Artificial intelligence has entered the distribution game. Are you excited or terrified?
I have to admit, when the prophets came to warn us about machines and automation, I assumed my job in Hollywood was safe. I thought that even with the giant tech corporations taking over, and the constricting of studios, and the whittling away of jobs, that writing and original ideas would be in the clear.
But with the rise of artificial intelligence and the desire to cut costs, it seems like everything is destined for a computer to do the work.
The newest iteration that came across our radar is Largo.ai. Please excuse the technical speak, but the program has a cognitive pattern understanding system from video, audio, and text. I hesitate to say it's a neural-net processor, a learning computer, but it seems close!
They convert these cognitive patterns into meaningful insights for producers, writers, directors, and distributors.
Here's what happens. You upload a screenplay, and then it delivers a complete workflow management tool that analyzes the commercial viability as well as the important patterns related to certain micro-genres and demographics for each section of the script.
They even delve into casting, finding the most commercial actors and actresses within your budget. It also provides something called the risk scores for the corresponding actors. Like how risky it would be to attach someone based on the amount of money they normally bring in.
That feels like it could get sort of complicated.
An immediate worry I have is a computer not being able to tell the audience's thirst for a project starring someone from a marginalized race or group—for instance, a BIPOC actor who has never gotten any chances. But that's just off the top of my head.
I submitted an email to ask for a demo of the program. If they reply, I will totally let them do one of my specs and see how it breaks down.
Another thing the program can do is forecast the potential revenue of your film at each step of the development from script, rough cut, and fine cut. They claim that their accuracy is over 80%. I'm not sure how that was measured but if it is true this could remarkably cut down on development expenses.
One thing it cannot ever predict is having a great script go off the rails with a director who can't handle it. Or a great director who gets handed a bad script with a good cast, and still can't make something valuable.
There's so much nuance, and I have no idea how they would account for that.
But I have found that tech people never look at Hollywood as "art meets commerce." They look at it as "commerce." That takes the human element out of play. And It tries to codify the magic down to a science, which it can't...
Because it's goddamn magic!
The full presentation generated from a screenplay includes:
- Casting Propositions
- Financial Forecasts (Streaming/VOD/Theatrical)
- Proposed Distribution Companies
- Investor Connections
- Genre Recipe
- Audience Demographics
- Character Analysis
Would you use this tool? Let us know in the comments.