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What was it?

 Essentially, the Hollywood Studio System was

a way to mass produce movies
 Each studio was a massive lot that took up
acres and acres of land
 Studios were complete with several different
sets (Western town, New York Avenue,
European Village, horror castle, etc)
 Also included in studios were any prop,
costume, or piece of equipment one could
ever need to make a movie
 As film grew more and more popular
throughout the 1920’s, Americans demanded
more quality films quicker
 The studio system was the answer—a way to
mass produce movies in one area
 Eventually, five major studios emerged
This is a New York City street set
from the 1920’s
Warner Brothers
 Costume designer  Special Effects
 Seamstress department
 Hair Designer ◦ Find ways to bring
the impossible to
 Set Designer life—King Kong, Oz,
 Music director Frankenstein, etc
 Technical Crew:  Director
◦ Cinematographer ◦ Responsible for
(lighting) guiding the acting
◦ The Grip  Producer
(Arranged the Set) ◦ Brought all the pieces
 Oversaw the studio;
had a final say on all
 To the Right: Louis B.
Mayer, head of MGM
 With the continued
success of the film
industry, dictators
became very, VERY
wealthy (and ruthful)
The life of a Studio System
 Actors were contracted to a studio and
expected to make a certain number of films
in a given time.
 Actors did not agree to how many hours they
would work, and were at the mercy of the
 Ralph Bellamy was contracted to appear in
thirteen feature films in one year; rebelled
when he was asked to work straight through
without a single days rest between films
 Actors had not formed Unions yet, so the
studio held a lot of power
 1927 Actors Equity Association tried to
 Mayer, against unionization of actors, formed
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
◦ The Academy would be responsible for mediating
any conflicts between actors and studios
◦ The idea never fully came to fruition; however, an
awards show did come out of this
◦ 1933 Screen Actor’s Guild formed; has represented
the stars since. (unions vs. guilds)
 Despite the harsh studio demands, many
actors and actresses became household
 Stars were read about in fan magazines
 During making of films, wore makeup to
cover up any imperfections
 Movie stars represented escape for
Americans, and offered different types of
escape throughout the Golden Age of
Hollywood. . .
 Rudolph Valentino
◦ Seen as the exotic
hero for women
◦ The Shiek
◦ Represented the
romanticized ideal
from a faraway land
 Gary Cooper, Clark
Gable, Cary Grant
 All “Good Guys”
who could be
depended on to be
brave and noble
 Handsome and
 More sophisticated,
tougher hero
 Someone who
became more
cynical and less
 Humphrey Bogart
 Burt Lancaster
Judy Garland Ingrid Berman
Gene Kelly James Stewart
Most Famous Role: Most Famous Role:
Singin’ in the Rain It’s a Wonderful Life
 Studio System, through mass producing
movies, did several things:
◦ Delivered volume of films to American people
◦ Created the Golden Age of Hollywood
◦ Turned actors and actresses into stars
◦ Made a ton of money in the process

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Film vs.Video
 As noted:
 Film stock is the imaging device for
motion picture film
 CCD or CMOS is the imaging
device for video

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Picture resolution as

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Major Movie Studios
 Paramount (including MTV Films, etc. --
Viacom / CBS )
 One of the oldest, largest and most well
known movie production and distribution
companies. Only studio IN Hollywood.
 Founded in 1912 by Hungarian-born
Adolph Zukor.
 Currently owned by Viacom Inc.
 Paramount held the record for highest
grossing film at the box office
(unadjusted)--Titanic 1997 grossed
$1,842,879,955 at the world wide box
office, with a domestic total gross of
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Paramount Behind
the Scenes...

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Paramount Behind
the Scenes...

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Paramount Behind
the Scenes...

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Paramount Behind
the Scenes...

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Paramount Behind
the Scenes...

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Major Movie Studios
 Warner Bros. -- Burbank, CA
 One of world's largest and most
successful film producing and distributing
 Originally founded in 1918 by four
brothers, who were immigrants from
 The third oldest of Hollywood studios,
and is one of the original pioneers in the
film industry.

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Major Movie Studios
 Sony Pictures
 1987, Columbia Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia and Tri-Star Studios)
 Walt Disney (Buena Vista Distribution)
 Founded in 1923 by Roy & Walt Disney
 20th Century Fox
 Owned by News Corporation
 Universal
 NBC Universal. Now owned by Comcast.
Founded in Los Angeles in June, 1912 by
a German Jewish immigrant: Carl

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Other Movie Studios
 Dreamworks SKG (Spielberg)
 New Line Cinema
 Founded in 1967. In 1996 it became a
subsidiary of Time Warner. In 2008,
ceased independent operations as a
movie studio / absorbed into Warner
 Miramax
 founded by Harvey Weinstein and Bob
Weinstein in 1979; bought by Disney in
1993, sold in 2010.
 Lionsgate
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5 stages of
 Filmmaking vs. moviemaking
 Development
 Pre-production
 Production
 Post-Production
 Distribution and exhibition

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 Who can pitch, to whom do you
pitch, optioning a script / step deal
 The script is written and drafted
into a workable blueprint for a film
 Decisions made about stars
(‘packaging’) and initial casting,
location, budgets
 Who is calling the shots?

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Development steps...
 Producer finds a story (from...)
 After identifying a theme or underlying
message, the producer works with
writers to prepare a synopsis
 They produce a step outline, (or scene
outline) breaking the story down into
one-paragraph scenes that concentrate
on dramatic structure
 Then, they prepare a treatment, a 25 to
30 page description of the story, its
mood, and characters
 ‘Notes’ along the way
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 Next, a screenwriter writes a screenplay
over a period of several months.
 The screenwriter may rewrite it several
times to improve dramatization, clarity,
structure, characters, dialogue, and
overall style. Other writers may be
brought in.
 BUT, Producers often skip the previous
steps and develop submitted
screenplays -- which investors, studios,
and other interested parties assess
through a process called script coverage.
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 A film distributor may be contacted --
assess the likely market and potential
financial success of the film.
 Hollywood distributors consider:
 the film genre, the target audience,
 the historical success of similar films
 actors who might appear, potential
 All these factors imply a certain appeal
of the film to a possible audience and
hence the number of "A.I.S." during the
theatrical release.
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 Not all films make a profit from theatrical
release -- DVD sales and worldwide...
 Producer & screenwriter prepare a pitch
and present it to potential financiers. If
the pitch is successful, the film (or TV
show) receives a "green light”
 May be ‘optioned’
 The parties negotiate a deal and sign
contracts. Once the deal is set, the film
may proceed into the pre-production
 By this stage, the film should have a
clearly defined marketing strategy and
target audience.
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 Preparations are made for the
 Cast and crew are hired
 UPM -- script breakdown
 Locations are selected
 Sets are built
 Equipment secured / leased
 Script re-writes and staff
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 The production company is created
and a production office
 The production is storyboarded
and visualized with the help of
illustrators and concept artists.
 A production budget is drawn up to
plan expenditures for the film.

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 Actual shooting of the raw
 Crew members sharing the
‘Director’s Vision’
 Call sheets etc
 Studio stages, Locations,
department heads, 2nd units

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 Transfer to digital, then editing
 Dialogue editing / including ADR
 Music tracks (and songs) composed,
performed, recorded
 Scenes are scored
 Sound effects are designed and
 Computer-graphic 'visual' effects are
digitally added,
 All sound elements are mixed into
"stems," then the stems are mixed, then
married to picture
 The film is fully completed ("locked")
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Once Locked...
 The film is passed into the hands of the
postproduction supervising sound editor
to layer the sound track.
 Voice recordings are synchronized
 The final sound mix is created by the re-
recording mixer.
 The sound mix combines dialogue,
sound effects, ADR, walla, Foleys and

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Sales and distribution
 The film is screened for potential
buyers (distributors)
 It is picked up by a distributor and
reaches its cinema and/or home
media audience.
 Promotion and marketing --
advertising, actor appearances,
etc. $$$
 ‘Straight to DVD’ ?

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Major Positions
 Above the line -- $$
 Residuals / owners
 Producer, Director, Writer, Actors
 Producer
 Hires a crew
 The nature of the film and the budget,
determine the size and type of crew used
during filmmaking
 Many Hollywood blockbusters employ a
cast and crew of hundreds
 A low-budget, independent film may be
made by a skeleton crew of eight or nine
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 Primarily responsible for the
storytelling, creative decisions and
acting of the film.
 Established versus emerging
 Film school graduates
 ‘Author’ of a movie, while the
Producer is ‘author’ of a TV show
 ‘Director’s cuts’ of movies

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Famous TV
Producers / Movie
 Dick Clark, Gene Roddenberry,
Norman Lear, Aaron Spelling,
Jerry Bruckheimer, Chuck Lorre...

 Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee,

Oliver Stone, James Cameron,
George Lucas, Ron Howard, Tim
Burton, JJ Abrams...

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Below the Line
 Director of Photography (DP)
 The cinematographer who supervises
the photography of the entire film
 A chief over the camera and lighting
crews working on a film
 Responsible for achieving artistic and
technical decisions related to the image
 Some professionals insist that the term
cinematographer only applies when the
director of photography and camera
operator are the same person

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Unit Production
Manager (UPM)
 Responsible for watching all the costs--to
deliver the project on budget at the end of
principal photography.
 Lead dept. managers, script breakdown.
 Producers responsible for cost-related
decisions on above-the-line (primarily,
casting) issues; UPM responsible for
below-the-line (primarily, production
period) costs.
 The film’s director has the final say on the
cinematographer, costume designer,
production designer, and film editor; UPM
makes the deals and hires the remaining
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Production Coordinator

 Serves under the UPM to coordinate the

various groups and personnel that come
together to make a movie or TV show.
 Requires organizational skills and the
ability to handle a multitude of tasks
simultaneously under often high-
pressure situations.
 Duties are often undefined and
extremely varied ranging from office
manager, to human resources, to
controller, to accountant.

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Other major positions

 Casting Director
 Location Manager
 Line Producer
 Production Designer *
 Sound Designer
 Art Director
 Editor *

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 How much control does a Producer

have on a project?
 How much control does a writer have
on the actual implementation and
production of a script (s)he has sold to
a Producer?
 How involved is the Director typically
in casting a film? (more)

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 What is involved in Production
 What is involved in Sound Design?
 What is and how important is product
 How important is casting?
 Does the director direct talent or crew?
 What are some issues about location

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