Best-selling Brazilian author PJ Caldas used AI technology to release a book trailer for his first novel in English. The 82-second meditative animation uses AI for all aspects of the production—from design to motion and music—and can be found on his website, at PJCaldas.com and his Instagram channel @thegirlfromwudang.
The trailer, inspired by the upcoming novel The Girl from Wudang, uses visual references ranging from old Chinese painting and calligraphy to modern comic books and graffiti. Even the theme song was composed by AI and then performed by real people. Animator Nick Tengri from iamYork and music composers and sound designers from Quiet City lent their experience with big studio movies and Netflix series to the project.
But the technology is now accessible to all writers, even those without computer experience and film industry connections. Even the free Canva image editing tool has basic animation effects, like zooming in and out and panning, that can be combined with AI images from tools like Midjourney. And there are also free online tools that can animate the images themselves, such as LeiaPix, and low-cost tools like RunwayML.
“Allowing the AI to create every frame by itself, with zero interference from humans, was nerve-racking, and that’s what made it so interesting,” said PJ Caldas. The only handmade parts were the title cards, because, ironically, generative AI can build incredible images but can’t write. “We left any writing inside of the animation exactly as the AI created, but if you look close enough, it’s all gibberish.”
Artificial intelligence is one of the major inspirations for the novel, which also features AI characters in the plot. “Allowing AI to create the book trailer was like letting the characters tell their own story,” said Caldas.
Caldas, who is known in Brazil as PJ Pereira, was named by the Dictionary of Brazilian Literature as one of the most important writers of the 21st century, and hit the best-seller list multiple times in the country. And he’s a triple threat — he’s not only a writer, but also a computer programmer and advertising executive. He’s also won hundreds of awards, including a Daytime Emmy for Innovation in Storytelling for his web series The Beauty Inside. Another project worth noting is the feature film Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, directed by the legendary Werner Herzog and produced by PJ’s company Pereira O’Dell — a project that heavily influenced the story in this book.
He also has an extremely impressive website, one of the best I’ve seen for an author.
Edited by Melody Friedenthal
MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.