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

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The Scenario Writer handle his script. Different writing is required for the hammering, dynamic Van Dyke of After the Thin Man; for the suave, quiet, sculptorlikc Sidney Franklin of The Good Earth; and for Mervyn LeRoy, an expert in melodramatic qualities. It is certain that Anita Loos, in collaboration with Robert Hopkins, would have attempted neither the original of San Francisco nor the scenario had she not known in advance that her studio had under contract an amazing technician capable of reproducing the San Francisco earthquake. The scenario is so related to the physical facilities of the studio concerned that new writers are rarely, if ever, asked to write the final scenario. The ability to write a final script presupposes at least three or four years of actual studio experience. Screen writing is a threefold structure. The first and last parts of this structure are known; the first is the basic story or play; the last is the completed scenario. Between these two is perhaps the most important work, and yet one rarely sees it mentioned in discussions con- cerning the art of writing for the screen. This step is "the treatment.'' Here the magazine writer or playwright receives his first initiation into the differences between his art and the newer art of screen authorship. Frequently, the treatment is also written by the scenario writer who makes the final script. But often a writer who has been a successful novelist or a playwright is contracted by a studio to prepare a screen treatment of his material. Norman Reilly Raines did this with his "Tugboat [71]