The StoryAlity High-RoI Film Story & Screenplay Checklist
The following is derived from my doctoral research study.
The following Checklist provides a useful practical tool for the empirical analysis of any film story/screenplay in terms of the expected/probable RoI (Return On Investment). The checklist aims to avoid the “single-cause theory” that many can apply to film success… Films are not successful for a single reason alone: there are many things they “do right” and likewise – many things that they “do wrong” that, they tend to avoid…
The checklist is recommended for use by: Screenwriters, Filmmakers, Screenplay Development Executives, professional Script Readers/Story Analysts, Directors, Actors, Producers, and all film industry Creatives.
Also, even more importantly: Film Financiers, Investors and Marketers can also use this checklist as an analytical Story/Screenplay tool – to assess, given probability, the RoI potential of any film project.
The data set is – The Top 20 RoI Films of the last 70 Years:
GENRE BREAKDOWN – The Top 20 RoI Films
THE STORYALITY HIGH-RoI FILM CHECKLIST
Please also note, these StoryAlity Theory guidelines (the checklist) are: a probability calculus.
If any writer/filmmaker desires, they can certainly choose not to use, all x 30 of these StoryAlity Theory Guidelines… They may of course choose to use (say) only 29 out of the 30 guidelines, (or indeed, use none of the guidelines at all.) For example, a writer/filmmaker may choose to create/use their own film Story Structure, rather than the StoryAlity story structure (i.e. the Fibonacci sequence…). That is entirely their own choice, given the workings of Agency (choices) and Structure (guidelines)…
The second column below, “IDEAL/HIGH-RoI TARGET” is the recommended selection – as per overwhelming evidence, resulting from the empirical and scientific doctoral research study.
|CRITERIA||THE IDEAL /HIGH-ROITARGET||The Top 20 ROIFilms: Average||The Top 20 ROIFilms: Median||THE RANGE (Top 20 ROI Films)||Your Screenplay: (Y/N ?)|
|Horror(mode / most frequently occurring)||Horror||Horror
|Number of Main Characters||4 (3 good guys, 1 villain)||4.4||4||2 – 9|
|Occupations of the Main Character/s||Working class &/or students||Working class / students(both = mode)||Working class / students(both = mode)||See Table on “The Character Occupations in Top 20 ROI Films”|
|Character Arc/s” in a high ROI film Story||None||None||None||None|
|Number of Story `Acts’||10||10||10||10 – 10|
|Story Structure||See The STORYALITY™ Syntagm||See The STORYALITY™ Syntagm||See The STORYALITY™ Syntagm||See The STORYALITY™ Syntagm|
|Screenplay / Film Length||90 pages exactly||92 pages /92 minutes||88 pages /88 minutes||77 -121 pages/mins|
|# of Scenes||122 scenes||119 scenes||124 scenes||71-189 scenes|
|Scene Lengths||1 min/1 page||49 seconds||1 min 12 secs||1 sec – 14mins 25 s|
|Ratio of Ext/Int scenes||44% Ext / 56% Int||44% Ext / 56% Int||53 Ext scenes/64 Int scenes||(3 – 95) Ext(25 – 121) Int|
|Number of Locations||28||29||27||2-73|
|Types of Main Locations/Settings||House/Apartment||Domestic / urban||See: Types of Top 20 ROI Main Locations||See: Types of Top 20 ROI Main Locations|
|Time period / Temporal Setting||Present||Present||Present||Past, Present, Future|
|Story Ending||Villain Triumphant||Villain Triumphant||Villain Triumphant||Villain Triumphant|
|Theme||Survival, Reproduction, Revenge||Survival, Reproduction, Revenge||Survival, Reproduction, Revenge||Survival, Reproduction, Revenge|
|Sex scenes||N||40 %||40 %||8/20 films|
|Chase scenes||Y||85 %||85 %||17/20 films|
|Shootouts||N||45 %||45 %||9/20 films|
|Fist-Fights||Y||75 %||75 %||15/20 films|
|Montage/s||Y||11/20 films||11/20 films||11/20 films|
|Expected Reviews/Critics Ratings?||73%||73%||81||46%-94%|
|Expected Oscars™||None||<3% chance||<3% chance||1/20 films|
|Expected MPAA Rating||R||R||R||PG – UnR|
|Length of Shoot||7 – 31 days||34 days||28 days||7 – 80 days|
|“Look” of the film||Color & digital||Color||Color||Color/ B&W35mm, 16mm, digital|
This checklist can be used to analyze your own screenplay/story, for the various characteristics shared by all 20 of the Top 20 RoI films.
High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie and Transmedia Researcher
The above is (mostly) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky
JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild. For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/