In the cutthroat Hollywood film industry, it is now possible to know if an actor’s career is about to boom or bust.
High activity and long career in the film industry are exponentially rare, compared to the more common trend of one-hit-wonders – actors and actresses with careers that span a year or less. However, the team also found that male actors who were not one-hit wonders tended to have longer careers than their female actresses.
Those periods when stars are consistently finding film work for at least two years are called “hot streaks.” But they are contrasted by “cold streaks” – time periods where actors and actresses wait for a new job. Researchers found that often times women have longer cold streaks but male actors are more likely to recover from a cold streak.
Looking at that “golden year” period, or the time when a film star has the most jobs in a single year, revealed that most people have their biggest successes early in their career.
Researchers from Queen Mary University in London created an algorithm that can predict with 85 percent accuracy whether a star’s golden years have passed or are yet to come.
Scientists analyzed the profiles of over 2.4 million actors and actresses in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), in a study published June 4 in the open-access journal Nature Communications. Almost 70 percent of profiles that the researchers surveyed fell into this category of short-lived stars. Besides predicting career trajectories, they also found patterns of gender bias in the industry and significant correlations between success and age.
Researcher Oliver E. Williams says the team did not feel comfortable predicting the careers of any current stars in the industry. But he did say that some version of the algorithm may be available for people to use in the future.