Everyone has to put in that one, “This is my first post” type post, right? So, this is mine and this is my story. It all started from a bad college prank…
Well, no. Kinda. I was taking a college course in marketing and wondering how I could use my new found analytics skills for my passion for film. I had recently gone to the PULSE Media and Entertainment conference at UCLA where I had heard some pretty exciting to do lists for film analytics. Perusing around the webernet, I realized that there wasn’t really a place to talk about this specifically. Looking deeper I realized that there wasn’t really a place for “smaller” studios and indie filmmakers to really tap into the magic that analytics provide.
I know, I know, machines will kill creativity and expression and art. Maybe. I really don’t know and I don’t think so. Sure, if you take the statistical average of everything that makes money and push everything toward that average then you end up with bland vanilla content in the middle and you ruin films. I’m not for that at all. I love film for the art, the intrigue, the mystic and magic, and for the catharsis. I’m usually the snob saying, “but it was so formulaic and the actors weren’t even trying to mean what they were saying!” while my friends and family just shrug and reply, “I liked it.”
So, where does that put my penchant for film analytics?
Let’s just for a moment agree that a lot of movies fall in that average range (tilted toward below average, am I right?) and that only the best land in that above average range. Lets also agree that there are a lot in the low and severely impaired range, especially if it’s a small studio or an indie production. Why is that? Low budget, sure. Lack of great talent because of low budget, absolutely. Bad story to begin with, yep. What if we could take the script ideas, match it with movies in the above average range, and then tweak the story to improve what we knew was bad but weren’t sure how to fix? What if we could run analytics that proved that people really are interested in seeing our film? Couldn’t we have more success at attracting good talent with a great story or attracting financing with a compelling market to buy the experience our film will provide? Couldn’t we start pushing every film toward the above average range?
Well, then you get the middle of the curve to shift up and now your back in the same situation as before, vanilla. Well, that’s already happening. (Okay, that’s debatable.. but screenwriter and Forbes movie critic, Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms), agrees.) Movies are getting better and consumers are getting more demanding. The result of growing demand for quality film should be that producers need to consistently find new creative ways to make the experience better. And since my mother is the necessity of all innovation (Wait, strike that. Reverse it.) film analytics should in theory force us to make better, more creative films while giving smaller budget films a greater chance at financial and critical success.
And with that I end my first blog post with more to come on film analytics. I’m hoping I can find ways to help make your films better of just show awesome visualizations about the film industry.
Tell me what you want to discuss here? Have you been trying to figure out how to use analytics in filmmaking? At what stages? What are your barriers to incorporating analytics?