“It was a liberating experience that generated some exceptional work.” This takeaway from Director, Lee Peffer, made sense when we watched his short, Nounish Smorgasbord. It’s a fast, super creative piece that comes off as zany and completely non-corporate. But when we heard more from Lee on the making-of, a whole new picture of liberation came into view.

“From an animator’s perspective, it was an exciting project. The financiers provided virtually no creative interference, and there were no client meetings or check-ins.” Check. Fewer meetings equaling more freedom to roam? Many of us can relate.

But it’s when Lee went on to describe the particulars of the project’s financing and use that we really began to get a glimpse of a new, more open-ended kind of project than anything we were used to in the past.

First, he explained the piece’s origins. “Nounish Smorgasbord was a submission to Season 1 Short Shorts by the Nouns DAO. The guidelines were straightforward: create a 15-second comedic animation incorporating Noggles, the signature square glasses worn by all Nouns.

“In collaboration with 2D animator Gian Burani, we developed a thorough 2D animatic. After finalizing the 2D animation, I ‘rendered’ the black and white animatic into dimensional clay sculpts, using my garage downshooter and DragonFrame for capturing the frames.”

Ok…cool…straightforward enough, right? Sure. As long as you’re still assuming that the Nouns DAO has something to do with, perhaps, a part of speech. Maybe a grammar org? Nope. That would be focusing too much on the word you recognize here: noun, and not enough on the part you don’t: DAO.

DAO, it turns out, is short for Decentralized Autonomous Community and even though Lee did a bang-up job of explaining what this is, it still took the helpful explainer video he provided (see below) before we really started to catch on.

In his words: “For a limited period, you had the opportunity to mint your personal copy of my short film as an NFT on the Ethereum Blockchain. This whole thing was funded by the Nouns DAO (decentralized autonomous community). Anyone can propose ways to utilize the community funds, which are then voted upon by the fund contributors. Several individuals from the animation community, including folks from Stoopid Buddy Studios, proposed to finance 10 short films and organize a small film festival in LA. They invited pitches from the animation community, and my pitch was among the 10 selected.”

If that doesn’t totally make sense upon first read, you’re not alone. The work, however, speaks for itself. The film debuted at the inaugural ‘Short Shorts’ film festival in LA, along with 9 other submissions by various artists. “In alignment with most festival participants, our work was released under an “Open Copyright” License,” Lee told us, “giving you carte blanche to use the film as you wish!

“Proudly, ‘Nounish Smorgasbord’ bagged the “Most WTF?” Award! It’s now available for viewing on the Nouns Stories Youtube channel, and you can also find it on the Ethereum Blockchain!”

Ok, still confused? Seriously watch this video (and thanks for the education, Lee, now that we know, we can never go back):