Script to Screen: Harnessing AI During the Hollywood Strike

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As a scrappy indie filmmaker, I’m always looking for ways to level the playing field against the big studios. So, when the Hollywood strikes hit, bringing productions to a standstill, I saw an opportunity to get creative. Could emerging AI tools help me make progress on my passion projects even without the usual army of professionals at my disposal? I decided to run an experiment and harness artificial intelligence to take my scripts from page to screen during the industry shutdowns. Here’s what I discovered…

The strikes couldn’t have come at a worse time. I was in pre-production on my new feature film, racing to finalize locations, hire crew, and get all the complex pieces in place. The day I got word that half my team was walking offset indefinitely, my heart sank. It was the kind of setback that could torpedo the whole production.

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But I’m no stranger to challenges. Learning to do more with less comes with the territory when you don’t have a major studio budget. I started asking myself – how could I adapt and keep my film alive during the industry shutdown?

That’s when I turned to artificial intelligence as a potential solution. I had been hearing a lot about emerging AI that could write scripts, create storyboards, even build full CG assets. While the technology was far from perfect, I figured it was worth testing out. At least I could make incremental progress instead of everything grinding to a halt.

One of the first tools I tried was an AI script consultant. I fed it my existing screenplay draft and within minutes it analyzed the plot, characters, pacing and more. While the feedback was a bit rudimentary, the AI was surprisingly good at identifying potential holes and opportunities for improving the narrative flow. This gave me solid leads for reworking some scenes that had felt a bit flat on the page.

Next, I tested out an AI Logline generator to workshop my one-sentence pitch. Out of dozens of results, I found a few hooks with genuine creative spark. Refining loglines is an art, but the AI could suggest unexpected word combinations I wouldn’t have considered. Between the script feedback and logline options, I had powerful ideas for strengthening my story.

When it came to previz and storyboarding, AI definitely saved me huge time and hassle. I used an AI art tool to take my script sluglines and quickly generate storyboards with custom images. Were the boards rough? Absolutely. But they let me visualize scene sequencing and camera angles to communicate flow and tone. 

I also experimented with AI video generation tools to bring select boards to life as previz animatics. Given just text descriptions, the AI composed crude “motion comic” style previsualization I could show the cast and crew to sell the vision. The fidelity wasn’t there yet, but it was mind-blowing to see my words translated into actual shot sequences in minutes.

Some of the most stunning AI capabilities were around visual development and asset generation. I created entire 3D model sets, character designs, vehicles, and more through AI image generation and CAD tools. While too low resolution for final use, the designs provided strong creative direction for my production team down the line.

Of course, I didn’t blindly turn my production over to the machines. AI is far from a magic bullet, and I treated it as an assistant rather than an “auto-filmmaker.” However, selectively applying AI to guide and accelerate certain tasks enabled me to take big steps forward when I had limited human resources available.

Tools like Nupitch also allowed me to pull these elements together into polished pitch decks I could use to secure financing even during industry unrest. With AI-assisted scripts, storyboards, character art and model renders, I could paint a vivid vision to investors that would have been impossible otherwise.

The strikes in Hollywood are a reminder of the fragility of big productions. As filmmakers, we need to keep exploring innovative solutions. While still early stage, creative AI tools let us stretch our resources further and gain an edge. We may never have the studios’ giant budgets, but harnessing AI for our micro-studios just might help spark a new wave of indie film brilliance.

At Nupitch, we provide user-friendly tools to help indie creators make the most of emerging technologies like AI when crafting your film pitches. Our online software lets you quickly build stunning decks with integrated analytics that convert viewers into true believers. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest features for leveraging AI creativity as part of your next winning film pitch. The future is in your hands!

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