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Department Of Theatre And Media Arts

Heart and Humanity: TMA Grad On The Importance of Human Creativity

Theater and Media Arts Graduate Alison Kimball Shares Perspective on the Use of AI in the Film Industry

Alison Kimball, photo courtesy of Alison Kimball

Recent theatre and media arts (TMA) graduate Alison Kimball looks forward to her future career with both nervousness and excitement. Kimball graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in media arts studies and is moving to Los Angeles (LA) next month to pursue filmmaking, videography and editing. With the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other content generating technology, creators like Kimball are worried about the future of the film industry.

Kimball has witnessed many technological advancements since beginning to edit film professionally at the age of 18. She has come to appreciate AI as a powerful tool that can be used both positively and negatively. “AI could be useful in helping animators cut corners or it could help them get their job done without overworking themselves,” Kimball said. She hopes that AI will be used as a groundwork for editing with editors continuing to control every aspect of the process. When the human aspect of the creative process is removed, Kimball feels that the product is “not art anymore” and is “just computer software.”

Kimball’s personal relationship with the creative process is closely connected to her spirituality. “I felt very spiritually drawn to this career,” Kimball said. “Creativity is the thing that draws me closer to God.” This connection between God and creativity is one reason she fears the overuse of AI. “I think creativity is an important thing for anyone to tap into. I want to inspire others to tap into that. I don’t feel that with machines that is possible. We lose a lot of heart and humanity that way.”

Kimball believes that many creators in the film industry would agree with her on this point, regardless of their religion or relationship with spirituality. “Most creators feel a connection to the divine when they create,” she said. “It is the producers and people funding the films that are driving the use of AI.” She believes that smaller producing companies who rely on human creativity will move into the forefront of the industry as larger companies continue to rely more heavily on AI.

Although Kimball has some reservations about the future of AI and film, she maintains a hopeful outlook for the future. She said, “I had a really strong feeling that I should be in LA; I have to follow the Spirit.” Regardless of what the future holds, Kimball feels that her studies at BYU have prepared her well. “I’m so thankful for all the opportunities BYU has afforded me,” she said. “I’m so thankful for my professors and all of the advice they’ve given me.”

Kimball working on set, Photos courtesy of Alison Kimball