Small Grants: "JPGs Against Humanity" Docu-Series

Hello Nouns!

To preface my inquiry, please do allow me to offer a brief background about myself. I am a 3x Emmy-Nominated filmmaker based in Los Angeles and working in the Hollywood film industry. I am a member of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild and am often working on documentary projects – most recently on a feature-length film with Oscar-Nominated producers, which was recently acquired by a notable studio for wide distribution.

Phew! Now that I’ve gotten the cringy humble-brag stuff out of the way, it should be noted that this knowledge is presented only to lend credence to my experience in this specific area as it pertains to my small grants proposal.

I am currently developing an episodic documentary series titled “JPGs Against Humanity”, the story structure of which shares parallels to the popular show “Chef’s Table” on Netflix. The name originally started as an obvious tongue-in-cheek reference to the card game, but has since taken on a deeper meaning for me as I document the multitude of ways in which NFT culture has become a war of attrition pitting deeply-flawed artists against powerful status-quo enemies standing in the way of global adoption. Those “foes” may include financial struggles, mental health issues, and socialization difficulties.

The series is intended to onboard a generation of artists and art collectors who are completely unfamiliar with blockchain technology. It will shine a light on issues that “privileged” nations are oblivious to, such as how much of the world lives in extreme poverty and are unbanked – people for whom the ability to sell a single NFT for $10 and receive funds in a MetaMask wallet can be life-changing. We will focus primarily on artists and NFT communities with origin stories outside of those “first-world” countries so that rich cultural traditions can be preserved on camera and we can show how those have influenced our most cherished NFT pieces.

With this general overview of the series in mind, I’d like to present a concept for a pilot episode that cross-promotes Nouns with a female Ecuadorian artist whose artwork and imaginative lore bears a striking resemblance to Nouns! This is Uman (@worldofumans on Twitter):

NFT communities can proliferate rapidly when presented to collectors of similar values and interests, and it is my thesis that Nouns and Umans have much in common. BitUmans in particular can be observed as having similar traits, including some with glasses very much akin to the iconic symbol of the Nouns.

One primary obstacle to global adoption is education, and despite the immense strides that have been made in the last few years, many people still view crypto and NFTs through the lens of being a giant ponzi scheme wrought with low-effort scams. Words like decentralization, governance, and even blockchain itself are complete gibberish. This film series will add much needed context to the web3 space by educating people on these concepts in a subtle manner; that is to say, they’ll be wrapped up in stories of art, culture, and history, which are much more digestible and relatable to the average person. It will also demonstrate how NFTs unite people together and help individuals “find their tribe” in a strange online world that is refreshingly devoid of identity politics.

If any of this logic resonates on an emotional level with the Nouns community, I welcome a public discussion about my goals with this project. But the TL;DR here is: I believe there is an impactful opportunity to continue growing the Nouns community by funding a feature-length documentary episode that is paired with the story of Uman. As a filmmaker, I am driven to offer a cinematic experience that will put much of this space into perspective for those outsiders who may look down on us.

The production of this documentary episode can be funded almost entirely with ETH and USDC by using crypto-friendly vendors for the services we need. For example, Travala can be used to book our crew’s travel to/from Ecuador. This would be just one city on the agenda of course, because the story of Nouns would need to be equally documented! To that end, we would welcome the Nounders as story producers to cooperatively shape the narrative and help discover the overlapping histories of a Nouns x Umans collaboration.

Other expenses include camera equipment rentals, crew rates, meals, hotels, and all post-production in Los Angeles. I estimate that these expenses would total about $50,000 USDC (or about 40 ETH at the time of writing).

As a final presentation of my thoughts, I will leave you all with a teaser trailer for “JPGs Against Humanity”. The focus of this trailer is for a completely different episode, but should still imbue you with a sense of confidence in my ability to deliver an uplifting message that the NFT/crypto space sorely needs right now. I expect that, given recent market tremors, many “doom docs” will be coming – and my mission is to combat those with a reminder of why we fight to change the world through code.

JPGs Against Humanity Teaser Trailer


Teaser looks pretty great. I’d watch it. :slight_smile:

As far as the doc, the costs seem pretty reasonable, but only if it gets watched.

Are there any plans for distribution at this time? Do you have a reasonable expectation for how many eyeballs will see this work? I’ve seen several of these projects pop up on Discourse over the past few months and most of them have trouble getting traction. I think it has to do with the films just being a sponsorship of sorts. Is there any plan to actually include Nouns in the story. If so, what do you picture that looking like?

I think there will need to be more detail for this to gain any momentum here.

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Thanks Andrew! Of course, always happy to expound upon my thoughts. I tried to keep it fairly concise to start and will address questions that may arise here.

Regarding distribution: this would likely be a stairstep process, culminating in acquisition by a streaming platform after an aggressive grassroots campaign. An example I like to reference on this topic is Cobra Kai, which is now in its 5th season but which started as an independent series on YouTube Red/Premium. Netflix picked it up only after it had sufficient viewership from indie marketing.

The great news here is that we have the elements in place for that grassroots campaign. The best outcome for Nouns community would be to attract eyeballs outside of its own walled garden. As Uman is most famous on the Fantom blockchain, the Fantom Foundation has already pledged its support as far as sharing content on its social channels. That gets the ball rolling with a potential reach of 467,000 followers for starters. From there, once we have analytics to demonstrate its popularity (evidenced from two bustling ecosystems), we’ll be in position to take it to some of our connections within the Hollywood “system”.

Is there a plan to include Nouns in the story? Yes! It wouldn’t make much sense to ask Nouns to support a proposal that had no relevance. Uman was born in South America, so we’ll use that as our unifying story location. Given that Nouns already has a vibrant global community, I suspect there are many stories to be told that take place in this region. I am aware of efforts made by NounsAmigos to spread awareness at ETH Bogota in Colombia, which is not far from Ecuador. So I believe if we were to create a Venn diagram between Nouns x Umans, the overlap may reveal a lot more than just similarities in art styles. And in doing so, we end up cross-pollinating by introducing Fantom’s ecosystem to Nouns, and visa-versa!

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Any other work you can link to? And lastly, would you be interested in me bringing this to Nouncil to try and gather more feedback?


I would very much appreciate having more eyes on the proposal, so please do circulate it if you think it has value! I would hope to make this idea as collaborative as possible. Together, we are stronger :slight_smile:

As far as my own work goes in the world of film, here are some additional links that may be relevant in bolstering confidence:

  1. TNABTC Highlight Reel – This is a short montage video I put together for the folks at Quantum, which is hosting another large crypto conference in Miami next month. This is where I first met the Fantom team

  2. 7000 Miles to Freedom – This is one of my Emmy-Nominated documentaries. Shot in South Korea

  3. Birth of Taste – This is a trailer I edited for a docu-series about farmer stories in Oregon

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Watched the 7000 miles to freedom. Are you the narrator from Pittsburgh? I’m about an hour north of Pittsburgh myself. :slight_smile:

Wow, small world! Hah. I’m not the narrator, but I was the one filming it. Pittsburgh is my hometown :slight_smile:

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Sick. Loved that Mt Washington shot at the end. I’ll get this into Nouncil tonight. Hit me up if you’re back in Pittsburgh someday! We can grab a cup of coffee or something.


If you’re able, come join the Nouncil Discord. You can join the discussion if anyone chimes in. I thought of another question too. How long would this documentary be that you’re proposing?

I’ll be back in Pittsburgh in March, so that’s a possibility for sure! Until then, I’ll keep toiling away in LA-LA-Land… maybe there’s some nounders out here?

The series is episodic, with each one having likely one or two “heroes” that viewers can identify with. I imagine most episodes will be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour long so that there’s ample time for character development.

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Hey Aspenth, I’m intrigued at the story. You clearly have chops to do this. And I think your prop is very well written and presented. I think Andrew hit you with the question that I would echo is going to be the thing you really need to hit: How will you use Nouns and how will this proliferate Nouns? It seems like films are always a bit of a tough sell to get traction, but probably even more so right now in this market/climate. I would encourage you to figure out ASAP a great answer and probably some visuals to show the Nouns community what including Nouns and proliferating Nouns would look like. I saw your answer to Andrew which is a starting point, but I’d encourage you to get in depth and specific if you want more traction. I think it’s the first question most people would ask and they’d be looking for a specific answer. But I appreciate you work and what you’ve got here. The tie in to South American Nouns community could be a great angle. Hope this helps you continue to develop your idea. I’m in Nouncil so I’ll see you over there.


Thanks for the support and vote of confidence!

I am formulating a plan that specifically outlines one possible collaboration that would be a lot of fun and which ticks all of my boxes for educating people about both NFT communities as well as art and geographic history. And of course, it would be a delightful thing to film for a documentary as it’s designed to spread cheer. :slight_smile:

Once I run the idea past Uman and get that green light, then I’ll circle back with my idea!

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Update! I have conferred with Uman about the idea I had, and she’s on board. :grin: So, I can now lay out my vision for how this episode could specifically benefit Nouns:

Unlike a lot of NFT artists who exclusively offer their work in digital form, Uman is a traditional artist whose pieces sometimes have matching physical counterparts. Her most recent painting, completed just days ago, offers a vibrant color palette that meshes well with Noun culture (this link shows a short process video of it being made)

As I said before, she is highly accomplished with some serious accolades – an important consideration when identifying any artist worth collaborating with. She was nominated as a top 5 artist this year at NFT NYC and had her work on Times Square Billboards. Umans were also named the Best NFT collection at a large conference in Abu Dhabi last year. Shortly after that event, a private collector made her an offer on a physical painting+NFT combo that was worth approximately $400k USD.

All of that in mind, one major goal of this series is web3 education on the most basic level, but taking concepts familiar to “degens” and wrapping them up in stories of art, history, and culture. Before I dive into the really fun part of this pitch addendum, I’ll outline the terminology that I believe can be explained with Nouns as the primary example of those concepts in action:

  1. Productive vs Unproductive Assets - The system of owning Nouns and using that ownership to create proposals which can then tap into a well-endowed treasury is one of the best use cases I’ve seen in web3. And it’s among the best arguments to be made in favor of owning an NFT, versus a simple right click/save as. This can be a powerful segment in the episode demonstrating exactly what is possible when discussing utility.
  2. Governance - This term likely means nothing to outsiders, but the voting system in place here in the Nouns community is highly effective. The rarity of Nouns characters, combined with the typically high cost to buy-in, cultivates a democratic ethos where everyone is acting in the best interests of all. There is much to unpack here with Nouns again being the shining lighthouse.
  3. PFPs as a Brand/Social Ice-breaker - Umans are among the most recognizable PFPs on the Fantom chain because of their color vibrancy. Someone once said to me, “There are communities out there which you’re not even aware of, where you already belong.” When you get on Twitter or Discord, and you see a handful of strangers proudly using a similar PFP as yours, there is an instant bond formed because it says, “I am you… you are me.” I believe this holds true with Nouns as well – if you see a Noun PFP in the wild, you are likely to consider that person a friend before any words are uttered.

Now for the fun part of this proposed collaboration! An artist from my hometown once proliferated his brand with great effectiveness by offering people an opportunity to own a physical painting for free, but he turned it into a scavenger hunt. He would leave large signed canvases around the city with virtually no warning – only a photo on Twitter showing its location. The first to find it got to keep it, but of course each one was tagged with all sorts of embedded links and information that he wanted you to know. It became a game that everyone in the city knew about.

I believe an effective strategy here would be to do the same with Uman creating a physical print in her trademark art style that is Nounish. Naturally, anyone stumbling upon such a canvas would want to know what it is, so they’ll be inclined to visit any of the links we attach to it. We’ll scatter these prints around her hometown in Ecuador, in places that are of significance to her. In doing so, we can educate people not just about Nouns and NFTs, but about Ecuadorian culture and history too. Of course, this would all be filmed in the documentary so that we can perhaps capture some unscripted moments where Uman gets to personally meet an unsuspecting new owner of her work.

For those unfamiliar with Ecuador visually, it is said that there are no white walls here. :grinning: This is an example of what the streets look like, so you can get a sense of what our shots might look like. Visualize Nounish canvases dropped in an area like this with instructions for whoever finds it to keep it and then at their leisure, research the included “info kit” that talks about both Umans x Nouns. Depending on funding, we’ll look to get as many canvas prints made as possible so that we can maximize the amount of cheer this project spreads.

I just want to say, you’re doing an amazing job and I’m a fan. :heart_decoration:

Thank you! :grin: I welcome all feedback to determine if this is something that could have support if it were ever put on-chain for voting