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

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7 THE SCENARIO WRITER Scenario writing is a characteristic and unique de- velopment of the motion picture industry. It is one art which is almost totally governed by its immediate en- vironment. It has a few basic rules of its own, but a competent scenario writer is usually one who has long been in his studio, long affiliated with one, two, three, or four directors or stars. He translates a story into terms of human and physical materials as they obtain in his own plant. For example, a scenario writer preparing a photoplay which he knew was to be photographed by Karl Freund would be likely to write differently if the assigned cameraman were less expert in effect and "trick" photography. Freund (Parnell is a picture from his camera) is an acknowledged expert in getting extra dramatic emphasis by the use of out-of-the-ordinary photographic angles and compositions and with unusual lighting effects. If the picture were an outdoor epic and the cinema- tographer Clyde de Vinna, the scenario writer would again have a special writing guide post, for De Vinna can, above all others, make a Hawaiian sunset a poem in photography. The scenario writer must also shift and change his technique for the director who will [70]