This will be an on-going series on how you can make up your film school education just by watching DVD’s. I’m going to randomly declare 1967 as the cut-off point between the “classic” age of the studio system and the beginning of the “modern” age of film-making. Of course, the studio system was already pretty much dead by the early 1960’s but it didn’t officially end until about 1972. The studio system was of course an era where up & coming actors & directors were signed to long term contracts and the studios simply slotted you into films depending on your talent, looks and ultimately – their whim. They could loan you out to other studios or place you in some state of exile if they thought you were not being obedient enough. The upside is actors got a steady paycheck and if you had talent, your roles would get bigger and bigger like any other 9 to 5 job … and of course, you could always blame the powers to be of not recognizing your talents. The downside is you were really an indentured servant and if they thought you didn’t look like a star, you had very few opportunities to prove it.
As the system started to close down, of course, actors were free to do anything but as with total freedom, that meant no steady paycheck and you had to go out and sell yourself at every audition. Same with directors and cinematography and nearly all the craft’s people like makeup, costume, art direction, etc … (other than studios with a working studio lot and sound-stages that also had TV projects).
So, why start with the worst? It’s as good of a place to start as any.
THE WORST OF THE WORST
CONTINUE READING after the jump.