Documenting Gavin Wood – Simon Hipkins on #SpaceMonkeys146

Simon Hipkins, producer, director, and filmmaker at Key Pictures. Simon is the creative mind behind the documentary series Behind the Code
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On the Space Monkeys episode #116, Jay interviews Simon Hipkins, producer, director, and filmmaker at Key Pictures. Simon is the creative mind behind the documentary series Behind the Code, a captivating piece that delves into the ambitious world of blockchain technology through the eyes of Polkadot’s visionary, Gavin Wood. In this blog post, we’ll summarize Simon’s insights and experiences from his conversation on the episode 116 of Space Monkeys podcast by The Kusamarian.

The Genesis of Behind the Code

Simon Hipkins’ journey with Behind the Code began in late 2016 when he reconnected with Gavin Wood in Berlin. They had known each other since high school in the north of England, but their paths had diverged for nearly a decade. Gavin, who had already made a significant impact with Ethereum, approached Simon with a new, grand vision—Polkadot. This concept of a decentralized, interoperable blockchain network piqued Simon’s interest, even though he had little prior knowledge of blockchain technology.

Capturing the Blockchain Revolution

As Simon started filming, he realized the magnitude of Gavin’s ambition. The idea of creating a “computer for everyone” was both revolutionary and compelling. Simon documented Gavin’s journey from Ethereum to Polkadot, capturing the evolution of this technology and the community around it.

Simon’s initial lack of understanding of blockchain quickly transformed into a deep fascination. He even produced a television series for Channel News Asia, titled Inside the Crypto Kingdom, which explored Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and the next generation of blockchain technologies.

The Making of Behind the Code

Filming Behind the Code was a long-term commitment, spanning several years. Simon balanced this project with other documentary works, gradually accumulating footage. As the project neared its launch phase, Simon recognized the need to structure the material into a coherent narrative. This led to the creation of a multi-episode series focused on Polkadot’s development, the problems it aimed to solve, and the passionate community driving it forward.

Unveiling Gavin Wood’s Vision

Gavin Wood’s vision was always larger than life. From a young age, he was deeply immersed in programming, creating games and digital worlds. This passion for innovation and his natural leadership abilities set the stage for his future endeavors. Simon’s documentary captures Gavin’s relentless pursuit of groundbreaking ideas and his ability to rally people around his vision.

The Evolution of Polkadot and the Need for a Sequel

The first season of Behind the Code culminated with the launch of Polkadot’s parachains. However, Simon felt there was more to the story. The community had grown exponentially, and the technology had evolved in ways that warranted further exploration. This realization led to the decision to produce a second season, capturing the ongoing development and the decentralized governance model that Polkadot was pioneering.

Filmmaking Insights and Challenges

Simon shared valuable insights into the documentary filmmaking process. The art of storytelling in documentaries involves finding a narrative within the filmed material, often emerging during the editing phase. Collaboration with a skilled editor and composer is crucial to shaping the final product.

Future Projects and Collaborative Efforts

Simon expressed his excitement about the upcoming season and the opportunity to document the decentralized journey of Polkadot. The aim is to make the episodes accessible, inspiring new audiences to engage with the technology and the community. Additionally, longer interviews and in-depth discussions will be released on platforms like The Kusamarian, providing a deeper dive into the minds shaping the Web3 landscape.


Behind the Code offers a unique glimpse into the world of blockchain technology through the lens of one of its most influential figures, Gavin Wood. Simon Hipkins’ dedication to capturing this journey provides an invaluable resource for understanding the complexities and potential of decentralized technologies. Stay tuned for the next season and more insightful content as we continue to explore the ever-evolving world of Polkadot.

Be sure to check out the full podcast episode with Simon Hipkins on The Kusamarian for an even deeper dive into the making of Behind the Code and the fascinating stories behind Polkadot’s rise.

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