Atomic-backed Jumpcut uses data to advance diversity in film – TechCrunch

Atomic-backed Jumpcut uses data to advance diversity in film – ClearTips

Jumpcut founder Kartik Hosanagar is a professor at the Wharton School, but about ten years ago, he spent his summer in an unexpected way: He wrote a screenplay. Set in India, his screenplay garnered some interest from the producers, but none garnered a first-time Indian director’s pledge to fund the film.

Now, films from a diverse cast are gaining traction—this year, Chloe Zhao became the first woman of color, and the second woman ever to win an Academy Award for Best Director. At the previous ceremony, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Still, Hollywood leaves $10 billion on the table every year due to the industry’s lack of diversity, according to a recent report from McKinsey & Company.

“How do you bet on underrepresented voices or underrepresented stories?” asked Hosanagar. “While there is awareness, there is no action, because no one knows how to do it. So that’s what got me into Jumpcut. This is the rare company where my 20 years of work on data science and entrepreneurship meet what I do with my work. I’m out

At Wharton, Hosanagar is the faculty lead for the AI ​​for Business program. He was the founder of Yodle, which was acquired by web.com in 2016 for $340 million. But for this next venture, he wanted to use his experience with data science to tackle the symmetry of Hollywood by risking media projects from underrepresentation. Creator.

“The approach is to create a more inclusive era of global content creation,” he told ClearTips.

Hosanagar began work on Jumpcut in 2019, but today, the Nuclear-backed company secretly launched as the first data science-powered studio working to elevate underrepresented voices in film. The studio already has 12 TV and film projects in the works with partners such as 36-time Academy Award nominee Lawrence Bender (“Pulp Fiction,” “Good Will Hunting”), Emmy Award-winning producer Shelby Stone (“Bessie,” and “Bessie”). Chi”), and showrunner Scott Rosenbaum (“Chuck,” “The Shield”).

Jumpcut models after Y-Combinator in its approach, connecting emerging talent with buyers and producers. First, Jumpcut uses an algorithm to scan hundreds of thousands of videos from platforms like YouTube, Reddit, and Wattpad to find promising talent. The algorithm narrows down the broad field to locate creators who are constantly finding new audiences and increasing their engagement. Then, the Jumpcut team — including consultants and veterans from Netflix, Buzzfeed, CBS, Sony and WarnerMedia — identifies who to connect with.

In an example of algorithmic success, Hosanagar pointed to Anna Hopkins, an actress who has appeared in shows such as “The Expanse” and “Shadowhunters”. Although Hopkins has had some success in front of the camera, she also wants to write.

“We explored some of his short films, and the algorithm identified it because people’s comments had strong emotional responses, such as, ‘In a heartwarming but positive way,’ or ‘Give me a tissue,'” Hosanagar said. Explained. Since Hopkins is not publicly known as a writer, she assumed that Jumpcut found her through a television network for which she had produced a script, but this was not the case. “We said, ‘No, our algorithm found you.'”

Once a creator is identified by Jumpcut, they can A/B test their ideas with an audience of over 100,000 potential viewers, which helps the company prove funder through data science That these ideas can sell.

“The idea is that we don’t wait for creators to be discovered by traditional Hollywood agencies, because that requires creators to have access to top agents, and that brings you back to the old boys club again,” Hosanagar said. said. . “We’re automating that process and finding people who are creating great stories that resonate with audiences, not waiting for a Hollywood agency to find them.”

Once creators have an idea that tests well with a wider audience, they are invited to Jumpcut Collective, an incubator program that helps artists evolve from a concept to an idea in 6 weeks. helps. Then, Jumpcut helps match projects with producing partners and buyers.

So far, Jumpcut has hosted three incubator events. Of the twelve JumpCat projects currently underway, Hosanagar says nine or ten of them have come out of the incubator. One project, for example, is now being developed in partnership with Disney’s Asia Pacific division.

Jumpcut is not disclosing the amount it raised in this seed funding round, but confirms that Atomic is the sole investor in their seed round.

Hosanagar is joined on the project by Dilip Rajan, his alumnus and a former product manager at BuzzFeed, and Vinnie Kemp, former SVP of Super Deluxe and Origins at CBS. There, he developed and executive produced “Chambers”, the first show with a Native American lead, and “This Close”, the first show with deaf creators and cast. Most of their funding will go toward payroll, which includes engineers, data scientists and product managers on the product side of the company, as well as development executives on the creative side, who run the incubator.

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