What makes a good story? It’s a question that’s been much debated, especially in the modern era, where every company seems to be getting into the content creation game.
We like to think of writing and storytelling as a strictly creative pursuit, whipped up by some frenzied writer in the middle of the night after a binge of coffee and brainstorming. But what if good storytelling was a little more like math? Could there be an equation for it?
That’s certainly what the companies using AI for scripts believe, and the results are hard to argue with. More and more, automation is being relied upon in the film industry to predict the success of certain projects, and aid in the creation of others.
Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know about how AI is disrupting the film and TV industry.
Increasing Risks In The Film Industry
It’s been a tumultuous decade for filmmakers and movie studios. The explosion of streaming services has made audiences more reluctant to head to the theaters than ever. There is the occasional exception of the superhero juggernauts that are keeping the box office afloat, but for the most part: the future seems dire.
Debates range from all sides of the industry about the value of the theatrical experience and the role of streaming services and superheroes in the market. But the bottom line remains true. Creating an original story and putting it out to the world is increasingly risky.
You can see that with massive box office bombs like Serenity or The Goldfinch. These movies were primed for success, had stacked A list casts, and should have been smash hits. Instead, they disappeared without a trace and lost a lot of money in the process.
One reason the studios seem inclined to keep producing superhero films and remakes is because these properties mitigate risk. But what if there was a way to mitigate risk? AI technology might provide that to movie studios looking to stand out and create bold original content.
Algorithmic Success In Hollywood
Relying on computers to help chart out success with audiences isn’t exactly a new practice. Netflix famously relies on their well-guarded algorithm to help make decisions on almost all of their programming.
It was this very same algorithm that led to the creation of Stranger Things, which has become one of the streaming platform’s biggest hits. The success of that show and the platform, in general, are indicative of the future of the business.
As one of the biggest media companies in the world, Netflix has unprecedented access to data from users and media lovers from around the world. It is in a unique position to utilize this information to predict user behavior.
The success of their programming and their increasingly large user base show how much potential data processing has to change the industry as we know it.
Netflix isn’t the only one showing success in looking at Hollywood through the lens of data analysis. Researches in London crunched hundreds of thousands of IMDB profiles in order to create a detailed analysis of an actor’s career. With the information collected in their study, they found that they were able to predict the success of an actor’s career to a high percentage of success.
These examples go to show that the power of AI and data analysis in the entertainment industry is immense and currently untapped.
Using AI To Evaluate A Screenplay
Where could this power be put to good use? Earlier on in the process, of course. The biggest pressure point in the making of the film is in the pre-production stage. How does a studio head know when to give something a green light?
For a long, long time these huge multi-million dollar decisions were made based on subjective opinions. Time after time, human error resulted in huge box office bombs. We’re all only human after all, and as much as we like to think we understand the world, we are prone to mistakes.
These mistakes can be costly when there is so much money tied up in the making of a film.
Today, many are using the power of AI to evaluate the potential success of a screenplay. There are many different ways that the power of AI can be used to increase a screenplay’s chance of success.
Metrics To Help Break Down A Story
It’s very easy as both a writer and a reader to get lost in a story. There’s so much that goes on over 120 pages, it can be hard to keep up with. This is especially true because so much of a screenplay is hard to quantify.
One of the valuable things AI can provide is an easier way to step back and look at these elements. AI can analyze a screenplay and help to quantify things like tone and genre and cite where these elements are coming from in the script. It can highlight areas with more adult content that might impact a MPAA rating.
AI technology has been used to break down a character into distinct personality traits and help you evaluate where those traits are arising from in the writing. It can even help to identify tougher to pin down ideas like theme.
It’s easy to imagine how having all of this broken down for you can be immensely helpful in evaluating a screenplay. Even if you don’t want to rely completely on the computer’s analysis, having these areas broken down for you can be helpful in starting productive conversations with a writer.
Another thing AI can do is perform detailed research for you. It can use the above metrics as a jumping-off point to analyze the potential success of the film. Most standard industry analysis is limited to star power and genre appeal.
But a well-designed AI can break down how much more specific details of a story can play out into an audience’s interest in a film. Do audiences respond better to a cocky character or a humble one? What level of balance between drama and comedy do they prefer, or comedy and horror?
The answers are clearly out there to discover in the success and failures of the hundreds of thousands of movies that have come before.
That kind of data pool is hard to analyze on your own, but the technology is presently there to do this kind of work. More now than ever before, Hollywood tastemakers can dive far deeper into the benefits certain stories provide. They can find real-world evidence to back these ideas up, and may even find a few new great films in the process.
Find The Right Niche
It’s no secret that genre cinema is alive and well. Horror films regularly perform well at the box office, and sci-fi and thrillers do good business as well. However, the big hits become big hits by finding the perfect niche within the market. There’s a reason why Get Out became the perfect runaway smash.
AI for scripts can help to compare a screenplay to other similar films in a given genre. Average scene length, number of characters, budget, and other story elements can be laid beside films of a similar ilk.
This comparison point allows decision-makers to easily see where they fall in line with genre conventions and where they’re branching out into exciting new ground. Often a mix of the familiar and the new is what it takes to hit box office gold.
Understanding what makes a film different than others of the same genre can have huge value to a studio. Not only does it allow a clearer perspective during the production of a film, but it has given studios a leg up on the potential marketing angles for a film.
This kind of market research prior to filmmaking has helped studios ranging from Blumhouse to A24 find the perfect niche to unleash their unique films to. There is a reason they are dominating the independent market.
Dismantle Harmful Stereotypes
Another big transition in the Hollywood system this decade has to do with representation and equitability. Audiences are increasingly resistant to supporting work that supports harmful stereotypes around gender, race, or other such qualifiers.
AI can be used to help evaluate when a screenplay is leaning hard into these kinds of stereotypes and when it is leaning away from them.
Breaking new ground in these areas can turn out to be profitable as well as rewarding to audiences all over the world.
How AI For Scripts Is Disrupting The Industry
Since the beginning of Hollywood, industry titans have been trying their best to predict audience responses. Success has been hard to come by. But today, AI for scripts might provide a better way to predict the success of a film all while it’s still on the page.
Curious about how this power could be used for your own projects? Drop us a line for a free demo trial.