Media Theory People

Analytics Poorly Applied

Interesting but misguided post over on the Celtx blog about Horror movies. Celtx breaks down the screenplays of famous horror movies like It Follows and Scream using their Scripts Insights tool. The problem is that the statistics they compile have nothing to do with their success according to the blog post.

“The Lesson: Exposition is not a necessity, but rules are.” Huh???

The Celtx blog says that “The best fantastical horror creatures are effective not because we know where they come from, but because we know what they can and cannot do.” That’s all fine and good, but how would you arrive at that conclusion from the stats above.

“The Lesson: Don’t be afraid to poke fun.” What??

Scream made good on its promise of scares, but the heart of the script is its obsession with the tropes and overall silliness of its genre canon: the characters become gradually aware that they are in a slasher scenario, eventually using their knowledge of clichés to turn the tables in their favor.

I enjoyed Scream too and thought the self-awareness of the characters was clever. But Celtx’s reason for the movie’s success is qualitative, not quantitative. Therefore, their insights offer the reader/writer little value.

I’m bothered by this post only because I believe that analytics will play an important part in entertainment’s future. I’m particularly interested in some of the work coming out of the USC’s Entertainment Technology Center like this and this. But in order to get people to understand why analytics matter, it’s important to get the logic right first.

2 replies on “Analytics Poorly Applied”

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