• Viknesh Silvalingam

Using data to drive your film's success


In my previous blog, I mentioned that to be a successful filmmaker, you need to utilize all the tools at your disposal. To be a successful filmmaker in the 21st century you need to be also data-centric, utilizing data to make decisions on literally every aspect of your film's production. Using data to drive your film's success begins with the writing, casting, scheduling, and distribution. Data should also be used when coming up with the budget, by presenting data to your executive sponsors the potential of your proposed project.


Over-reliance on data can alter certain aspects of the film, appeasing to the audience for profitability will result in Filmmakers losing their artistic integrity. However the positives "usually" outweigh the negatives. One such example is the ability of targeted marketing. Horror film director Eli Roth recently used “demographic data to create the most cost-efficient marketing campaigns for his new movie, The Green Inferno” (1)* This strategy allowed the marketing department to hone in their advertisements on to a specific demographic that had previously shown an interest in the film's subject matter or genre. Assisting Eli Roth to reduce his overall marketing budget for the film.


Some production companies believe they already have a data-driven culture,

by generating lots of reports, or monitoring dashboards throughout their company. Alas, the plot isn't that straight forward. You can consider your company a data-driven culture when your progress is measured using data rather than your gut feeling or experiences. Here comes the big But... in the wise words of legendary screenwriter William Goldman, " Nobody knows anything" (2)* The same can be said for Big Data. No matter how much information one may have, it cannot help to make a film good or bad. The statement that a movie will be good or bad is and will always be subjective. People have different opinions and interpretations of movies.


The Martini is equipped with featured tailored for any film project within the development stage. Although we are not an analytical tool quite yet, hypothetically if we were, what kind of data sets associated with developing a screenplay should we collect?

  1. Is the subject matter trending?

  2. Which region would best receive this project?

  3. Identifying cliches and replacing them with subtle ideas

  4. Finding your niche and reaching them

Ultimately, the filmmaker wants to tell stories to enable viewers to feel the experience. A data-driven project should be a tool that serves as an enhancement, not as an all-purpose solution. If you want to stay in the loop for how The Martini app is helping innovate the process and building towards a more data-driven approach, please subscribe to my newsletter and my social medial accounts, Twitter, and Instagram.

Author’s Notes/References

(1) https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit/submission/data-driven-film-making-cinemas-future/

(2) https://variety.com/2018/film/opinion/william-goldman-dies-appreciation-1203030781/

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