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Points to Consider Regarding Breaking Into the Movies

Apr 14, 2008
Were the average man suddenly called upon to assemble all the women in his town who looked like Mary Pickford, he might find himself at a loss as to how to commence. In fact, he might even doubt that there were sufficient persons answering this description to warrant such a campaign. We know a way to get them all together on twenty- four hours' notice. Just insert a small advertisement in the local newspaper, reading: "Wanted for the movies a girl who looks like Mary Pickford apply at such-and-such a studio tomorrow morning."

We guarantee that not only will every woman who looks like Mary Pickford be on the spot at sunrise, but that a large preponderance of the entire female population will drop in during the morning. For it is a puzzling but indisputable fact that everybody wants to break into the movies. The curious part of it all is that the movies really need these people. On the one hand are countless men and women besieging the studio doors in the hope of starting a career in any of.a thousand capacities, from actress to scenario writer, from director to cameraman.

There are people with plots, people with inventions, people with new ideas of every conceivable variety, all clamoring for admission. And, on the other hand, there are the men who manage the movies sending out all manner of exhortations, appeals and supplications to just such people to come and work in their studios. They drown each other's voices, the one calling for new talent and new types, the many for a chance to demonstrate that they are just the talent and types that are so in demand.

This economic paradox, this passing in the night of Demand and Supply, has come about through a general misconception of everything concerned with the movies. The first to be in the wrong were the producers. They built up an industry which, in its early days, was vitally dependent upon individual personalities.

A picture, according to their views, was made or unmade by a single star or director or writer, and very naturally they were loath to entrust the fate of a hundred thousand dollar investment to untried hands.
While on the one hand they realized the pressing need for new blood in their industry, they were, nevertheless, very wary of being the first to welcome the newcomer.

Producers preferred to pay twenty times the price to experienced professionals, no matter how mediocre their work might have been in the past, than to take a chance on a promising beginner. The business side of the movies, has, in the past, been nothing more nor less than a tremendous gamble wherein the men who had staked their fortunes on a single photoplay walked about in fear of their very shadows desiring new ideas, yet afraid to risk testing them, calling for new artists yet fearing to give them the opportunity to break in.

The very nature of the industry was responsible for this situation and, to a large extent, it is a condition which still prevails in a majority of the smaller studios.

The greatest obstacle which every beginner must surmount is the one which first confronts him the privilege of doing his first picture the first chance. The larger companies, however, in the last year or so have awakened to the fact that by excluding beginners they have themselves raised the cost of motion picture production many times.

They have found themselves with a very limited number of stars and directors and writers and technical men to choose from, all of whom, for this very reason, could demand enormous salaries. One by one these companies are instituting various systems for the encouragement of embryo talent. Now, if ever, is the time to break into the movies.

Making movies is not child's play. It is a profession or rather a combination of professions which takes time and thought and study. True, there are fortunes to be made for those who will seriously enter this field and study their work as they would study for any other profession.

But unfortunately, most of those who head towards the cinema studios do not take time to learn the facts about the industry. They do not look over the multitude of different highly specialized positions which the movies offer and ask themselves for which one they are best suited. They just plunge in, so intent upon making money at the moment that they give no thought at all to the future.

No industry in the world presents so many angles, varying from technical work in the studio, to the complexities of high finance. If you really wish to break into the movies, go to the studios and see for yourself what you are fitted for.

Perhaps you think you are an actor, and are really a first rate scenarioist. Perhaps you have an ambition to plan scenery, and instead find that your forte lies in the business office. Men who started as cameramen are now directors. Men who started as directors have ended as highly successful advertising managers. So there you are. You pay your money and if you are wise you take your choice.
About the Author
Malcolm Blake has written several articles about entertainment and movies.
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