BLTC Press Titles


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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Motion picture directing

by Peter Milne

Excerpt:

Chapter III

Before going further into the requirements of actual directing and the methods employed by certain directors, the various processes through which a scenario goes before the actual work of production starts, can be noted with benefit.

The scenario writer finishes his manuscript and the director goes into retirement for a day or two to study it and to put it through the test of visualization.

In the meantime other copies of the manuscript have been placed with the various departments of production of the studio.

The production department receives a copy. It is the duty of this department, first of all, to estimate the cost of the picture. So a "scene plot" is made. This consists of the description of each interior "setting" and exterior "location" called for in the story. A list is made as follows:

Interiors
Ball room
Kitchen
Living room
Cafe
Etc., etc.

Exteriors
Waterfalls
Open road
Large field
Etc., etc.

After the description of each interior and exterior are placed the numbers representing the manuscript scenes that are played in each interior and exterior.

The cost of production is then estimated. The production manager, the head of the studio, a man who strives to combine the ability of a business man with the feeling of an artist, perhaps sees a way whereby the kitchen scenes can be transferred to the living room. This will eliminate the cost of erecting the kitchen setting.

Details such as this attended to, he will then give orders to the art and property departments to start on erecting the first setting. This is usually the one in which the greatest number of scenes are enacted.

The art department makes plans for the setting. When these are passed they are given to the boss carpenter who sets his men at work on the actual preparation of the set.

When they have finished the art department in conjunction with the property and drapery departments "dress" the set. This is the working of fixing it up and making it look like the real thing.

In the meantime the picture is being cast. Probably the star and leading man are already chosen. Then the casting director makes the list of all the actors, actresses and "extras" needed in the production of the picture.

He refers to his files and calls upon the people he needs, either upon those in the stock company which most studios of size maintain, or from the numerous agencies who manage the players.

His selections are then submitted to the director and the production manager for O. K.

In the meantime the location department has secured a list of the exterior scenes required by the picture. The location man refers to his files containing pictures of every likely location within a reasonable distance of the studio. He must find waterfalls, open road and a large field.

He selects these locations, being sure that the physical action of the story can be played in those he selects and then submits them to the director. If the director has a reason for not liking any of them, the location man must jump into his automobile and tour the countryside for suitable substitutes to his first selections.

All rather hard and serious work.

Then the director starts to work. The production department must watch him and have the next setting ready for him on time so that not a day will be wasted. If more than one or two companies are working in the studio there may not be room to erect the next setting. Then, perhaps, if weather permits, the director goes out on location.

Thus he is obliged to jump from one place in the story to another. He may be shooting scenes in the last part of the picture on one day and scenes in the first part a few days later.

All this is the routine work that must be gone through with the production of each picture.


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