About The Hot List
The Ulmer Scale's flagship publication, The Hot List, features bankability rankings for an unprecedented number of actors -- more than 1,400 worldwide. Using a numerical, standardized survey and rating system derived from polling dozens of behind-the-scenes international power brokers, The Ulmer Scale scores each actor's bankability by three different budget levels. The first is for "art house" movies costing up to $10 million; the second is for mid-range films in the $10 million-$50 million range; and the third level is for studio movies made for more than $50 million.

The results of these surveys are then compiled and ranked by a 100-point index. Each actor is assigned four scores next to his or her name. There is one for each of the three different budget levels of a film (up to 100 points per budget level), as well as a total score adding up the previous three (the highest possible being 300 points). These scores are then assembled into The Ulmer Scale's proprietary A+, A, B+, B, C and D lists -- and the closely-watched "Uppers" and "Downers" lists of the biggest gainers and losers in star power.


James Ulmer originally developed methodologies for measuring star power, or bankability, back in the late 1980's as a respected entertainment and film business journalist. While reporting globally on film, he realized that many movie deals were being made in both the independent world and the international sales market that seemed to run counter to the conventional wisdom. Actors who were known for their high salaries had projects that weren't selling or performing in those markets, and others who seemed to pass under the Hollywood salary radar screen could have projects greenlit without a hitch.

The dichotomy between published salaries and true value gave Ulmer the impetus to gather research that would quantify what a star or director is worth in an ever-changing marketplace. Using sources ranging from producers and studio executives to international distributors, foreign sales agents and bankers, Ulmer has been able to quantify the worth of an actor in real terms. These findings are compiled into his comprehensive industry guidebook, The Hot List which contains rankings and scores for more than 1,600 actors worldwide.

As part of the Ulmer Scale Risk Consultancy, a Los Angeles-based analysis and database venture for private clients, Ulmer has also measured the bankability of the world's leading directors. He has helped numerous producers match directors with the most advantageous group of talent, both behind and in front of the cameras, to secure the backing of banks and international distributors.

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