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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Machine To Predict Hit Movies

One sunny afternoon not long ago, Dick Copaken sat in a booth at Daniel, one of those hushed, exclusive restaurants on Manhattan's Upper East Side where the waiters glide spectrally from table to table. He was wearing a starched button-down shirt and a blue blazer. Every strand of his thinning hair was in place, and he spoke calmly and slowly, his large pink Charlie Brown head bobbing along evenly as he did. Copaken spent many years as a partner at the white-shoe Washington, D.C., firm Covington & Burling, and he has a lawyer's gravitas. One of his best friends calls him, admiringly, "relentless." He likes to tell stories. Yet he is not, strictly, a storyteller, because storytellers are people who know when to leave things out, and Copaken never leaves anything out: each detail is adduced, considered, and laid on the table—and then adjusted and readjusted so that the corners of the new fact are flush with the corners of the fact that preceded it. This is especially true when Copaken is talking about things that he really cares about, such as questions of international law or his grandchildren or, most of all, the movies.

Dick Copaken loves the movies. His friend Richard Light, a statistician at Harvard, remembers summer vacations on Cape Cod with the Copakens, when Copaken would take his children and the Light children to the movies every day. "Fourteen nights out of fourteen," Light said. "Dick would say at seven o'clock, 'Hey, who's up for the movies?' And, all by himself, he would take the six kids to the movies. The kids had the time of their lives. And Dick would come back and give, with a completely straight face, a rigorous analysis of how each movie was put together, and the direction and the special effects and the animation." This is a man who has seen two or three movies a week for the past fifty years, who has filed hundreds of plots and characters and scenes away in his mind, and at Daniel he was talking about a movie that touched him as much as any he'd ever seen.
Read More:http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_10_16_a_formula.html

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