Do you like watching Boys Love (BL)? Then you’ll be interested in this new project that has everyone talking because a) it’s made in Singapore, 2) it’s got a queer cast, and 3) the script is written by AI (ChatGPT)!
Produced by Dear Straight People, “Straight Best Friend” is a light-hearted web series with 3 episodes – at roughly 7 minutes each – boasting an international cast of openly queer actors, led by gay actors Sean Foo (from “Getaway”) and Prince Stefan (from “Working Beks”). Taking the director’s chair is Kieran Cheang, renowned for his viral gay drama “Hurt.”
Episode 1 will be published on Dear Straight People’s YouTube channel on 15 June. Episodes 2 and 3 will be available exclusively on their Patreon page.
The story is about a chance encounter that reconnects Ivan (Sean Foo) with his childhood best friend, Andrew (Prince Stefan). As they rekindle their friendship, Ivan finds himself falling for his straight best friend all over again. “Straight Best Friend” revolves around the universally relatable theme that deeply resonates within the gay community as well as the hearts of BL enthusiasts. This heartwarming story explores the complexities of friendship, unrequited love, and the journey of self-discovery.
Blending BL and ChatGPT?
This series is poised to make waves as potentially the world’s first-ever web series scripted by ChatGPT, marking a milestone in the fusion of artificial intelligence and storytelling in the realm of web series production.
However, when the announcement was made, there was instant backlash for its use of AI. With Silicon Valley companies creating AI services that can mimic human language, it could potentially replace millions of jobs. Unsurprisingly, there’s been an increasingly aggressive effort taking shape to protect those jobs from being subsumed by AI (take the latest writers’ strike, for instance).
On Twitter, the backlash included sentiments like “I refuse to support anything written by an AI” and “utilising an AI program that steals others’ work and recycles it into uncreative texts as a “gimmick” to market a BL series is profoundly anti-queer.”
In response, Dear Straight People released a statement:
“Filmmaking is costly, and small production houses like ours struggle to gain attention in an increasingly competitive landscape. To overcome this, we employed AI to script a BL series as a marketing strategy to build our Patreon. Our ultimate goal is to achieve financial independence, enabling us to produce original LGBT stories on film.”
While ChatGPT contributed to the script, significant revisions were made by their in-house screenwriters – because let’s face it, AI still lacks the creative capacity to craft a compelling script of lived experience. Check out their trailer here:
Why we should watch it
“Straight Best Friend” is groundbreaking for several reasons. Firstly, because it’s potentially the world’s first web series scripted by ChatGPT, marking a significant milestone in the intersection of artificial intelligence and storytelling in the BL realm.
The series also stands out from most Boys Love (BL) productions by featuring an openly queer cast, promoting authentic representation and provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ actors to portray LGBTQ+ characters. This kind of representation is crucial in challenging stereotypes and fostering inclusivity in media.
Dear Straight People, the production house behind the series, is dedicated to improving LGBT+ visibility across Asia through compelling content. By leveraging AI technology as a marketing strategy, they aim to gain attention and financial independence, enabling them to produce more original LGBT stories to promote understanding and acceptance of LGBT individuals throughout Asia.