The UK and the US film and TV industries are very different, in size and structure. When UK professionals in — for example —TV ask wannabe British screenwriters what their favourite shows are, they become frustrated when a long list of US shows emerges from the writer’s mouth.

But this bias is understandable. Apart from the huge influence of the US TV and film market on UK culture, most savvy screenwriters invest a large amount of time in reading how-to books and websites on screenwriting. Because of the size of the US population and US film and TV industry, 75%…


Preparing for a performance of Cloud Chamber at California Academy of Sciences

This is the story of how I went from reading books on quarks and cosmology as a young teen to dueting with cosmic rays, and then with quantum computer AIs via teleportation. A journey that has taken me through the outer reaches of my own imagination, through performing for some of the world’s most prominent theoretical physicists, to being taken to see the remains of the very machines that discovered quarks in government labs, to having my violin music played by Radiohead’s violinist and in front of a high-security hyper-radioactive neutron bombardment chamber.

A long long time ago, in a…


The debate about screenwriting competitions and their usefulness to aspiring screenwriters still rages on. One thing is for certain: if you enter the top few competitions and place well, then managers and agents will often take notice. (Though that doesn’t guarantee a signing.) On the downside, many of these are expensive and the competition is intense. You’re up against the best screenwriters in the world.

There is another option — the “budget” screenwriting contests. Winning these is more likely, simply because the very top screenwriters often won’t enter. Any win can be that boost of encouragement you need right now…


There are a number of screenwriting contests online that provide free feedback to submitters. Such feedback can be extremely valuable. Sure, we all want to win. But if we don’t win, or don’t make the semis, we’d like to know why. That gives us the option to re-write, to improve, to see a new perspective. Some competitions charge a large amount for written feedback. But there are a few that provide it for free.

Some of these “free-feedback” contests are in fact top contests which aspiring writers can use to gain industry recognition and contacts from agents, producers, and managers…


I believe that enforced conscious interactivity between film and audience (e.g. pressing buttons) reduces the viewer’s sense of being drawn into a narrative — of experiencing the narrative from within. I’ll examine this from the point of view of database cinema, spectatorship and suture theory.

Lev Manovich was the first to analyse how the concept of database influences cinema and narrative (Manovich 1998). A database is a set of objects used in information technology — I spent some time working as a database programmer. The structure of a database conforms to two principles: (i) data is broken down into the…


So you’re a cutting-edge coder, sought by every company in Silicon Valley. You’ve read all the popular science stuff about quantum computing. But when you actually try to work out how to program qubits usefully, you get nowhere. Well don’t be surprised. The parts of quantum computer programming that can be understood by an advanced coder not trained in quantum theory, are currently useless.

Sure, you can play around with qubits and make a Superposition (“ooh it’s one and zero at the same time!”). And yes you can create a quantum XOR gate, and Adder (“look! It’s an adder but…


Most films are fixed — they are not changed by the audience during the film, and they in fact do not change once they are distributed. Interactive cinema allows the audience to influence or change elements of the film, so their experience can be different to others’. Before the wide availability of digital technology, this was done manually. Nielson and other data tracking/rating companies have analyzed film and television reactions for decades but they have not used it to interact in real-time with the media.

The film ‘Kinoautomat’ by Radúz Činčera in 1967 and other early interactive films involve the…


In most games, sound plays second fiddle to the visuals. There is always much talk about the graphical rendering power of a computer or how beautiful and/or smooth the visuals are in a new game. There are of course games that combine sight and sound but where sound plays a larger part than normal — for example Guitar Hero, in which the user attempts to play along to popular music with a fake guitar. However, these could still not be described as “audiogames”, as without the visuals they are unusable. The emergence of the iPhone and other smartphones has led…


Quantum Communications: Teleporting to Satellites

One of the main reasons that quantum technologies have received so much attention recently is the promised speed-ups from quantum algorithms. However, there is one other key reason for interest in quantum technologies: quantum communication. Quantum mechanics (QM) can model groups of subatomic particles as a single object called a state vector. The axioms of QM also separate out the idea of a particle’s state from its measurement. As I discussed in a previous article this is at the heart of the weirdness in quantum mechanics and quantum computing.

In classical mechanics, if the spin…


Quantum computers utilize the unique properties of quantum physics that manifest at the smallest levels of reality (one of the largest objects that exhibits quantum properties is made up of 60 carbon atoms). Objects that have quantum properties are smaller than anything we can really experience as human beings. Because the everyday reality we grew up with does not mirror what happens at the smallest levels, we find descriptions of the quantum-level of physical reality “spooky”.

Alexis Kirke

Alexis Kirke is a screenwriter and quantum/AI programmer. He has PhDs from an arts faculty and from a science faculty. http://www.alexiskirke.com

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