Hollywood today is full of glamour and glitz and is thought of by many as the capital of the movie industry. This paper will provide the reader with information about how filmmaking/ studios originated from Hollywood, and how it progressed as time went on. The paper will also discuss the different genre films, and how actors affected the world today by idolization.
Hollywood, California was not always perceived as it is today. It had very significant beginnings starting with Thomas Edison and how the movie studios originated from California. Hollywood developed gradually, leading into today’s entertainment industry from the beginning of film making to the development of stars that dominate today. Hollywood has made a huge impact all over the world. Its glamour and stardom has helped Hollywood make money throughout the years. Although Hollywood has remained the same in the way Americans idolize actors and actresses, it has developed and changed through technology in filmmaking and the creation of new genres of films.
Beginning of Film Making
Nickelodeon Age Thomas Edison ushered in the invention of the kinestoscope, a device that allowed a person to deposit a coin and watch a short, one-reel motion picture through a small hole. It was developed in his laboratory in New Jersey where he built a small studio called the Black Maria, named after the police paddy wagons that it resembled. The roof opened to allow sunlight for filming and the entire building was on tracks so that it could follow the sun for optimal lighting. The films produced were used in his kinestoscope machine. These machines were placed in kinestoscope parlors, the first of which opened in New York City in 1894 (Thompson & Bordwell, 2003, pp.17-18).
These parlors were very popular among the working class and the growing immigrant population. Admission initially cost five cents, thus they were called nickelodeons. They appeared in bars, storefronts, arcades, and ballrooms. At their peak, the daily attendance was two million people. Besides being popular, they ended up being very profitable. Throughout the years the pricing for admission increased vastly. Now the cost for an adult is around ten dollars (Editors of Time-Life Books, 1999, p.26).
From then to now, the filmmaking process became a complex organization. It divided into separate departments with specialized labor skills. Those responsible for sound, for instance, were grouped into different areas: music arrangers, composers, performers, sound mixers, sound dubbers, and equipment maintenance people. This department labor force became the filmmaking business known as the studio system, which thrived during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, or the “Golden Age” of Hollywood (Editors of Time-Life Books, 1999, p.26).
General Film Trust To protect his interests, Edison united with other film industry leaders in New York and New Jersey to form the General Film Trust. They used patent laws to legally monopolize film production, distribution, and exhibition. The trust was formed to safeguard its members’ claims to film profits and to eliminate its competition, who were called The Independents. First, the group signed a contract with Eastman Kodak Company, agreeing to sell film only to the trust and in return, the trust would only buy a stock from Kodak. Second, equipment the trust refused to sell or lease was sold to unlicensed film makers and theater owners. Third, weekly fees were charged for the distribution and showing of their films. These conditions set the stage for control over the American Film Industry by an oligopoly, which is a small number of films cooperation to control the market and block the entry of new companies. This war between the General Film Trust and the independent film makers became one of the most vigorous battles in the history of American Industrialism (Ellenberger, 2009,