FILM 106A JAN 14 LECTURE 3 - FILM 106A JAN 14 LECTURE 3 The...

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FILM 106A JAN 14 LECTURE 3 The Nickelodeon Era “Trip to the Moon” credited as one of the first films to utilize film as a way to tell stories This and “the Great Train Robbery” were huge hits. People wanted to see more films like this. Up until this time people saw films in vaudevilles. Now, with films often being one reel (10 min) in length and telling stories, you could combine a few to serve as entertainment. This first generation of movie theaters called nickelodeons, began the Nickelodeon Era Exhibition: the Nickelodeon: Nickelodeons were converted store/theaters, often from old vaudevilles Nickelodeons: “five cent-smal theaters” Seated between 75-300 people. Low admission price: 5-10 cents One reel subjects: topicals, westerns and melodramas (mixed variety like vaudevilles) Frequent change of program (like vaudevilles) Films rented from distribution exchanges. They also had magic lanterns so they could show advertising slides and sing- along slides A cheap nickelodeon would rewind some song to play during the movies, expensive ones might pay for an orchestra to perform during music. Nickelodeons usually changed their programs twice a week, so you could go to one twice a week and get different entertainment. Who went to nickelodeons? Already a huge audience of working class, middle class, men women children, immigrants exposed to movies through vaudevilles, they just slid right into nickelodeons o Good for immigrants because you didn’t need to know English to understand these silent movies Only people that didn’t go to them were the elite, upper class People who set up the nickelodeons weren’t necessarily businessmen o Some of them even came straight out of the audiences. It was a way to break into the business world in the US The first true nickelodeons were made in around 1904? But soon there would be thousands of nickelodeons nationwide. Vaudevilles would still show movies for a while and nickelodeons would sometimes show live acts in order to compete.
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Distribution (the distribution exchanges as it was called back then) Until nickelodeons came along, you would order movies off of catalogues The first distribution exchanges made by owners of nickelodeons. They would rent movies out, when they were done with the movies they’d rent the movies to other nickelodeons that wanted them. This system worked well and is still used today The value of the freshest films: had best value were rented for higher prices, first shown at the dime nickelodeons rather than the nickel nickelodeons. Nickelodeon craze and popularity of narrative reels impacted production Shift to the fiction film Before the Great Train Robbery, most films were sort of documentaries and non- fiction After more than 90% of films were fiction films Edison, Biograph, Vitagraph 1-2 reels per week shift to fiction film the production unit “Ben Hur” copyright case 1907-11 the Screenplay
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