REFINED COMEDY VERSUS THE SLAPSTICK
IN MOTION PICTURES
Much of the
of Making Fun
Is Now Done
Such as Making
an Actor Bounce
Up and Down on
a Jet of "Water.
A KING people laugh may
not be regarded as a
serious business. But it
is—It Is a very serious
business in the moving
When the films were
first made, comedy was
the easiest thing the
*een actor did. Any
performer who could
act the "cut up" was sure of success as a
eomedian. The early comedies were nothing
more than a series of monkey shines, and no
serious thought was gtv
when it was done in trying to figure out a new
way for the short comedian to slap his tail
partner in the face with a custard pie.
Any actor who could bounce
tnato from the head of tlie Patsy Bolivar of
the piece in a way that would make the audi
ence laugh louder, vv
Some of that sort of comedy still remains in
the pictures, and there are still many perform
ers who argue that since screen comedies mu3t
the slap-stick order, no plot
to comedy except
•eganied as a pusitive
of necessity be
or sequence of events is necessary tor their
The place of this kind of screen comedy has
been taken to a large extent by a
of comedians who are producing a new kind of
Miss Busch a Later Addition.
True, u great deal of the old-time comedian's
tricks have teen retained, but it has been dig
nified and reduced to a science. This has been
done by taking comedy seriously and writing
comedies with plots the same as dramas.
The comedy director of the new school will
tell you that tragedies make the best come
dies. because ol the strong dramatic element
In the plot. The characters may do absolutely
Illogical things, their every action may be ab
surd and Incongruous, but because of the plot
that is woven in with the action it all seems
real. |t is "monkey business'* dignified and
duced to a science.
Much of the old rough-house comedy is either
done away with or given in another form, and
many mechanical tricks and illusions made with
double exposure photographs are used. For in
stance, In a recent comedy where Fred Mace
falls through the roof of a fashionable restau
rant, he is caught on the jet of water fr
fountain and bounced about like a bull.
Miss Busch is a later addition to the forces
of the Keystone comedy company, of which
Mr. Bennett is director general. Fred Mace was
one of the original group, composed of Mace.
Bennett, Ford sterling and Mabel Normand,
who jumped over the traces of pictu
clong in li'12 and formed the Keystone Comedy
The polite, or parlor brand of comedy has
been growing In favor recently, but there is lit
tle doubt, but that the Keystone brand of fun
will always have a large following, for the very
man who says he cannot stand anything of the
slap-stick or rough house in comedy, is the
very chap who will laugh and wipe the tears of
laughter from his eyes at the antics 0/ the
scientific monkey shiners.
The little studio,
here Mace and Sennett
and Sterling and Mias Normand made their
first funnv films, is nc
plant that covers two city blocks, arid a
rage is being built that will hold fifty
mobiles, that will transport the performers who
formerly tramped their way around, to the
As to Photoplay Writing
A. E. E.
T HE term feature Is usually applied to a f<nir
or five reel play, although some producers
make shorter subjects which they call features.
As a general thing, however, a feature means
at least four reels. Your synopsis must not be
written out In scenes; that would be the same
as writing two plays,
other. The synopsis Is
of your play in story form: it is intended to
give the editor who reads the play an idea of
he story you have written. Write the synopsis
rfter the play Is finished, use from 200 to 250
words to the reel, let it follow the cast of ebar
ir.Urs in your manuscript, then go on with the
play, scene by scene.
shorter than the
outline of the plot
Hiss 0. B.
E know nothing about the books on photo
play writing advertised by magasine*,
there ara many good book* on the subject
which may b# had In the public library of your
city. Bo careful about paying money to any
one unless you are entirely satisfied you are
dealing with responsible people. Many persons
ere trying to teach scenario writing who cah
:iot nell their own work.
Y OUft question Indicate* the need of consid
erable Instruction A photo pläy i* noth
in* more than a story told In action. First get
the story well fixed tn your mind, then move
the character* along, make them do things
that will tell tha story. If John loves Mabel
and want* to marry her and Mabel's parents
say "No." because John is a godless youth, and
Mabel resolve# to reform him and make him
eeeeBtablp to her parent*, invent scenes. In the
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'/ s?f à
,, v >
, : ;
Ti ■ •
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house, In the garden, on the street, anywhere.
Scenes that will show what Mabel and John
and the other characters do, and how John is
reformed, and how it all ends. First of all, you
mlist have a story, after that the rest is not so
han . Good stories almost tell themselves. Ask
at the public library for books on photo-play
do not advise you to take a corre
spondence course In scenario writing. If
many of the people who claim to teach were
us competent as they claim to be they could
make a great deal more money writing and sell
ing plays themselves than by teaching others.
Go to the public library, where you will find
Looks that will give y
any course, and will cost nothing.
as much instruction as
Miss E. St. Louis.
Y OU may
each reel in writing multiple reel plays.
Make the synopsis as short as you can and
avoid fine writing. State your plot as clearly
and as forcibly as you can in stmple words. Do
not fall to get in all of what you consider the
dramatic pointa of your story. The synopsis
is read first.
250 words in the synopsis to
E. M. L.
Y OU »earn to have compilai! with all of tha
requirements of the contest. All that you
can do now is to wait for tha announcement of
the prise winner.
H. B.—The company meant for you to
study their productions on the screen at
the picture shows. . This will cost nothing but
the price you pay to go In the show. It Is a
good idea to study the pictures you see, not
only of one particular studio, but a general
study of them all. Count the scenes and notice
how the scenes shift* from one point of the story
to another to make the plot clear and give u
Answers to Fans
Do not send loose stamps in your letters,
if a personal answer is desired, inclose
stamped, self-addressed envelope,
very Important questions are given personal
care of this paper.
Address Moving iicture Editor,
A. W. B„ Kansas.
maOjST of tiu- studios will buy plays from out
*▼1 aiders if they are good. There is always
it market for plays with strong and new plots.
Here is a list of studios:
Inc., 2S2G Decatur avenue,
sal Manufacturing Company, 1600 Broadway,
New York; American Film Manufacturing Com
pany, 622* Broadway, Chicago; Biograph Com
pany, 807 East One Hundred and Seventy-fifth
street, New York; David Horsley Studio. Main
and Washington streets, Los Angeles, Cal. Get
two sines of envelopes, address one of them to
yourself, put stamps on it. Inclose It with your
play, and be sure to put enough postage to carry
the play both ways.
^bornas A. Edison,
E lTHF.lt a pen or a pencil written sequel I»
all right. You will get the prize If your
story Is the winning one, no matter how It Is
written, provided you have compiled with the
Instructions' The North American, Company
Wlll announce the winner as soon as all the
plays arc read .and the winner decided on,
ENSON FARM—There le a "chance" for
every one of us to do what we most want
to do, but we must make that chance. You are
juat the right age to begtn your Ufa's work.
Get your parents' consent to try It, and talk to
people who have had tegs esperletice. Learn
all you can about acting, then make your plan*
B. R. B.
and carry them out. Everything depend* on
n ILL1E, Nashville, Ark.—There were alto
D gether thtrty-sl* episode* of the Elaine
serials. Address Pearl White. Creighton Hale
unO Arnold Dely at 25 West Forty-fifth street.
New York. We have never heard of any rela
tioneblp between Pearl White and Creighton
daughter of the noted comedian. Harry Daven
port, and a niece of the late Fenny Davenport.
Miss Davenport has been In picture# about four
years, and before that wa* In vaudeville a year
and a half. She la now with the Univereal
O. 8.—Dorothy Davenport was born U) Bos
ton twenty-one years ago and* la the
twins are named Marlon
Company at Universal City, Cal. She wa* mar
ried last year to Walleoe Held.
L OU—The Fairbanks
and Madeline and nay be addressed In care
of The Thanhousor Ftln Corporation, New Ho
chelle. N. Y.
OKA—The actor you ask shout la named
Desforges. We hafe no further information
O PAL. Highland, m
born In Sacrament
address Is at the World Film Studio, Fort Lea,
N. J. As far ae we kn,
J AMES AND GF-OK
Francis Ford are 1
ture. which can be seen early In March.
.—Robert Warwick was
o, Cal.. June 2, 1881. His
>w he la not married.
GE—Grace Cunard and
vorktng on an Irish pic
P EGGY. Albion. 111.—At one time the LuMb
C ompany of Philadelphia, Pa., sent a form
sheet, with directions un how to prepare a man
uscript. If a stamped, eelf-addregeed envelope
accompanied the request, but wa do not know If
they still send them. There are very good
hooka on tha subject of photo-play Wlttthf»
which you should be able to get In any publia
S. S.—Mary Pick ford gets more salary than
Charles Chaplin, although he is said to ha
the highest salaried nun, appearing In pieturf*
ÄTisa Plckford getn $100,000 «alary a year, be
«Wa» o percentage on the pictures in which «he
«pftear», Charles Chaplin received $1200 a wtili
and a percentage while he was with fisaamy*
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