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

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THE STORY IS SELECTED There have been times when an individual star, financing his own company, has had the last word in every phase of production. A few directors have taken this great and heavy burden entirely upon their own shoulders. Sometimes, noted writers have attempted the task of making a picture entirely by themselves. These efforts have met with both success and failure. There will always be artists capable of efficiently supervising a picture singlehanded. But for the general bulk of production, a formula has been effected by the result of trial and error through the years, a formula that seems to get the best values from each artist. By this generally accepted method the head of the studio—he may be a Louis B. Mayer, a Charles Rogers, a Darryl Zanuck, or a Jack Warner— stands at the dividing line between the financial and the creative sides of picture making. It is his job to sense the commercial values in any particular story. He must weigh these values against past evidence and make a decision. He must decide whether the story in mind has sufficient public appeal to return the cost of the investment it represents. Directly aiding the head of the studio are from six to twenty associate producers. They form the immediate [48]