What Do You Get When You Mix Art and AI?

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

The threat of AI to the film industry, a hit piece that misses the point entirely, and Steve Coogan has a “Strangelove” with the theatre.

But before we go there, we have to and hopefully, for the last time, report on the writer’s strike.

Let’s Go!

HOLLYWOOD TO BECOME AI-POWERED?


WGA authorized writers to go back to work on Wednesday morning. While a landslide win for writer’s pay increases and streaming residuals, there are major setbacks surrounding the usage of AI.

Below are the WGA’s original AI deal points, issued On May 1st:

  • AI won’t write or rewrite literary material.
  • AI won’t be used as source material.
  • Union-covered material won’t be used to train AI.

Below are the revised AI deal points in the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement with AMFTP, issued on September 25th:

  • AI is not a “writer.” Material produced by AI is not considered literary material.
  • Companies cannot force a writer to use AI to generate literary material.
  • If a company hands a writer an AI-written screenplay or story to rewrite, it must pay the writer at least the minimum compensation.

This last concession is troubling. And we have some thoughts on it.

But first, it is worth noting that currently there are more than 800,000 AI-generated books for sale, right now, on Amazon! In case it’s not clear, we do not believe this is a good thing. Not for writers and certainly not for readers.

So from what we can see from the negotiation above, ChatGPT, or any future large language models for that matter, can now leveraged to create the underlying material that fuels Hollywood.

So as a test, we asked chatGPT4 (the latest version) to combine Under the SkinMemento, and Clockwork Orange in the style of Paris, Texas.

What it spat out was a dreary Wizard of Oz-esque saga of Scar-Jo’s character roaming desolate streets and meeting Leonard Shelby and Alex DeLarge all while managing to become less alien. Maybe it was an unfair test but, yikes!

If you think something similar could not happen, we’d like to remind you that in 2022, a team of Swedish Physicists secured a studio deal to write a screenplay using AI —teaming up with Ted Hope (Former head of production of Amazon Studios and once darling of the New York indie scene), who asked the AI to evaluate AI-generated ideas and then test those ideas with an AI-generated test audience.

We think it is only a matter of time before development executives start tinkering. And this tinkering is not good for writers in the long run.

So while writers are understandably eager to get back to work we hope this short-sighted concession does not come back to bite too hard.

For more:

SAG will not be meeting with the Studios this week.We have no confirmed dates scheduled and there will not be meetings with the AMPTP this week,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said Tuesday.

What the WGA gained in the strike. Pay increases for Film and TV contracts:

  • 5% – year 1.
  • 4% – year 2.
  • 3.5% year 3.

Streaming bonuses: WGA will now receive confidential viewership metrics to facilitate bonuses to writers whose shows draw huge viewership.

Minimum staffing to combat mini writer rooms:

  • 3 writers for 6 episode series
  • 6 writers for 13 episode series

THE INDUSTRY NEWS

The creator

Variety’s take-down piece of The Creator feels a little too targeted against director Gareth Edwards for our liking. Lensed by friends of The IndustryGreig Frasier and Oren SofferThe Creator is a sentimental, visually poetic, look at the future of weaponized AI. And as we said at the top, the piece misses the point for the film is not pretending to be anything more than this. Not every studio film has to fall into the binary of Marvel or Nolan. So we’re here for it even if it is not for everyone.

HBO season 2 of The Last of Us is back! And so are the Zombies! Wait, sorry Craig Maizen, we meant, “Clickers.” Seriously though, Season 1 was a great success, and a lot of fun, and we wish both Craig and Neil Druckmann our heartfelt congratulations as they can now get back to writing, and we cannot wait to see the result.

The Golden Globes are getting new categories: blockbuster movies and stand-up comedy specials. Is this an attempt to save the dying award show? Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press thinks inviting comedians will foster a little more thigh ‘”slapping.” The only kind of slapping we would want of course.

THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

(Manuel Harlan)

The multi-faceted Peter Sellers
 was never more prolific than his tri-character performance in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Now, Steve Coogan has taken up the mantle in the first-ever theatrical production of a Kubrick film.

Gone with the Oscar. Hattie McDaniel’s 1939 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Gone with the Wind has been missing since the late 1960s. Hattie bequeathed it to Howard University in 1952 but they seem to have lost track of it. Luckily, the academy has a heart of gold. They’ll be re-issuing her Oscar to Howard University on October 1st.

Kristen Stewart to take on a producing role in her new “Gay, Scooby-Do” style series, Living for the Dead. She narrates as her cast delights in a “gay-ance,” snappy comments about haunted hotel decor, and giving a major side-eye to a Catholic priest.

Moonlighting to Hulu. Yesterday we mentioned Bruce Willis’ fight with dementia; today he is once again in the spotlight with his breakout TV series coming to the streaming service. This was teased in a tweet by its creator, Glenn Gordon Caron in a tweet back in late 2022 and announced again today via X.

TECH SECTION

filmmaking and AI

The multi-layered dimensions of identity in Ingmar Bergman’s Persona are about to get a facelift. Göteborg Film Studios, in partnership with The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, is using an AI to replace the original actresses’ faces with different performers. Jan Holmberg, Ingmar Bergman Foundation CEO hopes this will add an extra layer of existential dread… as if the film wasn’t petrifying enough.

The functionality of Netflix’s search bar is difficult to use and we prefer sifting through their thumbnails instead. But that, of course, has its own problems. So we were eager to hear about new tech that might well solve the ongoing battle with the remote. Rabbit AI, Tubi’s new tool for naturalistic search, upgrades the user experience. Blake Bassett, Tubi’s senior director of product management, explained:

“Over the past 20 years or so, people have been conditioned to using an unnatural and unhuman way of searching for content with keywords.” Now, you can type in “ funny movies featuring sharks ” and get “Sharknado.”

Let’s hope this new AI-powered search can recognize other phrases besides the above example.

INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

love is love

Starting his career as a 2nd AD and script supervisor on Yorgos Lanthimos’ break-out feature Dogtooth, writer/director Christos Nikou is well-studied in absurdism. His latest film, Fingernails, is a meditation on the pain felt through the journey towards love—with a plot device revolving around Riz Ahmed and Jeremy Allen White having their fingernails ripped out as a love test, Check out the trailer.

Todd Haynes’ may be prepping for his own Persona reboot but his latest, May December, examines an actress’ (Natalie Portman) obsessive study of a tabloid star, Julianne Moore. As Portman preps for her films, she moves into Moore’s home. Haynes’ natural penchant for dissecting layers of identity with slow-burn films is never more promising than in this trailer.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Baz Lurman wanker

Baz Luhrmann was named the new Jury President of the 3-year-old Saudi Arabian Red Sea Film Festival. The festival runs Nov 30-Dec 9 and will showcase 17 features. Luhrmann will oversee the competition with all the flare we’ve come to know and love, and had this to say:

It’s an honor to be presiding over this year’s Red Sea International Film Festival’s Jury, alongside leading and emerging lights in the industry, and to be part of the evolution of change that is happening through cinema across the Arab region, Asia and Africa. Since the early days of my career, I have experienced the power of storytelling and festivals to open doors and forge bridges between artists and across cultures. I look forward to celebrating both emerging talent and the incredible established auteurs from the region in the vibrant, diverse and distinctive cinematic offering that the Festival is becoming renowned for presenting in Jeddah.

Iranian director Jafar Panahi (3 Faces, No Bears) demanded the release of set designer Leila Naghdipari from jail. Naghdipari was arrested for participation in recent protests marking the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death. In a public appeal, Panahi said:

Today, Iranian independent cinema is more than ever struggling to breathe under the boots of the security forces…I’m worried about Leila and I’m worried about Iranian cinema.

We believe cinema has the power to change the world even if that change is slow coming, and we hope that a quick resolution can be found.

Before we sign off…

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Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel MillerClarke Scott, and Spencer Carter.

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