Visualizing Movie Data | VMD_08 | Performers names and full names

In the films that we have seen in 2015 (and a few years before) are almost always actors and actresses involved. The question I asked myself was: ‘Where do these actors and actresses come from?’ To answer this simple question I started importing a world map. I supposed to find the birthplaces of the actors worldwide so for a start a map seems to be a good start. Probably the color and size of the map is wrong, but I always can change that later. Gradually, I learned that it might be better to, instead of actors and actresses, only mention the directors of films. This is easier because directors usually consist of one person. It is certainly easier than, say, 25 actors in one movie. But than I found out that there are also films which are directed by several directors. That made me decide to name all directors. Mentioning the films is not very relevant because a director may have directed multiple movies. The downside is that you have to figure out this information yourself. Drop the data in a spreadsheet and check for typos. Another problem is that you can continue to add more and more columns of data because there is a lot of inconsistent information about actors, actresses and directors available. For example, the name of the actors. And the real name of the actors. And their parents. Plus the place where they live. And their birthplace. And the year of birth. Basically there is enough data to find. Finally I ended up with compiling a list of actors and actresses who appear in our list of 200 films from 2015. My original question: ‘Where do these actors and actresses come from?’ changed in comparing the name of the actor with his or her’s real name. The full name that is.

I started with a test where I import some actors with their known name and their real name in Processing. I especially made sure to import the longest name of the total list. I assume to write every name in a monospaced font because than you can compare the lengths easier. An i is not as wide as a w. And an o is less wide as a m. A monospaced font consists of characters which are all of the same width. And that goes for both uppercase, lowercase, numbers and punctuation. This first test demonstrates that the workflow is functioning. The list of actors with their name and full name are typed in a spreadsheet. This list is exported to a csv (comma-separated values) text file. That file is read into Processing. Through Processing I can create the layout. Furthermore, the number of characters are calculated from the length of each name.

Now it’s about time to think of the layout of the page. Firstly I use multiple names in two columns. But how many lines fit on a page? Maybe it’s a good idea to give the name in the right column a different color than the name in the left column? However, an urgent problem is that both columns are too long. At the size of a 1000 × 1000 pixels display window, you can load up to 47 names in height. But my complete list of actors includes 225 names. That’s almost five times as much. So I have to divide this text file in some way or another.

If I scale the list in the program at 21% the total file with names fits on one page. Perhaps there is a way in which the mouse is able to detect a name. And that name is than enlarged in the layout. But than this problem is still not solved because you loose the possibility to compare the names with each other. So I think a scrollbar is a better option.

Just to be sure I checked which is the longest name in the list of actors. And the longest name is: ‘Isabella Orsini Princesse de Ligne de La Trémoïlle’. An Italian actress who married in 2009, with his highness Prince Édouard Lamoral Rodolphe de Ligne de La Trémoïlle. An even longer name for a man who cannot act. And he does not have to in order to be able to survive. Here are some screen dumps where all names are displayed. Each name has a number in front that indicates the amount of characters in the name. On the right side of the right column are yellow numbers that indicate how many characters the real name is longer than the common name.

In fact, I could leave it at that. But I would like to make a version with a scrollbar. And I had never programmed a scrollbar so that’s a good reason to make one. Although it took a lot of time. But it is more worse when it took a lot of time and when I ultimately failed to make a scrollbar. In this case, I succeeded. These are two test files. To use the scrollbar I imported an image in which all names are displayed.

In this setup I used also a title and subtitles. The names are scrolling underneeth them. Actors by name length, actors by name en actors by full name. But perhaps the word performers is better because it covers both male and female actors. But the ultimate goal I have not found yet, ‘Where are the actors and actresses coming from?’ But that’s for later.


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