Recent articles on the Film Data Blog

Each week I look at a different film industry topic, focusing on the data and statistics to reveal what's really going on.

How many films does the average director make?

Last week on Twitter I was asked about the average director’s career and how many directors get to make a second film.

This was sparked by some research I conducted a while ago on the average careers of British writers, producers and directors, and also by my 2016 study of female directors in UK film.  So I promised to return to the topic of directors’ careers and how they differ between male and female directors.

To answer the questions fully, I built up a database of all films made since 1949, worldwide –  a whopping 287,448 films.  Usually, I focus on films that reach cinemas, but this time I wanted to cast the net as wide as possible and study the levels …

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The use of digital vs celluloid film on Hollywood movies

Three years ago, I looked at Hollywood’s switch from shooting on film to using digital acquisition methods.

Since then, I have received a number of questions about the topic.  Some are requests to update the piece with more recent data while others ask for more detail on how the use of digital formats differs between genres.

As requested, this article will bring the data up-to-date, add twice as many films (looking at the top 200 movies each year, where previously I looked at the top 100) and go into more detail over the differences between genres.

Tracking the switch from film to digital

I researched the cameras used on all live-action fiction feature films within the top 200 grossing charts of each year. Please …

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Defining the average screenplay, via data on 12,000+ scripts

Last week, I published my analysis of 12,309 feature film screenplays and the scores they each received from professional script readers.

A byproduct of that research was that I had a large number of data points on a whole bunch of screenplays.  This allowed me to look at what the average screenplay contains.

Hopefully, this research will prove useful to writers, producers and directors looking to understand what a typical screenplay looks like and a benchmark against which they can assess their own work.

All of these scripts were reviewed by professional script readers, either as a part of a screenplay competition or to create a script report.  The vast majority of these scripts will not have been produced into movies yet and a …

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An analysis of 12,309 feature film script reports

Script readers are powerful gatekeepers. They read and rate scripts on behalf of producers, studios and competitions, meaning that what they think of a script is critical.

Scoring well with readers could lead to your screenplay reaching the desks of the great and the good (who are hopefully also the rich and the powerful). Scoring poorly could mean that all the countless hours you put into your screenplay will just have been “character building”.

Script readers’ work is conducted in private and their feedback is rarely shared, even with the screenwriters they are rating.  This means there is very little empirical research into what readers think a good script looks like.

Given the critical role they play in filtering scripts, this lack of data …

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