Emerging Trends & Market Opportunities in Storytelling — part 1

lance weiler
Columbia DSL
Published in
5 min readFeb 6, 2023


Welcome to an experiment. I’m teaching a New Media Producing Class at Columbia University and I’ve decided to open the teaching process. Over the course of the semester myself, the class, and a number of guest speakers will be sharing thoughts, projects, tech, and ideas that explore storytelling in the 21st Century. You can follow along here on medium, via the living breathing syllabus.

I’m giving a lecture tonight on Emerging Trends & Market Opportunities in Storytelling. With the advancement of technology comes opportunities to tell stories that harness code in new and exciting ways. The following is a collection of interesting trends and market opportunities that I’m referencing during my lecture. Feel free to share anything that I may have missed. One of the goals for the semester is to help build a series of open resources that focus on new forms and functions of storytelling.

Generative AI

“Launched December 14, the livestream now has over 114,000 subscribers and over 10,000 people watching at a time. “Nothing, Forever” is the creation of Mismatch Media, which believes that AI tools like this will pave the way toward creating experimental TV shows and forms of media. We have been warned.” — via IndieWire


The Hollywood Reporter, however, confirmed on October 1 that Deepcake does not own Willis’s likeness. In fact, Willis has “has no partnership or agreement with this Deepcake company,” according to a representative for the star. According to Deepcake, the ads were created in partnership with Willis’s representatives at CAA, but Willis’s likeness could not be sold to the company, so Willis would still have to approve future uses of his digital twin. Wondering about the commercial in question? Apparently it’s this Russian cell-phone commercial in which fake Willis briefly speaks Russian. No matter what the legal situation is here, it is deeply weird.” — via New York Magazine

AI Films

“But the 44-year-old has not been getting much love from film Twitter recently. On Tuesday, Schofield posted a selection of stills from a 1985 film by body horror auteur David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future, The Fly) called Galaxy of Flesh:

The thing is, there is no such movie — Schoefield created all the images using the AI tool Midjourney. Some people were fooled, since Schofield didn’t immediately reveal the images were made using artificial intelligence, and others were just plain angry that he had taken the legendary Cronenberg’s name in vain.” via Buzzfeed

“Ireland-based assistant manager and tech enthusiast Dmitry Alekseev took the AI world by surprise with his new horror-thriller film “House of Dreams“, which he made solely with Midjourney. All characters, locations and voices are AI-generated. You can watch the trailer here.

“For the last month, I have been travelling 145 hours across the expanses of AI, writing the script, creating characters. I played like an actor during the animation and voice acting of all the characters. And I especially enjoy editing possibilities of reshooting and shooting scenes,” Alekseev mentioned on his youtube channel.” — Analytics India Magazine

Virtual Beings

“Fable Studio started as a virtual reality entertainment company, and it won an Emmy Award for its Wolves in the Walls virtual reality project. But the company has pivoted beyond VR and focused on virtual beings, such as Lucy, the 8-year-old girl who was the studio’s first next-generation AI character. Now Fable is pulling Lucy out of VR and letting people talk to her via the web, and the company has a 7,000-person wait list after launching Lucy in alpha testing last month.” via VentureBeat

AI enhanced tools

“Generative AI research is pushing creative expression forward by giving people tools to quickly and easily create new content,” Meta’s press release said. “With just a few words or lines of text, Make-A-Video can bring imagination to life and create one-of-a-kind videos full of vivid colors, characters, and landscapes. The system can also create videos from images or take existing videos and create new ones that are similar.” via Vice

“Realistically and consistently synthesize new videos by applying the composition and style of an image or text prompt to the structure of your source video. It’s like filming something new, without filming anything at all.” via RunwayML research

“The solution, he realized, just might be a project he’d been developing in tandem with the film: artificially intelligent software that could edit footage of the actors’ faces well after principal photography had wrapped, seamlessly altering their facial expressions and mouth movements to match newly recorded dialogue.” via Los Angeles Times

“Hanging up on annoying telemarketers is the easiest way to deal with them, but that just sends their autodialers onto the next unfortunate victim. Roger Anderson decided that telemarketers deserved a crueler fate, so he programmed an artificially intelligent bot that keeps them on the line for as long as possible.” via Gizmodo

“What if you could create new music using your favorite musician’s voice? Sharing her melodic gifts with the world, multidisciplinary artist Holly Herndon introduces Holly+, an AI-powered instrument that lets people sing with her own voice. Musician Pher joins her onstage to demonstrate this mind-blowing tech while singing into two microphones — one that amplifies his natural voice and another that makes him sound just like Holly.” — via TED

“An impressive new AI system from Google can generate music in any genre given a text description. But the company, fearing the risks, has no immediate plans to release it.

Called MusicLM, Google’s certainly isn’t the first generative artificial intelligence system for song. There have been other attempts, including Riffusion, an AI that composes music by visualizing it, as well as Dance Diffusion, Google’s own AudioML and OpenAI’s Jukebox. But owing to technical limitations and limited training data, none have been able to produce songs particularly complex in composition or high-fidelity.” — via TechCrunch



lance weiler
Columbia DSL

Storyteller working with Code - Founding member & Director of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab - curates @creativemachines