Tag Archive: Film industry


​In 2003 I decided to write a film script about a computer that takes over the internet and ‘wakes up’. This story began from ‘1st principles’, with me wondering if a computer could solve all the humanitarian issues here in my home country South Africa. And then realising it would need to be as large as the internet, to know enough to solve these problems. And that the machine might need to be ‘awake’ in order to care. 

So this story was developed in isolation from the general conversation going on now about Artificial Intelligence  (and long before we had talking Alexas). So I like to think this gives it a refreshing angle. And adding more value is the fact it’s from Cape Town, which is widely considered to be the cradle of consciousness – where humans first ‘woke up’ i.e. became consciousness enough to create art and therefore to self-reflect. So it is a nice location for the next leap in consciousness! And my story also tries to bring dreams into the conversation – because more than ever, we are going to need to explore our biological advantages over machines.

Getting anyone to read a film script is a challenge – even for busy film producers it is a big ask – to get them to commit a few hours of their time to reading your script. Luckily, I can draw. So a few years ago, I decided it would be a fun project, to, in my spare time, draw out my vision for my film, as a graphic novel. This would help me visualise it, do some more editing along the way, and make it much easier for others to enjoy the story. Especially producers, who could quickly flip through it and price it – see the locations and to figure what some sequences might cost. 

The graphic novel came out in March 2020. It’s having an impact, and is enjoyable in its own right, which is half the point of it. I’m now busy submitting my script to various film funding bodies, and hoping to attract some serious foreign investors. I do think the book would have even more impact in colour, especially for the general public, and give me an opportunity to tidy up my drawing – which were all done by hand in ink! – So that will be my next mini-project – colourising it on computers, and making the drawings look nicer.

This website was created to share with everyone, some of the processes involved, some of the grand ideas behind the project, and invite everyone along on the exciting journeying of trying to make this into a thrilling and meaningful movie. And finally, to share with them this immense story of our times – to get people thinking about what might lie ahead, and hopefully perhaps how to try shape our human destiny, while we still can, as we hurtle into this crazy future of accelerating technological growth! Please feel free to share this site, or connect with me on Twitter. @TheOracleM

THE ORACLE MACHINE is both a graphic novel and the script for a live-action movie project. But movies can cost quite a bit, so movie-making becomes a business too, that usually must try give some kind of ROI (Return on Investment) to investors – be it emotional, financial, or preferably both.

It’s truly wonderful to know something you have helped to create is having an impact on multitudes of others.  And the financial returns can be huge. The excellent Trainspotting had a return ratio of about 60:1. Yes, filmmaking is always a gamble, but the higher the risk, the higher the rewards (and for some, the bigger those thrills). But I sincerely believe this project is relatively low-risk for a movie, and of course I’ll tell you why.

Actor_Combo_v3.jpg

(Filmmaking is team-building! South African actors Suraya Santos and Grant Swanby posed for the drawings in the graphic novel.)

Three big factors mitigate the risks here:

Firstly, the script has been drawn out as a graphic novel, so my vision of it is perhaps clearer to communicate than as a written script.  It’s also easier for producers to scope out the locations and cast and action-sequences etc. And then price it. And it’s a step closer to the final product, so for myself as a filmmaker, it’s another opportunity to see how the script plays out – where is it too fast, too slow, unclear etc. And though the graphic novel format (mine anyway) can be a bit limited in conveying the emotional weight, I’m sure the actors will do an even more compelling job of telling this story.

Secondly, I have experience in filmmaking. I’m happy to say I’ve managed to get one original feature-length movie – GIRL FROM NOWHERE – made from start to finish. Although it was a micro-budget first film, made with about $20k, it’s out there now getting views. So imagine working with me and 100x that amount, and we’d still be on the lower end of the low-budget movie spectrum. i.e. I can stretch a budget and this script is constructed to be affordable to make.

Thirdly, Cape Town is a massively popular and highly economical filming location. We have very experienced crews here, seasoned even in the whims of international Hollywood productions. And filming in Cape Town is so darn cheap. No limits, and every kind of location. i.e. $1m spent here usually looks like $10m back in the States.

So let’s do it. Time is fleeting. Come on board and let’s make an awesome Indie-Genre African Sci-Fi Cutting-Edge Original A.I. Movie – THE ORACLE MACHINE!