From Bitcoin to Books & Movies: a Chicago Partnership

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Brandon Elsasser

Bitcoin to Books and Movies, hedge fund talent Brandon Elsasser is also a debut author. His 2020 memoir Once More Without Feeling was recently optioned for production by storylab, a former Hollywood-based production company now in Chicago, and 10,001, a strategic design consultancy and content studio based in Los Angeles.

Elsasser’s book has yielded a film project aptly titled The TradeThe film was adapted by award-winning producer and Cherokee screenwriter Jack Roberts of the film festival darling The Rock’n’Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher and TV series Dad, Inc. Roberts and Elsasser will executive produce.

Few films have attempted to do what the partnership is co-creating with the hedge fund manager Elsasser. The Trade is one of the first tokenized feature films; notably, the upcoming Roe v. Wade film is another utilizing digital securities. Securitize, a firm reinventing private capital markets through leveraging leading blockchain technology, was engaged by Elsasser and Roberts to turn The Trade into a digital security that may be traded on the open market. 


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The Trade will star a strong female lead in a Wall Street world. The film is currently in talks with its top choices for the whip-smart woman trader who must outsmart a conspiracy perpetrated by her mansplaining boss, all while trading one home life for another. The film is part financial thriller and part love story with strong, witty characters. 

“In order to really navigate the underbelly of finance in a fresh way, it required a female lead, which is a departure from the book. She’ll give us a lens into both worlds the story explores in a way that few other perspectives can. It’s become a rather compelling design for our times,” Roberts said

Roberts should know about design for entertainment – he literally wrote the book on it. His bestselling Echo Designs Her Way Out of a Paper Bag (2019) is making the rounds through the business world and global universities. Roberts developed the work in Parsons School of Design’s Global Executive Strategic Design Program in Paris, France, where he now teaches.

Roberts hopes to team with iSpeak Media Foundation founder Alicia Haywood, his long-time producing partner and former Harpo executive. He’s also stated that the project will be an intentionally diverse cast and crew, as well as a “safe set,” referencing the #metoo movement and the Hollywood Safe Set Initiative.

“Film’s undergoing overdue innovation. It’s not true innovation unless it’s forward movement for everyone,” Roberts was quoted as saying, “not just what we create but how we create, affects us all.” 

The Trade is currently slated to shoot in Chicago this fall and is working with The Chicago Media Angels

“It’s not true innovation unless it’s forward movement for everyone,” Roberts was quoted as saying, “not just what we create but how we create, affects us all.”


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