This app combines AI with script tools.
This post was written by Matt Firman.
When I was a kid in the 90s, my dad took me and my brothers to the movies all the time. And if we didn’t go, we’d hire a couple of blockbusters, usually science fiction, because my dad is a nerd. Science fiction is great, but as an independent filmmaker looking back on all of these cool movies, I realize that most of these stories tell us how bad the future could be, not how good it could be.
This is because writers need to focus on conflict, as conflict, by nature, is what interests us most as viewers. It’s practically ingrained in the writing process. That’s probably why many of us in and outside the industry are so suspicious of technologies like AI. We let our imagination run wild. I do this practically all the time as a writer / filmmaker because, if anything, it’s just really fun.
But recently I decided to take a break from filmmaking and work with my brother to build Story prism. Our app fuses AI with scriptwriting tools, so I’ve had plenty of time to think carefully about the relationship between creators and AI. And from that experience, it became clear to me that while AI will outsource many jobs in our lifetimes for screenwriters, filmmakers, and those flirting with the idea of becoming one, it could actually end in a liberating technology that the Could radically improve people’s ability to create stories more effectively.
Let me explain by showing you what we’re doing with Story Prism right now.
What is story prism?
There are many scriptwriting challenges when you know how to end your story, or even where to start. Its lack of inherent structure and the infinite number of ways to put words together and shape meanings through action and dialogue make the process elusive and mind-boggling, especially in prescribing, which is just a fancy way all the mental gymnastics and some writers work out before they type their first slugline.
It’s a way to plan your stories logically so that you don’t get lost in the middle of the script and find that you have to rewrite the whole thing because you’ve convinced yourself that it would be better to structure it differently.
It’s frustrating and it can sometimes take weeks or even months to tell your story. With an interest in technology, my brother and I decided to explore some of the possible uses AI can have to help writers streamline this type of work because, ultimately, we are storytellers and that’s what excites us about most. We want to write the script and shoot the film, not sit around and think about deep premises and how they can be indirectly woven into storylines. We hate sitting around with index cards, charts, storylines, and character nets as we suspect many creators do.
But what if you made all of these index cards and diagrams communicative and interactive so that they aren’t just things you can fill information into, but rather things that you can use to generate relevant information for your story at the push of a button?
Well? That’s exactly what we did with Story Prism.
How does it work?
Suppose you start with a nebulous idea that has so many different possible directions. Of course, you end up writing a lot of paragraphs. But then you lean back and wonder for what feels like an eternity, how the hell are you supposed to take all of this and distill it into a logline? What we’ve done with Story Prism is to ask authors four questions that are commonly used to design a line of minutes:
- Who is your story about?
- What do you have to do?
- Who or what are you dealing with?
- What is at stake?
Authors can either fill them in or hit a generate button and an answer will be displayed automatically. Most of the time, it generates answers that are either close to what you want or, more interestingly, answers that you never considered. And the more you answer yourself, the better the automatically generated answers for the further questions, because your input is taken into account and an attempt is made to develop the most suitable answers.
So when an author fills in these four answers, Story Prism can use this information to automatically create a one-sentence logline for your story. You can also take that logline and generate tons of different premises for it and then experiment with each one by generating ideas that match that particular premise and logline. That way, new writers can literally see the choices in their stories connect with their space, and there’s an interactive AI bouncy board for everyone at every level to throw related ideas and instructions on the wall.
What’s even crazier is that you can use the information you’ve added in all of the fields to instantly create a bespoke Q&A chatbot that you can then ask questions about your story and get answers to further refine it.
This is our Story Foundation application that we are currently developing, but we are also creating other features that we plan to roll out this year, such as: B. a character creator. Just like with Story Foundation, you enter the specific parts that make up a character from weakness to need, or if you need help, Story Prism can generate suggestions for you.
When you’re done, you can use this information to automatically create a chatbot that mimics the character you designed.
That’s true. You can actually chat to your characters! This is hugely helpful for writers as they can now interact with their own creations and stress test them to see how they would react in certain situations.
Essentially, these tools use AI to give writers an exoskeleton for their minds so that instead of spending months prescribing, they can spend a few weeks or less. And beyond these apps, we plan to develop many more tools to help writers with other things like plot building and beat sheets.
AI will automate many jobs and can be used for many things that are both good and bad, but for writers and filmmakers at all levels, AI is not going to replace us anytime soon, if at all, and right now it can actually help creators to write faster and more effectively. Taking the time to master your craft will always be crucial, but the speed and ability to produce a lot of content is also important and the demand is growing daily. With AI, we can give everyone a head start and give more people the opportunity to tell their stories.
As technology matures, AI only becomes more liberating for us because it helps us do bigger things that are harder to achieve, like effective marketing or actually producing a movie. It is obvious that technologists in this area are trying to achieve true sentient AI, but it is not likely right now or in the foreseeable future. Instead, it will likely be a tool like anything else, only instead of simply using it, it will be interactive and communicative, so that it becomes a kind of mirror that reflects back our own thoughts to make them deeper and stronger.
I think if we really start using AI properly in writing and filmmaking we can really start breaking the barriers to entry because at the end of the day there are no real barriers holding people back. There are only the challenges of mastering the art of producing good content.
And once you mitigate these issues, the floodgates really start to open.