Measurement for everything

One of the most widely used screenplay programs in Hollywood has a new tool to help with gender equality and inclusion.

In an update announced Thursday, Final Draft — software that writers use to format scripts — said it will now include a proprietary “Inclusivity Analysis” feature, allowing filmmakers “to quickly assign and measure the ethnicity, gender, age, disability or any other definable trait of the characters,” including race, the company said in a statement.

It also will enable users to determine if a project passes the Bechdel Test, measuring whether two female characters speak to each other about anything other than a man. The Final Draft tool, a free add-on, was developed in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University, which has been at the forefront of studying the underrepresentation of women on screen.

Here is the full Melena Ryzik NYT story.

Comments

"One of the most widely used screenplay programs in Hollywood has a new tool to help with gender equality and inclusion."
President Captain Bolsonaro, unlike his predecessor Mr. Temer, has nominated women to cabinet positions. I praise his wisdom.

Bolsonaro is not only a fascist, but a social justice warrior too!

No, he is a democratic man who supports the Brazilian people and a real meritocratic regime.

Does he have any gayz hidden in his cabinet?

Count every drop ...

I see a big market for this software. Think of the possible applications.

Call it ClicheWriter (TM) and use it for formulaic Hollywood scripts. It will replace professional script writers.

Bonus trivia: I once wrote a Hollywood script. Asking price is around $100k for many such scripts. I wrote it in a week but did not want to shop it around, it felt cheap, I don't like rejections.

Software that writers use to format scripts ? Why bother? There's no one with less status in Hollywood than a writer, and it's not as if anyone bothers with nonsense like character development or plot anymore; just put up some visual spectaculars and big-name stars and box-office is all but assured.

Software that formats and analyses scripts is like wishing you could teleport to the bus stop before the bus left (if you could teleport, you won't care about the bus. Why not software that just writes the scripts with an absolute minimum of human input?

If you want a script with one or more female black transgender superheroes, just say so. Tell it the run time your looking for, the budget, and make a few multiple-choice selections and out comes your screen play.

Just don't go to version 2.0, where the software synthesizes the entire movie from these inputs, for if you do viewers and other riff-raff will just obtain the software for themselves, and create the movies they want to see.

The point of this is that it creates legibility and enables bureaucratic enforcement of identity quotas, and provides fuel for insider-outsider lawsuits & activism. As soon as systems enable a tracking by various demographics, it can be used to demonstrate 'disparate impact' and implement top-down requirements. This is the reason that elite colleges and tech companies struggle so hard against releasing HR statistics: it is letting the camel's nose into the tent.

The market is a pretty brutal enforcer when it comes to entertainment, despite all the wokeness marquis blockbusters and much of scripted television is more reactionary than the average conservative.

Pavlov's dogs were trained by Pavlov to salivate at the sound of a bell.

I've been trained by NYT to cringe at the sound of the word "equity".

For me its some version of the world "inclusive."

That you find either of those words to be triggering is problematic.

"Problematic" is my trigger.

"Problematic" is an annoying trendy word. An ngram search on google shows a very steep upward slope of increased use beginning about 1970.

"Problematic" is problematic. Self-recommending!

I don't like the phrase "brown people". Whose idea was it to lump Arabs and Hondurans?

Im never triggered. Just annoyed.

When I see that word my eyes start to glaze over and I assume what follows banal and lazy.

Not "triggered." It's just bullshit. Calling bullshit by its proper name after noticing the smell is not a politically correct act.

It's basic human behavior.

"Triggered." Get a grip.

Says the triggered cuck. Go back to your safe space. Nobody wants to deal with your feelings of butthurt.

I wouldn’t be so triggered if it was actually about inclusion or equity. However it almost never is. The genuinely inclusive stuff is never branded as such while in a star system genuine equity just means it has no one worth paying more than anyone else.

For me it's the vogue for "bodies" for the things formerly indicated by "people."

Bodies = people - minds.
I think it works.

'the word "equity"'

I don't read the NYT, but is it really so opposed to an actor's union? 'The Actors' Equity Association (AEA), commonly referred to as Actors' Equity or simply Equity, is an American labor union representing the world of live theatrical performance, as opposed to film and television performance (which is represented by SAG-AFTRA). However, performers appearing on live stage productions without a book or through-storyline (vaudeville, cabarets, circuses) may be represented by the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). As of 2010, Equity represented over 49,000 theatre artists and stage managers.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actors'_Equity_Association

"We must change the conversation about whiteness."

"It's Time to Have a Conversation about, Let's Talk About," &etc. ...

The grandmother-in-law used to kvetch about an economical editorial tendency of the editors of the ******* Bulletin (her town's slender daily paper, enough to wrap one fish) vis-a-vis headlines. "County eyes underpass construction, Smith eyes run for sheriff, Park eyes new swingsets," and so on.

"I wish they'd quit eyeing things," she'd often mutter.

We found that kinda amusing, but now I'm in the same place with the NYTimes and "Let's talk about ...," especially as, unless dead-tree journalism has undergone a radical transformation I'm not aware of, the "conversation" is about as interactive as the sermon at the Presbyterian church I grew up in.

sustainable / sustainability

...and then it was revealed why everything they make sucks massively and ends in a gigantic faceplant. The end.

Ex Malo Bonum.

Now, they have software to produce consistently, inclusive, adolescent, dull, illogical cinema with huge amounts of bright flashes and loud banging.

Ars Gratia Artis - no mas.

Lots of explosions with bright flashes and loud banging usually indicates a movie involving psychotically individualistic ubermenschen doing whatever they want because they can. Which is incredibly unwoke. Everyone points at John Milius but name me a recent blockbuster than isn’t far more fascistic than any Dirty Hairy movie.

Hollywood just had the largest weekend box office take in history a few days ago. They know what sells. You might not like what they sell but you weren't their target.

Will the inclusiveness craze spread to sports?

The world has gone crazy, and it is getting crazier faster

How many years ago would it have been when you'd assume this was from The Onion? Not too many

10 years ago, tops.

It also will enable users to determine if a project passes the Bechdel Test,

And why should screenplays be subject to a 'test' designed by a woman notable for a niche-audience comic strip? (Who didn't object to talking about a man when she published an animated work trashing her father).

She trashed him for his obsessive interest in the House Beautiful, and, perhaps, for finding women "increasingly repellent," as "The Office" memorably put it; or just not very interesting, or their children besides. And he never acknowledged that they had something essential in common. At least, in her view they had something in common. Perhaps the battle of the sexes goes on in new forms.

*thriller popcorn gif*

Wow, if that software were in use, the GMU econ department would never be greenlighted.

Cool. Here are a few additional tests that could be added to the software to identify stereotypes in Hollywood scripts:
1. Characters with a German accent who are not evil (the Hans test).
2. Divorced dads who are not solely responsible for the failure of the marriage.
3. Characters with a Southern accent who are not racists.
4. Prison guards who are not sadists.

1. Leading to the Terminator T100 conundrum - or is that the T100 continuum? Then you get the whole Das Boot quandary - are submariners sinking enemy ships evil? Which then brings along the Enemy Below paradox - both captains appear to be honorable men doing their duty, though there is no question that we all agree that one side represented a genocidal vision of trying to improve the world, and that the right side won the battle.

Hey, it's a free market. If people want to not optimize for sales, others will come in. The only danger is if this software somehow becomes required.

Hah, should it become required somehow, expect to see the profusion of superfluous scenes between two female characters - "How about that breakfast, huh?", "I know. I definitely have breast cancer.". Working to code.

Anyway, in general, yes, if this is what Hollywood wants to do voluntarily, so much the worse for Hollywood. A new Hays Code will probably lead to much the same outcomes as the old one, but commercially it'll be harder on them in a more globally competitive marketplace.

"Ruin is beautiful." - Leopoldo Maria Panero

How often do screenwriters specify the ethnicity of minor characters? Consider stock minor characters like the loose cannon detective's police captain or the judge in a trial scene: are their identity characteristics usually specified by the writer or is that generally left up to the filmmakers?

Novelists are all over the place on this. Nineteenth century novelists believed physiognomy is character so they devoted lengthy descriptions to facial features. Some 20th century writers, like Robert Heinlein, perhaps hoping to sell novels to the movies, dropped almost all descriptions of characters looks, which allowed Heinlein to reveal on the last page that his narrator was, say, Filipino or black.

The next Final Draft update will include a meter that tells you how much of a misogynistic, homophobic, white supremacist you are.

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