The Human Machine Grant Proposal

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'Spencer Palfreyman 301136215

Nick Singh 301091058



The project detailed in this report titled “The Human Machine”, is one that is attempting to inform on the challenge and future of humans and their embodiment of technology. It will follow the lives of two people in the future, each having unique and interesting characteristics while being involved in a close relationship. One will have technology embedded into himself; an integral part of his every day. The other will have little to do with technology and gets by with her own distinct way. The two will interact, and questions will be raised. We will be using the medium of animation to depict a world in a future that, though not unlike our own, is starkly different in its implementation of technology. Through this medium we hope to create a believable world in which we can display our ideas of what a future with such disparate views are represented. Within the medium of animation, we plan on using the genre of documentation to bring about questions that are raised through the interactions of the characters within the film. Issues that are inherent to human beings history will be juxtaposed onto technology, allowing the meaning to be deep yet hidden, very clearly out of site. This sort of discussion and vantage point allows for open ended questions, those of which will be allowed to be discussed openly on the internet.

Project Narrative

The work we intend to create is an investigation into the human conscience. In order to discover our emotional, physical and mental attachment to technology, we will create a work that shows a time in the future where humans and machines are integrated in a deeply physical way. The originality of our work comes from the style in which we are presenting it. Using a film based medium, we are animating this film while also presenting it in a faux documentary style. This provides us with the ability to construct a world fitting to our proposal. Furthermore, the execution of the dialogue events, and the interactions of the characters will give rise to unanswered, yet very intriguing questions. These questions will be left for the audience to interpret and answer. The film itself will look at two different characters lives, each the polar opposite of the other. Deeper still, these characters are involved with each other at a more intimate level. They live with each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, giving rise to many different situations that come from their different viewpoints.

It is important for us to undertake such a project because of the rapid development and integration of technology into our everyday lives. We hope to achieve deeper understanding of the future of technology, as well as where that future may be heading. Through this video, we believe that useful data could be produced, through which further research and discoveries could arise. In order to obtain such learning, we will be doing research and surveys in order to find the current technological landscape that is in the present time frame, so that we can extrapolate a realistic future using personas gained from this research. We will approach the project from an intellectual standpoint bringing to life this world that we plan on animating. Conceptually, we will be touching on such ideas as racism, networking, imbedded technology, the post human, the Cyborg, and the concept of The Other. Though not directly discussing the idea of racism itself, we will bring to life the idea that the human and the Cyborg will go through the same social stigmas as different cultures did not so long ago, and even still to this day. The ideas of networking, will stem from the idea that humans will begin to rely on such factors as the internet and cell phone waves, so much so that they incorporate such technology into themselves; touching on the ideas of imbedded technology, the post human, and the Cyborg.

Some issues that we foresee facing have to do with the production of the animation itself. Creating a believable and detailed world will take time and finances, requiring help from voice actors to artists, and other various production teams. Further on those lines, the creation of a movie itself will pose many issues are there are sound, character design, production, and story that all have to be taken into consideration. Our vision for the final project is that of a complete feature length documentary that discusses, displays, and demonstrates a futuristic world embedded with technology. The ideas that we have to create in order to bring life to this surreal world will take time to develop and thus adding difficulty to our project. Deciding which program we are to develop our film in (in regards to the animation) is another issue we are currently deciding upon and will come to a decision at a further date.

As stated previously, the medium and genre in which we will be working with will be that of a film in the animated faux documentary genre. However, our medium will go beyond that of just film, but will extend to the Internet to gain the most publicity and interest. Taking all these ideas and putting them together within a stylistic and relatable world is the vision that we have for this project. In order to let the film give rise to proper questions and analytical analysis, we are developing this project with details in mind. When all is complete, we hope to have a film that causes the viewer to pause and consider, not just walk away. In regards to the areas and genres that our film will take part in, it will definitely draw from the well established genre of documentary and faux documentary. Films like The Matrix, Terminator, I Robot, and The Animatrix, demonstrate the style that we are hoping to achieve and serve as large inspirations for this project. Our film will use the ideas and styles introduced in these films and others, and expand on it by creating itself and being real to itself within its animated world. Having a convincing documentary come from an animated piece is an idea that will really stretch the genre to new heights. Films like The Animatrix in which an animated story is taking place, has an incredibly stylistic and referential style that draws from its companion movie, The Matrix. Our film will try to add detail and life to the characters that are all their own. They will be characters that one could cry for, laugh with, and get angry for. This relationship with the characters is one rarely seen outside television series and books, and as such will definitely expand our piece as a landmark for animation.

As research and understanding will be the base of “The Human Machine”, we have set out to understand the concepts introduced in our paper by means of various academic sources. The idea of “The Other” comes from the eponymous book written by Kapuściński. The discussion of who is the Other will stem from the interesting situation the couple finds themselves in. With one being a Cyborg human and the other being a biological human, this concept will surely give rise to stimulating conversations. Tying into this idea of relational distance based on difference of appearance, the short story found in The Seeds of Change titled The N-Word depicts a world similar to the one we wish to create. In the story, Neanderthals have been revived and are causing moral havoc throughout the world. Though different the Neanderthals the Cyborgs in our film will have a similar moral confusion about them. In order to understand Cyborgs and all the ideals and ethical problems that may be involved in the script of our film, we have looked into many articles and journals that discuss the very issue of morality and ethics within a Cyborg culture. Lastly, in order to get a grasp on how technological advancement will look like in the near future, we have done research into such books and journals as “New Media: The Key Concepts” and “The Rise of the Middle and the Future of End to End: Reflections on the Evolution of the Internet Architecture”. These hold information in to how our Cyborg would be connected to the internet and networked to others around him. Through all this research we hope to have the basis for a realistic and believable world in which well versed comments and discussion can be based around.

When this work is finally produced, it will stand as a milestone, to which other films and works are to be measured. It will cause technical animation, factorial animation, to grow and expand to new heights as they are influenced by our work. The conversation that will come from our video will allow us to take steps to answer questions about technology that most people are indifferent or too unconcerned with. By allowing the viewer to become part of the thinking process we hope to engage the scientific brain of the everyman and allow social media to provide us with invaluable information and data. Through this we hope to use the power of the Internet, humour and film to bring about new understanding on the topic of humans and our ever present helper, technology.


To complete a project of this scope, and have it done well, will require research into today’s societal use of technology, technology trends, social issues, and technological stigmas, schemas and taboos. Through this we will be able to extrapolate a believe world from the world in which we live now. Furthermore, we plan on looking at the morality of physical enhancement through technology, and by using real world data, create the two characters in which our story and plot will revolve around. Through research done by our group, as well as utilizing other studies done by other groups, we will begin the creation of our film on the base of good research.

At the beginning stages of production, attention will be pointed towards the core aspects of our film. These core aspects, being the script and character development, will take some time to develop and will be incorporated into the finalized timeline on the following page. After these details have been taken care of, aspects such as the characters’ voice actors and the actual animation will be looked into and completed. Finally, a polishing of the entire project will ensure that the qualities that stand out to the viewer, the dialogue, music, sound, and overall quality, is at its best. With all these steps completed we would move onto the releasing and distribution of our film in the post production stage.

During post production we will finalize the distribution of our film onto popular social networking sites such as Reddit, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. We will actively watch the comment sections and respond to any such questions that may arise. Through this we hope to create a sense of transparency within the final stages of our video. Once all this has been put in motion we will allow the mass surge of social media to distribute our questions globally, allowing for a wide range of answers and data to become available to us. We hope that this data can be used and studied in further research, becoming a valuable asset to the scientific technological community.



-Concept creation and ideation phase
-Work out a rough script
-Design story board
-Secure office space and technology necessary for film
-Look for necessary animators to animate film

-Find voice actors, have auditions
-Finalize script
-Have a read through of entire script
-Make necessary changes
-Present story board to actors and animators

-Begin marketing of film through Facebook and Twitter
-Begin animation work
-Begin voice recording

-Finalize voice recording
-Begin editing movie
-Animations finished
-Finalize edits to the film
-release teaser trailer

-Animations finished
-Finalize edits to the film
-release teaser trailer

-Post video on Youtube and Vimeo, share on Facebook and Twitter
-Follow the discussion and take in user comments


In regards to the aforementioned proposal, I feel like I have qualifications and past experiences that lend themselves greatly to the project. As of the present, I am enrolled and engaged in many media based programs in Simon Fraser University. I have taken two dedicated video courses as well as done a lot of film based work in my spare time. Having produced over a dozen short, unlicensed films on my own, as well as one short film produced for my portfolio, my knowledge of filmmaking and the many aspects that go into that is vast. For example, while filming my short film for a University class, I found out that teamwork and cooperation, as well as technical knowledge are required to get a project off the ground. Each team member was not a master at all aspects of the film creation. One member worked on filming, while the others worked on things like special effects, lighting, sound and edit quality. A good team is required to have a good project and so for the project that I have been discussing a great team is not needed, it’s required. Another experience I took from the creation of that film was specifically in the field of lighting, sound and overall quality control. As the project leader I would be able to organize all the specific parts, allowing for the idea to come to full fruition. Furthermore, my knowledge in sound design will aid proficiently in our film due to its animated nature. The entire world we plan on creating is one that doesn’t exist in this world; it is a blank canvas. As that canvas gets painted, however, sound needs to be created to match each individual element of the film. From footsteps to breathe and even background ambience, each has its role to play in the realism of our futuristic world. With my past experience I will be able to create these sounds and small details that may pass others by. Through my past work I have learned how to overcome different challenges and issues that arise from video editing. In my previous amateur videos, I learned the importance of good camera angles and viewpoints. The necessity of using the camera lens to tell a story apart from dialogue will be important within our animated film. Furthermore in my Portal film, the use of sound revealed many interesting frameworks to me that would work in many videos to come in the future. Different sounds in my database can be used over again as well as different panning and fading techniques developed from the creation of my video. Overall all I believe that I have developed a wide skill set that will provide much assistance in the creation of this project.'


As a researcher and a hobbyist of technology, the results of this project will bring forth many useful and interesting pieces of information. After its mass distribution and discussion through social media and word of mouth, “The Human Machine” will greatly enhance my presence in the scientific community. I hope to use this project as a stepping stone to gain some ground in the technological industry, be it development or research, and allow myself to have some effect on the way the world will be for the next generation. Beyond my own ambitions and reaction to our project withstanding, the creation of more films touching on foreign concepts would be on our company’s radar. As technology is becoming an integrated piece of everyday life, digital film proves to be a commanding medium to grasp the attention of the greater audience.

This very thought brought us to choosing to present “The Human Machine” over the internet. The rapid, instantaneous movement of information would allow us to see the comments and reactions without much cost or effort, resulting in more time spent collecting data and fact. Other than the Internet, venues such as iTunes and Netflix will provide further access to the general public. Another benefit to releasing our project online, is that it allows for a more relaxed and comfortable environment to be available when watching the film. If the viewer is in a place where they can take time to think and question the events in the movie, then our data coming back will be that much more helpful and useful.

Once “The Human Machine” created, the publishing and distributing of our film will happen almost overnight, as word of our projects release will have been announced and revealed on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. The film will be left online until the project falls out of the public eye, from which then we will begin to compile and release the research we have been gathering throughout the extended release time period. This data will be available to any and all who wish to utilize it, and pieces about the research will be produced by our company and passed on to other scholarly companies.



Voice Actors: $0 – will hire voice actors from Vancouver Film School to get a more realistic voice and to allow these students to build their portfolio
Animators: salary for one animator is $75,000 – dived by 12 and multiply by 2 = $12,500 – deduct a bit to make it work with our budget
Production Costs: 4 x $3,599 = $14,396 – 4 Mac Pros / 4 x $10,00 = $4,000 – 4 thunderbolt displays, 2 x $2,599 = $5,198 – two copies of adobe master collection(can share between two comps per serial)
Distribution Costs: $0 – done through Youtube and Vimeo
Sound Creation: 2 x $250 = 1.12 x $700 = $784 – renting sound booth + producer
Editing: $0 – will be done by Spencer and Nicholas
Location: 1,200 x 6 = 7200
Driving Reimbursement: 100 x 2 = 200x6 = 1,200x2 = 2,400 – estimate the average cost of filling up the gas tank and multiplying it for two people.



Resource Sources:

Adams, J. J. (2008). Seeds of change. Holicong, Pa.: Prime Books.

Cavazza, M., Charles, F., & Mead, S. J. (2002). Planning characters' behaviour in interactive storytelling.The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation, 13(2), 121-131. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from
Gane, N., & Beer, D. F. (2008). New media: the key concepts. Oxford: Berg.
Gray, C. H. (2002). Cyborg citizen: politics in the posthuman age. New York: Routledge.
Kapuściński, R. (2008). The other. London: Verso.

Kempf, J., & Austein, R. (2003). The Rise of the Middle and the Future of End to End: Reflections on the Evolution of the Internet Architecture.Internet Draft, 1. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from
Warwick, K. (2003). Cyborg morals, cyborg values, cyborg ethics. Ethics and Information Technology, 5, 131-137. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from

Zylinska, J. (2002). The Cyborg experiments: the extensions of the body in the media age. London: Continuum.

Budget Sources: