Which genre offers the best chance of a career?

MustaphaToday’s article is a bit more complex than usual but it started with a simple question…

In last week’s article I crunched the numbers on the average number of credits UK writers, producer, director and actors have.  I calculated these based on UK films made since 2003 on over £500,000 and on UK films made since 2008 on under £500,000.  The results were fairly sobering (only about one in five filmmakers manage to make a second feature film) and it led Mustapha to ask me via Twitter:

How many of those filmmakers who didn’t make a second film made dramas? Is there any correlation or is that pattern across the board?- @MKseibati

In summary…

  • End roller credits from a movieThe largest number of jobs are within Drama
  • Across all budgets, Horror and Documentary offer producers and directors the best chance of making a second film.
  • In Romance, money matters. 16% of producers of Romance £500k+ films over made a second film but only 2% of the low budget producers did the same.
  • The highest chance of making a second film goes specifically to Producers of Dramas budgeted over £500k.
  • Screenwriters of Romance films under £500k only have a 1.9% chance of writing a second low-budget romance film.

  • Action has the smallest cross-over between budget ranges. Only 7% of producers, directors and screenwriters of Action films have worked both big and small budgets.
  • Horror has the highest cross-over, with one in eight Horror creatives working at both budget levels.

  • 82% of Documentary directors and 77% of Documentary producers have only worked on films budgeted under £500k.

First, a refresher on the films we Brits make

A few months ago I published data into what genre of films most UK filmmakers make.  As we’re looking at the number of credits (rather than budgets or box office returns) here is that part of the data…

So it’s clear that Drama is a popular genre (despite its poor performance at the box office).

The odds on making a second film, split by genre

These figures look at what percentage of people who made one film in a certain genre and budget range went on to make a second film in the same genre and budget range.

Mobility between the budget ranges

Interesting Results

Looking through the numbers we can spot some interesting patterns…

  • Hugh HeffnerRomance is the genre which has the greatest disparity between the two budget ranges.  16% of producers of Romance films over £500k went on to make a second film, whereas only 2% of the producers of films under £500k did the same.  The numbers don’t reveal why this is.  I thought that it might be down to low-budget Romance producers moving up to larger budgets but, as the chart above shows, there is no big trend of mobility with Romance over other genres (only 6.6% of Romance producers have worked in both budget ranges).  As in life, money seems to make romance more likely.
  • Horror and Documentary are the top two genres when we look at producers and directors making second films. My personal theory is that these genres have more evolved niches within film sales and film audiences, meaning better support for filmmakers who make a film.
  • The highest chance of making a second film goes to Producers of Dramas budgeted over £500k. The average person in that subset has 1.4 credits to their name.
  • The lowest chance of making a second film goes to Screenwriters of Romance films under £500k.  They only have a 1.9% chance of writing a second low-budget romance film.
  • Action has the smallest cross-over between budget ranges.  Only 7% of producers, directors and screenwriters of Action films have worked both on films budgeted under £500k and on films budgeted over £500k.
  • Conversely, Horror has the highest cross-over, with one in eight Horror creative working at both budget levels.
  • 82% of Documentary directors and 77% of Documentary producers have only worked on films budgeted under £500k.

Sources

The core of this data comes from a list of UK films as described here. The 2013 films are naturally incomplete as the year is not yet over.

Epilogue

On the face of it, Mustapha’s question seems like an easy one to answer. However, it took more number crunching than I’ve had to do for a long time as I had to re-run the previous analysis for each and every genre and then cross-reference everything.  It’s at times like this I see the shortcomings of eschewing the hard sciences for an art college a decade ago.  The Surrey Institute of Art and Design didn’t offer a semester in Statistical Modelling, just Fashion Modelling.  All those months I wasted on the catwalk…

Baseline movie explosion