Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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Talking Pictures scout, he was signed as an apprentice actor by a large studio. As late as the winter of 1935, his top salary was about fifty dollars a week. Today, and by the week, his salary is in four figures. But let none be misled by such examples. They rep- resent only the rare Aladdin's lamp qualities of Holly- wood, not its basic realities. As students observe the details of motion picture making, it is understandable that many of them should wish to be a part of a business which is so unusual, so varied, so romantic in its implications. But general education and personal charm mean relatively nothing in Hollywood. A good architect, a fine dressmaker, or an expert trainer of fleas has a better chance of getting a position than the most delightful Bachelor of Arts who ever received a college sheepskin. For example, a graduate of a large western university applied for a position. He spoke of his majoring in English and his work in the college dramatic club; but his recital left his hearers cold. As he was about to leave his audience with a man who hires and fires, he casually mentioned his hobby. He and his father were collectors of firearms. From the age of fourteen, he had been an expert on guns of all nations and times. He was given a job immediately. Today, he has been in his studio five years and has studied very carefully. Undoubtedly he will, sooner or later, have an excellent place in the production de- partment. But he was given his original entree, not for his general knowledge, but for an almost forgotten hobby. He had mastered a valuable and specialized study. [26]