Screenwriters Beware: The Data Nerds Are Coming

on Monday, May. 6th

If you care about film and your physical well-being don’t eat before reading this New York Times article:

A chain-smoking former statistics professor named Vinny Bruzzese — “the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood,” in the words of one studio customer — has started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers. What do you like? What should be changed?

Look, I can see the value of contextualizing a screenplay in relation to other films. That’s something a screenwriter should be conscious of, but a tool like this cannot support innovation by design. I’m not usually big on schadenfreude, but I really hope these guys get done with their studio casino run real quick.

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