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Business Developments

Hooray for Hollywood!

Hollywoodland Sign

Filmmakers began a westward migration as early as 1906. The 1920s saw the establishment of a thriving film industry in the area that would become known as Hollywood. Many of the studios we know today (MGM, Paramount, Columbia, UA, etc) were born during this time. Click the “Find Out More’ button if you would like to see a wonderful collection of historical photos documenting the development of Los Angeles and Hollywood, including some of the city’s most famous landmarks. And yes, the famous Hollywood sign used to read ‘Hollywoodland’ — it was erected to advertise a housing development, not the city’s burgeoning film industry.

Business Developments

Diffusion of Roles

A film crew

Another key development in filmmaking during 1908-1920 was the diffusion of roles. The Cameraman System no longer worked, thanks to the increased amount of filmmaking technology, so now there were crews for each camera and plenty of other specialized jobs to go around. Roles developed with the technology, and that holds true today.

Business Developments

Vertical Integration

A Nightime View of the Pantages

The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, shown above, is just one of the many movie palaces built during the 1920s. Most of these theatres were part of chains (Loews, Graumans, Fox), just like today. The key difference is that most of the theatre chains were bought or built by companies that also owned the production studios–a move called “vertical integration,” that both stabilized the American film industry and created monopolies.

Business Developments

The Movies Learn to Talk

The game-changing invention of synchronized sound arrived in the late 1920s. While early inventors like Thomas Edison had always intended film to eventually have sound, it took other inventors and collaborations to make it a reality. For early Hollywood, the 1927 Warner Brothers film The Jazz Singer, cemented sound as the next big thing, and sparked the industry’s conversion to sound technology.  Watch this great video on the development of sound from Filmmaker IQ. Much of this material is a review from class lectures, so watch this to prep for exams.