Record #303

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Record of meeting
Reel 3
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Meeting between producers and writers at AMPAS conference, discussing production economy: seems to be partly a matter of writers scripting fewer scenes per picture.


Producers (5), Production costs (13), Screenwriters (2) Show all keywords…



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Long Description:

General agreement that these meetings are a new departure and a positive event. The discussions were geared to cutting down the cost of pictures. Writers, curiously, suggesting that scripts are too long, partly because of supervisors wanting material inserted, and suggesting that producers pay too much for books and plays, particularly when they don't use them. General favour for writers and directors working together. Lenore Coffee says writers are not told how much films cost. (16) Complaints about supervisors not understanding story values, about delays in getting decisions made and in having to work too quickly. Charles Logue distinguishes between program pictures and genius pictures, which you couldn't predictably reduce the costs on. (25) But there are far fewer practical suggestions being made here - a general complaint about supervisors, and producers being responsible for the increase in costs. but Lawrence Stalling suggests that all writers are interfered with (30). More arguments in favour of the unit system. Frank Woods suggests that the supervisor system was initiated by Lasky and DeMille at the Lasky studio - where the name "supervisor" was coined (52-4) - followed by a system of scheduling. Citing James Cruze as an e.g., he suggests that his methods were efficient: "he shot a picture in 20 days that would take an ordinary director two months, and possibly longer, and when he got through he had a picture, and it might not have all of the emotions or the inspirations that a director can get in a picture by directing it on the set, but it was a commercial picture, and I think that something of that kind can be introduced now, of not shooting a script until that script has been thoroughly and accurately figured out."(56)

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