“The Netflix of AI”: Showrunner!

Arva Rangwala

A new artificial intelligence platform promises to shake up the entertainment industry by allowing anyone to create their own animated TV show episodes with just a few lines of text. Showrunner, created by the company Fable Studios, uses advanced AI to generate complete episodes – with characters, storylines, animation, editing and more – from simple user prompts.

The Vision: “Netflix of AI”

“It’s the Netflix of AI,” explains Edward Saatchi, founder and CEO of Fable Studios. “You can watch AI-generated shows, or use the prompts to make your own episodes.”

The idea is to make creating video entertainment almost as easy as watching it. Instead of complex software and teams of professionals, Showrunner lets users become “showrunners” by simply describing in text the kind of scene or episode they want to create.

How It Works: Text Prompts Become Full Episodes

To generate a new episode, users enter a brief prompt of 10-15 words describing the characters, setting, genre and storyline they want. For example: “Futuristic detective solves mystery in Neo-Tokyo in a anime style.”

From that short prompt, Showrunner’s AI will automatically generate a full 2-16 minute episode complete with an anime aesthetic, unique characters and character voices, choreographed action sequences, cinematography decisions like angles and cuts, and a self-contained story arc following the detective solving the mystery.

“Generating a new TV show should be as easy as browsing Netflix for a show,” says Philipp Maas, co-creator of Showrunner.

Users can then watch the AI’s creation, or go back and edit details like the script dialogue, individual shots, character models, voice performances and more. Advanced users can even retrain Showrunner’s AI model on their own data.

Diverse Animation Styles, From Anime to Pixar

At launch, Showrunner will offer a variety of pre-built animated styles to choose from, like classic 2D anime feudal Japan in “Ikiru Shinu”, gritty cyberpunk Neo-Tokyo in “Shadows over Shinjuku”, and a Pixar/Disney-esque world in the series “Pixels.”

There are also several comedy series that lean into more irreverent, mature animation styles reminiscent of shows like “Rick and Morty.” “Exit Valley” is a satire of Silicon Valley tech culture, with the first episodes portraying animated Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Sam Altman ancestors battling over a “source code” valuable resource.

“South Park” Test Case Goes Viral

Fable Studios first made headlines last year when they used an early version of Showrunner to create”episodes” of the animated comedy “South Park” from text prompts. While the episodes were never intended as final products, and had visible flaws, the videos racked up nearly 8 million views showing the potential of the technology.

However, Saatchi is careful to note the commercial version of Showrunner will have safeguards to prevent generating episodes that violate intellectual property from existing franchises. All shows will be original concepts created by the users themselves.

Opening Up TV Creation to Everyone

The larger goal of Showrunner is to democratize video entertainment creation, which has previously been limited to professionally-trained creators and major studios with immense resources.

“We want the audience to be the creators, not just viewers,” says Saatchi. He envisions a future where individual users or micro-communities can create personalized streaming shows tailored to their interests on-demand.

While individual users can create episodes for free, Fable is also launching a revenue-sharing model where the most popular user-created series on the platform can make money. Top-rated episodes judged by a panel of industry experts will be optioned for a flat fee plus royalty payouts if those shows are eventually distributed on major streaming platforms.

Showrunner’s Potential Impact

The implications of Showrunner’s technology could be far-reaching for the entertainment industry. In addition to empowering new creators, AI-assisted production could reduce costs, increase speed of creation, and even allow for customized, interactive experiences.

Some are concerned, however, that widespread adoption of AI video creation tools could threaten jobs for human professionals like writers, animators, and editors. Fable argues there will still be demand for human-driven high-end productions, while Showrunner simply expands access to create at a different level.

Jacob Madden, Head of Technology at Fable and co-creator of Showrunner, is optimistic about AI’s creative potential: “We’re giving people tools to ignite their creativity and imagine completely new formats for entertainment and storytelling that we haven’t conceived of yet.”

Only time will tell how quickly consumers embrace AI-generated video content, and what innovative applications emerge. But Showrunner offers an exciting glimpse into a future where virtually anyone’s vision can bypass gatekeepers and bottlenecks to create their own animated world.

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