TheGrill: C4’s Vincent Bruzzese Demostrates How to Pitch a Movie Using Big Data (Video)

Executive awards iPad to TheGrill attendee who conjured up a highly profitable movie idea

Hollywood creative types should brace themselves because at least one “big data” advocate insists the industry would be better served by introducing advanced marketing as early as the first pitch meeting.

C4 founder and CEO Vincent Bruzzese appeared at TheWrap’s conference TheGrill at the Montage Beverly Hills on Tuesday, and he explained why the industry’s current feedback cycle is inefficient.

Also read:  TheGrill: Morgan Spurlock on Making ‘Super Size Me’ and Saying No to Yes-Men (Video)

“Let’s say you have an idea that needs to be made into a movie or a TV show — if you’re lucky enough it goes into coverage, which means someone who came off a bus a month ago will read your script,” Bruzzese said. “Now it gets picked up, needs to be funded, cast, needs a distributor, gets picked up, gets screened.”

“Before you know it your alien invasion idea turns into an romantic comedy, but at least you have a credit,” he joked.

Bruzzese insisted there’s an easier and more efficient way. After collecting decades worth of movie tracking, testing and film data, he co-founded C4 in May to help show movie studios and production companies what contemporary movie-going audiences enjoyed watching. And he thinks its a waste of time and resources to wait until the test screening phase to shape an idea with a marketing strategy.

“Our only job is to figure out what the audience is saying,” he explained. “If we know in advance, can it enhance the creative process?”

The executive insisted movie pitches themselves can be quantified, based in large part on the data he’s analyzed showing how profitable films might be based on their genre and their intended audience.

So, he invited registrants of TheGrill to participate in an experiment. He asked them to fill out a mock movie pitch and try and guess which genre, sub-genre, tone and target audience would yield the most profitability. Bruzzese analyzed their input overnight and assessed the playability and marketability of each pitch.

Also read: TheGrill: 7 of Hollywood’s Most Powerful Studio Executives on the Struggle to Find ‘Theater-Worthy’ Films

The winner was Calvin Maserow, who submitted a hypothetical pitch for an R-rated horror-haunting film with a dark tone which Bruzzese determined was highly profitable.

“It’s the most profitable combination because it has the lowest production cost and the highest potential output at the end of the day,” Bruzese explained.
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