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Lecture 4

INI215Y Lecture Week 4.docx

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Innis College Courses
Charlie Keil

INI215Y Lecture Week 4 10/1/2012 8:14:00 AM Introduction: Two Phases of the American Film Industry Just as early cinema style falls into two distinct phases, so to do developments within the American film industry—1896-1905/07 and 1905/07-1913. The three sectors of the American film industry—production, distribution, and exhibition—developed unevenly, but in interrelated ways, during these two periods. The American Film Industry from 1896 until 1905/07  The cinema become institutionalized until 1911. o What does that mean?? Early Exhibition Vaudeville was central to the development of early exhibition, functioning as the chief exhibition outlet. One company would send out a package to theatre managers, consisting of projector and projectionist.  Or travelling exhibition in churches n assembly halls. o visited especially small towns where there is no Vaudeville The early exhibitor exercised a substantial amount of control over the content of what he projected, ordering and even editing film material.  Lyman Howes = famous film exhibitor The mutually beneficial relationship existing between the vaudeville theatre and the film producer lent stability to the industry during its first decade. Film Producer = Producer of equipment. Equivalent term Development of Distribution Methods The existing system of outright sale of films discouraged expansion.  Miles Brothers the first actual distributers  The key to success in American film industry is always distribution.  Edison model: Software(flim) was only made to sell the hardware.  People buy the hardware and purchase the films from catalogue. o problem: Exhibitors were forced to show films as much as possible to pay off his investment. o solution: They can trade titles. The exchange system, a form of film rental, supplanted sales beginning in 1903, with the exchange operator functioning as a middle man.  Miles Brothers bought the films and rent out the films for a specific amount of time to the exhibitors. Like a video store. Early Production For much of this period the majority of the footage produced was devoted to actualités (a proto-documentary form).  Non-narrative films.  Local/national news events, travelogues, kinestatic films that recreate movement. o problem: if sth exciting aren’t happening people are not gonna enjoy. o Thomas Armat “the problem of motion picture business is that it runs by the spurts. If there is a president assassinated, the films are gonna run for few months….”  Lets shift more to narrative.  more films that were sold to greater degree were narrative titles.  Story films gained in popularity beginning in 1903, though historians cannot agree whether they stimulated demand or were a symptom of increased demand. The basic method of production employed at this time was the cameraman system.  cameraman system performs all functions: staging, filming, editing and etc.  was inefficient. You can’t make large number of films within this system. Seven producing companies existed in the U.S. by 1907: Edison (NY_, Biograph, Vitagraph, Lubin (Philie), Selig (Chicago), Kalem (NY), and Essanay (Chicago).  the producers cannot keep up the demand of audiences.  Majority films were coming from outside US The American Film Industry Becomes an Industry: 1905/07-1913 The Switch to Narratives Why would narratives prove more
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