How Creators are Embracing AI Filmmaking 🤖

Curious Refuge on their AI film course

Good morning. The Sidemen’s documentary, which looks back on the group’s 10-year creator journey, releases in the U.K. today on Netflix. Want to know how the film came together? Listen to our exclusive interview with The Sidemen’s manager, Jordan Schwarzenberger.

How Curious Refuge Helps Creators Make Films with AI

Couple Caleb Ward (second from left) and Shelby Ward (left) run Curious Refuge, the team behind AI-assisted projects like imagining if Wes Anderson made a Star Wars film (right) / Curious Refuge

Filmmaking education brand Curious Refuge (CR) kicked off the 9th installment of its artificial intelligence filmmaking course last week.

Some background: CR has been educating creators on storytelling for the better part of a decade. Last year, things took a turn for the techy after cofounder Caleb Ward made a viral movie trailer using Midjourney and free AI plugins. 

“It was very clear to me through the process of putting [the trailer] together that the future of filmmaking is going to have an AI-assisted workflow,” Ward told us. 

So CR started a four-week, AI-focused bootcamp. The course, which has routinely sold out since launching last year, has hundreds of students ranging from Academy Award winners to eight-year-old aspiring filmmakers.

One creator use case:

  • One of CR’s students, 22-year-old Aminah Folli, had no prior filmmaking experience, but by the end of the course made an AI-generated nature “documentary” about an alien planet. 

  • It went on to debut at an Adobe-backed film festival at Sony Pictures Studios in LA. 

  • Soon, Middle East-based Folli had representation and work featured in galleries alongside Bansky and Andy Warhol.

Aminah Folli showed her film “Zebulon Five” at Sony Pictures Studios in November 2023 / Curious Refuge

“We’re finding the best storytellers rise to the surface and you don't have to have permission, live in the right place, or network with the right people to get there,” Ward said. 

Big picture: AI is enabling creators with entirely new workflows and tools, from creating copyright-free music to tweaking audio levels to outlining storyboards. But the biggest change AI is bringing to bear, according to Ward?

Making theater-quality videos at home. “It’s wild to think about but it’s the reality of where we’re going,” Ward said, “because the economics of Hollywood aren't working anymore.”

Inside Ryan Trahan’s Joyride Candy Launch

Ryan Trahan (center) debuts his candy line, Joyride Sour Strips, with an apocalyptic, last-man-on-earth film / Ryan Trahan

Ryan Trahan just launched a better-for-you candy line called Joyride Sour Strips. He collaborated with YouTube filmmakers Sticks to create a viral drop-day announcement video.

We caught up with Trahan to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the launch came together →

The backstory: Trahan wanted to “make candy that doesn’t have junk in it.” Candy company Joyride, which has been making low-sugar, organic sweets since 2008, approached Trahan about partnering over a year ago. With both creator and candy company based in Austin, a shared vision became clear, and Trahan came onboard as an owner.

The opportunity: Retail products create chances for content. Trahan said his Joyride Sour Strips will roll out in stores such as Albertsons and 7-Eleven in the coming months. 

“For me to walk in and make YouTube shorts, surprising people that are buying candy…it’s really fun,” he told us.

Haley Pham reads a familiar newspaper / Ryan Trahan

The moment: The announcement video took six months to produce. Featuring creator cameos from Haley Pham, Airrack, MrBeast, Mark Rober, and our very own Colin and Samir (plus The Publish Press), Trahan and Sticks wanted to emulate “the magic” of seeing celebrities appear in Super Bowl commercials.

“I just felt like if I put so much effort into…an MP4 file on YouTube, then it would show my audience that [Joyride] is not a cash grab—this is not a short-term thing for me,” Trahan said.

A Creator-Led ‘Minecraft’ Series Returns

The cast of multiplayer Minecraft series “Hermitcraft” gather for the first episode of their 10th installment / Mumbo Jumbo

27 top gaming creators including Keralis and Mumbo Jumbo are back for Season 10 of “Hermitcraft,” a custom Minecraft server and collaborative content series that kicked off its latest season on February 3.

Context: Hermitcraft participants (aka “hermits”) compete in various minigames co-designed by its founders, and each hermit broadcasts their unique play-throughs across their YouTube channels.

These “episodes” each regularly bring in hundreds of thousands of views and even inspired a popular fan-created recap show.

Zoom out: It bears repeating—Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time and remains immensely popular among creators and fans. YouTube videos related to the game have been viewed more than 1 trillion (with a T) times as of 2021.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • Rolling Stone shares how YouTube and creators were some of the Super Bowl’s biggest winners.

  • Spotify further integrates podcast creation tool Riverside into its platform.

  • Tell us how we can improve The Publish Press.

  • The Biden campaign is now on TikTok.

  • Fujifilm is hosting a contest for aspiring filmmakers.

  • Mark Zuckerberg shares his thoughts on the Apple Vision Pro.

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