I’d like to fill you all in on a little secret. I started Anything Horror back in 2009 and have been running it uninterrupted ever since. Over the years I’ve picked up other talented writers like Deggsy and EvilQueenB who have been fantastic contributors. Know how much all of us have made from writing for this website? Let’s see … I need to account for inflation and the exchange rate … oh yeah, ZERO. For seven years I have been writing for this website and haven’t made a dime. Deggsy and EvilQueenB have been contributing for a few years and have also not made a dime. We do it because we love to write and we love to write about the horror genre.
Why did I bring this us? Resting to become a paid writer for another site has been very difficult. It is damn near impossible to find even the big boys (Fangoria and Rue Morgue) who pay for writers. Everyone does it for free, so why should they pay? Now to make things worse, a company called Greenlight Essentials made an artificially intelligent robot that analyses audience response data and writes stories based on what it thinks people will like. Read that last sentence again and let that really sink in.
According to Business Insider,
Greenlight Essentials says the AI can look at screenplays and, based on the box office results of other movies, figure out if that screenplay will be profitable if its filmed as a movie.
According to [Greenlight Essentials], 87% of films in the box office fail to break even … [Studios are] wary about spending tons of money on expensive products that don’t have a proven track record. That’s why they make so many sequels.
The film is titled, Impossible Things, and not only is this AI program writing “perfect” scripts based on hard data, but it is also creating the trailers (you can see the trailer on their Kickstarted page). The Daily Mail goes into more detail:
The artificial intelligence (AI) software tool analysed audience response data to help the writers craft plot points that connect with viewer demand.
The AI software was used to develop ‘perfect plot twists’ for the film, which is about a grieving mother who, after the death of her daughter, is driven to insanity by a supernatural being.
Additionally, the tool created a ‘specific’ trailer which includes key scenes from the film.
But herein lies the problem (at least a problem that I see). Since the AI program is using data from films that already exist, the movies that are being written by AI, as well as the trailers, aren’t going to be anything original. If you check out the teaser trailer on their Kickstarter page you’ll soon realize that the trailer really isn’t showing us anything new.
The other positive takeaway from this article–and I may be stretching this here–is that the AI still requires human beings to program the computer. So all you aspiring horror screenwriters and filmmakers, abandon your dreams and go take some computer programing classes at your local annex!!
But all kidding aside, Greenlight Essentials is claiming that this AI tool will “save Hollywood,” but I see it as having the exact opposite effect. Say goodbye to whatever creativity is still left in Hollywood and say hello to standard, predictable horror films. So I guess nothing really will change.
What do you think about computers writing horror scripts and producing trailers? Here’s the story blurb for the film:
Disturbed by the death of her young daughter, a career-driven Mother and her out-of-work husband leave the city and move to an idyllic and secluded country home. Trading in a hectic career, Madeline – the wife, stays-at-home to renovate the house and care for her remaining two children: a twin daughter and baby boy; while Matt – the husband, finds any work he can. When Mother and daughter begin to hear voices and see visions of a deranged woman and child ghost, remarkably similar to the deceased sibling, reality becomes skewed. After doubting her own sense of Self, Madeline succumbs to the house’s nostalgia for the past. She dresses like the woman she sees, redecorates the house to fit former times, and adopts shocking new aversions towards her remaining daughter. As her insanity grows, we wonder if history will repeat itself and she will be left with just a son.