Movie clapper

Greenlight Essentials launches from the Velocity Garage to make world’s first film co-written by AI

Each year, thousands of movies are released around the world. Billions of dollars in revenue depend on how receptive audiences are to these movies, yet with so many variable storylines, actors, and settings, it can be hard to predict exactly which movies are going to be successful. Thanks to software from Greenlight Essentials, it’s become easier for movie producers to determine content elements that are sure to attract a big audience. Now, the Greenlight Essentials team is putting their money where their mouth is by making their own movie using their software, and in doing so, creating the first movie co-written by artificial intelligence.

A University of Waterloo Mathematics alumnus, Jack Zhang started Greenlight Essentials as a research project where he combined two of his passions, machine learning and movies. He used machine learning to develop an algorithm that scrapes millions of social media profiles for general demographic information and movie tastes. The softwware then analyses how these sentiments intersect with the staggering 40,000 plot elements built into the platform and determines what movie elements are most likely to attract a given audience.

What started as an experiment, a small crowdsourced movie to demonstrate the power of the platform, has ballooned into a major project. Initially, they raised $30,000 on Kickstarter and aimed to make the movie for only $100,000, but thanks to production partners and investors, Greenlight Essentials is able to increase its product quality with a budget now in the millions. However, they’re not abandoning the software that got them started. According to Zhang, the movie “wouldn’t exist without the software, and now we’re looking at around 20 million dollars in deals happening in Hollywood because of our film that couldn’t have existed without our software.”

“Persistence is key in a startup. You have to ignore all the outside noise and find your passion. When you find what you really want to achieve, be, and do, that will give you the power to be persistent.” – Jack Zhang, Founder of Greenlight Essentials

Their current movie, Impossible Things, is a horror film geared towards young women, and the working release date is mid-2019. Check out their trailer below. Greenlight Essentials recently moved out of the Velocity Garage into offices within Communitech in downtown Kitchener. In the future, they will be producing more and more movies, so keep an eye out for their name on an upcoming box office hit!