January 24, 2006

Correlation, Causation and Commensuration [10:31 am]

Silly Sundance fallout: Cracking the code [pdf]

“Our engineers were thinking that determining whether a movie is good or bad could be similar to determining whether e-mail is spam or not,” said Unspam Chief Executive Prince, 31, who loves the festival and uses it as a recruiting tool. “We had the last 10 years of the festival’s film guides, which are like inputs, and then a bunch of outputs, like how many people saw a film, did it win anything at Sundance, did it have commercial success. If you could figure out the pattern between the inputs and the outputs, then you could actually predict future winners.”

[...] The most entertaining part of Unspam’s analysis is the deconstruction of the film descriptions in the festival’s program written by selection committee members. Prince and his crew came up with two lists: words that “make you golden” or are “the kiss of death.”

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