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

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The Director The actress stood up. "I see what you mean," she said. "I can do it now." Realizing then the emotional reactions required of her, she was magnificent in her final attempt at the scenes in which she had formerly failed. Those scenes raised her to stardom, and during her career on the screen she was an acknowledged leader in flawless emo- tional acting. In such methods of lifting a player to higher, greater interpretative levels, one finds one of the many valuable contributions of the director. The unit manager is responsible for the business details of a production, but he is seldom on the set. He keeps ahead of the director by inspecting sets in proc- ess, spacing them so that thev are ready when needed. This prevents waste in stage space. He arranges trans- portation of food, supplies, and personnel. He makes certain that actors working in other productions will be ready for a call to his picture on specific days. He works closely with the assistant director and usually he has been one. On the other hand, the assistant director seldom leaves the set. He is by the side of the director every minute of a working day. He is always the first to appear in the studio, the last to leave. When large crowds must be sent "on location," he may arrive at the studio at 4:00 a. M. and finish his work at midnight. Weeks before a picture starts he, in collaboration with the unit manager, "breaks down" a scenario into its special requirements for wardrobe, actors, both prin- cipals and minor players, settings, properties, make-up, lighting, cameras, sound equipment, and locations. [159]