“Sunspring” and the Effect of AI on Creative Work

Have you guys seen the short film, Sunspring? If you’re unfamiliar, it is a short sci-fi film which was written entirely by an artificial intelligence bot using neural networks. I barely know what that means, but it seems like it could be significant.

In all honesty, I’m not sure what to make of the film. I mean, the concept of producing a short film written entirely by AI is, in itself, very interesting. But are there larger takeaways to consider? Something more than the obvious humor derived from bringing something like this to life?

Here are a few of my initial thoughts:

It’s weird, but it works better than you might think.

Sure, the words make very little sense. But it isn’t complete nonsense. There is something to the writing that works...at least a little. I’ve certainly watched other “art films” that have esoteric writing that feels just as unsettling.

A good performance can hide quite a bit.

I’m a big Thomas Middleditch fan. I think he’s one of the better improvisors we have right now. But the other two actors are great in this as well. Even with the words being a bit of a mess, their performances communicate so much. I mean, Elisabeth Gray even sheds a perfect tear.

Production value can go a LONG way.

Whether it’s the latest superhero movie from a major studio or a television commercial for a local car dealer, production value makes all the difference. As silly as much of this film is, it looks pretty great. And that “look” translates into a feeling in the viewer that the subject is better than it may truly be.

In the end, maybe that’s the big takeaway...for me at least. Video technology is becoming less expensive, and much easier to use. But if you really want to stand out and leave a lasting positive feeling with your audience, it’s worth it to focus on production value and performances.

But, then again, I might be grossly over thinking this. If nothing else, it’s a pretty damn fun video. Check it out!

Jason Cooper