Tuesday, July 12, 2011
So for my brother's Senior trip my family went to Los Angeles, California. I have two things to say about it 1) The city is absolutely awful and I hate it and 2) the trip was a lot of fun!
While there we toured three movie studios: Sony (who bought out Columbia), Warner Brothers and Paramount. Lots of classic movies were made in these three studios. We even got to see Lucille Balls office! It was lots of fun. We were shown places where the Brady Bunch was filmed, and discussed different old stars that had contracts with certain studios and explored the world of film. It was great!
During the old days studios pretty much owned their actors. Nowadays actors act at any studio the movie they are making is being filmed. However, back in the day an actor or actress signed a contract, for whatever amount of time, to "stay true" (so to speak) to one certain studio. They were paid a certain amount and basically sat around the studio from 8 to 5 every day waiting for a job to drop into their lap. Big name actors usually had a sort of "living quarters" where they spent their time when they were filming a movie. Once they were hired for a movie they would spend several weeks on the film then the lull would start all over.
If there was a studio that wanted a certain actor, but didn't have a contract with them, the studio that did have the contract with that particular actor could "lend them out". For example, say Cary Grant was signed on with Columbia but Universal wanted him for a movie, Columbia would share him while the movie was being made. This could be costly for Universal as they would have to pay both Cary Grant and Columbia. With the way movies are made now, though, is much more flexible for both the studios and the actors.
Back in the Golden Age of movie making studios could film anywhere from 20 to 30 movies in a year. Now movies are made much more slowly and carefully to make them just right and make sure they are quality, and in the end most studios only shoot 4 to 7 movies a year.
I suggest that if people were to visit LA they take at least one tour of a movie studio. I also suggest that it's not Universal as that is more of an amusement park, and less of the "real deal". Have any questions of the history of filming movies? Please leave a comment!