For years, business was booming for Jonathan Browne.
He founded and scaled up Project Casting as the go-to platform for job seekers in the entertainment industry. The platform had 600,000 users worldwide, and its growth was completely organic. Browne said that the team hadn’t spent a dime on advertising over the years.
Then came the writers’ strike.
From May to late September 2023, Hollywood studios shuttered. The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) went on strike over streaming residuals, wages, and what role AI should play in the entertainment industry.
Yes, the strike was frustrating to those who crave a good Hollywood blockbuster or a new binge-worthy Netflix show. But without active film sets, Project Casting was in a tough spot. Browne had to make the tough decision to cut staff members and got to a “bare bones” approach to stay afloat.
Most of the entertainment industry is focused on keeping AI out of the creative process. But Browne decided to lean in and learn everything he could about the technology. He started to play around with large language models to see what role generative AI could play in the creative writing process.
Browne started working with leaders in the AI space, tinkering with models that write strong screenplays and scripts. He wanted to see if he could create a platform that not only didn’t hallucinate (a common issue for generative AI startups), but also could create compelling and complex storylines.
As the team iterated on the model, they kept asking the AI to write a script based on the following prompt: Harry and Sally go to Mars and get lost and have to make it back to Earth.
While testing different large language models, they found one that not only wrote a full screenplay that matched the prompt, but was “unique and exciting” and came up with an original twist that kept the reader engaged.
“I think our whole team took a step back and said, ‘wow, the future of entertainment is going to be really different moving forward.”
That was the moment that Browne said he knew he wanted to dedicate his time to bringing the platform to life.
That was when Livy AI was born.
The Great AI Debate
The platform helps creatives write a 75 page screenplay in about 15 minutes with a few curated prompts.
That is a huge increase in efficiency, said Browne.
Now, if hearing the terms AI and writer in the same sentence makes you feel uneasy, you aren’t alone. The fear that AI could replace talented writers is what sparked the Hollywood strike, after all.
But Browne and the Livy AI team have a different perspective.
“We think that AI is democratizing [the creative process]. It’s making it easier for people to find jobs and create their own opportunities. There’s a lot of discussion that AI is going to replace screenwriting. Our tests have shown that you still need human creativity to create a good output. A story without wants, needs, and desires is going to just be surface level. But if you want something more than that, it takes human creativity…at least for now,” Browne told Hypepotamus.
Democratization means that the next Oscar-winning screenwriter doesn’t need to got to USC film school. Instead, they can get the resources they need from platforms like Livy AI, said Browne.
“We think that this will create more job opportunities, more entrepreneurs, and help more creatives take their ideas and actually take them to production,” he added. “I don’t want to see AI replace people’s jobs. I want to see it enhance people’s lives.”
BUILDING WITH NVIDIA
The name Livy has a double meaning. Livy is the name of Browne’s daughter and one of ancient Rome’s most influential writers.
Livy AI officially launched in the summer of last year. Now in 2024, Browne said the team is in its “second stage of growth,” having proven its MVP.
Now, Livy AI is ready to scale with the help of one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
The Livy AI team was just accepted in the Nvidia Inception, a program designed to connect startups to resources and more capital opportunities.
Nvidia is a major player in the rise of AI, as it develops the GPUs and chips used by cutting-edge AI companies. The Program helps startups like Livy AI get their hands on the important tools in order to full scale an AI company.
Acceptance into the programs shows there is “value in bringing AI into the creative content process,” Browne added.
The team is still in scrappy startup mode. Alongside Browne, the early team is made up of a machine learning engineer and a data scientist.
Browne and the team is currently hyper focused on marketing the platform to filmmakers, producers, agencies, and content creators. Ultimately, he sees Livy AI as a go-to content creation platform used far beyond Hollywood.
“We want to be the go-to platform for content creation…from writing a blog post to making a feature film,” he added.