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Dear Straight People unveils new web series largely scripted by ChatGPT

Dear Straight People unveils new web series largely scripted by ChatGPT

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Singapore-based LGBTQ media platform Dear Straight People has launched a new web series entitled Straight Best Friend as part of its 2023 pride project. What sets the project apart however is the fact that it is likely the world's first web series scripted by ChatGPT.

Straight Best Friend tackles the universally relatable theme of falling in love with a straight best friend, a narrative that resonates deeply within the gay community. It explores the complications of friendship, unrequited love, and the triumph of self-discovery.

It aims at taking an unconventional approach away from most boy love (BL) productions by featuring an openly queer cast in the web series. The show was led by homosexual actors Sean Foo and Prince Stefan, and was directed by Kieran Cheang, who is known for directing the drama Hurt.

Don't miss: Mediacorp and production company defend LGBTQ+ character portrayal in show Silent Walls

The series contains three episodes of over seven minutes each and will premiere on 15 June on Dear Straight People's YouTube channel. 

When MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out, Sean Foo, the founder of Dear Straight People noted that all 3 episodes of Straight Best Friend will be available on its Patreon for as long as Dear Straight People runs.

Knowing that questions will be raised regarding the inclusion and utlisation of AI in the production, Foo noted that filmmaking is costly, and that small production houses like his 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. Through this, we hope our works will continue to foster a deeper understanding and acceptance of LGBT individuals throughout Asia.” He added that while ChatGPT wrote the script, screenwriters made revisions to it.

The web series comes shortly after Foo called out local production company Mediacorp for "pushing out harmful gay stereotypes" in one of its latest drama's Silent Walls. Starring actors Alfred Sun and Adam Chen, the show, which premiered on Channel 8, follows four different families who move into a haunted mansion. However, one of its storylines set in the 1980s, features a gay couple played by Sun and Chen.

In the storyline, Kai De, a young student, and Nigel, a dance instructor, are in a relationship. However, the character of Nigel has AIDS and the show seemingly implies that he cheated on Kai De. Nigel eventually passes away from the disease and Kai De commits suicide in despair.

According to Foo, although the show never explicitly states that Nigel contracted AIDS, it would be reasonable for any viewer to draw that conclusion given the way the story played out. He added that by featuring a gay character with AIDS, Silent Walls perpetuates the "tired old stereotype that gay men will eventually get AIDS". He continued by saying that the "large" age gap, and teacher-student dynamic between the gay couple, is also concerning as it paints gay relationships in an "inappropriate" and "slightly predatory" light.

"Considering the fact that this is the first instance of gay media representation on Singapore TV that we've had since the repeal of S377A, it's disappointing that mainstream media is still promoting outdated stereotypes," said Foo. Foo also said that the news is particularly concerning because this is not the first time the national broadcaster has been called out for its portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community.

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