Discover more from The Cognitive Revolution
Hollywood strike updates and the future of AI-powered cinema
🎬 This week on The Cognitive Revolution: WGA/SAG Writer's Strike update, and a 12 minute short film superpowered by DALL-E featured in the MIT Tech Review.
Welcome back to The Cognitive Revolution! This week, it’s Entertainment Week.
Hear from Trey Kollmer, WGA writer and executive producer at CBS about the Hollywood strikes and his GPT-4 experiments, and Stephen Parker and Josh Rubin, creators of The Frost, an AI powered short film.
Hollywood Strike and AI Roundup with Trey Kollmer
Trey first appeared in episode #30, when he and 2 other Writers Guild of America members discussed the WGA's AI-related strike demands, and also shared a glimpse into how they are beginning to use AI as part of their writing processes. That episode was very well received, thanks in large part to Trey's nuanced perspectives, and I encourage you to check it out if you haven't already.
This time, we're doing something a bit different. As demonstrated last time, Trey's interest in AI goes much deeper than just experimenting with it as a writing assistant. Like me, he's extremely curious about AI developments and very well read on the subject.
So I invited him back to share an update on the strike, and also to bring his own questions for discussion. We talked for over 2 hours, covering topics including our ever-evolving understanding of AI models' reasoning capabilities, why NVIDIA stock has popped so much more than other AI stocks, including their critical partners TSMC and ASML, and where else besides hardware value is likely to accrue in the AI stack, Finally, we close with a segment that I'm calling "Reality Writers Room", in which we imagine our reality as entertainment for some hypothetical outside observers, and then attempt to identify scenes of particular interest or dramatic irony.
Enjoy this wide ranging conversation with Hollywood writer and fellow AI scout, Trey Kollmer.
AI-Powered Filmmaking with Stephen Parker and Josh Rubin
I'm thrilled to be speaking with my longtime friends and teammates Stephen Parker and Josh Rubin, creative leads at Waymark, and creators of The Frost, a groundbreaking short film made entirely with DALLE2 generated imagery.
For a bit of context on the AI journey Stephen, Josh, and I have been on together…
From 2017 to 2021, Waymark had built the easiest-to-use video creation app on the market, and the quality of the video templates that Stephen, Josh, and team produced was our standout feature. However, feedback showed that users wanted more than an easy-to-use DIY solution; what they really wanted was an app that could create content for them.
Now, I had been interested in AI forever, and was always looking for AI tools to enhance our product, but had done only a tiny bit of hands-on development, because none of the AI technology available at the time really worked for our purposes.
That first started to change with OpenAI's release of GPT-3, and in September 2021, when we successfully fine-tuned the Curie model for the first time, I became convinced that generative AI was the solution.
Some thought I'd lost it when I used my prerogative as CEO to pause just about everything else we were doing, up to and including Board meetings, to organize a Generative AI 101 crash course for the team and re-orient our product roadmap around generative AI.
Stephen and Josh, to their credit, came along for the ride and have since caught the AI wave in their own unique way.
Where I've got my 10,000 hours of AI usage with a mix of language, computer vision, and text-to-speech models, Stephen and Josh have gone super deep on AI art.
Since we got first wave access to DALLE2 as an OpenAI "Innovation Partner" customer in early 2022, Stephen has personally generated 1 million images on DALLE2.
The result? The Frost is not just a proof of concept, but a legitimate 12-minute file with a coherent narrative and consistent aesthetic.
In this episode, we get a behind the scenes look at their creative process, a sense for the challenges they faced and strategies used to overcome them, and one of the most sophisticated accounts of the current state of AI art that you'll hear anywhere, from a team using these tools with the highest level of taste, vision, and skill.
Creating The Frost wasn't easy, but this project does show how transformative generate AI is likely to be as it continues to mature. Only 7 people are credited on the film – Josh and Stephen, Waymark team members Tommy Herrmann, Zach Poley, and Lexi Dietz, and collaborators Matt Sessions and Robert McFalls.
As always, we appreciate your reviews and shares online, but this time I really want to encourage you to watch the firm itself, and also the trailer they've released for The Frost 2, which they are already making with an entirely new generation of tools.
📚 Nathan’s Reads
As always, thanks for reading, listening and supporting The Cognitive Revolution.
To borrow from a meme… we’re in the podcast arena trying stuff. Some will work. Some won’t. But we’re always learning.