Monday, May 06, 2013

As if Hollywood Movies Aren't Homogenized Enough Already

Worldwide Motion Picture group's Vinny Bruzzese and Miriam Brin
Interesting and perhaps chilling article in The New York Times online about Worldwide Motion Picture Group. This company does script analysis, which is something we know a little something about of course, but from a unique perspective. For $20,000, they'll analyze your script according to box office performance data of similar movies and generate a list of recommendations based on what audiences respond best to, according to the numbers. For example:
“Demons in horror movies can target people or be summoned,” Mr. Bruzzese said in a gravelly voice, by way of example. “If it’s a targeting demon, you are likely to have much higher opening-weekend sales than if it’s summoned. So get rid of that Ouija Board scene.”
Accordingly, the company has a growing list of big Hollywood studios and producers, looking to remove as much risk (and some would say writer creativity) from the equation. And there's the rub. Certainly it's understandable that the people investing millions in movies want to try to get their money back. The majority of pictures released do not make back their production costs. So is this really any different than say, using a Joseph Campbell/mythological template, or following a strict Save the Cat! formula? Or is this trend going to further emasculate studio writers and limit creativity? Read the article and form your own opinion.
“It takes a lot of the risk out of what I do,” said Scott Steindorff, a producer who used Mr. Bruzzese to evaluate the script for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” a hit 2011 crime drama. “Everyone is going to be doing this soon.” Mr. Steindorff added, “The only people who are resistant are the writers: ‘I’m making art, I can’t possibly do this.’ ”
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Heck, I'll do it for $19,500.