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

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Talking Pictures directed as the scene proceeded, but in talking pictures, once the signal is given, the actor is entirely "on his own." Usually, unless it is a long shot establishing the action, a scene takes less than a minute. An ordinary talking picture contains about three hundred scenes. It is exceptional for a scene to last eight minutes. The scene ends. The director calls, "Cut!" "We'll take it again," he says. "You were just a trifle too slow at the start, Mr. Montgomery. This will af- fect the sincerity." The cameraman swings the blimp open and takes a quick look at his camera to ascertain if he needs to reload his film magazine. The director turns toward the monitor's booth. That gentleman is holding his right thumb upward. "It's O.K. for sound," the players are told. If his thumb is down the scene is N.G. or no good, for some sound recording reason. They scatter for quick "dabs" at their make-up. The blimp cover crashes down. "All ready!" cries the assistant. The players take their places. "Camera!" cries the director, and the scene is re- peated. Ordinarily a director tries for three perfect negatives, one with which to make prints in the United States, one for foreign use, and one for reserve. But to get these he may photograph the scene eight times or more. When a scene starts, there is no interruption except when a player "blows," or forgets his lines. Nothing annoys players more, for invariably they are proud of their ability to remember. [ 180]