The art of sound pictures (1930)

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PREFACE WHICH MUST BE READ You must approach these studies in the spirit which has moved us to publish them. Do not regard what we say as the last word on sound pictures. Regard it all as merely the latest word. We are dealing with a new art which has not yet found itself. It is by all odds the most complicated art which man has ever devised. Beside it, the arts of the painter, the sculptor, the poet, and the musician are simple and easy. For it includes all these arts and many more besides. It draws much from the stage, yet it is not identical with stage drama. It feeds fatly on the short story, but cannot live on that diet alone. It borrows from the old silent pic- tures, but transforms all that it borrows. In short, it aims at wholly new effects through the use of wholly new tech- nical devices. As this book goes to press, Hollywood is just beginning to get its bearings in the art. The first period of panic and confusion is over. We now know that the talkies are no mere freak, doomed to pass as suddenly as they came. They must be mastered, for the public wants what they have to offer. But nobody has mastered them. We are all students —that is, all of us except the stupid people who are sure they know it all. And we cannot be sure how far we have progressed. Perhaps we have learned some things that we must later unlearn. In our desire to make the book useful to story writers, directors, and producers alike, we have endeavored to reach