Free Movie Review About Union Of Acting
Type of paper: Movie Review
Topic: Cinema, Movies, Production, Theater, Actors, Documentary, Camera, Corporation
The Blockbuster Years is a documentary detailing the movie production experience of 20th Century Fox, a movie production studio in Hollywood, California. In the documentary blockbuster films that were produced by the studio during the years of 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s. The overview of hit movies from these years contains video clips from classic movies such as Star Wars, Titanic, Alien, Fight Club, Speed and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The video clips from these classic movies produced by 20th Fox Century between the 1970s and the 1990s are interspersed with commentary from actors such as Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Oliver Stone and Robert Altman. The documentary has a running time of one hundred and thirteen minutes, a period in which various issues are explored. Some of the issues that this paper considers with regards to The Blockbuster Years documentary by 20th Century Fox include labor union, screen acting skills and union of acting (Newman, 2013).
The Blockbuster Years, as highlighted above details a period when 20th Century Fox crawled back from within the blink of bankruptcy to produce classic movies such as Star Wars, Titanic, Alien, Fight Club, Speed and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is important to consider that the period for which this documentary was based started in the 1970s. It is around the same time that multinational corporations started buying up movie production houses in the entertainment industry. The effect of these investments from multinational corporations was the disregard of the old accord where liberalism and occasional leftism was tolerated provided that profits were consistent. The buy up by multinational corporations ushered in the blockbuster franchise era. Consequently, unionized movie script writers and movie production crew were seen as barriers to the corporate hegemony (Newman, 2013).
It is important to note that these movie production houses are based in Hollywood in California, a state whose labor laws are unequivocal with regards to working hours. Employment that exceeds eight hours in a workday and a total of forty hours in a workweek is subject to payment of overtime. What this means is that unionized workers in this period had to be paid overtime for workdays that exceeded the legal requirement of eight hours. This was especially significant in the movie production industry. Advancements in technology at this time, especially with the advent of the videocassette, cable and time-shifted viewing in the 1980s increase the anxiety among the writers and movie production crew that the gains made by the labor unions would be reneged (Newman, 2013).
There was also a concern that the movie production studios, now infiltrated by multinational corporations seeking corporate hegemony would take the initiative to launch a counteroffensive. The confluence of all these factors meant that there were very many clashes among labor unionists, the movie production houses and the actors and writers (Barnes, 2007). On one side, the movie production houses were packing their schedules in order to complete movie productions in record time. On the other side, the actors and writers were not compensated commensurate with the requirements of labor laws (Newman, 2013).
Another aspect that is relevant to The Blockbuster Years by 20th Century Fox is the screen acting skills. The backdrop for this is that during the 1970s, slightly after 20th Century Fox came back from the brink of bankruptcy to release classic movies Star Wars, Titanic, Alien, Fight Club, Speed and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This period was also marked by cutthroat competition between different movie production houses. As highlighted earlier, multinational corporations had taken over many Hollywood movie production houses. Additionally, the advent of new production technology further fueled the competition between the production houses. For 20th Century Fox to produce the classic movies highlighted above, they needed a cast with good screen acting skills.
Acting in movies requires a special set and a variety of screen acting skills. Through the clips shown in the documentary, The Blockbuster Years, cast showed a lot of dynamism in terms of screen acting skills. The actors and actresses in these movies clips exhibited an awareness of the camera at all times. This ensured that their performances were captured in the best way possible. Additionally, the clips exhibited an awareness of the aspect that the camera seeks to portray. For instance, arching eyebrows to portray an emotion when the camera is filming a long shot of an actor in the distance shows lack of awareness.
Additionally, actors with good screen acting skills exhibit an awareness of where props and other actors are positioned relative to the camera. This is important for skilled actors as it influences their movements while on set. For instance, wrong positioning can block the view of the camera of another actor or a prop. This is also important when making gestures. Standing too close or farther away from the camera can obscure the shot or making it completely invisible respectively. From the clips showed in the documentary, the actors in the classic movies highlighted showed a great awareness of not only themselves, but also of the camera, other actors and props. This cocktail reflected good screen acting skills.
The other aspect that emanated from the commentary from actors such as Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Oliver Stone and Robert Altman was the ability of many actors to cope with the decisions of many directors to shoot various scenes out of order. This is done in order to save on the production cost. For instance, if the first and last scenes are to be shot in the same location, directors might look to save on the transport and boarding costs and shoot the two scenes on the same day. It is important for actors to reconcile this requirement so that they can juggle through the requirements of the scenes that are shot out of order.
The overview of The Blockbuster Years by 20th Century Fox highlights various elements in this important era in movie production. The overview highlights issues of labor unions and union of acting. Some of these issues have been addressed as at present. Nonetheless, they create a context upon which the growth and development of the movie production industry over time.
Barnes, B. (2007). As Labor Talks Near, Studios Play Down Numbers. Retrieved 23 Feb. 2015 from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/03/business/media/03movies.html?pagewanted =print&_r=0
Newman, K. (2013). White collar workers are exploited too. Retrieved 23 Feb. 2015 from http://www.salon.com/2013/05/04/joan_rivers_e_fashion_police_staff_on_strike_partner/