is the personal homepage of João Mesquita, Phd (aka vanoak). João is a screenwriter, creative technologist and professor based in Portugal.
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Dec 05 2022 09:21:19

regarding AI in creative domains (dall-e, chatgpt, etc). my opinion is that these technologies are as useful for creativity as a calculator is useful for doing math. my main concern with technologies is that most of them result in a devaluation of the concept of effort that while superficial actually harms education, ie. expertise on a subject.

PS - an update on this issue. this evolution reinforces the concept that human intervention in digital processes is in the transition from production to auditing. and for that we still need specialists.


Nov 20 2022 13:04:00


I made another tool to help my students visualize scripts. It's called runner and it's a textual storyboarding tool. the aim is to decompose the script into individual shots and fine-tune its duration depending on what we want to convey. we still have to imagine the scenes but it can help to understand the film before it's made. making drawings can take a long time, so this way is faster. after this work is done, it can be exported to a subtitle file to be used in any nle.


Oct 29 2022 13:58:07

cibernetic cinema screenwriting tools

after finishing the script for O Vazio Aqui - we're in the layout phase - I thought I'd start implementing the principles that characterize the cybernetic cinema definition. I have 8 principles for now. You have to go to my classes and workshops to find out what they are, at least until they are more scientifically sedimented.

There's one I've been exploring these past few days and that is how time is managed. For now, the definition is that time is independent of action. In eXistenZ (Cronenberg, 1999), artificial agents waited in torpor until the human agent guesses the right move. Here, the artificial agents get on with their agenda. The cybernetic engine should adapt the action to the time "wasted" by the human agent.

To test the possibilities I did an experiment with a terminal program containing an infinite loop in which I can interact with the keyboard through function commands (they work on different threads). After the time cycle was defined, I realized that each artificial agent must have an agenda and that the human agent crosses its actions with the agendas of each of the them, where predetermined actions can take place.

What I ended up doing however is creating a screenwriting methodology for cybernetic cinema that is extremely iterative and fast. I assume it shouldn't be that much different from interactive fiction authoring tools but if my experience with them is of any indication, this method is more efficient.

The film I'm writing with this screenwriting tool (for cybernetic cinema) is a mix between Se7en (Fincher, 1995) and Covert Action (Meyer,1990).


May 04 2022 22:15:30

cibernetic cinema on Alquimia 2022

what interests me is not how new media designers can integrate narrative into the objects they produce; rather it is what filmmakers do when they're given new media as a means of expression.

IMG 5251


Apr 14 2022 22:19:34

on webapps

following my studies in swiftUI, i reconsidered web technologies as an infrastructure for graphical user interfaces. it is an extremely flexible infrastructure if you know what to do, i.e. if you don't use frameworks and have the knowledge to hack divs on floats or grids. in a short time i made a few experimental webapps (tasks, bibform, ganttbuster and on_untitled). they are all very different user interface-wise as they should. they have rough edges because there are no plans. i code new stuff as i need it.

i still think things like electron.js are weird - around the 2000s I worked on a project where it was a desktop app but from Flash projects, which never worked very well on client machines - but i could probably change my mind if someone builds something lighter. my webapps are running on a local server, in a browser and for now they are enough.


Jan 06 2022 21:02:53

looking into swiftui. conceptually, a mix between html and css. that’s not a terrible ideia.


Jan 06 2022 19:28:50

i made a rss reader. it works great!

Or Untitled