows people to see the history of ownership. Cheeze will be using the FLOW blockchain to mint images.
WHO ARE THE DIFFERENT STAKEHOLDERS FOR CHEEZE?
Anyone who values memories, stories, moments, physical assets, and the ability to authenticate and manage those assets is a stakeholder for Cheeze.
We decided to choose Dubai as a head office for our engineering team for many reasons. Dubai as a city has been at the forefront of blockchain technology and offers startups such as ourselves many benefits. Prior to starting Cheeze, founder and CEO Simon Hudson ran a digital agency based in Dubai and the relationships already in place from his previous company offer a fantastic springboard into offering brands a new platform for NFTs.
WHEN CAN USERS EXPECT TO EXPERIENCE CHEEZE?
Users will be able to download the app post June to secure their username and start to earn in app currency called Cheddar Coins. These coins will be used throughout the app to mint NFTs and access VIP drops. The full app will be rolled out over the coming months.