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

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Talking Pictures production alone this gives the talking picture studios an enormous choice of 40 to 1. These twenty thousand manuscripts form a reservoir of vibrant ideas whose dramatic force has been tested in an important manner by means of publication or stage production. And there are forty of them for every photoplay! It is not strange that the studios protect themselves against unfounded plagiarism suits filed by untrained amateurs, by refusing to open or read any manuscript which has not been legally protected, or previously solicited. When stories originally planned for the screen are accepted, they have generally been written by trained writers, playwrights, or novelists, working directly within the studios. These ideas may be generated by such trained writers themselves, or by a producer, or a director, or a star. The percentage of stories originally written for the screen compared to photoplays adapted from published material varies, but a fairly normal per- centage is about 30-70. Frequently a screen play originally conceived for the screen deals with some movement or dramatic situation current in daily news. At the time of a wave of news- paper publicity about prison reform, The Big House was written by the thoroughly competent Frances Marion. Or such an original may be about a period or happening of which the fiction supply has not been entirely adequate, or properly focused for cinematic use. An example of this is seen in the most successful commercial photoplay of 1936, San Francisco. This was written originally and directly for the screen by [40]