This post was written by Lion El Aton.

I run FILM CRUX, and I get hundreds, even thousands, of comments from people freaking out about artificial intelligence. They’re comments from filmmakers freaking out about how it’s the best thing in the world, and freaking out about how it’s the worst thing in the world.

We cover these wild new AI tools in our viral Mindblowing series, and, most importantly, we use them to make our own work, but my views on it… are a bit extreme to most.

It’s like having Jarvis from Iron Man, and not having him help.

Most detractors would say it’s not that simple, but it really is. I made an entire trailer with the help of AI, in two weeks, by myself, with almost no budget (under $500).

You see, AI doesn’t replace artists, it gives them superpowers. If you can bear with me, this may actually blow your mind. Or, at the very least, give you something cool to think about.



'Sol Killer'

Credit: Film Crux

Way back in 1997, the best chess player in the world lost to a chess AI called Deep Blue. Fast forward almost three decades later, and chess has never been more popular.

There are two main things creatives who are entirely against AI seem to be missing. People like seeing other people doing things, and people like to do things themselves.

There’s a robot that can shoot a basketball into a net, and make it every time, but no one pays to watch it play. They pay to watch people play, and most importantly, people like playing.

You don’t have to stop doing the things you like doing, just because someone (or something else) can do the same thing. If you like watching TV, are you going to stop watching TV because a robot can watch TV too, even if they can watch TV "better" than you?'

AI is also optional. If you don’t want to use it, don’t. Many filmmakers still shoot on film. I love records and the tactile feel and smell of real books. I still mainly use Apple Music, iBooks, and Audible, but I do plenty of the analog stuff too, and that will always be an option if enough people want it to be.

So no matter what happens with AI, it’s not going to stop you from making what you want to make.

But that’s only one reason people are freaking out over it. The second reason is…

Filmmaking Jobs

'Sol Killer'

Credit: Film Crux

So you can’t be replaced by AI, but your labor absolutely can.

No one can stop you from making films, but that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to having someone pay you to make them. This brings me to what I have to say, but absolutely no one wants to hear - AI is a wave, and you can either get crushed by it or learn to surf.

You see, most filmmakers don’t get paid to make films as it is (or get paid very little). They make them simply because they love making them like playing video games.

Walt Disney said it best, “We don’t make movies to make more money. We make money to make more movies.”

Outside of that vast majority of filmmakers and creatives who are happy to do it for its own sake, there are also people who like to make money from doing the thing they love. After all, what’s better than that?

Incidentally, it’s never been easier to make money as a filmmaker. In fact, there has never been a time in history when more filmmakers (and creatives in general) have made more money from doing the thing they love.

I got rich from filmmaking, but I’m not alone. I know countless people anecdotally who have done the same thing, and even more who simply earn a good living from it, even in the midst of the writer’s strike.

The amount of people who make money from filmmaking, and how much money they make, is directly correlated to advancements in technology, and there is no indication that the trend won’t continue.

The Future

'Sol Killer'

Credit: Film Crux

Sure, lots of specialists will go away, and if you do one niche thing, it’s time to start evolving, but technology has always done that. After all, that’s what technology is.

The invention of the lightbulb put oil lamp lighters out of business, but no reasonable person would complain that’s not preferable to the alternative. Streaming put Blockbuster employees out of business, but most people would certainly not want to go back to that.

The automobile removed the need for carriage drivers, but no one’s clamoring to bring those back.

Progress is always painful, but so is staying the same, and I would argue, that staying the same hurts more.

'Sol Killer'Credit: Film Crux

Summing It All Up

So complain about the carriages, the oil lamps, and Blockbuster, but then get out there and make something amazing, something better than you ever could before.

When the future comes, maybe you’ll look back and smile.

This post was written by Lion El Aton.