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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Mathematicians work out how to predict success in show business | Queen Mary University of London

Mathematicians from Queen Mary University of London have found a way to predict whether an actor’s career has peaked or if their most successful days lie ahead, inform Rupert Marquand, Science and Engineering Officer (Interim) and Public Relations Officer (London and UK).

Screenshot: QMULOfficial/YouTube
They discovered that an actors’ most productive year, defined as the year with the largest number of credited jobs, is towards the beginning of their career.

Clear signals preceding and following this ‘annus mirabilis’ enable them to predict with around 85 per cent 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...

Improving chances of success
Dr Lucas Lacasa, another author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, 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.”

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