With a Little Help From AI Friends…

May 18, 2023 | shadywoods

After rewriting, re-rewriting, re-re-rewriting the script for Shadywoods the movie, I eventually gave up writing a feature film, and instead made it into a series as I originally intended. Now hat I have finally completed the pilot script for the series, I’ve started working on visual development for scenes/backgrounds and secondary characters (the main ones are mostly fixed already). This time my approach for the script writing was different and that had a simple technical reason: AI. Yep, I too, am guilty of everyone’s favourite pastime: twiddling around with our future artificial overlords.


For Shadywoods I was using Bing Chat and ChatGPT to help me structure the initial beat sheet. That really helped me to build somewhat of an arc, and when I really felt the story was coming together, although act 2 is still a little long to be honest. I also used ChatGPT for some of the script writing, when I was looking for different idioms, colloquialisms, slang terms which are often hard to look up in dictionaries – ah, in case you don’t know I am not a native speaker of English, so it still takes more effort to write in English than in my native tongue German, where I just have a larger vocabulary and a wider repertoire of speech levels which I can easily switch for each character (slang, colloquial, formal, old-fashioned, dialects, jargon, etc.). In English I struggle a little with these subtle differences.

The Characters

There are two lead characters: Frank Findelholtz (male, human), Rudwin (male, poltergeist), and two supporting leads: Humbug Folderol (male, kobold) and Procella (female, human witch). I know this is risky because this means in any case I will either have to find a female narrator who is willing to work for free, or I will have to shell out some money to get a professional narrator. But I felt this troupe of four is a good combination of characters for funny conflict and an all-male lead would’ve felt too lopsided.

From left to right: Rudwin the poltergeist, Frank, Procella, and Humbug

Money, Money, Money

For the pilot I want to try something different. Once pre visualization and most character designs are done, I’m planning to run a crowdfunding campaign that will very simply stack up like this:

  1. First I need to cover the cost for the female voice actor of Procella’s part, a cost which I will have to cover no matter what, and while I’m at it I’m also considering another voice actor for Rudwin’s part.
  2. Next I want to outsource at least some of the background artwork, which I dread doing (and I struggle with), and there’s a lot of background artwork to be done, at least 22 background designs and paint work as well.
  3. I might use some of the money to get a custom composed title song for Shadywoods (depends on the budget).
  4. And if there still is money left on the table I might outsource (some of) the rigging and animating of the pilot, too (the animation partner is using Moho!)

My platform of choice for the crowdfunding would be Trickfilm.com with their new Trickfunder crowd funding space (to those who paid attention, the first storyboard sketch on the Trickfunder splash page is actually an old Phungus & Mowld draft by yours truly).

Stay tuned to learn more once I’m ready to take your money…

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