- Using ChatGPT to author a script 'The Na'vi Godfather'
There is currently a writer’s strike happening in Los Angeles; specifically, the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike is an ongoing labor dispute between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) labor union (representing 11,500 writers) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). One of the issues that is in dispute is the creation of content by or through Artificial Intelligent means.
While the current LLM models such as ChatGPT, Google Bard and Microsoft Bing Chat are in their nascent stages and are not likely to author a movie today, we are not far from a time when it will be absolutely possible.
ChatGPT, for example, can certainly be helpful for authoring a movie script. As a language model, ChatGPT has been trained on a vast amount of text data, including movie scripts and screenplays. This means that it has knowledge of various storytelling techniques, character development, and plot structure that can be useful for writing a script.
Additionally, a LLM like ChatGPT can provide suggestions and feedback on various aspects of the script, such as dialogue, pacing, and plot twists. And can help generate ideas for plot points, character arcs, and other elements of the story.
Writing a successful movie script requires more than just following a formula or template, it requires a unique creative vision and the ability to bring that vision to life through the written word. While I do not believe that an AI is ready to create a blockbuster movie, it can certainly provide a jumpstart for writers.
Let’s explore this idea further.
Oftentimes, in Hollywood, movies are pitched as ‘an idea from one film meets an idea from another movie’, to create a new movie. So, let’s do that. I thought it might be interesting to combine the highest grossing film with the best made film and see where that takes us.
First, I want to know which are the highest grossing movies of all time. A quick Google search provides the following (these are not inflation adjusted):
Avatar (2009) - $2.79 billion
Avengers: Endgame (2019) - $2.798 billion
Titanic (1997) - $2.19 billion
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) - $2.07 billion
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - $2.048 billion
Jurassic World (2015) - $1.67 billion
The Lion King (2019) - $1.656 billion
The Avengers (2012) - $1.519 billion
Furious 7 (2015) - $1.516 billion
Frozen II (2019) - $1.450 billion
What makes a high grossing film? According to ChatGPT, there are several factors that contribute to a film becoming a high-grossing film, including:
So we understand that it is not just the script but, since that is the goal, it would be helpful to understand the plot of the movie Avatar. So I asked ChatGPT for a breakdown, by act, for the movie Avatar.
Next let’s search and find the highest acclaimed movies of all time. Another quick Google search provides The Godfather as being “widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time”. This leads me to create the following prompt: Combine the themes from the movies Avatar and the Godfather to create a new movie titled: The Na'vi Godfather. Breakdown the new movie by acts. ChatGPT returns "The Na'vi Godfather" which combines the themes of "Avatar" and "The Godfather" to create a story of power, loyalty, and the struggle to maintain one's values in the face of corruption and greed.
Now let’s ask ChatGPT to author the first page of the script for The Na'vi Godfather.
Not sure that I like that. What if we combine E.T. and the Godfather, and add a non-binary character, and an Archie Bunker-type too. And write it in the style of Michael Mann? Making the movie intense, with high-stakes action sequences, a moody atmosphere, and a strong sense of moral ambiguity.
Here is the story outline, ChatGPT also suggested a working title!
And here is the first page of the script.
As you can see from the examples above, ChatGPT would be a great jumping off point for a writer or as a way to augment the writing process. As a last question, I asked, how soon until an LLM like ChatGPT will be able to author a blockbuster movie script? Here is the reply from ChatGPT…
“As an AI language model, ChatGPT is capable of generating text that can be used as a basis for a movie script. However, it's important to note that creating a successful movie script requires much more than just generating text. It requires a unique creative vision, storytelling skills, and the ability to engage and captivate audiences."
"While language models like ChatGPT are advancing rapidly, there are still limitations to what they can do. At present, they are not capable of developing a fully-fledged creative vision or understanding the nuances of storytelling that make a great movie script."
"That being said, AI technology is advancing quickly, and it's difficult to predict exactly when an LLM like ChatGPT will be able to author a blockbuster movie script. However, it's likely that we will continue to see advances in AI technology that can assist writers in the creative process, such as generating ideas, identifying plot holes, and providing suggestions for improving the story. Ultimately, the creative aspect of writing a movie script will likely remain in the hands of human writers for the foreseeable future.”
Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!