A Previsualization Of Previsualization

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2023-05-27 17:00:00-04:00 No comments

I don't know if anyone's gonna believe me if I say this, but there was a short story I wrote in high school (and which I cannot find anymore, hence my sense you won't believe it) that had some pretty eerie presaging of some of the stuff going on in the world of creatives right now. For perspective, "high school" means 1988 or so.

The story was about the early stages of the making of a big-budget historical epic. The director and his writing team were using a relatively new tool to pre-visualize the project. It used footage from existing films that vaguely resembled what they were doing, and reworked it through a computer to more closely resemble something like their project. In other words, it was a kind of previsualization system, something they could use to render a rough draft of the movie for the sake of securing the financing they wanted.

I wrote that in 1988.

(Like I said, I don't expect you to believe me.)

What gets me about this is how I missed the one thing that now seems most important about this whole picture: I assumed the material used to generate the rough cut would have been obtained ethically and legally. That the library they drew on was more like a stock footage library, in the sense that everything in there had been licensed and paid for. Not just scraped.

For me this was not even one of the questions I was trying to ask. The story mainly revolved around how the problem was that the movie they were trying to make was, under it all, just not that good. The financiers could sense this, but the director insisted that they just didn't have any imagination — that all they saw was the workprint with its rough edges, not the final product that lay past it. In truth, they could see the final product, and they knew in their hearts it was a lousy story.

Maybe I got a few things right after all.

Tags: artificial intelligence creativity