Stage to Screen Grading
It occurred to me recently that I have the Worth Meter here, but I don’t really have anything explaining my grading scale for my From Stage to Screen reviews. Unlike Books vs. Movies, where I decide which is better, here I grade the movie based on how well it adapted the stage production. But I’ve never actually explained the system I use to grade these reviews, because it’s a little more complicated and, to be honest, I don’t think most people care. But if you do, I will try to explain it here as best I can.
Individual Category Grades
For each of the four categories (Performance, Setting, Cinematography & Editing, and Transition) I give one of four grades. It’s essentially pass or fail, but are three degrees of “passing.”
Whether I give something a pass, a pass with distinction, or a pass with qualifications is largely subjective, but basically, if a movie does at least as well as a stage production has the capability of doing in its individual category, it gets a straight-up pass. If it does noticeably and substantially better, it gets a pass with distinction. If it does pretty decently, but has enough flaws that the stage production can still do it better, it gets a pass with qualifications. A straight pass earns the movie a point, and is indicated by a green check mark. Pass with Distinction gets the movie an additional quarter of a point (1.25), and is indicated by a blue thumbs up symbol. And Pass with Qualifications gets the movie only three-quarters of a point, and is indicated by yellow check mark and asterisk.
A fail is pretty easy to grasp. It gets no points and is indicated by a red X.
Once all the point totals are added up, we can figure out the final grade.
The overall grading scale is shamelessly though lovingly stolen from the Harry Potter series (much like the category grading scale is shamelessly and less lovingly stolen from my college juries) which I mainly used because I needed something with six grades instead of just the standard five. For each grade, the lowest point total is at the three-quarter mark, so the grading scale goes like this.
T-Troll=0 (as it’s not possible to get a .25 or .5)
Why I Use This
I like this scale for a number of reasons.
First, it ensures that the highest and lowest grades are the hardest to get. The only way to get an O is to get a perfect or near-perfect score. (Either four P.D.s or three P.D.s and a Pass.) Similarly, the only way to get a T is to fail every single category.
Second, failing a category is a bit of a deal. If the movie fails even one category, the highest grade it can receive is an E, and that’s only if it gets a P.D. in every other category. Otherwise, it gets an A or lower. This is because getting a P.Q. only loses a quarter of a point, while failing loses a whole point.
Third, four passes—which would normally be considered a perfect score—still gets a pretty high score, but not the HIGHEST score. That requires a bit more effort. Also, it’s impossible to get a failing grade if you don’t fail a single category. Even a score of four P.Q.s will earn an Acceptable. (Though if one of those P.Q.s becomes a fail, the grade drops to a Poor.)
So if we look at the From Stage to Screen of 1776, we get following category grades:
Performance: PASS (1)
Setting: PASS with DISTINCTION (1.25)
Cinematography and Editing: FAIL (0)
Transition: PASS (1)
Overall score: 3.25, which earns it an Acceptable. And had the editing been just a little better, it would have gotten at least a 4—an Exceeds Expectations.
Hope that clears everything up.