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July 14, 2017, by The Ingenuity Lab

Emotional Sweating: Reversing the decline in box office sales

“People always like the easy route. You have to push very hard to get something unusual, something different” – Danny Boyle


In recent years, there has been a dramatic decline in blockbuster ticket sales, resulting in massive losses for major movie studios, and films like King Arthur being released with a predicted $150million loss.

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Keith discussing his latest findings with Ingenuity Lab member James Doherty

Although there are many factors that make a movie flop at the box office, scientific research by Ingenuity Lab member Dr Keith Bound from The University of Nottingham has discovered that measuring viewers’ emotional sweating could help reverse this trend – increasing audience engagement and box office sales.

Major films studios have attempted to stop the decline in blockbuster ticket sales by gaining real-time understanding of the moviegoers’ experience using brain imaging techniques. However, these consumer insights are only used in movie promotion campaigns rather than filmmakers using the data to help them maximise audience engagement and returns.

Last year Keith completed a four-year scientific research study into audience engagement. He designed a film experiment which measured viewer responses to specific narrative structures and cinematic techniques and captured and analysed three data sets: the films audio/visual story elements, physiological responses (emotional sweating) and viewer self-reports.

“Emotional sweating is determined by measuring tiny electrical changes in the viewers’ skin which can be matched by the millisecond to specific audio-visual stimuli, such as story features, camera frame, sound, lighting and stage props.  The data set can help us determine which aspects of films make people really excited and engaged”  Keith Bound, Director at Receptive Cinema

The outcomes of the study offer a DNA model of audience engagement, which not only identifies the filmmakers’ blind spots that they are unaware of, but can also resolve the filmmakers’ blind spots through a creative process by synthesising cinematic storytelling with the DNA of audience engagement.

The techniques can be applied during story development, film production, post-production, short-form marketing and allows the artistic creativity of the filmmaker to flow freely, while aligning with the DNA of audience engagement.

Ingenuity Lab member Keith is a narrative and audience engagement consultant and collaborates with movie studios, film production companies, media technology labs, producers and directors who seek a 21st century innovative approach to film making that is underpinned by biometric model of audience engagement. He has presented his research at six International peer reviewed conferences in the USA and Europe (2013-2017). Keith is also an award-winning innovator with 27 years’ experience in the creative industries.

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If you would like to find out more, please visit the Receptive Cinema website, or drop an email to Keith.

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