The Austin-based company revealed research at SXSW that analyzed over 2,000 film scripts and 25,000 characters from between 1930 and 2018. Using machine learning, sentiment analysis and natural language processing, StoryFit’s approach demonstrates new ways to break apart narratives and character personality. The company says they ask over 10,000 queries of every script, focusing on what characters say and how they say it.
Analyzing the “Big 5” personality traits, they found that 80 percent of female characters measured scored over 85 percent on agreeableness, while only 27 percent of men scored that highly. Characters like Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who score low on agreeableness, are outliers among female characters. Only six percent of women scored above 60 percent in openness compared to 54 percent of men.
StoryFit also analyzed the 2018 Oscar nominees. In only 4 percent of female-only scenes did women talk about something other than men. Women also ask more questions than men, apparently to set up men to take charge of the situation.
It’s a valuable analysis for SXSW. The festival is a center of gravity for media and entertainment worlds R12; both of which have been rocked by sexual assault scandals. In the shadow of #MeToo and #TimesUp, over 50 panels and events are about harassment or gender equality. It’s clear that gender biases — conscious or unconscious — exist in film and TV, and StoryFit hopes to increasingly bring their quantified analysis to consultations with the movie and publishing industries.
Catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2018 right here.