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Getting Into the Movies - Movie Etiquette

Apr 15, 2008
This article does not deal so much with how to act in a picture as how to act in a studio. Motion picture people live, more or less, in a world of their own. It is a world which may seem a bit topsy turvy to the outsider, with its own peculiar customs, and a greater freedom from restraint than is customary in the conventional world outside. Examined a bit closer, these outlandish ideas appear to be the very same ones which are always associated with artists a bohemian spirit which is the same whether in Hollywood or the Latin Quarter of Paris.

If the newcomer to the studio wishes to establish himself as a bona fide member of the movie world he must always remember that no matter how cynical they may seem, no matter how pessimistically they may talk, these people, in the bottom of their hearts, consider a photoplay a form of art and themselves as artists.

The actor or director or author who does really good work, who has something new to offer, or who at least is sincere in his desire to do something big and fine in the motion pictures, will always be tolerated no matter how bizarre his character in other respects. In short, people are ranked according to their artistic understanding rather than according to their ancestry, their bank account or their morals.

Most of the leaders of the motion picture world have risen from poverty and obscurity, a fact which accounts for the democracy which prevails in the studio. There are a few rules which beginners would do well to follow. Here they are :
1. Be modest. Because you don't understand why something is done, don't believe it is all nonsense. And remember that you have ever so much to learn
about the business.
2. Don't criticize.
3. Try your best to please everyone, particularly the director, whose shoulders are carrying the responsibility for the whole production and whose manner may be a bit gruff as it usually is when a man is laboring under a heavy load.

Don't be ashamed of being in the movies. If you think movies are a low-brow form of making a living your associates will surely become aware of your state of mind and you will be quietly frozen out.

In the old days of the movies social status in the studio was determined by a curious system, based upon the pay envelope. Actors for the movie world is composed for the greater part of actors are classed as stars, the "leads," the "parts," the "bits," the
"extras" and "mobs."

The star is, of course, the highly paid actor or actress who is the feature of the production; the "lead" is the leading man or woman who plays opposite the star. The "parts" include all those characters which appear on the program the minor characters of the play. The "bits" are those who Nare called on to perform a bit of individual action, such as the butler who opens the door, or the chauffeur who drives the car, but who have no real part in the play. The extras are simply members of the crowd, as the ballroom throng, while a mob is just a mass of people, like an army or the audience at a football game.

The large producing companies frequently give elaborate dinners, seating three or four hundred people, and under this ridiculous old system the star sat at the head of the table, with the "leads" near at hand. Then came the "parts," then the "bits," and finally, away down at the foot of the table, were the "extras." In the same way directors, assistant directors, studio managers, and so forth, were graded down according
to how much money they drew from the cashier every week.

Today all this snobbery has passed away. The movie world has its smart set and its slums, as in any other world, but the criterion is artistic worth, not money. We know of one rather unpleasant personality who has risen to stardom, but is completely ignored by the lesser lights of the profession despite this star's attempts to break into "film society."
About the Author
Malcolm Blake has written many articles in the field of movies and entertainment including the latest entertainment gadgets .
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