A Brief History of the Industry

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Old Hollywood had it rough. Filmmakers were despised by locals, editors didn't have as much influence as they do now, and terms as we know them didn't even exist. It's hard to imagine what those early days were like, so we rounded up a few historical facts and we hope you share some more with us, so we can get the full picture of how it all really started. 


1) Documentaries were originally called actuality films

Three people staring into nickelodeons

The first actuality film was produced in 1914 by Edward Curtis, the man who gave us the famous photographs of Native American tribes and members.


2) Originally, the term “movies” did not mean films, but the people who made them.

two stills from an old movie. train. black and white.

It was generally used with disdain by early Hollywood locals.


3) The very first patented film camera was designed in England by Frenchman Louis Le Prince in 1888.

first film camera

He built and patented an earlier 16 lens camera in 1887 at his workshop in Leeds.


4) In the early 1900s, the transition of a distant shot to a close up was not the work of editors, but of the director. This was done by mounting the camera man on wheels and then on a track which physically moved the camera closer to what was being shot.

large camera

This ancient movie technique was used for the very first time in the movie filmed in 1904 called Photographing of a Female Crook.


5) When TVs started gaining popularity in the 50s, movie studios were beginning to lose money. Hollywood studios began to produce more hours of film for TV than for feature films. This marked the major transition for Hollywood studios into television production.

a woman sitting between two post modernism tvs

In 1953, the first Academy Awards were televised by NBC, and the broadcast received the largest single audience in network TV's five-year history.


6) Poverty Row was a studio district in Hollywood that was in the shabbier part of town

Poverty Row Studios in Hollywood

Disney, Monogram Pictures, Republic Pictures and 20th Century Pictures all had studios in this area


Have some industry history to share? Tell us in the comments below!

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