Predicting success in show biz - CSH Vienna

Predicting success in show biz


Jun 11, 2019

Mathematicians worked out how to predict success in the film industry

 

Three scientists from Queen Mary University of London, including CSH External Faculty member Vito Latora, have found a way to predict whether an actor’s or actress’s career has peaked or if their most successful days lie ahead.

 

 

The researchers discovered that the most productive year, defined as the year with the largest number of credited jobs, is towards the beginning of a career. Clear signals preceding and following this “annus mirabilis” enable the mathematicians to predict with around 85 percent accuracy if it has passed or not.

 

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, also describes how the vast majority of actors and actresses, around 70 per cent, have careers that only last for one year. These one-hit wonders are the norm rather than the exception as long careers with lots of jobs are rare, suggesting a scarcity of resources in the acting world.

 

Using data presented by Internet Movie Database (IMDb) the researchers studied the careers of 1,512,472 actors and 896,029 actresses around the world from 1888, when the first film was made, up to 2016 to analyse and predict success on the silver screen. They found that careers are clustered into “hot” and “cold” streaks as individuals do not tend to work at a steady rate in a business where unemployment rates hover at around 90 per cent.

 

Gender bias

 

There is also huge evidence of gender bias in the industry, as most of the patterns observed were different for actors and actresses. For instance, actors are more likely to find work after a cold streak while an actress’s most productive year is more likely be at the start of their career. Also, when careers last more than one year, it is more common to find actresses with shorter career lengths than actors.

 

The researchers were inspired to look into this after previous studies had analysed the career success of scientists and artists was found to be unpredictable.

 

They aimed to define, quantify and predict the success of actors and actresses in terms of their ability to maintain a steady flow of jobs.

 

Oliver Williams, one of the authors of the study, said: “Only a select few will ever be awarded an Oscar or have their hands on the walk of fame, but this is not important to the majority of actors and actresses who simply want to make a living which is probably a better way of quantifying success in such a tough industry. Our results shed light on the underlying social dynamics taking place in show business and raise questions about the fairness of the system. Our predictive model for actors is also far from the randomness that is displayed for scientists and artists.”

 

Luck or ability?

 

The researchers found that the total number of jobs in a career is underpinned by a rich-get-richer phenomenon. In other words, the best known actors get the most jobs.

 

This result is not unexpected, after all, the more well-known an actor is, the more likely producers will want him or her in their next film, if only for commercial purposes. What is interesting about this observation is that rich-get-richer effects are well known to develop out of arbitrary and unpredictable random events that get amplified. So an actor’s success could be down to circumstance rather than their acting ability. This is known as the network effect.

 

The study also shows that actors with long cold streaks who then experience late comebacks are rare but difficult to predict, and as such the destiny of each actor is not entirely determined.

 

Improving chances of success

 

Lucas Lacasa, another author of the study, said: “We think the approach and methods developed in this paper could be of interest to the film industry: for example, they could provide complementary data analytics to IMDb. This does also bring with it a number of open questions. We have assumed that there is nothing anyone can do to change their fortunes, but we have not shown that this has to be the case. Consequently we are interested in finding out how an individual might best improve their chances of future success.”

 

The researchers hope that their method will contribute to the new science of success and that refined versions of the prediction model will be even more accurate.

 

Lucas Lacasa added: “This research has sparked a lot of attention from unexpected places including from a screenwriter from the film industry who is now developing a movie script partly based on our findings.”

 

 

 

The research paper “Quantifying and predicting success in show business” by Oliver E. Williams, Lucas Lacasa, and Vito Latora appeared in Nature Communications.

 

 

[This news is based on the press release by Queen Mary University of London.]

 

 


Press

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future


The Guardian, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Stresstest für das Gesundheitssystem [7 Tage abrufbar]


Ö1 Journale, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Nicht nur Frage der Ärztedichte


ORF Science, Nov 12, 2019

Press

E-Health: Wann kollabiert die ländliche Versorgung?


Tagesspiegel Background, Nov 12, 2019

News

Nov 11, 2019

Stress testing the health care system

Event

CSH Talk by Miguel Centeno: “From Global Risk to Collapse”


Nov 12, 2019 | 11:3012:30

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CANCELLED: CSH Talk by Yvonne-Anne Pignolet: “Elites in social networks—An axiomatic approach to power balance”


Nov 14, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Anna Di Natale: “Colexification networks”


Nov 15, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Visitor

Miguel Centeno, Princeton University


Nov 11, 2019Nov 13, 2019

News

Oct 22, 2019

What boosts creative work in teams?

News

Oct 6, 2019

Out now: Sustainability colloquium | The Videos

News

Sep 30, 2019

Do statins increase osteoporosis risk?

Press

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future


The Guardian, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Stresstest für das Gesundheitssystem [7 Tage abrufbar]


Ö1 Journale, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Nicht nur Frage der Ärztedichte


ORF Science, Nov 12, 2019

Press

E-Health: Wann kollabiert die ländliche Versorgung?


Tagesspiegel Background, Nov 12, 2019

News

Nov 11, 2019

Stress testing the health care system

Event

CSH Talk by Miguel Centeno: “From Global Risk to Collapse”


Nov 12, 2019 | 11:3012:30

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CANCELLED: CSH Talk by Yvonne-Anne Pignolet: “Elites in social networks—An axiomatic approach to power balance”


Nov 14, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Anna Di Natale: “Colexification networks”


Nov 15, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Visitor

Miguel Centeno, Princeton University


Nov 11, 2019Nov 13, 2019

News

Oct 22, 2019

What boosts creative work in teams?

News

Oct 6, 2019

Out now: Sustainability colloquium | The Videos

News

Sep 30, 2019

Do statins increase osteoporosis risk?

News

Nov 11, 2019

Stress testing the health care system

News

Oct 22, 2019

What boosts creative work in teams?

News

Oct 6, 2019

Out now: Sustainability colloquium | The Videos

News

Sep 30, 2019

Do statins increase osteoporosis risk?

News

Jun 11, 2019

Predicting success in show biz

News

Jun 5, 2019

13 Reasons Why | watching suicide in TV can be contagious

News

May 29, 2019

D4Dairy annual meeting at the Hub

News

Apr 11, 2019

Shocking Economics!

News

Apr 3, 2019

In need of ‘complexity economics’

News

Mar 20, 2019

Complex societies gave birth to big gods

News

Feb 6, 2019

New music styles: how the challenger calls the tune

News

Jan 30, 2019

Garcia, Bail, Rahwan, Couzin: Check out the videos!

Event

CSH Talk by Miguel Centeno: “From Global Risk to Collapse”


Nov 12, 2019 | 11:3012:30

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CANCELLED: CSH Talk by Yvonne-Anne Pignolet: “Elites in social networks—An axiomatic approach to power balance”


Nov 14, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Anna Di Natale: “Colexification networks”


Nov 15, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Visitor

Miguel Centeno, Princeton University


Nov 11, 2019Nov 13, 2019

Talk

In Memory of Murray Gell-Mann


Stefan Thurner.

Nov 16, 2019 | 14:3015:30

Halide Edip Adivar

Visitor

J. Stephen Lansing, Santa Fe Institute


Aug 15, 2019Nov 09, 2019

Event

CSH Talk by David B. Saakian: “Solving the evolutionary dynamics on fluctuating Landscapes”


Nov 18, 2019 | 11:0012:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Jenny Reddish: “Introduction to Seshat Global History Databank”


Nov 08, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Vera Hemmelmayr: “Location and routing decisions for a collaborative recycling network”


Oct 25, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Martin Polz: “How interactions structure microbial diversity from genes to ecosystems”


Oct 23, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

Brainhack Vienna


Dec 11, 2019Dec 14, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Visitor

Helena Miton, CEU, SFI


Oct 24, 2019

Press

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future


The Guardian, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Stresstest für das Gesundheitssystem [7 Tage abrufbar]


Ö1 Journale, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Nicht nur Frage der Ärztedichte


ORF Science, Nov 12, 2019

Press

E-Health: Wann kollabiert die ländliche Versorgung?


Tagesspiegel Background, Nov 12, 2019

Press

Stresstest zeigt: Nicht nur Ärztedichte hält Gesundheitssystem fit


APA Science, Nov 11, 2019

Press

Wann kippt unser System?


Kronen Zeitung, Nov 10, 2019

Press

The ‘law’ that explains why you can’t get anything done


BBC, Nov 8, 2019

Press

Comment réduire les risques d’ostéoporose [French]


Le Parisien, Oct 21, 2019

Press

Knochendemontage wegen des fehlenden Cholesterins


Ärzte Woche, Oct 17, 2019

Press

Cooperative creativity experiment reveals most efficient team structures


Phys.org, Oct 15, 2019

Press

Forscher ermittelten optimale Zusammensetzung für konstruktive Teams


APA Science, Oct 14, 2019

Press

Statins May Affect Your Bone Health


New York Times, Oct 8, 2019