Thomas decided to join the academic world at the age of 20. At the age of 16 he pursued a career in IT and passed an apprenticeship as an IT-Engineer. After obtaining his maturity diploma at the age of 23, he enrolled at the University of Zurich and is currently focusing his research on the impacts of different economic success factors on decision-making in the film industry. As a sports enthusiast, Thomas is an avid skier and tennis-player. He likes to read, especially graphic novels, and has a very dark sense of humor. And of course he loves movies, hence his interest in the study of the film industry.
A lot of research has been carried out on success factors of movies. Most of these studies focus on characteristics of a movie that are determined rather late in the production or distribution process, such as critical evaluation, awards or financial performance. In contrast, the development process has been largely neglected in the literature and so has the practical relevance of success factors identified in academic research for movie industry practitioners. Furthermore critics of success factor research in the movie industry point out that it tends to regard movies as solely commercial products neglecting the artistic and cultural dimension.
In order to better understand the decisions and strategies behind the production of a movie, it is important to focus research on the very beginning of movie production, in this case the script. What are the criteria by which movie producers select a specific script to be produced? Thomas' research project addresses this research gap. It simulates the commissioning situation where a movie producer can choose from a number of movie scripts/concepts which one to pursue. Thomas has carried out an extensive literature review of movie success factors and identified those factors that can be addressed already in this early stage such as genre, plot characteristics, symbolicity and personnel. Those factors will be used as attributes in a choice based conjoint analysis. According to the literature overview, Thomas will have a rather high number of attributes (10) and levels (between 2 and 6). A classic conjoint analysis would result in a number of combinations that cannot be reasonably handled in an online survey. The adaption process considerably reduces the time needed in the survey and addresses the fact that respondents usually have clear must-have or must avoid preferences. Thomas chose the ACBC methodology to pursue his research.