The U.S. editor-in-chief of tries to get ChatGPT to write a screenplay.

Kid doing homework 480w
ChatGPT throws a middle school-type homework tantrum.

Lance Ulanoff is prolific US editor-in-chief for TechRadar. On February 25, 2023, he published an article titled: ChatGPT showed me just how far it is from writing a blockbuster.

When he first learned of this AI program’s authoring ability, he momentarily lamented that writers are doomed…including himself. Then he realized that its ability as a creative and insightful author may be limited. After all, passing a mock bar exam is one thing. Writing a screenplay that will get past agents and studio readers is another. Ulanoff decided to run a test. He gave the AI program a test: Write a Star Trek screenplay.

The test was a script featuring legendary characters Captain Picard and Captain Kirk, and the story involved the two of them meeting and working together to deliver dilithium crystals to year 2023, which means an unlimited power supply and the reversal of climate change.

He says other decisions about plot, dialog, casting and screen direction to the AI program. What he discovered is that ChatGPT apparently soaked up every bit of Trekkie-isms from everywhere then constructed a bare-bones draft. Mr. Ulanoff says: “It was so short it lacked a real second and third act. It seemed to leap from the premise to the conclusion as if it was in a race to get to the end credits.”

To flesh it out, he added some complications to the story and discovered that the AI program seemed to lose interest. What had me laughing was this paragraph:

“ChatGPT seemed to forget it was writing a movie script and just delivered paragraphs of dialog-free text describing the action. It felt rushed, as if ChatGPT was bored with this exercise and just wanted it to be done.”

Ouch! Doesn’t that seem to you like a middle-school homework tantrum?

Mr. Ulanoff comes to this conclusion: “It’s not just that ChatGPT isn’t much of a writer, it also lacks the energy and determination to create content at scale. ChatGPT has no burning ambition to be an author – it has no ambition at all.”

So, relax, writers. AI, at this point, doesn’t seem to be much of a threat. It ain’t prime-time ready.

Great article, Mr. Ulanoff! Those of you reading this blog post can find the entire piece right here. It’s a cool read. Go check it out.


About Michael McKown

Avatar photoJournalist, specialty magazine editor/publisher for 22 years, entrepreneur, co-founder of America's largest working dog organization, producer/director, and co-founder of Ghostwriters Central in 2002.