Written by Dave Clark

As an indie filmmaker, I recently released the teaser trailer for my short horror film Another, based on a feature screenplay I had previously written.

This film I believe, represents an exciting step toward the future of storytelling. It blends time-honored traditional filmmaking approaches with the latest AI visual effects, pointing toward a creative renaissance on the horizon.

Another | Short Horror Film | Made with AI and Live Actionwww.youtube.com

As the writer, director, producer, and crafty on this film, I worked with a talented cast and a small three-person crew to shoot most of the film using classic techniques. We filmed using the Sony Fx6, a moderately priced cinema camera that could match the level of VFX I was planning. I directed actors at practical locations like a friend's Thai Noodle House, which we transformed into a diner, having them convey emotions and narrative arcs playing off one another. I operated cameras and helped with lighting setups. All the hallmarks of my indie filmmaking craft were embraced.

Yet for the more complex, effects-driven scenes, we turned to AI tools to build and enhance what was beyond the scope of our physical production capacity. As an indie filmmaker, realizing a grander scale and imagination on a limited budget is a constant hurdle I must cross. But now, through AI, I have the capabilities and tools to visualize my stories, big or small.

I fed descriptive prompts to tools like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney to generate intricate 3D backgrounds and non-human characters based on my vision for the script. Integrating this with our filmed footage allowed me to complete the more ambitious narrative elements I had envisioned.

The result is a cohesive visual film representing the best of what traditional filmmaking methods and AI innovation offer. I hope audiences will be transported by the live-action emotional plot grounded in our real world, juxtaposed with moments only possible through AI-generated worlds. This collaborative synthesis created a uniquely immersive, groundbreaking experience unattainable by either method alone.

My VFX Supervisor, Rob Nederhorst (John Wick 3, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It), states, "There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to generative artwork. Using this for video is very much in the "bleeding edge" camp. To be frank, I have some hesitation, but that's tempered by the unbridled potential of these tools. As a professional VFX artist for over 25 years, seeing this happen can be intimidating; I won't lie.

However, it's fascinating as a person who loves to investigate new techniques and technology. We aim to utilize these tools to accelerate the creative process and have artists benefit from them."

SAG / VFX / Generative AI - A discussionyoutu.be

I recently had the privilege, along with Rob, to speak at a Screen Actors Guild Webinar to thousands of SAG Actors and SAG board members about the future of AI and filmmaking. But with change comes fear. Rob and I felt a responsibility as traditional filmmakers and VFX artists to fuse AI technology to help lead this discussion.

We talked about the importance of protection for performers' likenesses and that the goal of using AI is not to replace talented human actors but to enhance and enable their art. We received tremendous positive feedback, with actors recognizing this cooperative approach with evolving technologies, keeping their craft essential while allowing bold new creative frontiers and voices to emerge. The President of SAG-AFTRA, Fran Drescher, even felt compelled to share the discussion with her millions of followers concerned about the new SAG contract and AI deal.

As AI and VFX capabilities accelerate while demand grows for more imaginative films on limited budgets, this cooperative approach points to the future of our craft. Blending traditional talent, tools, and creative vision with AI worldbuilding and expansiveness, a personal filmmaking renaissance awaits.

Far from replacing us, AI will enable new stories and cinematic meaning we could have only imagined. Another represents one of the first glimpses of these thrilling creative frontiers now open to me, and other new voices.