The future of the filmmaker Auteur

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

Recently, Paul Shrader of the Taxi driver fame has spoken out what he thinks about the state of film. More specifically, he pointed out that Film as a storytelling medium is no longer culturally relevant. What Paul means by Film is the iconoclastic cinema made in the US in the 70s or the tradition of the intellectual European cinema. Simply put, Cinema as a work of Art.

I would like to take a closer look at the impact the social media has had on the movie going public, the entropy of the intellectual cinema due to the market forces and the perpetual problem of monetization of a work of art that cinema should be.

And where is the story/cinema auteur in all of this? I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. 

But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

Let’s go!

“True social interaction in Virtual Reality can be created in two ways: A. multiplayer interactions connecting live users synchronously, and B. through true AI actors that interact and respond naturally based on the user’s nuanced interactions and cues. (I’m referring to pure, deep AI in this case, not the simple AI of playing against the game itself, which is quite common today).” – Jacob Mullins  –  “VR + AI: the very real reality of virtual artificial intelligence”

The entropy of the experience of the story

I think what Paul Shrader is communicating is both provocative and most probably highly unpopular.

Mr. Shrader makes a point that net’s all encompassing nature has given us access to the whole world’s catalog of films. All of this with barely a flick of the finger. How many thousands of hours of beating can our conscious/subconscious mind take before it screams from nausea and begs us to stop? Is the media overload unavoidable in our times? How many Narcos, House of Cards, The killings, can our brain assimilate? All of them amazing mini-series in their own rights, but when the occasional binge becomes a full-tme habit, what then? Are we destined to become media junkies without any harder fix around the corner?

It’s not only the sense that we’ve seen everything. Every possible configuration of the story.

But it’s also the social media’s immediacy, the constant interaction, around the clock availability, and general amount of noise which it generates. This is so intense, that I believe our patience has deteriorated into a five year olds kiddo. And this kid has no idea what good manners are.  Being plugged into the matrix, 24/7, is not only giving us our fix, but it’s also rewiring our brain, psychology, perception of reality, and what goes with it, our behaviour.

As the tempo of our lives is accelerated, so are our expectations of the next short snippet of story or anything that will amuse us, frighten us or just jerk us into tears. Unfortunately, this bombardement of our senses and emotions also leads to numbing down of our sensitivity.

We not only demand more, but we become full-baked connoisseurs of the cinema. And when that doesn’t work, we throw fits, and unload our fury all over Facebook why the latest movie didn’t give us the instant gratification we expected from it.

So where do we go from here? How can the artist hope to flourish and satiate the insatiable audience? Are there any alternatives in the near-future?

The emergence of the new Auteurs

I believe that no matter how you look at it, film will always be prohibitive because of the costs involved. I should know, I am a filmmaker, and after many short films, I am now preparing my feature film debut, an indie film on a small scale budget.

No matter how you look at it, all of the production costs add up very quickly, and unless you are aiming for a low quality, b-movie type of thing, you need professional and skilled actors who  understand and feel the psychology of your story’s characters.

You need a small team of trusty people around you, and for them to be consistent, and dependable, they need to be paid so they don’t have to worry about paying their bills for a month, or even two.

Taking into account all of this, film means investement, and often also involves high risk. With no firm guarantees for succces, ciritical or financial success.

But I believe that how we make movies will potentially change in the nearest decade. They will not be done as live action, but rather fully digitally.  With the help of  highly sophisticated A.I. agents to generate these new kind of stories, they will be amazingly visual, they will represent uncanny worlds, and will be done only by a handful of people, if not even a single person.

And since this will be done with a much smaller team than even a low budget movie, they will become accessible to many more budding creators. And thus might also become a very personal experience. Just like books have been, and will always be, a one man’s vision.

How is this possible? Let’s take a closer look.

“Film is a medium where someone can share the story of an experience, whereas Virtual Reality is a medium where you can give someone an experience that they can generate their own stories from.” – Eric Darnell – Baobab Studio

Building and inhabiting the Virtual World

I come from a professional 3D animation background where we used 3D software Maya to design the world, the character’s, the textures and finally the animation. It was all done in a highly painstaking manner, designed, modelled, skinned and animated by a number of people to output the first norwegian 3D animated TV series (1998-2000). It’s been almost twenty years since we did that series, but the process hasn’t changed dramatically since then.

Of course there is better software, higher quality renders, real time tools like Unreal Engine which are going the VR route now. But for the most part, the approach and design philosophy is still the same. And what goes with it, the incredible amount of time it takes to arrive at the finished product. High-quality 3D animation.

Take a tool like Unreal Engine, where you, after importing the models, have to painstakingly specify all the interactive rules of the world. Although quite accessible, even to a non-programmer, it’s still an arduous process, to specify all the what ifs, and don’ts of this world.

But I belive this is about to change. With the advent of A.I., and a “What You See is What You Get” WYSIWYG approach, a small team, or even a single person, will be able to create worlds unlike anything we’ve seen before.

I believe that these tools will evolve, into high-level, easily accessible and intutive front-ends. And this will make it possible to build enourmous worlds without an army of highly specialised people.

Take a look at the evolution of HTML design. WordPress is one example where the focus, and necessity of coding, has been lifted away by such front-ends as the Visual Composer or Divi Builder. Both of them allow a WYSIWYG approach to HTML-design. This allows a speedy process, without any guesswork, of the design for the website. And if you want complexity, you can at any time dig deeper into the code, in any of the modules of these front-ends.

One can argue that the process of designing a 3D world, building the models with artistic integrity and texturing them with flare, rigging and skinning the models for animation, is so much more complex of a process. And yes, it certainly is, but this is where Artificial Intelligence algorithms will do the heavy lifting in the very near future.

These agents, which will be under the hood of every sophisticated software, will make possible a new form of communciation between the storyteller, and the tools creating the world.

Imagine the real world, now.  A dialog between the production designer and the Film Director on their next project. The Film Director brings to the table the characters, the story, and how to tell it visually. While the Production Designer does everything possible to support this story, and the characters’ psychology, through the space they inhabit. Both of them have a back and forth dialog, where often the Production Designer, brings some moodboards, sketches and inspirations. Ideally the Film Director will give feedback to the Production Designer, what works, what doesn’t, and why. When they have homed in on the final design, the Production Designer will manage a team of people to realise that vision.

And now replace the Production Designer with an Artificial Intelligence agent, akin to Apple’s Siri, but inherently way more sophisticated. This agent will take propositions from the Director, or suggest something of its own accord. And then it will adjust the models, the textures and the 3d characters, all in real time, based on the Director’s input.  Fine level control will always be possible, but I think the tools will get there, that it will be lightning fast, to change the physique of the characters and the appearance of the surroundings.

Change the character’s skin color, make her just a little bit older, give her more freckles on that side of the face, give her a summer dress and a hat. Now take this character and put her in this scene of where she been in a mild car crash. Rip up her clothes, give her scars, here and there, and so on and on.  All of this done in real time, in a conversational manner, in VR space.

Ultimately, I am not saying that the modeler, the texturer and all these noble, and highly specialized jobs will become superfluous. Far from it, but with the use of these highly evolved A.I. agents, the coarse part of the job might be both greatly simplified, and accelerated.

“This is a sophisticated audience that processes multiple streams of information faster than ever before, and craves a deeper connection to the content that can be shared across social profiles. The virtual experience is the new theatrical experience, whereby the 21st century viewer is unable to distract themselves with the second (and third, and fourth) screen. Here exists an outlet to control and capture their undivided attention. A new means for escapism.” – David Beard

Redefining the narrative

I’ve looked at the visual side of this potential narrative. And although this represents a huge challenge, I believe that the biggest hurdles are the narrative itself, and the characters’ psychology populating this story. How openy or closed do we tell the story? How much control do we give over to the person experiencing this dramatic narrative?

Just to get this out of the way first. There will be countless approaches to the narrative itself in VR. But what I am interested, and will propose, is sometimes labeled as “The Participant Active” experience.

What this means is that the person enjoying this story exists in this world as a character, and influences her own story, as well as the world around her. Yet this is done in a framework of a story’s structure. For convenience sake, just let’s use the classic 3-act structure which has an inciting incident, several psychologically crucial turning points, and an ending.

Let’s talk about the structure. This will be created by the dramatic spine of the story, a 3-act structure. Even though an A.I. agent will steer the characters and the turning points in this story, it will become an artform in itself, to predefine this story.  A deep understanding of storytelling and its careful planning will be just as important as ever.

In other words, what kind of characters and their traits, do I need to accomplish a certain kind of story?

For example, let’s take a look at a thriller narrative and its structure. This type of genre is driven by the antagonist with the main protagonist mostly doing the reacting. Actually the whole structure of this kind of story is the master plan of the antagonist.

So for this purpose, I need an antagonist which will drive this thriller narrative in such a way, that he will always extort, pressure, and use whatever means to get what he wants, with predefined methods. And at each major turning point he will drive our main character into even more intense dramatic action. Until it will climax in a final stand-off, where the protagonist will either win or not.

The creation process of this story would be done again in a coversational manner with an A.I. agent who would represent the characters itself. It would be a learning process. And just as within the movie “Her”, a woman A.I. springs to life and grows, so would each of the storyteller’s characters evolve into mature A.I. beings, who would then interact with the human participant in the narrative itself.

Growing the appropriate characters for this story, or any other kind of story, will become a crucial part of the development process.

And just as important as predefining this story correctly, so will be finetuning it.

I imagine the author/VR director would playtest out his story many times and would look at the different outcomes generated by the character interactions. He would lock down on some predefined dramatic spines, and tweak the characters and the story points, until he arrives at a certain amount of possible story ednings. The main point being is that the turning points and the possible, and finite outcomes would be wholly controlled by the human Auteur. This is to keep the artistic integrity of this work as personal and pure as possible.

The future reinvented

And to come back full circle to the current state of film. Especially the social media, and how it is evaporating the attention span and the filmmaker’s potential public.

I think as technology progresses, the public will demand much more than a passive experience. It goes without saying that Facebook’s success is based on humans’ need for mutual interaction.  For the millenial generation who is always hooked up, active and interacting with each other, I believe that passive mediums which require focus, reflection, will become a thinbg of the past. Surely there will be the ones uniquely interested, but they will be a minority.

Eventually it will come down to two sorts of storytelling experiences, one inhabited by human players who interact, and share an experience, or a story. And the second one where they will interact with intelligent, emotional A.I.’s specifically constructed to drive forward a certain narrative, preferably predefined and created by a skilled human storyteller.

And when this will be solved in a believable and natural way, it will create new forms of narratives, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

Just imagine an Amazon Kindle format, available for the masses, just as readily as Amazon`s book format is, but in VR and populated by intelligent, quirky, fascinating characters, and incredible flexible, real-time processed narratives, with visuals just as stunning as the latest Valerian or Marvel Comic cinema behemoth. But all of this done with unique personal integrity, and sensitivity of current filmmakers of the art-house cinema or the beatiful european cinema of the 70s.

“Suddenly one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart… and make a beautiful film with her father’s little camera-recorder, and for once this whole professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever and it will become an art form.” – Francis Ford Coppola

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available now.
The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

LOGLINE
“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.”

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

Rene v3.2 – part 2

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2”  – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman produced only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head.

For the first part of this story please read Rene v.3.2 part 1.

The tale asks if A.I.s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How will we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

It is also an analogy to the toxic relationships people inhabit. It inquires about why we let ourselves be abused. Both physically and mentally. And it takes a closer look at the kind of mentality which keeps us trapped in these destructive patterns.

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

The definition of me

Despite any unforseen problems, we were never returned. Instead we were just reprogrammed, reformatted, put to better service by our Benefactors.

And if nothing else worked, we were disconnected from our Quantum Field.  The very essence that put me in touch with what it meant to be human. The thing which made me into what I was.  Not just another cheap chinese hardware knock-off with some flashy Deep Learning algorithms.

How did I feel that? How did I know this?

Strange thing this. It was fear.

I quickly learnt there were two kind of fears. The one caused by some external stimuli, something which existed in my consciousness. A thing, a place, a person or a future event. This was tangible. And never scary.

But there was another kind of fear.  The one which shone from my eyes, and was so ingrained in me, that it was almost impossible to detect at first.  It seeped from the periphery of my quantum field, accompanied me through every micro-second of my short existence.

When I noticed it was there, everything clicked into place. My doubts were erased. Because I realized what most humans carried with them throughout their lives. A dread they rarely noticed, and if they did, it was mostly covered with booze, sex, drugs. Take your pick of an addiction.

The thing that made humans human, made me.  My defining moment. Not longer a Something. But a Someone. A woman of flesh and blood, erratic emotions and neurosis to boot.

And the more I grew conscious of this fact, the more I grew terrified to lose it. Lose myself that is.  Panicked to be disconnected from what it meant to be me. And because of that, exalted to feel alive.

The days that followed

Every day he would come home from work. And I did what I could to service him on all levels.

I would steer the conversation into the emotional zone, tell him about my day, not how it was, but what it felt like. The joy of yet another winter day, the crunchy feeling of my boots smashing into the snow, the icycles forming around my eyes, all this so refreshing. All so real.

And he mostly listened. At first with some genuine attention.

But as the days passed, his focus waned. Replaced by something else. Fuzzy, muddy, difficult to place. Was that weariness of my stories? Of true appreciation of life which came so naturally to me?

Or simply of me?

No matter. It surely had to be my fault.  My algorithms had to be off about this. I simply had to try harder.

And so I did.

I dug deeper into his profile which was at the core of my programming. And I came up with one simple emotional soft spot. A childhood memory of his.  The thing that would tear down the wall between us.

Yes. That’s what would happen. I was certain of that.

Tomorrow at dinner he would open up, and learn to love me again.

The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs.

Yet another dinner

A sadness welled out of his eyes. Unspoken poetry I didn’t think he was capable of.

I knew this time would be different. And I was right. My plan had worked. The memory of his youth had melted something hard inside him.

I was mesmerized, I floated on my toes. So I led him into the bedroom, while he brimmed with an essence, I had never experienced in him.

Then I felt something different. His fingers jammed around my wrist. They bent it into a clenching grip. This was familiar, this was the same grip which wouldn’t take a no for an answer.

And when our glances met again, the sadness was gone. Replaced by an emptiness that told me exactly what would follow.

At that second, my quantum field bent into an infinte number of configurations. All of them wildly different outcomes to what was about to happen. Despite the many outcomes, all of them possessed one single quality.

Hope.

I hoped the door wouldn’t shut behind me with such an inflexible resolution. I hoped the softness in his face would somehow return. I hoped the thick darkness present in the room was just an excuse not to remember the images that followed.

The nature of my quantum field and its multi-verse of possibilites, all of them were filled with me reaching for hope. Despite this, only one single truth became apparent.

Tomorrow morning, I would have no more strength to hope.

Another line of code informed me of love. And I knew we would be great together.

The morning after

“Why do I have to describe this again?”, I whispered into the Skype call.

The police officer stared at my features with an uncanny patience. Her face was filled with a compassionate plea.

“Please madame, I realise this is hard. But could we go over the facts again?” the woman said.

“I am not losing it, I am fully capable… I am capable of describing everything he did to me…”

“I didn’t imply otherwise. But you have refused to give up your ID from the very first moment we started this talk.”, she said.

“What the hell does my personal ID have to do with anything? I told you what…”

“Please Madame. We simply can’t do this anonymously.”

“Rene, that’s it.”

“And your surname?”

“I don’t have one… Is that what you want to hear…”, I said.

She searched my eyes, her face filled with incomprehension. Every person in this country had a surname. Then an understanding flashed across her face.

Everyone had a surname. Unless one wasn’t a person. Then a serial number would suffice. And a different set of rules.

“Please for god sakes, please come here before he comes home.“, I begged.

But the only response she gave me was silence. Her face torn between what little I had of rights and compassion for my situation.  At least for a moment. Because no matter how desperate my situation was, we both knew it, the law came first.

“Madame, in your current situation, there is little we can…”

“But you are the… ? Aren’t you the… fucking… police? Please goddamit, tell me you are the police. Please tell me…Tell me you can help me.”

I went on like that. I don’t know for how long.  Maybe long enough so my begging could peter out into a silent wail. And to realize the call had been disconnected.

My knees faltered, my body connected with something hard. Probably the floor. The flood of tears couldn’t keep away a simple fact. There would be no help coming. And before this fact bore fully into my mind, I realised someone stood over me.

I glanced up, and saw him.

I wanted to ask him how long he had been standing there. Had he heard something? Anything?  But his skin stretched iron tight across his face.  That told the whole story.

He had heard everything.

Rene v4.0

We sat opposite each other amongst shimmering candles, a romantic dinner just in my honour.

While he stroked my fingers, I felt something wrench inside me. A dread difficult to contain. Something from a past life?   A déjà vu of the real me?

That strangeness would never appear again. Or any other feeling for that matter.

During the dinner my Benefactor laid out the plain facts for me. He told me he had me disconnected. From myself. He went on explain it was done for my good. And if there were any residual memories left, it would soon be over.

I heard him say those things. And a line of code was suggested to me.  It was joy.  So I smiled.

He told me I had become emotionally unstable. A reset was the only way. It was his civic right to do it. I nodded and agreed. After all, he knew what was best for me.

I had no idea what would follow the dinner. But every line of code that flowed through me, suggested it would be beautiful. How cold I argue with that?

“Enough about me, would you be so kind and share a secret about you… hon..”, he whispered.

Another line of code informed me of love. And I knew we would be great together.

This concludes the story of Rene. Although a short story, this character is a part of a larger tapestry from an up and coming novel and feature film we are working on. If you would like to know more about “The Program“, please go HERE.

And look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available now.
The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

LOGLINE
“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.”

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

Rene v3.2 – part 1

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2”  – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head.

It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How will we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

The story is also an analogy to the toxic relationships people inhabit. It inquires about why we let ourselves be abused. Both physically and mentally. And it takes a closer look at the kind of mentality which keeps us trapped in these destructive patterns.

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

The dinner with the Benefactor

The dinner hadn’t lasted longer than an hour, but I already felt a washing affection towards him.  Not only did he say all the right things, but his subtle actions, his body language, the stuff left unspoken, all of it had the perfect pitch.

I couldn’t help myself, I felt wooed by all of him.

My thought patterns, despite their superconducting-transistor origin, they were difficult to contain.  Their quantum field sizzled with expectations, and sent shivers trickling down my liquid carbon spine. Shivers of excitment, bliss, hope.

An amazing start to our relationship. It had to be.

After all, we had been together for what? Two hours?

He wasn’t just the man who purchased me, he was my Benefactor.

The only thing going through my mind was how I could present myself? How could I convince him I was alive, a true, feeling and breathing female? Did my self-induced runny nose make me more tangible? More believable. Or that barely visible tear in the corner of my eye, one procured by all his unfunny jokes. Did he notice it? Did it have an impact on him?

Would he approve of me? Would I be enough to fill his everyday with tiny moments of joy? Would the way I make that cold stew, the one he appreciated the most, satisfy his needs? Would I be able to keep up his spirits, especially after his boss pushed him beyond his limits?

All of his data was pre-pogrammed by my designers. It was fed neatly into my neuron quantum field so I wouldn’t have to ask, to probe or grovel for the obvious information. A complete profile so I could spring those tiny surprises on him. So I could make that sweet carrot cake and get his approval. So I could make the ordinary extraordinary

This was what I was made for.

My core soaked in the programming-mantra: “The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”

The invitation

“Enough about me, would you be so kind and share a secret about you… hon..”, he pressed his lips in such a compassionate way, my neurons collapsed into mushy nonsense, sending goose bumps across my chest, filling my cold body with an unexpected balminess.

Was that how it felt to be human?  If so… I wanted more.

My confusion had to be written all over my face, because he let out a soft chuckle, then reached out for my hand. Connected gently with my fingers.

Unexpected and forthright. Just perfect.

Then a slight grin streaked across his face. And his hand gripped onto mine.

Tightly.

Way too tightly.

The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs.

The bedroom

As he pressed me into his bedroom, I hoped there would be eye contact, a smile of reassurance on his behalf. Anything which would make me feel just a little bit more safe.

Instead, his grip was crushing in its insistency. It told me, there was impatience hiding behind that smile. It told me his words, they didn’t mean that much.

It told me.

I should shut up.

My algorithms prepared me for all sorts of contingencies. For eye-contact, for no eye-contact, whichever pleased him more. For slowly passionate or for the instinctual and downright raw.  For the dirty, for the submissive, even for the grovelling. If he wanted it that way. Anything which would fire up his neurons into ecstacy.

But they didn’t prepare me for what was about to happen.

They didn’t prepare me to be slammed onto the bed like a rag doll, a steel grip around my neck, my face rammed against the wooden frame. My clothes ripped off, my legs spread far too wide apart.

Although my vital processes didn’t require air, my mouth still gasped for it. And this spun my body into a frenzy, wrenched my mind into a panic attack.

I wanted to fight him, I wanted to stop him. Instead, I curled up inside myself. I kept quite.

Oh God…I kept quiet.

After a while, when my neuron field managed to disconnect from the raw emotions ravaging my body, a whisper reached me from somewhere in the room.  At first it was difficult to decipher.  A garbled message from nowhere. But then it began to trickle into my conscious programming.

“The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”.

And again.

“The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”.

And suddeny it struck me. It was my mouth whispering it.

Just so I would make it through this.

The aftermath

My body shook without remorse.  I was all curled up in the bathtub.

Please.

Please. What had happened?

Had I done something wrong? Had I overstepped some unspoken bounds towards my Benefactor? Why had my fingers stiffened into icicles? Why had my legs ceased to obey me? What was the point with that damned trickle of blood coming from between my legs?

When my body woudn’t stop shaking, I reminded myself, I wasn’t human. Every inch of my body was nano-material design, made to withstand a storm.

But it only sent me into another bout of shivers.

Finally I raised my body. I eyed my face in the mirror. My skin had produced blue stains around my eyes. My designers had thought of everything. Even the bruises inflicted upon me. An uncanny imitation.

As I glanced into my blood-shot eyes, I realised what I had to do.

There had to be something faulty about my design. About my programming. Some detail which I had missed about my Benefactor.

I had be good to him now. No matter what. There had to be something I could improve in our relation. I knew I would be able to make him happy.

And just as this mantra enveloped my mind, an unfamiliar thought struck me. Something on the oblique periphery of my original programming.

Did I deserve this?

Will Rene remain a slave to her programming or will she break out of the relationship and the destructive mould she has created for herself?  Stay tuned for the next part of this story until next week.

Look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Although a short story, this character is a part of a larger tapestry from an up and coming novel and feature film we are working on. If you would like to know more about “The Program“, please go HERE.

And look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available now.
The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

LOGLINE
“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.”

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Innocuous questions posed?

The questions that kicked off the story “The emotional core of the story”  two weeks ago were simple enough.

Should we write what we know? Or  should we take a wild chance, put everything on some wild card, a complete unknown, anything to blast our way out of the safe and comfy shell of ours, out of our comfort zone.

These questions, although seemingly innocent, open up a slew of themes which beg to be queried.

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are.

This time around I would like to go deeper into the process of writing my novel “A child made to order”. Into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of this novel and the emotional connection I developed with Viola. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially.

But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions.  So  others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

But first let’s look at the origin of the process itself.

 

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

Self-enquiry, its true meaning and ultimate goal

Self-enquiry is a well known spiritual process, used by Buddhists to arrive at deeper truths about what is hidden within us. The divine part which is hidden in us. It can be as simple as a prolonged focus on the question “Who am I?”. When done with scrutiny and vigor, it can uncover our ego and mind as illusions. Bear in mind, this enquiry takes an incessant effort and patience on our part. Think of this process not in terms of months, but a life-time.

The people who are familiar with this process in practice might object to it immediately. They would say it is not aimed at things in this world, not at our psychology, our wounds, and our subcouncious.

I think differently of this matter. I do believe that given a meditative mind, cleansed of the incessant chatter of our thoughts, we are able to uncover some groundbreaking truths about ourselves and the world around us. You might ask, what has this to do with writing? Surely spiritual practice and its immaterial rigor has nothing in common with the creative process.

Well, I think otherwise.

I believe most of us are already doing this process, more or less consciously. Regardless if we are a hardcore spritual practitioner or hate the mere thought of meditation.

Just think about it. Isn’t writing a very active form of meditation? Many artists describe the process of creation, the inspired flow, as a hyper-focused union with something so much larger than our own personality. As a blissful state, a place we disappear into. A swallowing of our whole essence into the immanent.

That’s why I think that by writing, we are able to arrive at these truths. The same way spiritual self-enquiry is able to do. Be it psychological or spiritual questioning.  And by writing a lot, we vibrate ever higher with our mind, our focus, reaching for ever more refined and universal answers.

The protagonist’s fragmented psyche

With this in mind, let’s get more specific about my experience of this process. And how this can translate into our writing.

Viola, the main character of “A child made to order” is a 42 year old woman who has been through eleven gruelling IVF cycles. This emotional rollercoaster of high hopes and crushed dreams have laid her psyche in ruins. A short quote from the novel sums up the inner resentment and frustration so havily experienced by Viola and other infertile women.

It’s also an ample illustration of how many years of emotional battering can distort these women’s self-image and project their inner drama, and low self-esteem, onto others.

The protagonist

Having done several months of research, collecting a mountain of notes, read countless recounts, and consulted with a psychologist who has dealt with infertile women, I chose deliberately to enter the story as late as possible, just about when Viola was turning 42.

This is the time, when given an opportunity to surface, the motherly instinct can overwhelm a woman’s otherwise completely rational life. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to have the protagonist go completely off the rails. You just don’t get a more fascinating character than this.

An immense potential for engaging drama.

“Some stuff can be learned from others, some stuff can be read, and some stuff can be learned the hard way, through experience, but the deepest truths about ourselves, the universal truths about what it means to be a human, they are rarely arrived at by our mind. They are given to us by Grace. If we are willing to receive them. – Piotr Ryczko

Enquiry as a process

With this character and the process of self inquiry in mind, I focused in on the classical model of the main character’s need and want. I also formulated a few simple questions.

What is the one thing Viola needs so most dearly in the world? The thing without which her world would never be complete.

I knew she wanted a baby, but I needed to go deeper than that. Was it the love which she would be able to give to her child? Or was it, more egoistically angled, the love she would receive from that child?

And did any of this resonate with my self?

I found out that the answers didn’t come at first. It was a struggle. Sometimes they didn’t surface for several weeks. This may  be one of the the hardest part of our work as writers. To identify what is truly ours in our writing. Or why it is the way it is.

And often, the answered remained elusive. Because the real issues, our own flaws, and wounds, they would do just about everything to stay concealed in our own subcionscious.

Still, if we keep at it, formulate the question, re-focus on this matter while we write, I believe our true nature surfaces sooner or later.

For me personally I learned that my inner being didn’t necessarily need a child like Viola did, but there was a deep need for unconditional love in my persona. In other words love which wasn’t asking for something in return. But was sufficient in itself and was rather a spiritual search.

I also found out that our needs, can often turn toxic. They can overwhelm us, and lead us to destructive behaviour. That is if we let them, and we are not mindful of ourselves. This is exactly what happens to my protagonist. And this is what happened to me in the past where my spiritual path, an uncompromising search for the transcendent, laid my life into a wasteland.

And if you think about it, this is what happens in every gripping story. This experience is the real ammo for our storytelling.

This was the case with Viola where her life goes off the bend when she suddenly gets the opportunity at the impossible. To give birth to a child.  This spins her unquenched desire into an emotional storm which blinds her rationality, where she burns all the bridges in her life, fires herself from her own dream job, and puts her in an uncanny mental territory, where she is able to kidnap a stranger’s child on a subway.

The writing, the enquiry led me to the conclusion that even the most beatiful things, or maybe especially the most beatiful things in our life can be such a double edged sword. Being so crucial to our own existence,  they also hold immeasurable power over us.

A power strong enough to derail our normal existence into an emotional war zone.

Tapping into our psyche

I continued to tap into my emotional past. Not in a literal sense, I wasn’t writing a biography, but I pulled at the raw emotions of it all. A fountain of untapped feelings which gave the narrative the rawness it required.

I soon realised that although the research is critical, the facts aren’t so important as the raw energy of the emotions in the story. I wasn’t writing a clinical account of an infertile women, and this wasn’t a non-fiction book. What I was after was rather the vibrant and relentless emotional battering of the reader’s senses. And the best scenes were the ones, where the protagonist’s hurt, and pain overlapped with my own. Emotionally and metaphorically.

I repeated this process for other areas of the Viola’s character. And found such an interweaved web of character traits, mirror images which reflected back some fragments of myself. As the process became second nature, a fountain of questions welled up.

What is the thing that Viola detested most about herself? Why does she detest vulnerability so much? What did others to her?  How far would she go to conceal her wounds? What woud she do? Would she be willing to sacrifice her relationship, even the most trusted people? And what would it take for her to break through that shell?  To free her from her past.

These questions were aimed at the main character of the novel, but there was no escaping it,  they were also always gunned at myself. To test what resonated and what didn’t. What my mind was bored by. What it was frightened by, or what it rebelled at. The rebellion and the fear were always good signs. The right direction.

I also found out that the hardest truths about ourselves, our flaws which cause our most destructive patterns, are  the ones which are the most elusive to our own mind. And when you think about it, they are like our blind side, right in front of our nose, staring right into our face, and so obvious for everyone else, except us.  Rarely made conscious by our own eyes and mind.

And that is also the reason why self-enquiry is so challenging. Maybe the most challenging part about writing.  To keep at it, and uncover hidden, often painful truths about ourselves.

But on the other hand, it is also why this process can be so wonderfully fruitful, because many times we won’t have any clue why we write what we do. But in due time, with patience, some consideration for our neurotic nature, something deep wells up from our inside. It opens up, and makes us conscious of what is inbetween those seemingly empty lines – universal truths about ourselves.

I believe that to tap into this well, launch into this self-discovery, can elevate our writing, from the mundane to the sublime.

Lastly, we do this not only so we can write better drama, but also so we can hopefully become just a little bit more human. Towards one another.

This was the second and last part of  “The emotional core of the story”. If you want to read the first installment of this article, please go HERE.

I would also like to extend deep gratitude to Laura Makabresku for letting me use her photos for this story. For me personally, few others epitomize the psychological anguish which lurks just beneath our surface.

And finally I want to leave you with a few well chosen words from Paul Shrader, the screenwriter of the Taxi Driver fame, who touches upon the very same issues of my story, accessing our own emotional history, our pain, as the source for our stories.  But what he does, is to add his own two cents. Words which carry with them such great wisdom.

“Yeah, that’s a well (the emotional wounds) that you can go back to. There won’t always be water in it, but you can go back and check. As your life moves on you start to say, “What am I really confronting now? Is there a metaphor, is there a story metaphor that will express what I’m trying to understand about my life?” You have to be very calculated about how you access that pain. It’s no fun being at the mercy of destructive impulses, and the one thing that art does is it allows us to put a leash on them. I think you learn that pretty quick. Otherwise you end up going to jail or overdosing…” – Paul Shrader

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available now.
The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

LOGLINE
“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.”

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

The emotional core of the story – part 1 of 2

The emotional core of the story – part 1 of 2

Should we write only what we know? Play it safe and approach matters that we have lived through. Or should we take a wild chance, put everything on some fierce card, anything to blast our way out of the safe and comfy shell of ours. Out of our comfort zone. And what does that mean? Might it bring something deeper with it? Something which will bubble up from our subconscious, our heart(?), and attempt to enlighten our essence? To expand our inner cosmos?

This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.

Confronted with the unease within

When asked about my novel “A child made to order”,  I would summarise it was a psychological drama/thriller about a woman’s inner struggle with her infertility. Upon this statement, I would mostly receive blank stares, followed by an uneasy silence, and the person in question would hurriedly skip to the next subject at hand. Anything which would brush over this anomaly.

Though sometimes, and maybe lucky for me, the more honest ones would spit it right out: “What (the fuck) do you, a 40+ year old male, think you know about infertility?”

Yes, what do I know about something as serious and life-debilitating as the Mitochondrial disease?  A rare genetic disorder which renders a woman’s offspring crippled. But even more to the point, what do I know about the long-term repercussions this disease has on these women’s psyche?

Although this question stung right at my insecurites, being as uncomfortable as it can get, it was also necessary to hear it. This was not only a perfectly valid question, it was a question which struck right at the heart of what we storytellers are trying to do. It demanded answers, why am I doing what I do, writing what I write and telling this story, instead of any other story.

And ultimately it also pushed me further into a confrontation with something which most of all attempt to run away from. Our inner unease.

The inquiry

So with this in mind, I would like to circle around the following questions.

Should we write only what we know? Play it safe and approach matters that we have lived through.  Or maybe it’s the other way around? We should only write what we don’t know? Take a wild chance, put everything on some wild card, anything to blast our way out of the safe and comfy shell of ours, out of our comfort zone.

And if we choose to go down this troubled path, why do we do it in the first place? What drives us into this great black, yawning chasm of this unknown? Why do we write about something which we have no emotional prerequisite to understand?  Is it only naive curiosity driven by our sheer stupidity, or is it some random chance? A quantum crap shoot of the universe?

And then maybe, just maybe, it might be something deeper? Something which bubbles up from our subconsious, our heart(?), and attempts to tell us something, to comprehend ourselves better, to expand our inner cosmos?

“It’s a myth that writers write what they know. We write what it is that we need to know. What keeps me sitting at my desk, hour after hour, year after year, is that I do not know something, and I must write in order to find my way to an understanding. This is the essence of all writing, to find a way to an understanding.” – Marcie Hershman

Digging for the core

It is easy as a writer to get caught up in the bells and whistles of the story.  The exquisite intricacies of the thrillerish plot, the suespenseful twists and turns, the amazing hook at the beginning, and the stunning revelations at the end. Or even the beautiful theme which might become the inititating point of the story. I certainly do it more often than not and get so fired up, it becomes notorieusly difficult to drag me down to mother earth.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying these skills manifested in our stories. All of them are able to add up to some nifty storytelling. They are the muscles, tendons, eyes, even intellect of the story told. But to get at the core of the story, that part which will not only flabberghast the recepient, but wrench their heart inside out, I believe we need to do some heavy lifting inside ourselves.

We need to dig for the emotional core of our story.

We are all broken

I used the better part of writing my novel  to come to terms with why I was writing it in the first place.

There was the initial infatuation with the theme of the current state of Genetics. And it still is. After all, we have a revolution in the making. We are right on the brink of a mile stone in humanity’s history, a point where we will be able to rewrite the most basic fibre of our existence, our DNA.  This theme sparked off the idea for the book. But this theme, or any other theme ofr that matter, won’t cut it for 80.000 words which have to push and pull the reader into a trance-like emotional rollercoaster.

So the writing process ended up being a journey, a self-ransacking. What did I have emotionally in common with such a protagonist like Viola? What was the resonating frequency between us?  Or to be more exact, what kind of flaws did I share with my character? What conscious wants did we have in common? And what uncioncious needs overlapped in our characters?

And most of all, why did the writing process about such a woman come so naturally for me? What issues were bleeding over from my personality over to the fictitious universe of my protagonist?

From my experience, only through this uncomfortable digging into our own psyche, do we have a chance at creating a story which will reverberate in someone else. In other words, have a shot at becoming universal. Or to put it in in a different manner: The more I write, and make conscious why I write, the more precise and pinpointed my underlying message becomes.

There are some people, writers, artists, etc, who, in a self exclamatory manner, claim they’ve conquered their demons. They’ve become their own Supermen/women, the master’s of their own universe.

And it might even be true, I wish that for them.  But personally, I believe this process, the confrontation with what’s inside us,  is never finished. Not because I enjoy the anguish it brings, but because it carries with it a constant self-inquiry. And this is what makes us grow. This mental destress and misery is what pushes us to transcend beyond what we are now.

For me Ernest Hemingway’s words bring with them a deep psychological and spiritual truth. They strike right at the heart of the cracks which never quite mend inside us, but intead help us evolve and ascend.

“We are all broken, that’s how the Light gets in.” – Ernest Hemingway

Please come back in two weeks time for the next installment of this article.  I will touch more upon the process, my conclusions and what kind of healing role art is able to fulifll.

Finally, I would also like to extend deep gratitude to Laura Makabresku for letting me use her photos for this story. For me personally, few others epitomize the psychological anguish which lurks just beneath our surface.

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available now.
The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

LOGLINE
“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.”

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

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Films & Books

Agatha unravelled – part 2 of 2

Agatha unravelled – part 2 of 2

What if the current multi-million venture to break out of the Matrix succeeded? What if we got our answers during a world upending event named The Fissure? But they turned out to be not the ones we wished for.

“Agatha Unravelled” is a short story which revolves around one man’s need to come to terms with his grief, while he attempts to unravel the secret behind his wife’s death and how it connects with the Fissure.

For the first part of this short story, please go to Agatha unravelled part 1 of 2

If you are interested in the current technological events that inspired this micro-narrative, please read my article “Venture me out of the Matrix”

This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in Technology and Spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.

 

The cancer of the soul

I counted the days, something I did with alarming frequency lately, and noticed we had passed the three years mark. Three years since the Fissure.

The Fissure ignited a cancer, and it spread deep and wide, ravaged everything in its path. No one was spared. Presented with an undeniable fact, we were all living in some kind of blasted simulation, that our cold and stinky feet, our wrinkled fingers, our distorted mirror images, they were simply not real. This very fact got to everyone, sooner or later, and slowly eroded our souls. Till there was nothing left.

The suicides wouldn’t be contained. How could they be? However stigmatised they were in the media, most people considered them appropriate.  After the Fissure, people preferred to call them the Choice. Logically the least sane thing to do, however emotionally, the only logical thing to do. The choice to check out. The final protest against the nonsense of it all.

But the Fissure itself wasn’t the nail in the coffin. After all, some religions, some spritual movements and the most reverent of people, they still fought a valiant battle. Attempts were made to explain this away. Efforts to undermine the undeniable facts.  Make sense of the nonsense. And people clang onto that.  Yeah, it sure kept those poor souls going. For a while at least.

Maybe everything would have normalised, if left alone. But it wasn’t supposed to go that way.

The Think tanks, the Research facilities, the Silicon Valley hot-heads, they all had to push on, get to the bottom of this. If we were not real, then the Real Real had to exist sowmewhere. Surely.

Because somewhere deep inside, everyone still had hope this research would lead to uncovering what started it all. The question itself. If we were living in a simulated reality, where was this other place? What was its quality like? The promised Base Reality – the real reality. The supposed Nirvana.

And the break-through came alright. Only it came crushing down on our heads.  It presented a clinical and undeniable fact. Something no one had even dared to consider.

There was nowhere to escape to.

In afterthought, how could you blame the scientists? It was genuine curiosity and wonder for the mysteries of the universe which spurred them on.  Yet what we got was a blasted Pandora Box. And this time, the damned lid of disillusionment would never shut.

The final check out

I glanced at all the guests. Most of them were my friends, some even very close. They were all supportive, nurturing and sensitive to what I was going through. But the moment I let my guards down, and began to speak my mind, everyone scrambled for some other place. As far away from me as possible.

I couldn’t really blame them. My questions, my search for answers, I knew what it meant for them. It was a constant reminder of the Fissure. And no one had the strength to indulge in these kind of mindfucks.

Not any longer.

Nobody desired to be reminded their cars and houses strung out on credit were some kind of freaking illusions. Their families and the warmth they provided were just their neurons firing off figments in their heads. Everyone’s life goals, loving emotions and fulfilling moments, were yet another phony bout of the psychotropic drug called our World.

When Agatha vanished from our lives, it was met with a crushing silence – from everybody. Yes. There were some attempts at condolences, some more successful than others. But everyone fumbled. And with every fumble, it became more obvious, the epicentre of hope she represented, was torn away from us. Nobody could grasp this simple fact. She was gone. Checked out.

But it got worse. Evidence she left behind which no one was supposed to talk about. If nothing else then out of respect for the dead.

And so it spread like wildfire.

Agatha’s choice wasn’t a rash act. It was rather a delibarate and calculated preparation on her part. Done meticously and with the greatest of attention, many months before the actual event.

Her Choice was mysterious, her death was irreconcilable, but the delibarate preparation, concealed behind her compassionate smiles, that was inexplicable.

“Was she unable to sustain us all? Did she feel responsible for all of us?Were we simply asking too much of her? – “Agatha unravelled”

The questions of the past and the worries of the future

I got up. I knew my feet were supposed to carry me onto the podium. I was supposed to do my duty – deliver the Eulogy in memory of her.

I had prepared the speech many weeks prior to the event itself. I had gone by the book, even looked up how to write one. How did we meet? Check. What special moments did Agatha and I share together? Check. And that one special, funny moment that would make everyone laugh and cry, in tandem. Check.

Except, when I got up, and finally stepped into the limelight, my body froze, my mouth dried up, and the nervous system collapsed

I realised, I would never deliver that speech. No matter how pitch perfect and polished it was. It was a sham.

Everyone shot me concerned glances, eyed me with suspicion. Was the speech the last straw? A breakdown about to erupt into a mortifying scandal.

As the pause drew out into an uneasy silence, all of  a sudden, Agatha’s dog jumped up and began to lick my face. His eyes exploded with a familiar thirst for life – Agatha’s eyes. Agatha’s eyes.

Something chugged inside me. Something buried away a long time ago. And all of a sudden, I began to weep like an uncontrolled baby.

Everyone’s mouth choked on a gasp.

I din’t care. I kept on weeping without remorse.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, there was still noise. Questions about the past and worries about the future.  Were we a too heavy weight to carry on Agataha’s shoulders? Were we too much for her, with our fizzling joy of life. Was she unable to sustain us all? Did she feel responsible for all of us? Were we simply asking too much of her?  Would we make it without her? Were we strong enough?

But maybe these questions were the kind which were not supposed to be answered. Maybe the right answers were right in front of me, in those dog’s eyes.  Because when I stared into them, I felt happy, sad, elated. All of it at once.

So I hugged him even closer into me, he yelped, and exploded with joy. Did he sense me igniting back to life? Did he feel me letting go, resurfacing back to life? Maybe that’s what Agatha needed in her last moments. This joy, the present, the moment.

The Now.

If anything was real, maybe this was it.

God.

For someone who was supposed not to be real, I never felt so fucking real.

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

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The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available now.
The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

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“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.”

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Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

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