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

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Talking Pictures looks like a graph of a football game. Others dictate to a stenographer immediately before coming on the set, and they refer frequently to their carefully typed notes. Others depend on a few scribbled remarks made while riding to the studio. The methods to be used are the director's own problem. Although he has much work to do in a day, no one else can do it but himself, for he alone is responsible for results. There are no rules for a director's personal prepara- tions. But somehow he usually has available the results of hours of study made the night before. Sitting down alone with his script, he plotted out his day's actions, entrances, exits, and "business." This last comprises gestures, movements, and significant handling of prop- erties like papers, guns, or bottles, which may advance the dramatic action. The stand-ins step out and thankfully relax into chairs. The players are called before the camera and rehearsal begins. Rehearsals may last only a few minutes or they may extend for days. Their length depends entirely upon the emotional importance and physical size of the scene. It took days to rehearse fifty men in the scene in which Parnell was dismissed as head of the Irish party. A scene of a man putting a nickel in a dial telephone could be filmed within twenty minutes. Length of rehearsal varies with directors. Some get their best results with multiple rehearsals. Others "run through the lines" once. Then, if the memories of the players are not at fault, photography is ordered. Tech- nical interruptions during a rehearsal are frequent. The mixer, stationed in his booth, is listening to the [i 7 6]