i was at the new yorker festival last weekend and malcolm gladwell spoke about predicting hit movies. i'm not sure how you feel about mr gladwell (my friend niniane is none-too-impressed with him), but whatever you think, he's a fantastic storyteller.
i wasn't going to post about this until wednesday, because that's when the new yorker is posting the video of gladwell's presentation online (scroll to the bottom of the new yorker page), but then i saw that the article is actually online, scanned in by the company that gladwell is talking about in his article. if you read my blog, you know how annoyed i am with the new yorker not making their material more readily available, so here i am, happy to point you to it.
very briefly, gladwell is writing about a group of people who believe they can predict the amount of money a movie will make, just by analyzing the screenplay and feeding some data into an elaborate computer program. they actually do quite well, supposedly. the talk is amazing, and i haven't read the article yet, but you should read it just to learn about mr pink and mr brown, two movie analysts who are very serious about reading screenplays:
Mr. Brown couldn’t remember a single script he’d read where he thought there wasn’t room for improvement, and Mr. Pink, when asked the same question, could come up with just one: “Lethal Weapon.” “A friend of mine gave me the shooting script before it came out, and I remember reading it and thinking, It’s all there. It was all on the page."