SINGULARITY’S PRODUCER, BRIAN MANCINI, GIVES A VIEW OF THE FUTURE
Singularity is a story about the interaction that humans have with modern technology, more so in the form of A.I. and other somewhat autonomous forms. With modern technology evolving and advancing rapidly, the effect on normal human life is beneficial to some and detrimental to others. Singularity concerns itself with how both human and this technological life intersect and how each reacts. Taking place in the very near future in Los Angeles, this production stars a host of different established actors like: Jennifer Beals (The L Word, Flashdance, The Book of Eli), Michelle Ang (Fear the Walking Dead), and Bernard White (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), plus other well-known cast members. When you want to understand the workings of the human body as a whole, you speak with a doctor; when your desire to understand the overview of a film, you speak with a producer. Brian Mancini was enlisted to work as a producer on Singularity by Christine Melton (known for her work on Shrunk and Now You See Me). Melton set up a meeting between Brian and the three people who were the creative, writing, and EP forces for Singularity: Ryan O’Nan (Fargo, Ray Donovan), Max Carvers (Desperate Housewives, The Leftovers), and Daniel Sharman (of The Royal Shakespeare Company). They discussed the many options available for exploration in the subject matter. Singularity takes place at the end of the year 2022 as the characters, both human and LT alike, begin to contend with the looming threat of the rumored 2023 Virus (a virus as lame as the hype surrounding the Y2K Meltdown) but nevertheless, a virus that spells certain doom for LTs everywhere. The creative production team wanted Singularity to be a blend of satire, situational, and physical comedy. Singularity is reminiscent of BBC’s Black Mirror mixed with the heart and laughs of a Mike Judge comedy. The premise plays with the heavily discussed hypothetical rise of artificial intelligence and then lowers the bar considerably. This isn’t sexy Sci-fi; this is very much “demi-futuristic kitchen-sink”. Singularity explores great human themes through a myriad of complex characters and inventive, irreverent story lines.
The serendipitous action of working on a project about technology’s interaction with mankind while using it to enhance and enable the production to work better is not lost on Mancini. He states, “I’m exactly like 99% of the population, I can’t function without my phone. Obviously, in my role as a producer I have to be extremely communicative and proactive whenever possible so I may use my phone for professional reasons more than most but, I’m still guilty of using it more than might be actually necessary. Technology helped us on this project to communicate when someone would be out of town. We’d have to do meetings on skype or google hangouts; without it we would have needed to push production dates back. Our phones make everything so much easier in regards to keeping everyone informed. In comparison to when I started producing, I’d say that programs are getting better and faster to use. Being able to scan documents to your smart phone is a lifesaver.” While technology made most aspects of the production easier, thoughtful and careful steps were taken as to not overuse it and lose the realistic appearance on screen. Mancini reveals, “Using CGI in this production to create all the laptops faces carries a lot of stress. We needed to make sure that the laptops looked real. We worry that the moment you notice the CGI is the moment you’re not feeling for this character. We had to take a lot of precautions to make sure the VFX could be done properly and to the best quality possible.”
For those who have not seen it, Brian describes Singularity stating, “Episodes of Singularity are stand-alone vignettes that primarily follow one LT or Human character living in Los Angeles. Some LT characters, like Maggie, are struggling with their ‘human’ identity, while others, like Ethelle, begin to lose their memory (quite literally). There are also human characters, like Petros, whose job as an Uber driver is threatened by the rise of autonomous vehicles, or guys like Gary who is in the process of recovering from his LT sex addiction. Each episode varied in its overall look and feel with respect to the featured protagonist. Though our series is episodic in nature, our characters’ lives do intersect quite frequently, which in its totality, reveals an interwoven narrative similar to J.J. Abram’s Lost or Paul Haggis’ Crash.” It’s amusing that Brian would reference these two productions; one which is fantastic and frightening while the other depicts the interwoven existence of lives that are seemingly unassociated. The blend is a proper analogy for Singularity as it shows a world that seems so far away and yet our current world is proof that what once seemed like fantasy is approaching with exponential urgency.