(non PR news)
- Oscar Formula
- Solid Inrupt – Tim Berners-Lee
The Secret Formula Predicting Oscar Gold 2 Years in Advance
No journey to the Academy Awards would be complete without inspiring stories of film projects that flew in the face of industry skepticism only to become critical darlings and audience favorites. These odds-defying discoveries help keep the moviemaking faith and also build up suspense ahead of that inevitable Oscar coronation. But behind that romantic narrative lies the real truth: So many of these unexpected success stories have already been anointed long before the Golden Globes and various Critics Circles cemented their statuette credentials. Thanks to the wonders of data science, anyone can now draw a predictive line from how projects are measured at script stage all the way to how reviewers will respond upon first viewing those finished films and their subsequent chances of both awards recognition and commercial success.
This is as true for this year’s LA LA LAND and MOONLIGHT — two films that were not on the Oscar radar before their world premieres at the Venice and Telluride film festivals just a few months ago — as it has been for so many other lauded films of the last six years. Their advance numbers are as magical as those seen in this year’s Oscar front-running musical…provided you’re attuned to the right data beat.
One of the essential gauges in all this is Rotten Tomatoes. With nearly 800 feature films released in the US each year, it’s no wonder that moviegoers rely more than ever on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes for guidance. Sure, an individual critic might get it “wrong,” but critical consensus (as reflected in the site’s “Tomatometer”) is a pretty reliable indicator of how good the movie is. And as Slated recently uncovered, it also turns out to be a reliable predictor of not only their financial performance, but also Academy Awards chances.
Slated’s data science team compiled data on hundreds of feature films released in theaters between 2010 and 2016 (with a few as far back as 2005), looking for possible correlation between Slated’s Script Scores (more on that in a moment) and Rotten Tomatoes scores. What we discovered was not only a correlation between Slated’s Script Scores and the likelihood of being “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes (more on that in a moment, too) but clear links between being Certified Fresh and the movie’s financial performance, as well as the eventual likelihood of being nominated for Oscars. But here’s the remarkable part: These outcomes are not just knowable after a movie’s completion but as far back as the development stage.
It bears repeating. The likelihoods of a movie being Certified Fresh, financially successful and being nominated for Academy Awards, is knowable at the point of development.
Before we prove that to you with charts and graphs, let’s take a beat to make sure you know what being Certified Fresh means. To be rated Certified Fresh, movies must have both a steady Tomatometer rating of 75% or higher and also a minimum number of reviews: Movies opening in wide release need at least 80 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics), while those opening in limited release need at least 40 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (also including 5 Top Critics). This limits the field considerably: Of the 13,781 movies with Rotten Tomatoes scores as of this writing, only 17% boast the Certified Fresh seal.
Here are some films in our sample set that were Certified Fresh:
While we’re explaining methodology, we should cover how Slated’s Script Score works as well. In addition to providing a synopsis and three unique loglines, each reader independently evaluates the material’s effectiveness in ten categories, writing detailed comments and providing a numerical rating for each. We crunch those individual ratings into a score on a 100 point scale, and our Script Score is the average of the three readers’ scores.
We’ve honed our approach through thousands of sets of coverage over the past four years, resulting in scores that are consistent from script to script; every script with a score of, say, 75 has essentia
lly the same level of quality.
There’s no getting around the fact that story analysis, like film criticism, is inherently subjective. So rather than try to engineer our way around that, Slated designed its process to harness that subjectivity by applying the same set of rigorous standards to the way readers assess every script, based on the same objective criteria that buyers and reps themselves use to judge material. And in case you’re wondering, Slated’s reader roster comprises men and women from varied backgrounds, ethnicities, and age groups (only about a third are white and male). They’re assigned to scripts on a double-blind, randomized basis: Readers don’t know who’s involved with each project nor who submitted the script, and the submitters don’t know who the readers are. And in case you’re also wondering how we avoid selection bias when scoring scripts of already released films, we always try to assign films to readers who haven’t seen them. But as that’s not 100% foolproof the net result is a +2.8 point bias for released films vs pre-released films, a margin of error small enough to have negligible impact on our research, as you’ll see below.
Okay, enough explaining — let’s look at the findings!
We’ll start with the correlation of Slated’s Script Score to a film’s likelihood of being Certified Fresh. As you can see from the graph, movies with Script Scores below 75 are very unlikely to be Certified Fresh, but every 5 point increment up from there nearly doubles the likelihood of getting that coveted seal of approval.
Now let’s see that same chart with ROI layered over it.
As you can see, the ROI curve is very similar to the previous curve. Movies with Script Scores below 75 are not just unlikely to be very good, they’re unlikely to return their financiers’ investments. Meanwhile, movies with at least a 75 Script Score have a fairly good shot at both, and every 5 point increase in Script Score increases those odds significantly, with a whopping 70% jump once Script Scores exceed 85.
Another quick explainer: As we’ve noted before in this blog series, these ROI numbers are calculated by dividing a film’s worldwide gross theatrical revenue by its production budget, taking marketing and distribution expenses into account as well as the impact of tax credits. For investors making an investment decision on behalf of a fund, the magic “greenlight” number here is an ROI of 2.8 or above (assuming 50/50 back end split with producers and other financing fees).
Now let’s add Academy Awards chances to the mix.
Again, there’s a very similar curve showing a remarkably strong correlation between the Script Score and garnering Oscar nominations. That being Certified Fresh is correlated with awards nominations isn’t a big surprise, since critical reception and award nominations are inherently similar. The surprise is how strong the correlations are with the Script Scores, since those Scores are being generated so far in advance of the movie’s release. While movies with Script Scores below 75 have less than a 7% chance of ever being nominated for an Academy Award, those over 75 have a much better shot, with every 5 point increase in Script Score doubling the odds.
This graph takes our Oscar correlation research a step further, showing the likelihood of getting a nomination vs a win, as well as the average number of nominations or wins garnered by movies in the dataset. Every 5 point increase in Script Score above 75 yields a 25–50% boost in the average number of nominations received and a 2x-4x likelihood of a win. The average number of wins received, however, shows very marginal increase as script score improves; the exception in the 75–80 script score bracket shows a jump due to a small sample size (only 3 films won Oscars in this bracket).
To be sure, correlation is not causation; there are many factors that go into making a movie successful at the box office and during awards season. Still, the implications for filmmakers here are obvious: If high Slated Script Scores are tied to both high financial returns and high probability of critical and award success, then making sure your script is as good as possible is the key to attracting top talent, smart money, and experienced distributors, all of which are essential to increase the likelihood of stronger outcomes and more accurate projections (as we painstakingly researched and wrote about in this prior post). That sounds like common sense, but one has only to look at a theater marquee to see how frequently this advice is ignored. And now that tools exists that can predict your project’s outcome, ignoring it is inexcusable. If a submitted screenplay fails to make the grade under this scoring system, then at least those involved have a benchmark from which to make adjustments and return with something more appealing.
So will der WWW-Erfinder das Internet revolutionieren
Einst erfand er in Genf das World Wide Web, nun will uns Tim Berners-Lee die Kontrolle über unsere Daten zurückgeben.
Der Erfinder des World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, 63, ist unzufrieden mit seiner Erfindung respektive dem, was Amazon, Google, Facebook und Co. daraus gemacht haben.
«Das Netz ist zu einem Motor von Ungleichheit und Spaltung geworden; beeinflusst von Mächtigen, die es für ihre eigenen Agenden nutzen.»
Am Samstag hat Berners-Lee bei medium.com einen Beitrag mit dem Titel «One Small Step for the Web» veröffentlicht. Darin erklärt der Internet-Pionier, wie er das Internet «reparieren» will. Und zwar mit seinem Open-Source-Projekt Solid.
Was ist «Solid» und wie funktioniert das?
Solid steht für «Social Linked Data», eine neue Online-Plattform, die den Usern die Kontrolle über ihre Daten zurückgeben soll.
Mit anderen Wissenschaftlern hat Berners-Lee am Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) die Plattform entwickelt. Im Zentrum stehen Daten-Tresore, «Solid POD» genannt, in denen die User alle wertvollen Daten ablegen können, seien dies persönlichen Informationen, Digitalfotos oder anderes.
Statt dass die User «kostenlose» Tools von Google und Co. verwenden und dabei mit ihren persönlichen Daten bezahlen, können sie die Funktionen ihres Pods nutzen. Dazu gehören gemäss futurezone.at:
- Abrufen eines Online-Kalenders
- Streamen von Musik
- Schreiben von E-Mails oder Nachrichten
- Sichern von Daten
Eigene Daten-Tresore kann man beim Internet-Provider seiner Wahl anlegen, die erforderliche Software ist als Open-Source-Code verfügbar.
«Der Solid Pod kann in deinem Haus oder an der Arbeit stehen oder bei einem Solid-Pod-Betreiber deiner Wahl. Da dir deine eigenen Daten gehören, bist du jederzeit frei, damit umzuziehen, ohne eine Unterbrechung des Services.»
Berners-Lee hat mit Mitstreitern die Firma Inrupt gegründet, um die nötige Infrastruktur bereitzustellen. Wobei das Projekt noch in den Kinderschuhen steckt. Sprich: Der Nerd-Faktor ist riesig, der praktische Nutzen kleiner. 😉
Inrupt solle das werden, was Netscape einst für das WWW war: ein erster einfacher Zugangsweg, fasst Spiegel Online zusammen. «Ab dieser Woche sollen Entwickler überall auf der Welt ihre eigenen Apps für Solid bauen können, mithilfe der Werkzeuge, die Inrupt ihnen zur Verfügung stellt.»
Wer ist Berners-Lee?
1989 entwarf der britische Informatiker am CERN in Genf die Grundidee für das World Wide Web (WWW).
Nun will der preisgekrönte WWW-Erfinder zurück zu seiner ursprünglichen Vision. Denn: «Wir haben gesehen, dass das Netz die Menschheit im Stich gelassen hat, statt ihr zu dienen, wie es eigentlich vorgesehen war. Ohne bewusstes Zutun der Menschen, die die Grundlagen geschaffen haben, ist ein weltumspannendes Phänomen entstanden, das menschenfeindlich ist.»
Berners-Lee hat sich schon verschiedentlich gegen Datenmissbrauch und Massenüberwachung ausgesprochen. «Das Netz, das viele vor Jahren verwendet haben, ist nicht mehr vergleichbar mit dem, was neue Nutzer heute vorfinden. Was einst ein reichhaltiges Angebot an Blogs und Webseiten war, ist unter dem Gewicht von ein paar mächtigen Plattformen komprimiert worden.»
Ist die Idee neu?
Nein. Es gibt bereits dezentral organisierte Netzwerke, wie zum Beispiel Mastodon, das unter anderem auch von den Machern des Dokumentarfilms «The Cleaners» erwähnt wird.
Solid sei nicht der erste Versuch, die Marktmacht von Online-Giganten wie Facebook oder Google zu durchbrechen, hält futurezone.at fest. Das soziale Netzwerk Diaspora sei gescheitert, weil es von den Nutzern nicht angenommen wurde.
Doch halte Berners-Lee den Zeitpunkt für den Start von Inrupt für perfekt. «Facebook sei seit dem jüngsten Datenskandal rund um Cambridge Analytica in Bedrängnis geraten, so der Informatiker.» In Europa werde zudem gerade darüber diskutiert, wie man die Marktmacht der Online-Riesen eindämmen könne.
One Small Step for the Web…
I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.
Today, I believe we’ve reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible — and necessary.
This is why I have, over recent years, been working with a few people at MIT and elsewhere to develop Solid, an open-source project to restore the power and agency of individuals on the web.
Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value. As we’ve all discovered, this hasn’t been in our best interests. Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way.
Solid is a platform, built using the existing web. It gives every user a choice about where data is stored, which specific people and groups can access select elements, and which apps you use. It allows you, your family and colleagues, to link and share data with anyone. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time.
Solid unleashes incredible opportunities for creativity, problem-solving and commerce. It will empower individuals, developers and businesses with entirely new ways to conceive, build and find innovative, trusted and beneficial applications and services. I see multiple market possibilities, including Solid apps and Solid data storage.
Data should empower you
Solid is guided by the principle of “personal empowerment through data” which we believe is fundamental to the success of the next era of the web. We believe data should empower each of us.
Imagine if all your current apps talked to each other, collaborating and conceiving ways to enrich and streamline your personal life and business objectives? That’s the kind of innovation, intelligence and creativity Solid apps will generate.
With Solid, you will have far more personal agency over data — you decide which apps can access it.
In 2009, I said, “The web as I envisaged it we have not seen yet.” That was because people were using the web just for documents, not for the data of a big web-wide computer. Since then, we have seen a wave of open data, but not of read-write data. For example, much open government data is produced through a one-way pipeline, so we can only view it. With Solid, it becomes a read-write web where users can interact and innovate, collaborate and share.
Meanwhile though, there is a wave of concern, and related energy, desperate for change. People want to have a web they can trust. People want apps that help them do what they want and need to do — without spying on them. Apps that don’t have an ulterior motive of distracting them with propositions to buy this or that. People will pay for this kind of quality and assurance. For example, today people pay for storage in places like Dropbox. There is a need for Solid, and the different, beneficial approach it will provide.
It is going to take a lot of effort to build the new Solid platform and drive broad adoption but I think we have enough energy to take the world to a new tipping point.
So I have taken a sabbatical from MIT, reduced my day-to-day involvement with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and founded a company called inrupt where I will be guiding the next stage of the web in a very direct way. Inrupt will be the infrastructure allowing Solid to flourish. Its mission is to provide commercial energy and an ecosystem to help protect the integrity and quality of the new web built on Solid.
There are many examples of open-source efforts that have benefited hugely from the contribution of a well-resourced company. While the open-source community provides initiative and a deep source of innovation, everyday web users as well as businesses often look for applications and services from a commercial entity that also provides technical support and vital, ancillary business services.
I believe this same model will be critical to the success of Solid. Inrupt’s success is totally aligned to Solid’s success. My partner and inrupt co-founder is John Bruce, an experienced business leader with the skills to execute on my vision for Solid. We share the same passion for creating a better and more balanced web.
Together, Solid and inrupt will provide new experiences benefitting every web user — and that are impossible on the web today. Where individuals, developers and businesses create and find innovative, life- and business-enriching, applications and services. Where we all find trusted services for storing, securing and managing personal data.
I’m incredibly optimistic for this next era of the web.
I’ll still be acting as Founder and Director of W3C, the Web Foundation and the Open Data Institute as these are vital components for protecting what has been — and what will come. Inrupt, a W3C member, uses many existing standards and is part of the standards-building community. The Web Foundation advocates for data rights as part of its mission to advance a free and open web that benefits humanity. And the Open Data Institute’s drive to make data as open as possible while respecting privacy is very relevant. I wear many hats and when I’m working in each capacity, I’ll always try to act according to the interests of that organization.
These are very exciting times. I will be committed to steering the direction of Solid, and developing its future governance. Inrupt will do many things: its first priority will be the Solid ecosystem. With the right values and a foundational corporate infrastructure, we will build beneficial systems that work for everyone.