September 25, 2023

The Future of Filmmaking in the Next Decade

By Natasha Cooper

In 2023, the world has found itself in an increasingly complex and ever-changing position in terms of creative output.  A global pandemic, streaming services, and now writer and actor strikes have undeniably changed the game within the film industry, and that goes without considering the immense impact technological developments have had and will continue to have.

It is interesting to think about what the world might look like in 2033, and how this will be conveyed and reflected in film and production. While ten years may not seem long in the grand scheme of things, I’m sure anyone reading this could think of some notable differences between 2013 to now, especially in terms of the cultural and creative industries. While I am certainly no fortune teller, this blog attempts to predict some possibilities of what we can expect in the next decade of filmmaking.

3D Technology

While props and sets can often go unnoticed in television and film, they are an integral part of producing a story and setting that the characters and audience can seamlessly engage with.  Props and sets are one of the many “background” aspects of film that enable audiences to delve into the space, place and time being portrayed on screen.  Long hours of planning, design and construction go into creating sets that work with the film's budget, and the director's vision. 3D printing is already allowing for faster production of props and cutting back long hours of manual labour.

Another 3D technology being increasingly used in film set development is 3D previsualization. This tool gives directors a better idea of the spatial layout of their designs before it has been physically made. Previsualization allows for alterations and design changes to be made in a concise manner before the physical product has been built, saving crucial time on construction and engineering and ensuring the final product is exactly what is needed.

As the capabilities of 3D printing and previsualization evolve and become more reliable and accessible over the next decade, it is probably safe to say that this technology will be increasingly utilized in multiple facets of film production, from pre to post.

Algorithmic Editing

In the post-production process of filmmaking, algorithmic editing has already proven to be a useful technique in editing. While it is a new and innovative technology in need of further development, the algorithm uses a strict pre-established set of guidelines and patterns when it comes to cutting movies. As coding and editing algorithms continue to evolve, we can expect to see an increasing usage of them in post-production especially for tasks like organizing mass amounts of footage and editing in specific and commonly used styles in film. Digital film editing programs are continuing to advance and are also shortening the timelines of post-production, along with other technological advancements changing the world of film. 

AI Usage

The number one technological advancement that is on all of our minds right now, is artificial intelligence. It seems to be advancing at an almost alarming rate, and serves to remind humanity of our own progress, which in comparison often seems much slower.  Many conjure negative and frightful associations with AI, and who can blame them? There's nothing uncommon about fearing the unknown, and film itself has created dark warnings of the consequences of artificial intelligence. But with this new budding technology, comes faster and more efficient as well as cheaper methods of film production.  AI has the ability to scan through an amplitude of screenplays and scripts, and then with that information create its very own.  While we have not seen a fully AI generated movie in the box offices yet, some writers are using these tools to generate new ideas and storylines.

The Future of Storytelling

If there's a common trend one can point out in film storylines, it's our fascination with the past, and fear of the future.  Biopics, and remakes of old childhood classics, while often criticized by filmgoing audiences, are still almost certain to sell decently in box offices, as we cannot seem to forgo the allure of nostalgia.  It's hard to say what new ideas will come to the big screen, but recycled ideas have long been an easy selling point. However, with all of the new developments of CGI, AI and 3D technologies it is likely the way we experience these stories will change. They will become more interactive, push boundaries and be visually spectacular for audiences to enjoy. 

The Future of the Film Workforce

Many of the tech advancements discussed will result in faster production hours for filmmakers, and shorter wait times for anticipating audiences. However, they might come with some changes and consequences too, especially relating to shifts in labour necessities within this industry. This is not to say that AI will wipe out all of the creative and technical positions in the field, but transitions should most definitely be expected.  While we may not need as many editors, or prop makers for example, there will be a demand for workers who are trained and highly competent in designing, programming, and operating these innovative interfaces which are already becoming increasingly applied to filmmaking.  

Additionally, it is important to give recognition to an emerging workforce within the film industry that will most likely be younger, and more diverse than what we have seen in past generations. While traditional film degrees have long been one of the only precursors to a career in film, new methods and programs of training are now a viable option and gaining popularity.  Often film degrees in Canada and the U.S. will cost upwards of $15,000 a year, which understandably is not an option for many.  However, accessible and more affordable film programs like that of Virtual Film School Canada start off at much less and offer a variety of in depth, foundational training programs for anyone wanting a career in film.  Programs like this will open doors for many people who in recent generations may have not had the opportunity to study film.  Because of this we can expect a variety of young new talent on the scene offering new ideas and perspectives. 

This blog has only discussed a few possible outcomes and changes we can expect in the next decade of filmmaking however it seems we might see some groundbreaking results over the next few years.  I for one cannot wait to see new creative capabilities of AI, and am hopeful to see more women and other minority groups behind the camera and in positions of production.  It would also be great to see the actors, writers and editors involved in the business be properly compensated for their work.  If you are interested in being part of the future of film making and taking your film studies to the next level, be sure to check out Virtual Film School Canada for more information.

Natasha Cooper is a student at Toronto Metropolitan University in the Creative Industries program.  She is specialising in film, history, and curatorial studies.  After completing her studies, her goals are to work within the film industries in a communications or logistics role.  Natasha is very excited to be working for the Virtual Film School blog. For more information, you can visit her LinkedIn profile.

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