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

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Talking Pictures Every activity is scheduled by days. Production time may vary in length from twenty days to several months. In a large studio the unit managers and unit assistant directors report daily to the studio production manager. He balances all the requirements of all working com- panies against the available studio space and facilities, and allots these accordingly. The assistant director prepares the "3:00 o'clock call." This will specify the types, if minor players, and the costumes. If the call is for an outdoor setting, and the weather is cloudy, a second and "alternate" call will be posted specifying work on an inside set. His "chart" indicates to the director, and to all the cast and technicians, which players will appear on specific sets on specific days. It also gives a cue for wardrobe and make-up. The 3 o'clock call is filed with the casting office at 3:00 p. m. of the day before it becomes effective. The assistant director directs the "background ac- tion" of big scenes. Suppose the leading lady and lead- ing man are having an argument on the curbstone of a busy street intersection. If the street were empty, the scene would be absurdly ineffective. It would lack atmosphere. But if other people are to be on the street, they must act in an acceptable manner without interfering with the work of the principals. Assistant directors of such a scene give silent cues to previously rehearsed players, taxi drivers, messenger boys, and truck drivers so that they may come casually and naturally into the scene from different directions. [ 160]