TCL’s AI Movie Looks Kooky AF But AI Writers Don’t Seem To Mind
3 mins read

TCL’s AI Movie Looks Kooky AF But AI Writers Don’t Seem To Mind

TCL, a television hardware company, which counts Samsung and LG among its rivals, is officially joining the “AI race”. The company now also wants to be known as content creators, a job that’s becoming an increasingly attractive side hustle — just ask the kids who made it big on TikTok or YouTube.

So, thanks to the accessibility of generative AI tools, TCL is doing just that. The company has just dropped an entirely AI-generated trailer to promote its upcoming romance movie Next Stop Paris.

With an AI-generated male lead who looks freakishly similar to Austin Butler, TCL’s “AI-powered love story” wants to “invigorate the viewer experience” —  and sweep you off your feet.

TCL: AI romance

Next Stop Paris, as the TV show’s name suggests, is set in Paris. The story follows an AI-generated female lead character — bearing a resemblance to an off-brand Miranda Kerr — who boards a train to Paris after an ugly fallout with her fiancé, and meets the AI-generated Austin Butler lookalike.

“So, Claire, what’s your next stop? The City of Lights?” AI-generated Austin Butler asked.

“I’m hoping it’s a new start,” AI-generated Miranda Kerr responded hopefully. “Maybe you’re the dark, mysterious kind of man who never shows his vulnerability.”

Deep screenwriting, rich storytelling. It’s a classic meet-cute scenario!

Romantic walks in the city of love… but AI. Source

This trailer for Next Stop Paris was created using Runway ML, a text-to-video generator that creates moving images after the user enters text prompts. Midjourney, a popular AI art generator that’s entangled in several copyright lawsuits from artists, was also used in some parts.

The 60-second trailer as a whole contained several inconsistencies of the type one associates with AI-generated videos: wobbly animation, unnatural lip and body movements in characters, and nonsensical body proportions. 

Nonetheless, TCL’s Chief Content Officer, Chris Regina, told Tom’s Hardware that TCL’s decision to use AI is a “marketing differentiator”. “It is a first for a trailer and for an entertainment company. There is tremendous curiosity around AI.”

Enter the AI news writers

Several reputable news outlets have written about Next Stop Paris since the trailer dropped. However, Jason Koebler of 404 Media noted that if you entered the keyword “TCLtv+” — that’s the name of TCL’s fast channel — on Google Search, some of the top results appear to be AI-generated news articles written by AI bots.

For example, the second result is from a news website called “YTech News”. If you click on the article, the byline credits “ChatGPT” and “Artificial Intelligence”. The byline also has an author, “Iwona Majkowska”, whose credentials cannot be found on other reputable websites, except for a single article registered on a Slovakian website domain with the title: “The Prominence of Iwona Majkowska in the Tech Industry”.

To summarise, an AI-generated “writer” wrote about an AI-generated TV show. It’s all coming together full circle, ladies and gentlemen. We have an Inception situation on our hands.

Of course, TCL’s AI-generated trailer is not the first case of production companies using AI in film, TV, and music. OpenAI, developer of the wildly popular ChatGPT, released AI video generator Sora early this year. Demos of videos generated by Sora elicited great excitement and fear among creatives, and Sam Altman has reportedly pitched the technology to Hollywood executives.

Image: TCLtvplus via YouTube