The first of three AI-powered short films for Verizon Business is now live
BY NIC CROSARA
I exist within the confusing gap between Millennials and Zoomers, regardless of which generational label I use, the evolution of technology has been a core part of my formative years. Depending on your relationship with tech, you’re likely either excited by it or find it daunting. Many people from the LGBTQI community have experienced online abuse and we’ve seen many reports on racial bias with AI (artificial intelligence) technology. Whilst this side of tech does need to be improved, I strongly believe that technology allows connection, community and immersive storytelling experiences.
It’s Transgender Awareness Week and there have been a lot of discussions taking place on what the community needs going forward. A few have shared that awareness is no longer enough, people are now aware of our existence, what we need is empathy. So I am beyond excited to see Tom’s Story, written and directed by Jake Graf, is now available to watch here.
The short film utilises AI to bring the viewer into Tom’s world. The story you see is based upon your facial expressions when you enable your webcam. For those with tech anxiety, don’t worry the film is made within accordance with GDPR and doesn’t keep any of your webcam footage. Viewers get the chance to follow Tom, a young trans man on his first day at a new job. The story becomes edited by the viewer’s expression which leads to a branching narratives from decision points in different scenes resulting in eight possible endings.
For any gamers reading this, the technology used is similar to the game Before Your Eyes. A first person narrative game in which you relive the memories of your protagonist but every time you blink, you move to a new memory and the previous one fades away. We are seeing more and more ways that technology can portray moving and engrossing narratives that stay with us long after we experience them. Tom’s Story allows viewers to step into his life and learn from and connect with how he navigates the world around him.
To learn more about the making of the films check out the video below.
Tom’s Story was directed by Jake Graf, conceived by Xavier White, created by Yahoo! Studios, produced by Khaya Castagnoli and made in association with Gendered Intelligence. There are two upcoming short films in this series:
Exploring the issue of men’s mental health and toxic masculinity.
Exploring women in the workplace dealing with issues of emotional abuse.
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