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Who's In This Podcast
Helen Todd is co-founder and CEO of Sociality Squared and the human behind Creativity Squared.
Nem Perez is a distinguished film director, with 20 years of expertise in creative technology and a decade as a distinguished film director.
Sway Molina is a dynamic force in the creative world, seamlessly blending his roles as an actor, filmmaker, and technologist.
Ben Nash is a visionary Full Stack Creator who marries design, code, and artistic flair to craft digital products, websites, fabricated signage, and A.I. art.

Ep33. Nem Perez, Sway Molina & Ben Nash: “OUR T2 REMAKE”

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Ep34. Claire Silver: Taste is the New Skill

Ep33. “OUR T2 REMAKE”: Discover How 50 A.I. Artists Collaborated on this A.I.-Created Feature Film to Reimagine Terminator 2 as a Parody with Nem Perez, Sway Molina, and Ben Nash

For our last episode of 2023, we have a special holiday edition of Creativity Squared featuring the amazing minds behind “OUR T2 REMAKE,” which is one of the first full-length feature films created using only artificial intelligence. You’re in for a treat to hear the making of this innovative Terminator 2 parody that flips the script on A.I. Instead of destroying the world, “OUR T2 REMAKE” showcases how A.I. can empower artists, open a new genre of filmmaking, and reimagine what’s possible with human creativity powered by A.I. tools.

Join today’s conversation with the film’s executive producers Nem Perez and Sway Molina, and another A.I. artist, Ben Nash, who’s also a previous Creativity Squared guest

Nem and Sway collaborated with 50 of the best A.I. video artists from around the world to bring this film to life. “OUR T2 REMAKE” reimagines the classic film through the creation of 50 unique, original works, each lasting 3 to 4 minutes. This experimental film, which has no affiliation with the Terminator franchise or its creators, celebrates the A.I. artist community by showcasing each artist’s own unique style for each of their scenes. 

With 20 years of expertise in creative technology and a decade as a distinguished film director, Nem Perez is a trailblazer in the entertainment industry. Born in Chicago and now based in Los Angeles, Nem seamlessly blends his passion for technology with compelling narratives. Nem’s portfolio boasts collaborations with notable clients like Disney, Walmart, and Converse, showcasing his versatility and adaptability. He’s also directed music videos for Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussel, and Chance The Rapper. In 2023 Nem founded Storyblocker, an A.I. company geared towards helping filmmakers visualize their stories with ease. With an eye on the future, Nem Perez remains committed to pushing the envelope, breaking new ground, and shaping the narrative of tomorrow’s creative landscape.

Born in Los Angeles and of Latin American descent, Sway Molina is a dynamic force in the creative world, seamlessly blending his roles as an actor, filmmaker, and technologist. Renowned for his innovative approach, he leverages Generative A.I. to craft compelling narratives marked by humor. Sway is at the forefront of merging film, animation, and cutting-edge technology. Based in Miami and a dedicated father of three, his work stands as a testament to his unique perspective and unwavering creative prowess.

Ben Nash, a visionary Full Stack Creator based in Cincinnati, Ohio, marries industrial design, code, and artistic and musical talents to craft digital products, websites, fabricated signage, art, music, and video content. As a Full Stack Developer by day and an artist by night, Ben is a force to be reckoned with in both domains. He is an expert frontend developer, UX designer, and an accomplished artist using A.I. tools, embodying his mantras: “Form Follows Function, Add Style” and “Thinking Big and Iterating Daily.” When Ben isn’t contributing financially to open-source web development tools or leading Cincinnati’s burgeoning A.I. scene, he extends his expertise to hosting intellectual conversations about A.I. and A.I. art on various social media platforms, including hosting thought-provoking Twitter/X Spaces.

In today’s episode, you’ll hear how they are using artificial intelligence as a tool, a creative outlet, and a form of self-expression. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the “OUR T2 REMAKE,” including their innovative Discord workflows, and what message these artists have for Hollywood.

They just wrapped up the principal photography and are aiming to announce when the film will be released very soon, so follow them online to learn how to watch it this holiday.

Sign up for our newsletter to not miss any of our weekly A.I. news until we’re back with new interviews in 2024. For the Creativity Squared podcast, this is Hasta La Vista until February 2024!

Just as the T-800 saves humanity in Terminator 2, this remake demonstrates A.I. unleashing creativity, not destruction — Enjoy!

Scene 08 was generated by @bennash who used an array of tools such as Midjourney, @photoshop , @pika_labs , Coqui AI, @kaiber.ai , D-ID, and @capcutapp Desktop, with some background sound clips from Pixabay. Source: @OurT2Remake

The Origins

So, how did this all start?

Nem was the one responsible for the birth of the idea, which he envisioned while he was on vacation this past summer. 

“It was actually inspired by watching the community.”

Nem Perez

At the time, he was heavily involved with the A.I. community, which had been booming all around the world. More specifically, he was also intrigued by Sway’s own thriving A.I. community that he had been building. As Nem explains it, every day, there were more and more artists showing their amazing talents in the A.I. space in incredible, new, and inspiring ways. And he thought, ‘What can we all do together?’ 

With that curiosity pioneering the way, Nem explains that he recalled a film that came out a decade prior, where filmmakers got together and recreated the movie Robocop as a parody. They added their own style and their own vision in rewriting the whole film. 

With the idea and the inspiration in place, Nem reached out to Sway to officially get the ball rolling on the new project, and as they say, the rest is history. 

From Sway’s perspective, he explains how A.I. at that time was absolutely taking over the Internet in a way that couldn’t be ignored, especially on one of his favorite social networks, X (formerly Twitter), a central hub of community building and activity.

“Many people started to notice the shift. The shift of the climate inside of Twitter wasn’t that toxic, crazy Twitter anymore. It was very creative, like the internet in the 90s kind of type of thing.”

Sway Molina

Sway wanted to tap into this exciting new landscape. Acknowledging Nem’s own work and engagement in the A.I. space, the duo teamed up to learn more and dive in headfirst. 

One of their first steps led them to connect with Ben, as he was one of the early A.I. art influencers in the space, especially on X. This connection introduced them to the vast community of other creative A.I. artists as well, collaborating and learning from each other online.

“Now I’m nurturing my own community and connecting with so many people. And I’m just impressed by the technology. While there’s another group of people who are fearing A.I., we’re embracing it. And we’re seeing the power and how it’s bringing everyone together. And ultimately, that’s what the Terminator 2 remake is all about. It’s just collaborating and bringing creators together.”

Sway Molina

The Project Timeline

The idea was born in August, and the website was created simultaneously. Outreach to artists was the next step. Some were hand-selected; others were given the opportunity to audition. A Discord community was formed, and the project was off to the races in only a month or so after the idea came to fruition.

In late September, they had an international kick-off call with all of the fifty chosen artists, which Ben describes as an incredible launch to the project.

“It was the first time most of us had seen any other person’s faces or even heard each other’s voices. We’d all been friends online. That was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever had on the internet ever, was this call alone.”

Ben Nash

After the kick-off call, the artists chose their scenes through an innovative “store” that Nem put together. Each scene was chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis, with one scene assigned to each artist. 

Showcasing A.I. Artists

One of the most important and prominent parts of this project was the artists themselves getting the opportunity to showcase their talents.

“The goal was always to bring a bunch of creators together to do this. Because it was all about the community from the beginning. It was all about showcasing the artists that are in this space just blowing me away with their talents. So it was always about the community.”

Nem Perez

The featured artists in the film brought different perspectives to the work from their diverse experiences. They ranged from graphic designers, directors, producers, painters, people with absolutely no creative background, and more. It even gave some an outlet to showcase their artistic ability, whereas otherwise, they may not have felt comfortable doing so.

“A lot of people will hide behind avatars because they’re so involved in the industry, and since A.I. is such a touchy subject, but they’re still curious to try. And they actually embrace the technology. They do have to hide behind these identities.”

Sway Molina

Innovative A.I. Film Workflows

The project’s Discord server functioned as a central command hub through the production process. Using Discord in this way was innovative, and a wildly successful way to be collaborative, to learn together, to offer tips and resources when needed, and to celebrate each other’s wins.

Nem, who has worked on large million-dollar film projects throughout his career, explained how using the platform this way was something that he loved doing and also something that he had never seen done before in the movie production industry.

The basic breakdown of the workflow was that every artist had their own channel, where they could present and showcase their behind-the-scenes work. The artists working on the film could click on a specific scene and see real-time updates on each of the Discord channels. This led to seamless collaboration and learning from one another, which was not only beneficial for the progression of the project but also boosted morale for everyone. After all, the artists were all contributing their time and resources on a voluntary basis, unpaid, and working for the experience and exposure of a first-of-its-kind project.

“The artists are volunteering, so we can’t demand much. So the most we could do is inspire them. Give them a space where there could be some sort of accountability, motivation, and also just to be a cheerleader.”

Sway Molina

Once the film is finished, the team is planning on releasing a behind-the-scenes video to showcase all the different tactics that everyone used. Also, it’ll dive into all the various elements and processes that are in Discord so that people can see how deep the workflows actually run. 

“People didn’t just press a button, and this came out of it. People really put a lot of thought into this, a lot of craft into this.”

Nem Perez

All the Different Styles & Approaches

The artists, from a multitude of different backgrounds with complete creative freedom, tackled their scenes in unique ways, which was exactly the pair’s goal; to represent all mediums of A.I. art. Each scene was the artist’s unique representation of the original scene, with the flare of their own artistic talents and humor injected into it.

“It’s supposed to be a reinterpretation of the scene but yet still have the same narrative, right? The same progression of the film so it could feel like it’s cohesive, like it’s part of this one big thing. But it’s still chaotic. It’s still inspirational. It’s a little bit of madness when you see it. But it’s very inspiring because again, the goal is to showcase what A.I. can do and what everyone was capable of doing, with little experience, or with a lot experience.”

Sway Molina

Some created their scenes entirely in 3D, others were their own actors with a filter over them while shooting their scenes, some scenes were done only in 2D, others used traditional animation, some were experts exclusively in stills, and another used A.I. to compose the music for the trailer of the film. Not only did the artists’ approaches to their individual scenes come from different areas of expertise, but they also showcased the massive and growing plethora of tools for A.I. artists.

“When you see the film, you’ll see how each scene will progress from different styles. It could be anything. And that’s the beauty of A.I.”

Sway Molina

Ben explained that for his one scene, which was actually three scenes in one, he used at least ten different A.I. tools to complete his work. Not only did it require a range of tools to get his scenes finalized, but also an immense amount of time.

“Typically, it takes me about an hour to create one minute of video. For this, I ended up spending about 40 hours, or a whole week of work, on the two-and-a-half minute scene.”

Ben Nash

It’s safe to assume that the other collaborators expended similar amounts of time, energy, and effort. A lot of them were new in at least one way, if not entirely green, to the film production industry, which forced them to push their boundaries to learn and create something unique and, consequently, spectacular. 

Why the Terminator 2?

Nem explains that he chose this specific film with a primary goal in mind.

“We wanted to make a statement.”

Nem Perez

He explains how the general public, and especially Hollywood, has a negative perspective on artificial intelligence. Specifically, Nem details how at A.I. conferences he’s attended, a common talking point is the Terminator, and its apparent portrayal of how ‘evil’ A.I. can be. Nem thinks they’ve got it all wrong. After all, people often forget that the T-800, which saved John Connor, was in fact ‘good’ A.I. in the original T2 film.

“I’ve been seeing nothing but great things from artists in this community. So with this film, we’re trying to flip the script, essentially. And to say look, A.I. is a beautiful thing. Look at the community that it’s brought together.”

Nem Perez

Most of the A.I. films that are a part of our culture, showcase it in a dark, destructive, ‘doomsday dystopian’ light. Sway agreed with Nem, and added his thoughts on how much of a disadvantage it is to us all to be close-minded when it comes to this new, life-changing technology.

“We should be open, right? We should be open to this kind of technology and just accept it, and evolve with it. So T2 is perfect. It’s a perfect example for what’s happening today’s climate.”

Sway Molina

The Challenges

With a tight deadline (two weeks!), fifty artists scattered all over the world, and a project with no precursor, obstacles were almost a given.

The need to scout talent is a hurdle that is not erased by this technology. Nothing would be possible without the talent of these artists driving the project. It takes undeniable craft (that some don’t want to acknowledge) to create something that will garner any attention. These tools are powerful, but there needs to be a master of the craft behind them.

“All these A.I. tools are doing is giving you all the pieces that you need to make a film. But it’s how you put those pieces together that make all the difference in the world, right?”

Nem Perez

The other big obstacles were: time and money. Making a full-length feature film with no money was never intended to be an easy task, but proved to be more of a lift than the team anticipated. The two-week deadline for the project eventually got pushed to three weeks. And now, six to eight weeks later, the project is still unfinished. Those who would deem a project assisted by A.I. as an easy feat, are wrong.

“I definitely invite Hollywood to come look at this film and see how it takes a lot of time.”

Nem Perez

Another hurdle is in honoring the original storyline. As Sway explains, A.I. really only works when there’s a story involved. People everyday can put together little experiments using a variety of these tools, but with the lack of a strong story to back it up, they may have an interesting standalone outcome, but that’s the end of it. When you add a storyline, it has substance that makes the viewer forgive the other parts it may be lacking in. 

“It’s like watching a black and white movie. For those who don’t like watching black and white movies, when you see that the story is kind of interesting, and you’re involved, you forget about colors. Or when you’re watching 1960s documentaries, you forget about the film grain and how poor the quality looks, because you’re so immersed in it. That’s what you’ll experience when you watch this film.”

Sway Molina

Scene 07 came from Ai artist @junielaux who combined an array of techniques to convey Sarah Conner’s mental health. This remixed scene has a lot of emotion mixed with the surrealist effect you get when using Ai diffusion methods. Source: @OurT2Remake

The Project’s Impact on Hollywood

“We learned so much. I would say that on top of this film being a statement for A.I., it’s also a really good case study for Hollywood to look at and say, ‘can A.I. actually take over Hollywood?’ Is it really that easy?”

Nem Perez

The answer is no, according to Nem. One of the main learnings from this project was how it is extremely difficult to make a movie with artificial intelligence. That was also the consensus among the other artists involved, and all of them acknowledged the challenges in making their individual scenes come to life. Albeit not easy,  A.I. did make the economics of film production much more affordable. Nem, having worked on high-end, million-dollar projects as a traditional filmmaker in the past, is very familiar with how money and the right connections can talk in the industry.

“Filmmaking has this barrier of entry that not a lot of people can get past. You need to have money, you need to know people, you need to have this, this, this, and this. A.I. is taking all that away. And it’s getting to the core of just imagination and vision.”

Nem Perez

Nem goes on to discuss A.I. ‘s impact on all aspects of the film industry, especially visual effects artists, who he argues are some of the most overworked artists in the industry. Or writers, whose jobs require endless brainpower and fatigue, all who now have tools to help alleviate it. Let A.I. do the nitty gritty heavy-lifting, and let the writers and designers focus on the craft that they love.

“A.I. is not the author of the thing that you’re asking it to help you with, which I love. There still needs to be a human behind it. And that’s what we learned with this project.”

Nem Perez

Scene 14 was created by LoopMid77. John and Uncle bob take a ride through the dark streets of LA but get lost. Maybe the glasses were too dark after all. Source: @OurT2Remake

What are your hopes for your audience?

The team had three answers to this question. First, they hope their audience laughs while watching the remake. It is a parody after all, with each artist injecting their own sense of humor into their individual scenes to make the viewers laugh.

Next, they hope it inspires the audience. They hope that it garners curiosity for A.I. and the beauty it can create, and represent it in a positive, approachable light. Also, they hope it inspires Hollywood to see A.I. for what it is – a tool that is here to stay. 

And lastly, but most importantly, they want this remake to give the featured artists the exposure and credit they deserve. Too often, in big motion pictures that are heavily stylized or use heavy visual effects, the artists who made it all happen are the last to be credited on screen. This film is adamant about doing the opposite. Whenever a new scene comes on screen, the artists will be credited in an obvious and clear way, which the team feels strongly about.

“I hope they laugh. I hope they enjoy it. I hope that they get inspired by this to say, wow, I can’t believe someone made this. I could maybe do something like this. I hope that it opens up their curiosity to A.I. And, the whole purpose, again, is just to showcase the art form, showcase the artist, and so I hope that they learn more about the artists.”

Nem Perez

This film is the first of its kind when it comes to an A.I. full feature film, and we’re counting down the days until release date and look forward to watching the streamed online version with you! 

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Thank you, Nem, Sway, and Ben for being our guests on Creativity Squared. 

This show is produced and made possible by the team at PLAY Audio Agency: https://playaudioagency.com.  

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