Gerald Hanks Filmography

Monday, July 17, 2023

Will AI Replace Screenwriters?

As you may have seen, the historic "double strike" of the writers' and actors' unions has launched a debate about how the studios consider the use of so-called "artificial intelligence" programs to supplement, diminish, or outright replace writers and performers.

Many aspiring writers have considered the question of whether their chosen profession could go the way of the buggy-whip maker and the bowling alley pin setter and go extinct due to automation.

The answer: No. 

Hold on! We're not done!

One of the first things I teach in my VOTE Method seminar is what I call the "Fundamental Theorem of Storytelling".

"The purpose of a story is to evoke an emotional reaction from the audience."

This axiom holds for every approach to art, from painting to sculpture; music to dance; poetry to stand-up comedy.

One aspect that sets screenwriting apart involves how heavily it relies on a replicable structure upon which stories can construct their narratives.

Can a machine learn how to follow that structure, create scenes, and write dialogue and action that fits within that structure? At this stage, the answer appears to be a resounding and frightening, "Yes."

However, writers who worry about an "AI takeover" should ask themselves a better question: 

Can a machine convey the laughter, pain, joy, grief, sorrow, or any other emotion that a well-written screenplay can deliver?

That answer is an equally resounding and encouraging, "Never."

No amount of generative text could ever spark laughter in a crowded theater. No algorithm could ever make an audience stand up and cheer. No computer-generated actor could bring viewers to tears without an actual human (or team of humans) behind it.

When the studios realize that writers are more than "creators" they can intimidate and that stories mean more than "content" they can sell, then they'll truly know the value of the power they hold over this industry. 

Instead of bringing in billions and kowtowing to Wall Street, these studio heads need to see that their responsibilities extend beyond the next quarterly financial report or their annual salary review.

Writers don't build cars. Actors don't assemble widgets. We create art. We tell stories. We build culture. We craft a legacy that will outlive us all and leave an emotional impact on future generations.

To the writers and actors on strike, we stand with you and hope that you get the fair compensation that can keep you going while preserving an industry that we all aspire to join.

To the studio heads and tech companies, you have the opportunity of a lifetime to become the custodians of a new generation of creativity and passion that will last well after the money runs out and the stock price crashes.

In the meantime, this "new generation" of creative dynamos will get ready to join our union colleagues and reap the benefits that will come after these "Hard Time Blues" have passed.

Story Into Screenplay offers professional script analysis and one-on-one consultations from an award-winning screenwriter and veteran contest judge.

You can schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation by clicking here or emailing us at storyintoscreenplayblog(at)gmail(dot)com

No comments:

Post a Comment