TED Conference, 2023, also known as TED 20230, is a 2012 short film directed by Luke Scott and starring Guy Pearce. Created as part of the viral marketing campaign for Prometheus, the film shows Peter Weyland giving an influential talk at the 2023 TED conference and laying out Weyland Corp's plans for the future.
After drinking a glass of whisky and readying himself, Peter Weyland steps out into Long Beach Arena, packed with thousands of people attending the annual TED conference. After narrating a scene from Lawrence of Arabia, in which Corporal Potter asks Lawrence about his habit of extinguishing matches with his bare fingers, Weyland goes on to explain the myth of the Titan Prometheus, who gave the secret of fire to mankind and was punished by the Gods as a result. Considering fire to be man's first invention, he goes on to list various other breakthroughs throughout the course of human history, including the wheel, gunpowder, the automobile, television, spacecraft, terraforming and the curing of most cancers, before concluding that mankind's technological prowess now makes them akin to gods. However, he laments that the almost limitless potential of the technologies humanity possesses is currently being squandered by overbearing rules and regulations. Finally, Weyland introduces himself to his audience, before promising, "If you'll indulge me, I'd like to change the world."
The short film was conceived by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof, director and writer of Prometheus, respectively. The project arose partly because Lindelof wished to introduce new audiences to the annual TED conference. Regarding its setting, Lindelof explained that the scene takes place in a futuristic stadium rather than the smaller locations of real TED conferences because "a guy like Peter Weyland — whose ego is just massive, and the ideas that he's advancing are nothing short of hubris — that he'd basically say to TED, 'If you want me to give a talk, I'm giving it in Wembley Stadium.'" The film features Guy Pearce playing a younger version of his character from Prometheus.
TED community director Tom Rielly helped gain approval for the use of the TED brand in the short film, which had not previously been used for promotional purposes. He was involved in designing the 2023 conference, preparing an "extensive briefing on all the visual and audio aspects of a TEDTalk circa 2012 and a corresponding speculation on how things would work in the future", that included flying video cameras and "live Twitteresque feedback". Rielly claimed that the association generated millions of new visitors to the TED website, many of which were from users who had never visited the site previously. The short film's release was accompanied by a fictional TED blog about the 2023 conference and a tie-in website for Weyland Corp. On March 6, 2012, the Weyland Corp website was updated to allow visitors to 'invest' in TED as part of a game to reveal new Prometheus media.
The short film was originally released in two parts — the bulk of the short (specifically Weyland's speech) was released on February 28, 2012 via the TED website, as part of the viral marketing campaign for Prometheus, accompanied by a fictional post in the site's blog about Weyland. The remainder of the film, in which Weyland is seen quoting Friedrich Nietzsche as he prepares himself backstage, was made available (under the title Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the name of the book from which Weyland is quoting) by following a website link given at the end of Prometheus' closing credits during the movie's theatrical run.
Home video release
- The scene from Lawrence of Arabia that Weyland recalls during his speech is also referenced in Prometheus, in which David is seen watching said scene while alone aboard the Prometheus. In both films, Weyland and David repeat Peter O'Toole's line, "The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
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