Thomas Ince: Hollywood's Independent Pioneer

By Brian Taves | Go to book overview

4
Establishing a Studio

Although Ince still cut each film himself, soon he had a staff of six directors, and he gradually ceased directing by mid-1913.1 To replace Francis Ford, who went to Universal in January 1913, Kessel and Baumann sent out Charles Giblyn and Scott Sidney, who had been directing Reliance pictures in New York.2 Joining their ranks were Reginald Barker, Raymond B. West, and Burton King, while Walter Edwards, Jay Hunt, and Richard Stanton doubled as actors and directors. West had begun with Balshofer, working his way up from property man, and was still in his twenties. Barker was the same age, having achieved success on the stage and directing “Broncho Billy” westerns for Essanay, before becoming Ince’s most prolific director.

As in 1911, when Ince believed that two-reel films would be more successful than continuing with the predominant one-reel length, he now made steadily longer films when he felt the subject matter merited it. His rationale demonstrated his understanding of the artistic side of filmmaking as well as the business end.

One of the first limitations to go will be that of a set length. Few
photoplays do not suffer from having to be fitted into a given num-
ber of full reels. Again and again I have seen plays misfire in, say,
four reels that would have succeeded in their original five or six,
and we all know examples of weak four or five-reel dramas that
would have been excellent in two or, perhaps, two and a fraction.

-53-

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Thomas Ince: Hollywood's Independent Pioneer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Screen Classics ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Beginnings, 1880–1912 15
  • 1 - Stage Apprenticeship 17
  • 2 - Starting in Films 23
  • Part 2 - Making a Reputation, 1912–1915 39
  • 3 - The Job of a Producer 41
  • 4 - Establishing a Studio 53
  • Part 3 - Innovations, 1914–1917 73
  • 5 - Generic Experimentation 75
  • 6 - The Prescient Failure 89
  • Part 4 - Paramount, 1917–1921 109
  • 7 - A Fresh Start 111
  • 8 - The Star Series 119
  • 9 - World War I and Specials 143
  • Part 5 - The Perils of An Independent, 1919–1924 159
  • 10 - Associated Producers, 1919–1921 161
  • 11 - The Inevitable Merger, 1921–1922 177
  • 12 - War with First National, 1922 189
  • 13 - The Studio Resumes Production, 1922–1923 199
  • 14 - Case Study of a Production and Its Personnel- Her Reputation, 1922–1923 211
  • 15 - Initial Distribution beyond First National, 1923 231
  • 16 - At the Crossroads, 1923–1924 247
  • 17 - The Steady Hum of Independent Production, 1924 255
  • Epilogue 271
  • Notes 283
  • Bibliography 343
  • Index 355
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