Film Festival Network interview with Michael KurethFriday, November 12, 2021
An Interview With Michael Kureth: A Visionary Creator
Hello Michael Kureth! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief introduction!
Michael is an award-winning technology and entertainment industry professional with decades of experience in software engineering, film production, and team management.
He is well experienced in developing and managing 250+ large scale projects with interactive digital experiences for high caliber technology companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Adobe along with top film studios not limited to Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Lionsgate, and Netflix.
With a multitude of diverse skills and credits, he was inspired in 2015 to create and patent Zennect, a platform to allow others like him to showcase their many talents in one place while leveling up their skills and credits with experience points. In 2003, he became a voting member of the Grammy Awards for his ownership of an independent record label releasing the first enhanced compact disc promoting musicians, music videos, and poetry. From 2003 to 2015, he produced 7 independent feature-length films expanding his financing and scheduling skills. In 2007, he built Cinepix to empower independent filmmakers and major studios to be compensated for their films in what he copyrighted as the world’s first online movie theatre.
In 2018, Michael Kureth created Cinedapt®, a patented, revolutionary new form of entertainment technology providing a personalized experience for viewers, advanced creative freedom for filmmakers, and anti-piracy tracking for investors. Cinedapt, Inc. is a Verified Vendor with the US Federal Contractor Registration, the world’s largest third-party federal government registration firm.
Where are you located? Los Angeles, CA
What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?
“If you name me, you negate me. By giving me a name, a label, you negate all the other things I could possibly be.” — Søren Kierkegaard
What inspired you to start creating films?
At a young age, I was fascinated with how the film was the greatest form of art where a creator could express him or herself better than with just poetry, artwork, or music. Just as silent films evolved into movies, I always believed there was the next evolution to entertainment.
Who most inspires/influences you currently and why?
Leonardo da Vinci. Once a person understands the benefit of being a polymath, the thought and creation process becomes incomparable to others.
As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you?
My current creative drive is with my company, Cinedapt, Inc.
To me, the current filmmaking process feels very limited and outdated by a century. Ironically, the current “innovation” drive in the film industry, streaming services, is based on the copyright I own and a patent I filed in 2007. However, investors are more interested in how many times a startup calls itself a “disruptor” in contrast to the establishment of proven work and experience.
I know that the future of film is Cinedapt®. This drives me to know that films can learn a viewer’s fears and adapt content to be more frightening while adjusting to the person. Horror now has become as weak as the Birds is today; just as comedy now is not as strong as Dumb and Dumber was when released. The next evolution of film and its possibilities are what drive me.
What is your absolute dream in life?
Creative freedom and world domination.
What’s your most recent project?
What is your role(s) in the film?
Who is the director & who is the writer?
What is the film’s genre?
Drama, Reality, Comedy
What is your film’s logline?
Whiteboard Challenge® is an internationally award-winning tech satire featuring the software engineering interview process in the form of a competitive game talk show. The pilot episode delves into discrimination based on age, social introversion, and other factors along with educating non-technical viewers on how useful applications and games are built. The goal of the show is to enlighten and encourage change in society by humanizing the people behind today’s modern technical wonders while giving a voice to those who have been silenced.
What inspired you in how you went about this project?
The idea originally began in 2015 as an interview parody game show about how absurd the interview process is for positions in software engineering. The interview process closely resembles a game show, where chance and personal bias factor more in the hiring decision over actual skill and ability to perform the job.
Before I wrote the script, I created and patented new technology, Cinedapt®, which embraces machine learning to establish an emotional connection with an audience while adapting content on a psychological level to provide a greater user experience. I saw Whiteboard Challenge® as a safe proof of concept for investors and the public since the core technology was created to learn and adapt to a user’s fears to make horror films actually frightening. Having the pilot project for an entertainment technology patent focus on software engineers was intentional to target investors.
Knowing that I could influence a change in the industry with the patent and show, I saw an opportunity to offer solutions for better ways to assess ability and improve the overall interview experience. The current process is very subjective based on personal preference. This theory was proven at Google during a study in 2007 when their hiring committee rejected all candidate interview packets which were later revealed to be from their own earlier interviews at the same company.
I ultimately decided that the initial concept of introverted engineers competing on a whiteboard would be too boring for non-technical viewers. In an effort to humanize tech talent as relatable people, I confronted controversial topics existing in society. These three topics were age discrimination, homelessness, and women in tech. The overall theme of the pilot became to give a voice to them and those who have been silenced.
What was the most difficult part of the process of working on this film? How did you overcome it?
The most difficult part in making this film was the actual principal photography phase of production. To gain respect within the tech community, the show needed to have someone with an engineering background host the show along with each contestant and judge be actual software engineers. This has never been attempted or accomplished until now.
The easiest and most common way to overcome this would have been to cast actors; however, I took the approach of both leading the show as the host as well as directing actual software engineers on camera.
What was the most fun portion of this entire production?
Principal photography in film production is always the most stressful and least fun part of the process in comparison to the post-production and marketing phases. The most fun portion of this project was experimenting with my new patented technology, Cinedapt®.
In following an underlying theme of the show, the effort went into portraying how each contestant’s performance was equally qualified and could win in different circumstances based on subjective preference. For the theatrical premiere, I conducted a voting campaign both to market the film and to showcase the prejudice of the hiring process.
There are 36 primary versions of the pilot with trillions of permutations each with a unique lesson for the viewer. Using my patented Cinedaptive® film technology, the show adapts to the person watching to establish an emotional connection and influence the viewer’s understanding of the situation in a personalized way.
The Cinedaptive® version of Whiteboard Challenge® personalizes the show content to empathize viewers with the software engineering interview process and how it is discriminatory based on the viewer’s race, gender, age, and cognitive differences. This is complemented with a tech talk on how the process can be improved along with role model testimonies from African Americans, Mexican, and women who hold leadership positions in tech.
The show concludes with how each candidate is equally qualified for the role. For example, some viewers may learn how veteran engineers have declined positions due to being unfamiliar with a term only taught in boot camp; while others may learn how engineers with hidden disabilities are discriminated against and not offered reasonable accommodations. In both examples, each candidate is proven to be best suited for the role. Additional Cinedaptive® features of Whiteboard Challenge® included length adjustment (short, standard, or extended), rating (work safe or restricted), and genre (comedy, drama, talk show, or game show).
What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?
The greatest lesson I learned in the creation of Whiteboard Challenge® is that both age and disability discrimination are a leading and preventable cause of homelessness and suicide despite how companies use their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative as a tax-deductible marketing campaign with no intention of advocating for equality.
I have an award-winning story, Diversity and Desolation, which delves into this topic further. For now, to protect software engineers from future discrimination, I own the trademark for Whiteboard Challenge®.
To any software engineer reading this, a Whiteboard Challenge® interview practice is a violation of federal laws.
We’re so glad to have you involved in The Film Festival Network. Do you have anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?
I am currently accepting films for review of the Cinedaptival International Film Festival to showcase films by filmmakers who exhibit the quality of talent and craft required to create a Cinedaptive® film. The purpose of this festival is to select filmmakers who will be invited to utilize Cinedapt’s patented technology for upcoming films. To submit for consideration in the festival, visit Cinedaptival.com.
Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Michael! We can’t wait to see what you do next.
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