Critical Moments

All preconceived notions to the contrary, Hollywood is perpetually on the look-out for new stars and new writers. The idea that the California colony is over-run with budding actors and ingenuous writers who are kept on the side-lines because they are not related to somebody connected with a moving picture company is pretty much the bunk. Of course it cannot be stated with positive-ness that being in the “family” is really a hindrance, but the boys who must keep you supplied with picture fare are perpetually scouting for talent.

HARD TO BREAK IN

I do hope the above will not send you to your trunk and to the ticket window for passage to the Coast because despite the need for new material companies are rather reluctant to sign up newcomers. This making of moving pictures is a costly business and every mistake adds to the final reckoning when a film is released. The companies simply cannot afford to take chances on untried players and writers. That accounts for the large number of published books and performed plays that are bought and also explains why performers who have already made their mark in some theatrical field are welcome on studio lots.

America seems to have one ambition-to get into the movies and if companies were to give everyone a chance, either as a writer or actor, there would be no time left to make pictures. For that reason, if you have Hollywood hopes, get yourself an agent, otherwise you will never get a hearing.

THEATRE MOVEMENTS SPONSORED BY METRO, FOX

To prove how anxious they are for new material, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced the other day that they have taken over a Little Theatre in Beverly Hills as a talent laboratory. Forty young actors and actresses and fifteen new writers are to be given an opportunity to display their abilities in a series of performances. The audience will be made up exclusively of executives, producers, directors and writers of the studio staff. It is all part of a nationwide search for new talent. M-G-M. expects to sponsor similar movements in various sections of the country.

Fox Films, not to be outdone, has also made a gesture in the direction of the Little Theatre Movement; only on the Fox lot it is called school, where 25 girls and 10 boys have been gathered from all parts of the world by talent scouts, put under contract and given the opportunity to become screen stars in their own right.

Scott Pembroke, well known director, and Lillian Barkley, dramatic coach, have been engaged to act as instructors for these promising youngsters. Paul Frawley and Miss Fernandez are also connected with the department in the capacity of talent scouts.

PUT ON FAMOUS PLAYS

Well known plays are put on in their own little theatre which is situated on the second floor of one of the big sound stages. Here the embryo stars are rehearsed from three to six weeks in some well known play, and when they are perfect in their parts, an audition is given which is attended by the various directors and producers on the lot.

In this way the executives of the studio can view the work of the youngsters and see if they will fit into a future production. If there is a small part or bit the director thinks they can play, it is assigned to them.

ORGANIZED LAST YEAR

The majority of these students have had previous theatrical experience, either in legitimate stock or picture work as dancers, singers, or extras. Something about their work has attracted the eye of a talent scout who has recommended them as good screen material. The Fox Little Theatre was first organized in September, 1933, and has just completed its first semester. All of the original students have had their contracts renewed and will continue on with more advanced work.

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