The art of sound pictures (1930)

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CHAPTER VII FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS We now come to the most important of all the writer’s problems. It is the very heart of story technique. And the proof is that the world and his wife go to the movies to be entertained, excited, and stirred emotionally in any pleasant manner. Hence, the presentation of emotions and the arousing of emotions are the main duty of the picture artist, whether he be the story writer, the director, or the actor. Probably nine out of ten stories which fail to sell in Hollywood contain some serious defect in emotional handling. It may be an error in the drawing of an emotion, or it may be the telling of events which cannot arouse pleasant emotions in the spectators. Few would- be authors have studied human feelings and emotions thoroughly. And still fewer are born with sensitivities which enable them to intuit this phase of man’s nature, apart from all orderly observation and analysis. This is why we have decided to present the fullest treat- ment of feelings and emotions that has ever been made from the artists’ point of view. Perhaps some readers will be sorely tempted to skip long sections of it. May we urge them to do so, if they must—but to come back later in a more studious spirit, after they have come to realize that, in these pages, they are dealing with the most dramatic phases of the human personality. 127