StoryAlity Theory – 20-minute paper @ the `Interventions & Intersections’ Conference 2013 Last week (June 26th 2013) at the Interventions & Intersections: UWS 2013 Postgraduate conference, I presented on StoryAlity Theory.

`Interventions & Intersections' conference 2013 & JT Velikovsky

`Interventions & Intersections’ UWS Postgraduate Conference 2013 & JT Velikovsky

And, here’s (1) The Abstract, (2) Filmed Footage [20 mins], and, (3) the PowerPoint Presentation. I also blogged in more detail on the Interventions & Intersections: UWS 2013 Postgraduate conference, here. And, if you just want “the short story” of the post below, maybe see my previous post about StoryAlity Theory and the 3-Minute Thesis.

And, it actually makes it all easier to understand, once you see a diagram (from my thesis):

 Creativity in my thesis
Framing Filmmaking – within Creativity
And also, another diagram:
 Holarchy of Domains
  How the study of `Creativity in Film’ fits inside Communication Studies
And one more:
 Consilience in StoryAlity
StoryAlity Theory – interdisciplinary research (and: consilience between the Arts and Sciences).

And so, now, The Abstract, from the Interventions and Intersections program:


Seven in ten feature films lose money (Vogel 2011). One approach to solving this problem for professional screenwriters and filmmakers aiming for a sustainable career in feature film is an empirical and scientific study the Top 20 RoI (Return on Investment) films, to determine commonalities in their story/ screenplay/ film/
filmmaking practises, and also, to contrast these findings to the bottom 20 RoI films (the biggest money-losers).
One finding that has emerged from this ongoing study is that all twenty of the Top 20 RoI filmmakers were writer-hyphenates, namely either: a writer-director, writer-producer or writer-actor (and/or combinations thereof).
To understand and explain the way each writer-hyphenate created a film that made over seventy times its production budget in theatrical cinema release, a new methodology is proposed that combines Csikszentmihalyi’s `systems model of creativity’ (1996) with Bourdieu’s `practice theory’ of cultural production (1993).
The resulting methodology, `creative practice theory’ (Velikovsky 2012), aims to identify for screenwriters, filmmakers and writer-hyphenates, the steps all twenty writer-hyphenates went through in creating each of these `viral’ Top 20 RoI feature films.
DK Simonton’s Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics (2011) examined common elements in award-winning films, but by contrast this doctoral research examines commercial film success (or `virality’), noting that historically, there is little overlap between award-winning – and commercial (`viral’) films.

The scientific and empirical study of creativity, film and screenwriting (i.e. StoryAlity Theory) may potentially assist filmmakers and screenwriters aiming to reach the widest possible audience, using the least film production budget.

Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics (Simonton 2011)

Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics (Simonton 2011)

[Click image to see this work by Simonton, on Amazon.com]
BIO: JT Velikovsky is a transmedia writer for film, TV, games, comics, and novels. Credits include the thriller feature film CAUGHT INSIDE (2011), comedy videogame LOONEY TUNES: ACME ARSENAL (2007), and comic-fantasy novel A MEANINGLESS SEQUENCE OF ARBITRARY SYMBOLS (2010). He is a judge for the Writers Guild, and has been a professional screenwriter for 20 years. 
JT Velikovsky

JT Velikovsky

The short explanation of the above Abstract is this:
Creative Practice Theory - General Model (Velikovsky 2012)

Creative Practice Theory – General Model (Velikovsky 2012)

The `Creative Practice Theory’ diagram – one (possibly, fascinating) finding of this study is about the Top 20 RoI  Filmmakers themselves, and their creative process: all Top 20 RoI Filmmakers are writer-hyphenates, meaning: either, a writer-director, or a writer-producer, or a writer-actor, and sometimes – all 3 at once – such as in the film Primer (2004).
In the course of my research, I’ve discovered  that: when we integrate Professor Csikszentmihalyi’s systems model of creativity (1988, 1996, 2000, 2006) with Professor Bourdieu’s practice theory of cultural production (1993), (a synthesis called: Creative Practice Theoryten  sequential (sometimes, concurrent) `steps’ appear over time, that all 20 of the Top 20 RoI filmmakers went through, in creating these `20 most viral films ever’.

Creative Practice Theory (Velikovsky 2012)

The ten (or eleven, if you’re really lucky) steps, over time, for an individual Person in the domain of Film, are:
A person must (be):
 (In slide above, `PDP’ = Predispositions)
My 20-min presentation PPT is online, here:
And, Dan Binns kindly filmed my 20-minute presentation, on my camera-phone:
STORYALITY THEORY: Creative Practice Theory and Feature Film Screenwriting (18 mins)
(Although you’ll notice – it actually abruptly `cuts out’ at 18 mins, when my phone-camera battery went flat)
But, in case you were wondering – the last word I was saying, as it cut out, was: `Creativity’.
And – I pretty much said most of what I had to say…
Well – all except for (arguably) the most-important-points of all – and so, the last few slides of my presentation are below, here – as, essentially what I said in the last 2 minutes, was – this:
JT Velikovsky (2013)
[Left] JT Velikovsky  [right]Dr Milissa Deitz (I & I Conference, 2013)
JT Velikovsky: “So, I also did a detailed textual analysis of the Top 20 RoI Films: as we need to know (and understand) the Creative:
(1) Person (2) Process, and (3) Product.”
Creative: Person, Process, Product

Studying Creativity – examining the Creative: Person, Process, & Product

So – this section of the presentation (and: of the ongoing doctoral research study) would be the 3rd part of that equation: the Film as the Product. (And – a textual analysis, of its content, in each case.)

The Top 20 RoI (Return on Investment) Films

The Top 20 RoI (Return on Investment) Films

Top 20 RoI Films - Scene Lengths

Top 20 RoI Films – Scene Lengths

Data courtesy of Nash Information Services, LLC (www.the-numbers.com)

So I plotted every scene in all top 20 RoI Films, and analyzed, who `came out on top’ (who `won’) each scene… which – is actually an idea I got from (but, only very vaguely `inspired by’) screenplay guru, Blake Snyder’s book `Save The Cat!
And so – the red line on each chart below is The Villain, the blue line the Hero/s, and – note who always ends up on top, by the film story’s end (i.e.: reading each chart, left-to-right).”
Top 20 RoI Films: Hero vs Villain

Top 20 RoI Films: Hero vs Villain

So it turns out, these Top 20 RoI Films are all `Villain Triumphant’ stories. In other words, the good guys do not win, and the Villain is not vanquished – and usually gets away.
(Example – note how: Darth Vader escapes at the end of Star Wars, 1977. Note also how many of the heroes die in the Top 20 RoI Films).
So – here are a set of Findings I have made, about the STORY / SCREENPLAY / FILM of the Top 20 RoI Films:
StoryAlity study findings: #1 to #10

StoryAlity study findings: #1 to #10

And – another two sets of Findings I made, about the (2) Filmmaking (i.e. process, #11-15), and the (3) Creative Persons (key creatives/filmmakers, Findings #16 & #17):

StoryAlity Findings #11 to #17

StoryAlity Findings #11 to #17

Another finding in my research: Drama films are very difficult to do `right’. There are *NO* Drama films in the Top 20 RoI – as all are Genre films (e.g. Horror, Comedy, Sci Fi, Musical, Sports, etc).

Genre in the Top 20 RoI

Genre in the Top 20 RoI Films

Another Finding (#19, in this case): As RoI increases, (to the left, below) the films (i.e. converging in the future, if the trend continues) approach 90 minutes and 90 scenes, or – an average of a scene per minute.
Note where the extended trendlines below intersect, (i.e.: at a higher RoI, than is possible to show on the chart.)
StoryAlity Finding #19 (Future Trends in Screenplay/Film Duration, and Scene Length)

StoryAlity Finding #19 (Future Trends in Screenplay/Film Duration, and Scene Length)

And now, possibly the most striking finding: The 20 film stories follow The Fibonacci Sequence. (i.e.: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34, etc). This is, essentially, the Golden Ratio, or 1:1.6. (So – maybe Plato was right, about those `ideal forms’.)
Finding #21 - The Golden Ratio

Finding #20 – The Golden Ratio

Details of the Story Structure (in the Top 20 RoI Films):
StoryAlity Story Structure

StoryAlity Story Structure

And so – a prediction of StoryAlity Theory: Given that the Top 20 RoI films appear every 2.05 years on averagethe next one is due in January 2014. (The last one emerged in 2012.)
Finding #21 - On the Frequency of Top 20 RoI Films

Finding #21 – On the Frequency of Top 20 RoI Films

And now a quick recap of The Scientific Method: which allows us to analyse data, and make predictions.
The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method

In other words, any research program (or, scientific paradigm, in Thomas Kuhn’s terms) requires:
1)    Hypotheses (such as: The StoryAlity Theory)
2)    Assumptions and laws (e.g.: Marketing, Stars, and Timing, etc do not affect RoI; only the Story is crucial; and; the Laws of Holarchies – which govern both films – and, the film industries)
3)    Assumptions about initial conditions (there are approx 500,000 feature films in existence; the systems model of creativity; and Creative Practice Theory)
4)    Predictions (e.g.: the next Top 20 RoI film will emerge from the film system in January 2014)
5)    Observation and experiment (many people are now making films, using StoryAlity Theory. So let’s see.)
Click here to see `Structure' on Amazon.com

Click here to see `Structure’ on Amazon.com

And in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962, 2012), Thomas Kuhn outlines a remarkably-clear list of criteria that should enable anyone to distinguish between an earlier (older, archaic, abandoned) and – a more recent (newer, better, more accurate) theory:
`Among the most useful would be: accuracy of prediction, particularly of quantitative prediction; the balance between esoteric and everyday subject matter; and the number of different problems solved.
Less useful for this purpose, though also important determinants of scientific life, would be such values as simplicity, scope, and compatibility with other specialties. Those lists are not yet the ones required, but I have no doubt that they can be completed.
If they can, then scientific development is, like biological, a unidirectional and irreversible process.Later scientific theories are better than earlier ones for solving puzzles in the often quite different environments to which they are applied.
That is not a relativist’s position, and it displays the sense in which I am a convinced believer in scientific progress
A scientific theory is usually felt to be better than its predecessors not only in the sense that it is a better instrument for discovering and solving puzzles but also because it is somehow a better representation of what nature is really like.’ 

So – here are a whole series of predictions that I am making, and – you read it here first:

Some Predictions of StoryAlity Theory

Some Predictions of StoryAlity Theory

At this point, you may well be asking: Why is he (JT) doing all this? (Why stick your neck out, like that?) i.e.: If 2014 comes and goes – and there isn’t a new Top 20 RoI film in the list, he will probably look kinda silly. (i.e.: Wrong.)
Well – here it is:
On the predictive success of theories: in discussing realism and anti-realism (with regard to science), Chalmers has to following to say:

`Another standard objection to anti-realism concerns the predictive success of theories. How can it be, so the objection goes, that theories are so predictively successful if they are not at least approximately true.

The argument seems to have particular force in those cases where a theory leads to the discovery of a new type of phenomenon.

How can Einstein’s theory of general relativity be considered as a mere calculating device given that it successfully predicted the bending of light rays by the sun? How can it successfully be maintained that the structures attributed to organic molecules were mere instruments when those structures can now be witnessed “directly” with electron microscopes?

The anti-realists can respond as follows. They can certainly agree that theories can lead to the discovery of new phenomena. Indeed, this is one of the desiderata they themselves place on a good theory.’

As, in doing this research – quite by accident – I discovered that the Top 20 RoI films occur every 2.05 years on average, with an almost-clockwork regularity – and – when they don’t – when there is a 10-year gap, like in 1983-93, the system corrects itself, perfectly (with the `sudden 4 films’ in 2004).
The `Market Correction'

The `Market Correction’

It’s actually pretty amazing.
And – this also becomes relevant when we consider that the StoryAlity may also in fact empirically prove the existence – and functioning of memetics in popular culture, with regards to the systems model of creativity, and the feature film system itself.
As Csikszentmihalyi pointed out (7 times in Creativity, 1996), memes are at the centre of the creative process:
Genes and Memes function the same way (selection, variation and transmission)

Genes and Memes function the same way (via Selection, Variation and Transmission)

And ideas, processes and products are memes.
So: films are memes.
(And: Why do some memes/films go more viral than others? And –  Why are those Top 20 RoI Films the most viral films? StoryAlity Theory states that the answer lies with memetic `hybrid vigour’, and `agency and structure’.)
People = Gene remixes. Movies = Meme (idea) remixes.

People = Gene remixes… Movies = Meme (idea) remixes.

Genes + Memes = Movies

Genes + Memes = Movies

The StoryAlity theory may well be falsified in the future, and yet, it may well have already provided valuable `spin-off’ discoveries for film/screenwriting theory.
Meme-Gene Co-Evolution

Meme-Gene Co-Evolution = Culture-Biology Consilience

However, given all that – overall – the role of successful predictions in theory acceptance still cannot be underestimated. (So, let’s overestimate it – just to be on the safe side.)
And – moving right along – as Chalmers states:

`Little is learnt from the falsification of a bold conjecture or the confirmation of a cautious conjecture. If a bold conjecture is falsified, then all that is learnt is that another crazy idea has been proved wrong… The falsificationist wishes to reject ad hoc hypotheses and to encourage the proposal of bold hypotheses as potential improvements on falsified theories.   Those bold hypotheses will lead to novel, testable predictions, which do not follow from the original, falsified theory. However, although the fact that it does lead to the possibility of new tests makes an hypothesis, it will not rank as an improvement on the problematic theory it is designed to replace until it has survived at least some of those tests. This is tantamount to saying that before it can be regarded as an adequate replacement for a falsified theory, a newly and boldly proposed theory must make some novel predictions that are confirmed. Many wild and rash speculations will not survive subsequent testing and consequently will not be rated as contributing to the growth of scientific knowledge.

The occasional wild and rash speculation that does lead to a novel, unlikely prediction, which is nevertheless confirmed by observation or experiment, will thereby become established as a highlight in the history of the growth of science.

The confirmations of novel predictions resulting from bold conjectures are very important in the falsificationist account of the growth of science.’ 

(Chalmers 2000: 80-1 – emphasis mine)

So, what the heck does all that mean..?
My understanding is, that: unexpected new theories can come out of a theory, even if the first theory is falsified.
And StoryAlity Theory does make many new novel predictions.
And importantly, StoryAlity Theoryretrodicts (as opposed to:predictsThe Devil Inside (2012).
So even if a Top 20 RoI film does not occur in January 2014, it could mean various things:
(1) there is another gap like the 1983-1993 gap, which means a market correction is due
(2) the Top 20 RoI next film may come along sooner than 2.05 years (every 2.05 years is only an average)
And, from Chalmers in `What Is This Thing called Science?’ (2000)

`The aim of science is to falsify theories and to replace them by better theories, theories that demonstrate a greater ability to withstand tests. Confirmations of new theories are important insofar as they constitute evidence that a new theory is an improvement on the theory it replaces, the theory that is falsified by the evidence unearthed with the aid of, and confirming, the new theory. Once a newly proposed bold theory has succeeded in ousting its rival, then it in turn becomes a new target at which stringent tests should be directed, tests devised with the aid of further boldly conjectured theories.’

Also, when all else fails – in Science, there’s always Bayes’ Theorem!
(Do you know about Bayes’ Theorem? – If not, you haven’t lived. Seriously.)
Check it out:

`Bayes’ Theorem – Bayes’ theorem is about conditional probabilities, probabilities for propositions that depend on (and hence are conditional on) the evidence bearing on those propositions… Bayes’ theorem is a theorem prescribing how probabilities are to be changed in the light of new evidence…In the context of science the issue is how to ascribe probabilities to theories or hypotheses in the light of evidence. ’

I other words, Bayes’ Theorem is kind of a parachute you can knit on the way down if your scientific predictions go bung. (Thank youMr Bayes… Love your work.)
Bayes’ Theorem:
Bayes theorem
Figure 3 – Bayes Theorem
Source: Adapted from (Chalmers 2000: 175)

Chalmers continues:

`Confronted with the problem of which part of a web of assumptions to blame for an apparent falsification, the Bayesian answer is to feed in the appropriate prior probabilities and calculate the posterior probabilities. These will show which assumptions slump to a low probability, and consequently which assumptions should be dropped to maximize the chances of future success.

Anyway – so what does all this mean?

This, for one thing: it looks like my work all sits within Literary Darwinism, and Consilience, which is all pretty bizarre – (a weird coincidence) as I only discovered it a month ago, and yet the irony is, two-time Pulitzer prize-winner E.O. Wilson is one of the 91 creatives interviewed in Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity (1996). – Go figure.

On Themes
And so here are a set of Guidelines (10, of the 30 or so, in StoryAlity Theory) – for would-be High-RoI film screenwriters/filmmakers (writer-hyphenates)…
Key Guidelines
These guidelines may increase the probability of your film story going viral in the culture – in other words, reaching your intended audience with your film story, whatever your story may be. (We need to remember, everything runs on Structure and Agency… if these guidelines are `the structure’, you can still use your own agency to bend – or break them. You also have infinite choices [agency] within these structures.)
And so, then (in my PowerPoint presentation/paper) I mentioned that, I published the StoryAlity Screenwriting Manual  last month:

And – I didn’t get time to show this slide, but I’m showing it to you, now. (Enjoy!)

And then – the very-end-slide was supposed to be, this (noting that the presentation was summarizing my 1) Research Practice (2) Methodology and (3) Some of my Research Findings.)
Preso Summary

And anyway, suddenly – my talk was over, and: all too soon, really.

JT Velikovsky (2013)
[Left] JT Velikovsky  [right]Dr Milissa Deitz (I & I Conference, 2013)
And then – in the (excellent) Q&A, some Questions that came up: (And – my Answers, from memory  – with extra explication, where I felt like it.)
Q: So, JT – when you’re writing a screenplay now, do you actually have, these `30 StoryAlity Theory High-RoI Film Story Guidelines’ in your head-?
JT: Yes. Exactly. With feature film screenwriting, after 10 years or so of `Internalizing the Domain’ – you usually have about 1000 screenwriting rules in your head anyway; there are about that many. Seriously. So – 30 more guidelines isn’t too bad. And – at least, these ones are very clear, High-RoI probability guidelines. As opposed to the `knowledge’ in the other Screenwriting Manuals… which tends to have very little empirical evidence behind it, being based on selective examples.
Q: So what do you think of Lucas and Spielberg, saying the other week that, it will take a half-dozen `blockbusters’ to fail, for the film industry to collapse, and split into: vastly-cheaper online feature films – versus – the very expensive `sensory overload’ 3-D Surround-Sound cinema `blockbusters’ (at $25 per cinema ticket)?
JT: Bring it on. I love my blockbusters, and also my no-budget Indie-Arthouse-Cult films – I love all types of films – but – rather than, someone make a lousy, `big dumb Hollywood blockbuster’ for $300m that fails at the box office, I would much rather see 150 x $2m indie-arthouse-cult films get made… 17 out of 20 of the top 20 RoI films are indie films. Only three films, Star Wars (1977, $11m), ET (1982, $10.5m) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2009, $5m) are: Hollywood `studio films’. The other 17 are indie or arthouse films that went viral in the culture, due to word of mouth, due to: their Story being fantastic. So then – what makes a fantastic Story? …See the common patterns in the top 20 RoI films.
Q: Could there be other reasons for `the 10-year gap’ in Top 20 RoI films in 1983-93, apart from blockbusters crushing the indies? JT: Sure, I’m only speculating on what actually caused the `10-year gap’ – as I’ve spent very little time investigating that… the `market correction’ of the film system in 2004 `returned the system to its previous state’ – and then we go back to every 2.05 years on average…
Milissa Deitz: Maybe it’s due to the rise of VCRs in the 80s?
JT: Great point! Thanks Milissa… I hadn’t even thought of that…

So, I was pleased that the Creative Practice Theory and Feature Film Screenwriting presentation/paper went over, and actually – I was thrilled at the level of `engagement with the research’ from everyone in the audience. All the questions were brilliant, and `right on the money’, and, other researchers were keen to chat with me about it, in the breaks during the rest of the conference.

(Thanks again Michael, Dan, Kate and Ben for all the questions and constructive criticism – all very much appreciated.)

And most of all, thanks Milissa, for the excellent ideaabout: VHS (and – Betacam!) VCR sales, possibly being a partial-contributor to, an explanation for the `10-year gap’ (1983-93) in Top 20 RoI films. – I will certainly investigate that further, if I get time. Given, that bizarre `market correction’ of the 4 films suddenly emerging in 2004, any `causal explanations’ of top 20 RoI film emergence-frequency currently seem unnecessary, as the film system itself seems to have solved the curious problem of “the 10-year gap” all by itself (though, it is certainly fun to speculate on it all.)

The `Market Correction'

The `Market Correction’

i.e.: I am unsure why Top 20 RoI films emerge from the film system, quite so regularly [i.e. every 2.05 years on average], but I am just very glad that, they do. It provides a good methodological justification for my using the systems model of creativity (i.e. Csikszentmihalyi 1988-2006), in my analysis of the film industry/films/film stories. – It will certainly be interesting to see, if 2014 brings us a new Top 20 RoI Film, as per one of the: StoryAlity Theory predictions. Also, when attempting to extract scientific predictions from a theory, I think it is important to make a lot of them, as that way – due to `The Law of Large Numbers’, there is then a greater likelihood that: at least one of them, will come true. And – ideally, for me – all the `unrealized predictions’ are soon forgotten.

Or else, perhaps just dismissed by me – as scientific anomalies (that was a joke). However, my main research focus now, is more on the `creative analysis’ of the films, and, on their creation… i.e. What their stories all may have in common, and, for me as a filmmaker – much more importantly:

How their creators all managed to achieve the extremely-unlikely… 
(i.e.: In actually creating a top-20 RoI, hyper-viral theatrical feature film/story, given that: 7 in 10 films loses money, and 98% of screenplays go unmade…).

So – I thank UWS once again, for the opportunity in (and support, in) pursuing this doctoral research. I have been thinking about – and like all filmmakers, struggling against) these 3 `wicked problems’ in the feature film domain for 20 years now, ever since I read those 100 most-popular screenwriting texts*, back in 1995.

And I certainly seem to be making some progress, in one possible approach, that may provide some solutions – and may enable all filmmakers to have more sustainable careers…
(And will ideally mean that – we all get to see better film stories, in the cinema.)
As an aside – here is some more interesting information from Butler-Bowden’s (50 Psychology Classics, 2006) summary of Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity (1996):

Common Creative Features: Csikszentmihalyi’s other insights [from Creativity, 1996] include: * The idea of the tortured creative person is largely a myth. Most of his (91) respondents were very happy with their lives and their creative output. * Successful creative people tend to have two things in abundance: curiosity and drive. They are absolutely fascinated by their subject, and while others may be more brilliant, their sheer desire for accomplishment is the decisive factor. * Creative people take their intuition seriously, looking for patterns where others see confusion, and are able to make connections between discrete areas of knowledge. * Creative people are often seen as arrogant, but this is usually because they want to devote most of their attention to their exciting work. * Though creative people can be creative anywhere, they gravitate to centers where their interests can be satisfied more easily, where they can meet like-minded people, and where their work can be appreciated. * Beautiful or inspiring environments are better at helping people to be more creative thinkers than giving them a seminar on “creativity.” * School does not seem to have had a great effect on many famous creative people, and even in college they were often not stars. Many people later considered geniuses were not particularly remarkable as children; what they always had more than others was curiosity. * Many creative achievers were either orphaned or had little contact with their father. On the other hand, they frequently had a very involved, loving mother who expected a lot from them. * Most fell into one of two family categories: They were poor or disadvantaged, but their parents nevertheless pushed them to educational or career attainment; or they grew up in families of intellectuals, researchers, professionals, writers, musicians, and so on. Only 10 percent were middle class. The lesson: To be a powerfully creative adult, it is best to be brought up in a family that values intellectual endeavor, not one that celebrates middle-class comfort. * The creative are both humble and proud, with a selfless devotion to their domain and what might be achieved, yet also confidence that they have much to contribute and will make their mark. * It is a myth that there is one “creative personality.” Something all creative people seem to share is complexity—they “tend to bring the entire range of human possibilities within themselves.”

(Butler-Bowden in `50 Psychology Classics‘  2006, pp71-72,

summarizing Csikszentmihalyi 1996, emphasis mine)

If the `complexity’ above seems mysterious, then I also highly recommend this excellent 1996 article on The Ten Antithetical Traits of the Creative Personality: The Creative Personality: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199607/the-creative-personality  It points out that creatives can (apparently, more easily) change their personality traits, depending on the requirements of the situation.  So I have created a diagram to illustrate this point, (as I understand it):

The Creative Personality - and their `variable' Traits (Velikovsky 2013)

The Creative Personality – and their `variable’ Traits (Velikovsky 2013)

To explain: the `sliders’ in the diagram are placed randomly, and are not meant to illustrate either a specific `Normal’ or any specific `Creative’ person.

But – supposing that, they (the sliders above) were representative of a random “Normal Person” (by which, in this context, I mean `uncreative’, although that mistakenly implies that Creatives are not also `Normal’ people)… The point is, “Normal” (`Uncreative’ in the sense that we label some people `Creatives’) people tend to have relatively `fixed’ personality traits. – Whether they are (say) alone in bed reading, or at a party, or at work, or even on holiday, Normal persons’ traits are relatively stable, fixed, and predictable. Their `sliders’ in the above diagram stay relatively fixed, no matter the scenario they are in. And yet, Creatives tend to (or, appear to) move their own `sliders’ about, depending on the scenario (also depending on their mood at times, obviously). So, maybe they are at a party, and are suddenly an extrovert, i.e.: the `life of the party’. Yet maybe when at home (or at work, say in an artist’s studio) they are introverted, and quite happy to be alone for hours on end, or `alone with their thoughts/work’, etc. Or sometimes they may be incredibly disciplined (say when they need to do a lot of work, like reading a lot of books) yet at other times can be playful (when working, if their work allows it – or when having R&R&R, i.e. Rest & Recreation & Relaxation.) Side Note: I also thought in the `Life After The PhD’ session at the UWS conference, Dr Shanthi Robertson made a great point: she said, she’s not into this whole “Work/Life Balance” thing, and when she explained herself, I was put in mind of Csikszentmihalyi’s `Flow’ theory, and Creative peoples’ lifework.  Namely, if your work is enjoyable, then it’s more like `play’ anyway, so actually you don’t mind doing it, all the time. You can go out for a walk, say, and think about a problem that you may be solving in your work. In fact, historically – in the literature on Creativity – this is how many creative breakthroughs occur – when you are jogging, or in the shower, or driving or whatever, and distracted. It allows other, unconscious, associative mental functions to take over.     At any rate – this (this diagram above) is all just my own visualization/interpretation of it… (on The Ten Antithetical Traits of Creative Personalities.) – It also all makes sense to me, having known (and worked with) many Creatives, and also, many “Normal” people. Though also – ironically – many people who are incredibly Creative, do not recognize it, as Creativity works the same way, across the Arts and the Sciences. (Note: This could be YOU-!) For more, (on Creativity working the same way, across The Arts and The Sciences) I would recommend  the following books: (1) Creativity (1996) – Csikszentmihalyi (2) Creativity in Science: Logic, Genius, Chance, Zeitgeist  (2004) – Simonton (3) Explaining Creativity (2012) – Sawyer (4) Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics (2011) – Simonton (As it happens, they all also heavily inform my own doctoral research on Film/Screenwriting/Transmedia. But I would also recommend them to anyone, in any Creative professional field.)

StoryAlity book, i-doc, game (Velikovsky 2013)
StoryAlity Screenwriting Manual, i-doc, and game demo (Velikovsky 2013) – game mod from Kudos (Positech Games)
So – out of the doctoral research to date, I’ve:
(a) written a 200-page screenplay manualwhich I published last month on Kindle – called StoryAlity Theory
(b) made a 30-minute StoryAlity Theory interactive documentaryand 
(c) made a `Creative Practice Theory’ game demo, just to help to explain, `How it all works’…
So, I think, mine is a `Transmedia’ thesis…(?)

And, if StoryAlity Theory is all new to you, maybe watch the 30-min online interactive documentary. StoryAlity K-Film Ep 1 And: if you’ve seen the movie, read the book! And maybe even, read the blog. (And, Thanks again to all at UWS, for an excellent Interventions and Intersections Conference 2013) Comments, feedback and thoughts on this blog, always welcome.

Creativity Guy says: Don't Drink And Drive. But if you must drive, try and do Creativity. As that's when most cretive ideas happen (while driving, walking, in the shower, on the john, etc.) Seriously.

“Creativity Guy says: Don’t Drink And Drive.” Especially if you can see 3 steering wheels, like this. But – if you really must drive (while sober), then maybe try and do some Creativity (i.e.: thinking). As, that’s when many creative insights happen (while driving, walking the dog, in the shower, etc.) – Seriously. Then again, try not to do it (i.e. to think). As, you really want that `unconscious association of ideas’ thing (i.e.: `illumination‘) to take place.


JT Velikovsky

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/



* (Literature Review) 20 years ago, while studying Screenwriting at film school (the AFTRS) I read 100 books on Screenwriting, and I summarized them all, into a writing textbook. It’s free, online, and is called The Feature Film Screenwriter’s Workbook. I’ve updated it 4 times in the past 20 years.
The Feature Screenwriters Workbook (JT Velikovsky 2011)
The Feature Screenwriters Workbook (JT Velikovsky 2011)
Click here to download (the free PDF).
But – in the past 20 years – there are at least 3 “real-world problems” that have never gone away in the domains of: Feature Film, and, Film Screenwriting:
3 Min Thesis 2 probs
(1) 7 in 10 movies lose money, and 
(2) 98% of screenplays go unmade. Also –
(3) 90% of Australian filmmakers only ever make one feature film.
It’s hard to have a sustainable career as a filmmaker, as – these are 3 `hard, real-world problems’ in the domain of Film.
The Film RoI Bell Curve
The Film RoI Bell Curve
My own approach to solving these 3 `hard problems’ in the Film Domain is: To examine Return On Investment in film.
So, `high-RoI films’ are those that were made for the least budget – but had the widest audience reach – in other words, they are the films that went most viral in the culture, due to word-of-mouth – because of their Story.
Top 20 RoI Films - Scene Lengths
Top 20 RoI Films – Scene Lengths
So, in my doctoral research, I’m examining the Top 20 RoI Films – and, comparing and contrasting them to the Bottom 20 RoI Films (or: the 20 `biggest money-losers’, if you like) in terms of:
The Film RoI Bell Curve
(a) their Story; (b) Screenplay; (c) Film; (d) Filmmaking Processes, and (e) the Individual Creativity of the key creators, behind each of the top 20 RoI films.
Though, if you’ve been reading this blog, then you’d probably know all that already.
Either way – Thanks for reading!
Bourdieu, P & Johnson, Re 1993, The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature, Columbia University Press, New York.
Butler-Bowdon, T 2007, 50 Psychology Classics: Who we are, How we think, What we do: Insight and Inspiration from 50 key books, Nicholas Brealey, London.
Chalmers, AF 2000, What Is This Thing Called Science?, 3rd edn, Open University Press, Buckingham.
Csikszentmihalyi, M 1995, ‘Creativity Across the Life-Span: A Systems View’, Talent Development,  Vol. III, Gifted Psychology Press, pp. 9-18
Csikszentmihalyi, M 1996, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, 1st edn, HarperCollins, New York.
Csikszentmihalyi, M 1996, ‘The Creative Personality’, Psychology Today, Jul-Aug 1996, pp. 36-40.
Csikszentmihalyi, M & Wolfe, R 2000, ‘New Conceptions and Research Approaches to Creativity: Implications for a Systems Perspective of Creativity in Education’, in KA Heller, FJ Mönks, R Subotnik & RJ Sternberg (eds), International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent, 2nd ed. edn, Elsevier, Amsterdam; Oxford.
Kuhn, TS & Hacking, I 2012, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 4th edn, University of Chicago Press, Chicago ; London.
Sawyer, RK 2012, Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, New York.Simonton, DK 2004, Creativity in Science: Chance, Logic, Genius, and Zeitgeist, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ; New York.Simonton, DK 2011, Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics, Oxford University Press, New York; Oxford.
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