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» LIFE IN HOLLYWOOD. A WARNING TO ASPIRANTS. WINTER HALL'S EXPERIENCES. An interesting insight into studio life, in Hollywood, and a warning to aspirants for iilm fame, are contained in an interview given this morning to a "Star" representative by Mr. Winter Hall, the well-known actor anel native of Christchurch, who commenced his career in the "movie" business in 1916. Mr. Hall, with his wife and son, is in Xew Zealand on holiday. He will return to Hollywood shortly. "I left the stage in Sydney with the idea of entering the moving picture business in Hollywooel," said Mr. Hall. "I was fortunate in possessing letters of introduction to various officials in the studios, and I commenced work ten days after I arrived. From many points of view I have been exceedingly successful. "The studio life does not make as great an appeal to mc as the legitimate stage. The work of the two is almost entirely different. The main objection I have to the picture work is the amount of idle time which one has to put in during the filming of a picture. The 'waits' are appallingly burdensome. On one occasion I was told to be ready, in full evening dress, for a scene at 9 o'clock on a Monday morning. I waited all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. The scene was 'shot' finally at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The delay was apparently unavoidable, but, to mc, exceedingly irksome. This was an unusual case, but it illustrates to a large degree what picture actors have to put up with in the way of idle time. The Wonderful Climate. "It is solely on account of the wonderful climate of South California that Hollywood has become the capital of the film world," continued Mr. Hall. "There is sunshine for practically seven months in the year, during which period production is very seldom stopped by reason of inclement weather. The development of artificial lighting has reached a very high pinnacle, and in the studios themselves at the present day, artificial light is used solely for filming scenes. Even in exterior shots, some cameramen use a combination of sunlight and artificial light for getting their effects. "A visitor to Hollywood would lie amazed at the various types of people to be seen -walking along the streets in the vicinity of the big studios. The production of pictures in Los Angeles has tended to make it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. All races and nationalities, are, at various times, represented in stories on the screen, and representatives of these races can be had at a moment's notice. It is true that there are no Maoris there, but if a Maori picture was being filmed, the producer would get natives either from New Zealand, or at lesser expense from Hawaii, the natives of which closely resemble the Maoris in physique and appearance. Rush for Hollywood. "There has been a rush to Hollywood from all parts of the L'nited States, anel, indeed, from all other countries, of aspirants for iilm fame,"' said Mr. Hall. "Two years ago, various local bodies, chambers of commerce and church associations found a tremendous number of cases of distress among people who had migrafed to Hollywood, and a movement was started to disemminate through other cities and states a warning to all aspirants to Keep awaj. as the supply of film material, or talent, in Hollywood greatly exceeded the demand." Mr. Hall cited, as an example, the case of a Christchurch girl whom he found in distress in Hollywood. She won a beauty contest in her home town, and was told that if she went to Universal City, she would be given a part in a picture as soon as she arrived. She followed the false star, and found starvation instead of fame. She was stranded in the city, with little hope of receiving any kind of employment. Mr. Hall assisted her to the best of his ability. Beautiful Girls. "There are to be seen very many beautiful types of girls around Hollywood," continued the actor. "A great many of them, no doubt, think they are potential stars, but any girl aspirant to screen fame has to submit to a camera test, and it is remarkable how very often, of two girls, the plainer one give's the liner camera result. It is hard to understand the reason for this. "Of course, the characters in a picture are selected according to type. On the stage, with lines to speak, a man of pleasant appearance is enabled, by means of those lines, to impersonate a really bad character, but on the screen i where the words are not heard, and the impression is gathered by means of the eye, this is harelly possible." False Notoriety. Mr. Hall remarked that probably no class of people ever existed who received so much world-wide publicity as the leading people engaged in the studios, and for this reason any little lapse of correct social behaviour was. by reason of the fierce publicity, magnified a thousandfold. "My long experience nas shown mc that the men and women in the studios are as fine a type, with as high ambitions and as straight-living, as any other people I have met in any industry," said Mr. Hall," and Hollywood itself is a most self-respecting and quiet town, and as pleasant a place to live in as any I know." Speaking of "extras." Mr. Hall stated that there were probably from 20,000 to 23,000 people regularly employed in the studios, but there were many occasions when a large crowd was called for. It was not uncommon to find all the big studios requiring cTowds of 2f>oo persons for some scenes. Indeed, just before he left Hollywood, a crowd of 10,000 extras was used by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company for the chariot racing scenes in "Ben Hur," a picture in which Mr. Hall plays the part of Joseph, the husband of Mary. The "extras" were occupied for the greater part of a week, without a single accident befalling any member of the cast. Hollywood's "Beauty." Speaking generally of Hollywood, Mr. Hall saitl that its fame- was spread all over the world, and that it was spoken of invariably as being one of the most beautiful spots in the universe. As a matter of fact, some of the best suburbs jof Auckland, such as Remuera, excelled Hollywood lor sheer beauty. To-day, the picture business in the United States occupies the proud position of being the fourth largest industry HouvVonT', 7 - Last ear the studi °3 Hollywood alone spent 77,000,000 dollars X Paction, and when Mr. Hall eft the city all ther studios were work ing to almost their fullest capacity.

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Bibliographic details

Auckland Star, Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 32, 8 February 1926

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IN THE "MOVIE" GAME. Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 32, 8 February 1926