• Wondering which camera, gear, computer, or software to buy? Ask in our Gear Guide.

screenplay DEEPSTORY

It's because movies require a lot more budget to reach their full potential. So things funded by mindless corporations actually do often turn out better than indie artists. It's complicated exactly why, and I've explained it here and there in the past, but the bottom line is that with movies, a lot of times an underfunded artists really can't execute his or her vision, and so the corporate guys 4/10 vision, executed at 100%, is actually a better final film than the creative artists 10/10 vision, executed at 5%.

Imagine if I wrote the script for Die Hard, but it had to star Carrot Top, because thats who I could afford. Basically the game is rigged.

Here's the good news, at the same time that technologies are tilting the pinball table towards corporations, other technologies are democratizing the playing field. 10 years ago I could have never created a convincing sci fi film at home, but to some degree, that's now becoming quite possible.

It's not 100% one sided, technology will help us as well, and I think that has been left out of the conversation to some degree.
I really wish I was 30 years younger... I would love to be able to DEDICATE 5 years to learning my way around something like UNREAL ENGINE and do it all -- well most of it -- myself.
 
It's because movies require a lot more budget to reach their full potential. So things funded by mindless corporations actually do often turn out better than indie artists. It's complicated exactly why, and I've explained it here and there in the past, but the bottom line is that with movies, a lot of times an underfunded artists really can't execute his or her vision, and so the corporate guys 4/10 vision, executed at 100%, is actually a better final film than the creative artists 10/10 vision, executed at 5%.

Imagine if I wrote the script for Die Hard, but it had to star Carrot Top, because thats who I could afford. Basically the game is rigged.

Here's the good news, at the same time that technologies are tilting the pinball table towards corporations, other technologies are democratizing the playing field. 10 years ago I could have never created a convincing sci fi film at home, but to some degree, that's now becoming quite possible.

It's not 100% one sided, technology will help us as well, and I think that has been left out of the conversation to some degree.
I get your point, but it's no different to music. A song with absolute shit lyrics and a rubbish singer will fare much better than a well written song sung by a good vocalist, as long as it has the right money and tech/equipment behind it. Especially if the singer has the 'right' look and the producer has the 'right' connections.

Mainstream producers could easliy pick quality over mass appeal but they choose not to. Because they work for huge businesses and are more interested in profits than seeking out innovative and unique stories. A case in pont is screeplay competitions. Very few winning spec scripts actually get produced. People write a great story that beats thousands of other scripts and what is their prize? To have that award winning script made into a reality? No. The most likely scenario is they get offers from production companies to help them write a script for a story they've already decided upon. A story that's based upon a profit-making, 'appeal' checklist.
 
Last edited:
I get your point, but it's no different to music. A song with absolute shit lyrics and a rubbish singer will fare much better than a well written song sung by a good vocalist, as long as it has the right money and tech/equipment behind it. Especially if the singer has the 'right' look and the producer has the 'right' connections.

Mainstream producers could easliy pick quality over mass appeal but they choose not to. Because they work for huge businesses and are more interested in profits than seeking out innovative and unique stories. A case in pont is screeplay competitions. Very few winning spec scripts actually get produced. People write a great story that beats thousands of other scripts and what is their prize? To have that award winning script made into a reality? No. They most likely scenario is they get offers from production companies to help them write a script for a story they've already decided upon. A story that's based upon a profit-making, 'appeal' checklist.
And get asked, "What else ya got?" LOL.
 
You can't teach Talent to a Human. How you going to program it into a machine?
Besides, Emotions, like music, are not digital. Both Feelings and notes bleed into each other.
 
You can't teach Talent to a Human. How you going to program it into a machine?
Besides, Emotions, like music, are not digital. Both Feelings and notes bleed into each other.
It depends on your definition of 'talent' and in respect to what.

I think the most apt definition of talent is: "a special natural ability to do something well"

Computers have a very distinct and natural ability to do many things well. Their brains don't tire like a human, they work at a rate we humans can't hope to achieve and they will focus on the specific task they've been given without distraction. In certain respects, you can 'teach' a computer a talent, moreso than a human because a computer doesn't have the same limitations. It can be as clever or talented as the person who programs it how to 'think' in respect of what we want them to do.

So if the task they've been given is to come up with a story based on a set criteria from a production company, I don't doubt they can come up with something at least as good as the current garbage doing the rounds.

Accurately portraying human emotion and generating engaging dialogue.... I think they would struggle with that currently, given current technological advancement. But it won't be long until they are 'taught' to mimic that too, in my opinion. If you can describe an emotion, then you can tell a computer how to expoit it to effect in a story.
 
Last edited:

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
You can't teach Talent to a Human. How you going to program it into a machine?
Besides, Emotions, like music, are not digital. Both Feelings and notes bleed into each other.
The thing is that the machine can make so many calculations...
when you look at a script its not just what is on the page but its also what alternatives the writer considered and disregarded...

if a computer is looking at a million alternatives every time a decision is made - then in the end you have an extremely well thought out storyline.
If a computer can recognize a good script.. then it can write 10 million scripts and then give you the best one.

look at it that way, if it can write a good script 1 in 10 million times then it can just crank out scripts by the 10s of millions
 
Last edited:
It depends on your definition of 'talent' and in respect to what.

I think the most apt definition of talent is: "a special natural ability to do something well"

Computers have a very distinct and natural ability to do many things well. Their brains don't tire like a human, they work at a rate we humans can't hope to achieve and they will focus on the specific task they've been given without distraction. In certain respects, you can 'teach' a computer a talent, moreso than a human because a computer doesn't have the same limitations. It can be as clever or talented as the person who programs it how to 'think' in respect of what we want them to do.

So if the task they've been given is to come up with a story based on a set criteria from a production company, I don't doubt they can come up with something at least as good as the current garbage doing the rounds.

Accurately portraying human emotion and generating engaging dialogue.... I think they would struggle with that currently, given current technological advancement. But it won't be long until they are 'taught' to mimic that too, in my opinion. If you can describe an emotion, then you can tell a computer how to expoit it to effect in a story.
"Set criteria" is the operative phrase. What you're describing is striving for mediocrity, and that's what's wrong with movies these days, they are all formula.
Firstly, Machines can be logical, but logic itself is not always reasonable. That's why computer games can be outsmarted. There is no binary logic behind unreasonable human behavior.
And secondly, it's not even theoretically possible as a machine cannot be both the Observer and the Observed as a human can. Ever been in love? Or held your new born child for the first time? Many of us have. Both events are common experiences, but who among us can describe those feelings to a person who has not themselves shared the experience? Color to a blind man? Who is going to write that code? Even Shakespeare couldn't explain imagination-- what programmer is going to?
Stories are about People, not places or events. Ultimately, all a computer can do is just be Dramatica Pro on steroids.
 
The thing is that the machine can make so many calculations...
when you look at a script its not just what is on the page but its also what alternatives the writer considered and disregarded...

if a computer is looking at a million alternatives every time a decision is made - then in the end you have an extremely well thought out storyline.
If a computer can recognize a good script.. then it can write 10 million scripts and then give you the best one.

look at it that way, if it can write a good script 1 in 10 million times then it can just crank out scripts by the 10s of millions
Your argument is logical but not reasonable. How would you judge which of 10 million scripts is the good one? With a computer?
There are NEVER a million FEASIBLE alternatives, but the computer considers what's logically possible, so it considers cannibalism every time a character gets hungry. So what? I'd jump right to the candy bar on the table.
But the Big Question remains: Who teaches screenwriting to the computer? Billy Wilder? Aaron Sorkin? Some guy with a Computer Science degree, maybe?
I can't be replaced with a computer, although I'm sure I would thrive as a Rewrite Artist if producers start buying computer generated scripts.
 
Stories are about People, not places or events. Ultimately, all a computer can do is just be Dramatica Pro on steroids.
It'll be more powerful than that but even IF it's NOT? What makes you think that wouldn't be good enough for a studio? LOL. Throw enough advertising at it as part of the formula and they'll be lining up to buy tickets.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Your argument is logical but not reasonable. How would you judge which of 10 million scripts is the good one? With a computer?
There are NEVER a million FEASIBLE alternatives, but the computer considers what's logically possible, so it considers cannibalism every time a character gets hungry. So what? I'd jump right to the candy bar on the table.
But the Big Question remains: Who teaches screenwriting to the computer? Billy Wilder? Aaron Sorkin? Some guy with a Computer Science degree, maybe?
I can't be replaced with a computer, although I'm sure I would thrive as a Rewrite Artist if producers start buying computer generated scripts.
pattern recognition teaches it to recognize a good script. computers are exceptionally good at pattern recognition if you use a neural network based AI.
 
Your argument is logical but not reasonable. How would you judge which of 10 million scripts is the good one? With a computer?
There are NEVER a million FEASIBLE alternatives, but the computer considers what's logically possible, so it considers cannibalism every time a character gets hungry. So what? I'd jump right to the candy bar on the table.
But the Big Question remains: Who teaches screenwriting to the computer? Billy Wilder? Aaron Sorkin? Some guy with a Computer Science degree, maybe?
I can't be replaced with a computer, although I'm sure I would thrive as a Rewrite Artist if producers start buying computer generated scripts.
Yes... With a computer. LOL. Look it up, they're damn near doing that NOW already i.e., feeding human-written scripts into software to see if they're worth developing into a production. It's already being done.
 
Last edited:
I would say we are very far from realizing an AI system that can "create" anything well enough on it's own. The examples discussed so far rely too heavily on programmers and specialists working together to come up with a "value" system that computers will use to accept or discard various suggestions, scenes and dialogue retrieved from some repository.

In other words, simply moving the experts away from writing screenplays to becoming programmers isn't really AI; systems that are able to do things on their own is AI. DeepMind did this with the game of GO:


But machines writing works of art? I don't think we are nowhere near realizing this dream.

The closest thing we have to machines writing their own material is based on the infinite monkey theorem and that is hardly feasible. Any decent screenplay that IS created with the help of computers will still be attributed to the writers and developers responsible for programming the AI's value system.

Again, that isn't true AI.

Now, you might argue that modern chess engines have used this approach to great utility since even the strongest human grandmaster has no chance against such "AI" based systems. The differences between machines playing chess and writing works of art, however, are quite stark. A chess engine has an extremely vast number of positions it must analyze before it chooses one it thinks is best based on a score. I don't think this approach holds much promise in the realm of AI written screenplays, simply because the output produced cannot be scored as this is highly subjective; something computers are incapable of doing on their own.

If we can program computers to realize such subjectivity, we are essentially talking about singularity; a point in time where the technological advancement is so rapid, than human civilization itself would look nothing as it does today. Forget about screenplays, computers capable of programming themselves would be a much much more significant thing to see.

But do not worry about such things happening in our lifetime.
 
I am not worried about it either. Formulaic approaches to filmmaking is everything that's wrong with film today and it will get worse. Plagiarism, whether it is done by humans or computers will be met with disdain from viewers, leading more and more people away from Hollywood into other arenas to get quality entertainment.

But hey, no need to argue about this. Let's see how these sorts of scripts are received. Personally, all I care about is whether it is material that is original and moves me as good art tends to do.

From your link, it doesn't seem this is something computers will be capable of doing on their won, as I have been saying; it is just helping studios decide what to keep and what to discard based on neural nets and massive amounts of data sampling. This shit ain't new...it has been used for quite some time, even grocery stores use it to choose what products go in what shelves in what geographical locations.

Sorry...but this is not screenwriting

While it obviously can't measure how good a film will be artistically, Warner Bros. will likely use it during early production phases to separate ideas likely to succeed from those that most likely aren't. This follows a run of several years during which the studio has suffered a number of high profile losses on such titles as Justice League and Pan, as well as a few instances where its output hasn't performed as well as hoped (e.g. Batman v. Superman).
 
I am not worried about it either. Formulaic approaches to filmmaking is everything that's wrong with film today and it will get worse. Plagiarism, whether it is done by humans or computers will be met with disdain from viewers, leading more and more people away from Hollywood into other arenas to get quality entertainment.

But hey, no need to argue about this. Let's see how these sorts of scripts are received. Personally, all I care about is whether it is material that is original and moves me as good art tends to do.

From your link, it doesn't seem this is something computers will be capable of doing on their won, as I have been saying; it is just helping studios decide what to keep and what to discard based on neural nets and massive amounts of data sampling. This shit ain't new...it has been used for quite some time, even grocery stores use it to choose what products go in what shelves in what geographical locations.

Sorry...but this is not screenwriting
LOL. I agree with you more or less. But not when it comes to structure where so many 'artistes' seem to think structure is formula.

IT AIN'T.

You make some broad statements but no offense... It's just your opinion. There are plenty of examples of plagiarism in movies and it didn't hurt boxoffice one bit. Maybe if someone were to OUT it we would see that disdain but that rarely happens. Unless someone in the Entertainment Industry knows for a fact that they aren't going to get anymore work from that industry? Not a whole lot of OUTING actually happens.

It is what it is.

I do think more and more people are moving away from movies and Hollywood though... I think that's a good thing for what it's worth. I think the system needs to die a cold hard death... Maybe that could be the very thing that saves it.

There is AI already writing books... So screenplays are not far away and as I said... It's being worked on. It's definitely going to happen. And? There's already AI out there that helps writers "think" of what they should be writing next. It analyzes what you've already got or what you give it and determines what should come next.

I assume once ENOUGH data patterns have been MINED? This is going to change into a fully written screenplay. Sure, the first ones are definitely going to need some work and some screenwriter is going to get that job... LOL.

I provided those links simply to show the movement toward AI... It's fast and furious. Once they've mined and properly categorize enough data? They'll be spitting out specs and feeding them into other AIs to see how they might perform. It's already on the table and it makes sense. Except for a very small segment of Hollywood? Writers are occupational hazards even though the concept and story usually comes directly from us. They do NOT like us getting too big for our britches. If there's a way to eliminate us? They will do it. If they can all but eliminate us? They will do it.

Charlie Kaufman can barely get a meeting these days. That's where we're headed.
 
Last edited:
AI writing books?

Based on what? Other books? Facebook posts? Podcasts? Forums such as this? That's not AI, that's just data mining of HUMAN input and splicing them together in some random and possibly incoherent way.

Monkeys pounding on a keyboard. Again, this is not writing to me.

And anyways, the way GOOGLE and FACEBOOK censors and perverts the truth these days, it will also be a convenient way of simply regurgitated propaganda back to the mass of sheep who wouldn't know the difference between a good and bad script anyway.

Call me skeptical but this is more of a novelty than anything else. If it produces anything of value, it will be more incidental than anything else.
 
Well it still makes for an interesting discussion and in reality? I seriously doubt they'll ever be able to get any kind of AI to come up with high concepts that work. I agree that most if not all it could come up with would be derivative of other films... Which is the very reason I always preach coming up with a high concept if you're going to even bother writing a spec script to begin with.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Wouldn't high concept be much easier for AI? Like, a movie like Jaws vs. character driven like Taxi Driver?
 
Top