This Is ‘Sunspring’, A Film Whose Script Was Written By An Algorithm

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5:45 pm 13 Jun, 2016

Writing a movie script needs two things: one, a flair for writing, and, two, creativity. Benjamin displayed these very qualities when he wrote a script for a short sci-fi film called ‘Sunspring’.

But even as the film looks like a thriller with a love triangle at the centre, the dialogues that are delivered appear asynchronous.

Sample this:

H: “I saw him again. The way you were sent to me…that as a big honest idea. I am not a bright light.”

C: “Well, I have to go to the skull. I don’t know.”

The reason why the dialogues make no sense is because Benjamin is no human but an algorithm.

Benjamin is, therefore, the first AI to write a script for a movie no matter how disjointed it is.


The script of the film. YouTube

The script of the film. YouTube

Benjamin was created by Ross Goodwin, a New York University AI researcher. It is a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) recurring neural network which was fed tons of scripts of sci-fi movies including critically acclaimed films such as ‘Brazil’ and blockbusters like Jurassic Park series.

Then the LSTM, or Benjamin, produced a script containing typical sci-fi elements as black hole, blaster gun and inexplicable costume.


The script of the film. YouTube

The script of the film. YouTube

Upon its creation, the LSTM took the name Benjamin for itself.

Directed by Oscar Sharp, the script had only three main characters – two male and one female. The sentence “I don’t know” features recurringly in the film, which Sharp explains is when characters question the environment much like what we see in most sci-fi films.


The script of the film. YouTube

The script of the film. YouTube

The male characters are portrayed by Thomas Middleditch and Humphrey Ker. Elisabeth Gray plays the female character.

In one of the scenes Middleditch’s characters regurgitates an eyeball for no apparent reason.


The script of the film. YouTube

The script of the film. YouTube

What is remarkable, though, is that Benjamin has been able to write a script that makes some sense if the dialogues are not taken at literally. When seen in isolation, the sentences can be interpreted in any number of ways, but are not entirely out of place. It becomes out of sync only when taken together as dialogue.

Benjamin also wrote a pop song in a similar way that was featured in the film.

The names of the characters are H, H2 and C (the female). Ars Technica writes that Benjamin was unable to assign proper names so assigned initials to the characters. In fact, both males were named H, one of which was later altered by Sharp.

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