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Your Hollywood Dreams Are Now in the Hands of A.I., but It's Not Time to Panic... Yet | Opinions | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS
THOMAS WOLF

Your Hollywood Dreams Are Now in the Hands of A.I., but It’s Not Time to Panic… Yet

It’s impossible to deny the fact that technology revolutionized our way of living – from self-driving transportation, voice-operated home appliances, robot-operated restaurants, facial recognition systems, and now, to aid in greenlighting films.

The entertainment industry is a risky business. Thousands of scripts fall into the hands of studio executives, agents, managers, and producers, yet only a few hundred see the light of day. If they do get produced, there’s always that possibility of flopping at the box office. For studios, every decision is vital as millions of dollars are on the line.

Warner Bros. is the first among the major studios to find solutions to eliminate the risk by partnering with Los Angeles-based startup, Cinelytic, to utilize their Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered project management system that provides comprehensive data and analytics in helping studio executives make informed decisions as to what kind of projects to produce and the top-tier stars to cast for a specific project.

The system is able to calculate and evaluate the worth of the actors and the expected return of investment…

The system is able to calculate and evaluate the worth of the actors and the expected return of investment in theaters and streaming platforms to better assess their strategies in terms of packaging, marketing, and distribution locally and internationally in a matter of seconds. One of its promising features is to easily input a set of potential actors or actresses and switch one for another to identify how it could influence the film’s performance and success in various territories.

While this is groundbreaking stuff, AI systems are no stranger to Hollywood. In 2015, ScriptBook launched an algorithm that analyzes screenplays and provides substantial data in developing stories that would perform well at the box office. In another instance, Vault offers a service that could determine which demographics would most likely have interest in a particular film by tracking data through its trailers’ reach and impression.

Can Technology Do It All?

The advancement of technology poses a threat to society as it could potentially take over human jobs. While AI continues to evolve and provide the necessary data, patterns, and solutions to predict a film’s success, it is still incapable of making creative decisions – a skill that is heavily required in filmmaking.

Human expertise is especially crucial in any industry where igniting one’s imagination is involved. One’s personal taste, experience, and ingenuity could not be substituted by technology, which is why studio executives and creatives will always be an important factor in the success of a film. From an insider’s perspective, AI is not equipped to digest and process the emotions embedded within a dialogue, visualize how characters would exhibit emotions, and understand hybrid genres, which are some of the fundamental elements that give life to the narrative. This system could overlook or reject scripts that could potentially become award-winning films simply because it is unable to detect or comprehend the “why” factor behind it. Moreover, AI systems solely rely on data that has worked in the past, therefore ignoring the opportunity for innovation and inclusion of societal or cultural changes in the years to come.

This system could overlook or reject scripts that could potentially become award-winning films…

At the development stage of a script, script analysts and development executives work collaboratively to methodically dissect and breakdown the elements and beats of the story. This has been a proven method of discovering the next big hit since the birth of Hollywood because humans are able to utilize their knowledge, skills, and unique vision to find the substance concealed in every line.

AI could not completely eradicate this system, but it could serve as a guide to steer them in the right direction, ensuring that they are considering all possibilities to ultimately make the most out of their investment.

We are, as simply as we can put it, a creative entity that strives to curate, cultivate, and create content covering culture and the people that shape it.

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