Once reserved for the pages of science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is now rewriting the script for the media and entertainment industries. Pictured above is a de-aged, voice-synthesized Mark Hamill in The Book of Boba Fett – Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)’s use of machine learning-based algorithms and neural networks was able to bring the beloved character of Luke Skywalker back to the screen for viewers.
ILM, known for their work on iconic films like Jurassic Park and Star Wars, is leading the integration of AI into the film industry, with startups like Cinelytic following suit to provide AI-driven data analytics for studios to predict project risks and potentials, analyze scripts, and more. They already have deals with major studios like Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures, demonstrating AI’s potential to revolutionize Hollywood and transform audience experiences.
Every decision – from casting the right actor to creating compelling characters – can make or break a film’s success. This is where AI steps in – startups such as Scriptbook can offer technologies that can not only predict box-office success and audience analytics but even comprehend and generate screenplays from scratch. Much of the hefty, post-production tasks can be simplified as well with the use of deep learning algorithms, which can quickly achieve the visual results that would otherwise have taken much longer if hand-edited by a visual effects (VFX) artist. Evan Halleck, VFX artist of Everything Everywhere All at Once, accredited an AI tool called Runway for optimizing much of his work. “I was cutting out the characters, placing them cleanly on a plate shot in minutes versus what takes half a day” (Variety).
Despite these impressive achievements, an important question stands: will the use of AI take away the personal authenticity that goes into filmmaking? While AI technologies can greatly enhance a film’s appeal both visually and literally, they lack the human touch that can bring a
true sense of emotional resonance to a story. AI-generated dialogue or characters may feel flat and formulaic, lacking the depth that human writers and actors can bring to their work. Additionally, biases in algorithms can impact the need for diversity in storytelling and talent.
However, industry leaders like SAG-AFTRA are already taking action to prevent these circumstances. After all, AI’s not going anywhere – according to Pitchbook, generative AI companies received a total of $1.37 billion in investment in 2022 – more than the sum of the previous five years combined. Darren Hendler, who’s well-known for his VFX work on Avengers: Endgame, said, “Hollywood’s automated future isn’t one that takes humans out of the frame, but rather foresees a future where creative people get to keep on being creative.”
From the modern blockbuster to the introduction of sound (“talkies”) after the Silent Era, many of the movements that are now integral to film were met with skepticism. These defining moments in cinematic history have marked significant shifts in storytelling and paved the way for new possibilities in film. And as we continue to explore the possibilities with AI, we may just be witnessing yet another groundbreaking movement that will redefine how we tell stories on screen.
Picture: https://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/1220715-book-of-boba-fett-bts-photos-mark-hamill-l uke-skywalker