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How Do You Measure Your Film’s Impact? Debika Shome of The Harmony Institute Explains

Blitz Wisdom: The Harmony Institute

Think about it for a second: how do you, as a filmmaker, gauge your film’s impact? Is it the box office you generate through screenings? The number of Twitter followers you have? The amount of “fans” you have on Facebook? And what do you do with that information once you have it?  The Harmony Institute believes these are critical keys for decision making not only for your current film but your future films as well.

Deputy Director Debika Shome shared amazing insights in her “Blitz Wisdom” talk at the IFP Filmmaker Conference about how the Harmony Institute does their work, using statistical and analytical research to help media makers gauge the response to a subject or cause, and see how far its reach can take their film. One of the cooler developments her company has been working on recently is “HI Impact Space,” a web service for producers and filmmakers that uses film metrics to compare many films at once, by a set of detailed “impact matrices.” No longer will your film be alone in a sea of data!

The HI Impact Space site (or rather, the prototype images we saw at the conference) is laid out in a sleek, stylish, heavily visual pattern of maps and sliders for ease of use. Their program considers the context of the film (i.e. whose perspective it’s told from) and groups together films by their social issues (health, environment, human rights, etc.) Other indicators mark the film’s viewership, critical reception, social media participation, etc. You can see if many films about that topic already exist, and when they were made, etc.

It really is an incredible tool. And I haven’t even mentioned the coolest part yet: you can also upload a script or plot to their site and the service can project where it will fall on the matrix. With that important knowledge, you can configure your pitching and fundraising strategies and see if the issue you’ve chosen to talk about is a popular one, has done well statistically at the box office, etc.

It may just be another tool in the ever changing landscape of digital media, but it certainly sounds like a powerful one.

Check out The Harmony Institute’s free publication, available as a PDF download: “Sharing Influence: Understanding the Influence of Entertainment in Online Social Networks.”

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