You have a story to tell, or at least you think that you do. But, before you start to bring your movie or video to life, you need to know whether there’s an audience that will appreciate your vision, themes, and characters.
You’ll also want to ensure your story resonates with your audience, that they’re going to buy into your content and come away wanting more.
That’s where screenplay analytics come into their own. There are loads of books on the topic, which, if you have a bit more time on your hands and an obsession with statistics, are undoubtedly worth a read.
But here we’re taking a briefer look at why screenplay analytics are an essential part of the video and/or movie making process.
So, without further ado, let’s explore this in a little more detail…
What is Screenplay Analytics?
Put simply; it’s a suite of software tools that capture data about the viewership of your screenplay.
Using this information, you can then measure how people behave and react to your work. Another way of looking at these analytics is to imagine them as a numerical way of analyzing the behavior of your viewership.
For instance, Netflix recommends films and shows for its subscribers based on their past searches and viewing history. They do this by using algorithms that analyze viewers’ behavior. This is a prime example of screenplay analytics in action.
Analytics (at least in the screenplay world) also involves looking at a script and its story structure and using software to compare it to other movies. That way, you can get a better feel for how the script will fare at the box office.
They’re also used to (hopefully) improve the quality of a potential script. How? By using data to assess the likelihood of whether your screenplay is going to be a hit or not. It’s a way of minimizing the guesswork involved in the creative process of scriptwriting.
However, we want to be clear that while powerful, screenplay analytics won’t determine whether or not a film is going to be an outright so-called “success.” After all, people define success differently.
For some scriptwriters ‘success’ will be whether the critics love the movie, others may focus on the box office figures, or whether it’s a hit on social media, etc. These are just a few of the many ways you could measure success. There are tons more, but we won’t list them all here.
So now you know the basics surrounding screenplay analytics, why should you use them?
1. Your Protagonist
Using screenplay analytics, you’ll see at a glance:
- How many scenes a character in your script appears in
- How much dialogue they have
- How their character stays “live” throughout the screenplay
You can also use analytics to determine which of your characters would make a good protagonist.
This is usually someone who appears early in the script and stays on through to the end. Of course, they also tend to participate in more dialogue, which gives the audience a better chance of building a rapport with the character.
With the above data at your disposal, you’ll be able to see which of your characters fits the bill.
Similarly, it’s also possible to assess the social interactions your characters have with one another and really hone in on the sorts of sentiments that character expresses.
Screenplay analytics can also help you cast the right actor for the lead part. You can determine how successful a film might be depending on who is cast in the lead.
Swapping around different possible leads will give you an insight into how this might affect box office statistics, favorably or otherwise.
2. Find Your Comps
Using screenplay analytics can save you time so that when you’re pitching your screenplay to studios, you have your comps or examples of previously released films that are similar in content or style.
It’ll help you boost your argument if your screenplay shows similarities to a previously successful movie.
3. Find Successful Storylines
Save time and find story themes that appeal to niche audiences. Knowing this will allow you to make better decisions and market your screenplay accordingly.
4. Figures at Your Fingertips
Screenplay analytics can give you data on a wealth of information, including info on how a movie has performed according to:
- Audience size consumer ratings
- Box office statistics
- Demographic-based consumer ratings
- Production budget
- Social media engagement levels
- Statistics about critical reviews
- Talent – including actors, directors, producers, and writers
You can also see script data in relation to:
- Script themes such as anger, fear, grief, happiness
- Screen plot and themes
- Standouts such as gore, nudity, violence, and so on.
- Who the characters are (male vs. female, occupation)
5. Be Prepared
Free yourself up to be creative by using screenplay analytics to do the boring stuff for you.
By using data, you can brainstorm ideas and marketing campaigns, identify audiences, and keep them, act on potential movie hits and flops before you get to the box office, and so on.
6. Address Sexism
Yes, you read that correctly. Since the “Times Up” movement at the Academy Awards, women are playing a much more prominent and influential role. Much is written and spoken about concerning sexism in the movie industry.
We all know that there are fewer female directors than there are men. A recent investigation into female characters in popular films in 11 countries showed that women have half as many speaking roles as men. And that’s just for starters.
If you want to be part of the solution and advocate for gender diversity and inclusion in Hollywood, then screenplay analytics can help you do that.
Using AI software that analyzes gender in movie scripts and characters, you can see what characters talk about, what emotions they showed, what personality traits they have, and so on.
What was discovered is that female characters, on the whole, are “nicer” and “friendlier” than male characters, and that their personality range is mostly ‘non-threatening.’ Not only that, but it’s clear that men speak more than women do on screen.
Now, that tide is turning, and we’re seeing women expressing so-called “negative” emotions on-screen, too, such as disgust, fear, and hatred. Screenplay analytics can work with a screenwriter to ensure that women are equally represented and worthy of equal screen time as men.
7. Understand What Makes Your Film Tick
Using screenplay analytics can give you a greater insight into your own screenplay. You may feel you know it inside out, but having some objective data will help you see a film’s story arc, character personality traits, and more, all at a glance.
You can also find out how your screenplay compares to other films in the same genre in terms of types of characters, planned budget spend, scene length, and so on.
It’s valuable information if you’re planning on doing something different and stand-out from the rest.
8. Be a Box Office Success
In 2018 box office revenues in the US hit a record of $11.9 billion, with global box office revenue at $41.7 billion.
This year, so far, more than 1.2 billion movie tickets have been sold, taking in $11.1 billion at the box office, with an average ticket price of just over $9.
These figures are not to be sniffed at, despite the success of online streaming and home viewing.
Screenplay analytics and all the above reasons why you should use them could inform whether or not your film has the potential to be a box office success.
While it’s not an exact science, much has been written about how AI can help predict which screenplay will turn a profit.
Using historical data to inform screenplay analytics to get your casting right, including how key cast members look and have audience-friendly themes won’t guarantee your film will make you rich. Still, it will help you make informed and intelligent decisions throughout the process of turning your screenplay into a reality.
Ready to Start Using Screenplay Analytics?
Now you know why screenplay analytics are so important. Let’s start a dialogue about how StoryFit can help you with yours.
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