Talking pictures : how they are made and how to appreciate them (1937)

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Stars This matter of screen personality has interesting angles. Two people who are equally charming when seen face to face are photographed. The photograph adds strength to the personality of one, the other "fades out" and becomes less powerful. This is the reason why some people become film stars and why, when they achieve this eminence, they are paid large salaries. No phase of picture making has so much rumor and untruth connected with it as that of star compensation. To hear some of the misinformed comment, it would seem that stars get all the money required to make a modern picture. As a matter of fact the pennies of each picture production dollar are spent approximately as fol- lows: stories, 15.95; directors and cameramen, 13.20; sets, 9.90; costumes, 2.75; locations, 2.75; raw ma- terials, 7.70; administration, 23.10; and for all players from stars to the last member of a crowd scene, 24.6 5. l Perhaps the position of a star may be explained by saying that he is like an inventor who has developed a new invention. Wishing to protect his cleverness the government grants him a patent. That patent guarantees the profits on the invention exclusively to him for a term of years. In the same manner, in a personality which can attract the attention of the public, the star has an asset that is exclusive to him or to her. Suppose that it were possible to have two men so alike that both could travel under the name of Charles Chap- lin. Let us have both of these Chaplins make the same story with the same cast. Put the finished pictures in two theatres side by side. 1 Figures supplied by Association of Motion Picture Producers. [139]