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The Beginning of Your Film! p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to give a few samples from old and out of print books. This issue features a 1934-35 annual of Chums Magazine. It was aimed at school age lads in England. Many of the articles are clear and informative and probably haven’t dated that much. Here’s an article by Horace Richards called The Beginning of Your Film!

“There is a hungry screen waiting to be filled with all types of films, drama, musical comedy, farces,” wrote Horace Richards, film writer for Chums magazine.

He said there were thousands of people waiting to be entertained in cinemas all over the world. Five hundred films were made each year in the UK. “Now, where are these stories to come from?”

He said some stories are written especially for a certain star. And sometimes the story was written and a star was found who would suit the leading part. And then sometimes film companies had a large staff whose job it was to read everything that was printed in the year: short stories in magazines, novels, plays, biographies. And these were adapted for movies.

He writes: Well, we will assume that a story has been selected for filming. It may be a short story or it may be a

100, 000 word novel. The first thing that is done is for the story to be made into a precis. Everything that is unessential is ruthlessly weeded out and sometimes that story  may come down to just a few lines.

The next step is to adapt it for the screen. Why is this adaptation necessary? Why is it that when you go to see the film of a famous novel or play it is often altered so much? You may not have heard the now famous story of the author who was asked from whence he got the plot of his second novel. “From the film version of my first!’ was the cynical reply.

The story is probably exaggerated. But it is a fact a film may bear little relation to the story from which it takes its title and to which it owes its birth. The reasons for that are manifold.

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