Once upon a time, there was no such thing as storytelling in movies. Back in the early days of silent films they just made it up as they went along. That was until Alice Guy Blache got involved.
Alice was born in France in 1873. It wasn’t until after her father’s death when she was 21 that she went to work as a secretary at a photography company for Leon Gaumont. The photography company gained rights to 60mm motion picture camera which captured Alice’s imagination.
Her first film was in 1896, entitled The Cabbage Fairy, in this film Alice experimented with film techniques that up until this point were only used for technology such as color tinting and sound syncing. She also did something that was never done before…film on location. She used the back patio of the film studio’s laboratory for her setting for multiple films.
In 1906 she moved to New Jersey and started her own production company called Solax. Producing a film a week! Solax was such a major player in the movie industry that she was able to open a second studio in Flushing, Queens. Alice defined the role of Director for the movie industry.
Unfortunately, the good times were not meant to last. With the popularity of Hollywood as a movie making mecca, the need for movie studios on the east coast died away. Alice chose not to go west with the industry. She made her final movie in 1920, entitled Tarnished Reputations.
Feeling inspired by Alice? Take a look at these books:
- The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay The story of a group of sisters who push their way into the entertainment business in the 1920’s.
- A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott The quintessential story of a girl who leaves her small town for the glamorous Hollywood life in the golden age of film.
- Dangerous to Know by Desirae Friesen A murder mystery set behind the scenes of 1940’s Hollywood. I can’t wait to review this book in the coming weeks, it sounds like such a good book.