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It’s No Game – by Oscar Sharp

In this day and age, how useful are screenwriters?

2017 | 5 - 10 | CGI | Dystopia | Sci-Fi | UK

It’s No Game is director Oscar Sharp‘s follow-up to last year short film Sunspring, written entirely by an algorithm that eventually named itself Benjamin. Now Sharp and AI researcher Ross Goodwin have teamed up with Benjamin again to create a new dystopian and humorous take on robots gearing up to take over Hollywood.

At this very time, Hollywood is facing a cliffhanger after members of the Writers Guild of America voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike that could begin as soon as next week. Do you remember what happened back in 1988 and 2007-08? The 1988 strike was a terrible flop, the 2007 one lasted 100 days, resulting in the delay or cancellation of many film and TV productions: millions of dollars worth of writers’ contracts were cancelled and the loss to the wider Los Angeles economy was estimated at anywhere between $380m and $2.5bn.

What happens if AI gets mixed up in a Hollywood writers’ strike? Made as part of the 48 Hour Film Challenge at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival, It’s No Game tells just the story of two screenwriters (Tim Guinee and Walking Dead‘s Tom Payne) who meet with a producer (Flesh and Bone‘s Sarah Hay). She informs them that it doesn’t matter if they go on strike because the future is AI writing movies for other AI. Funny, isn’t it? Particularly if this Intelligence is “the Hoffbot” and forces the poor writers to act out lines cobbled together by more algorithms trained on Shakespeare, Aaron Sorkin films, and Golden Age Hollywood scripts.

“The possibility of the writer’s strike is looming large in my life,” Sharp told Ars Technica. “I don’t know who the hell I am. I wanna be a man, I just wanna go to the movies!” says the Hoffbot in the heartbreaking final lines. Exciting, “if not a little scary,” according to Sharp. Needless to say, David Hasselhoff is living his second drawing following the hilarious short Kung Fury, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the upcoming Baywatch reboot.

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Editor-in-Chief @ Good Short Films

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