After The Screen Test Comes
Thursday's Film Feature Page
By Our Hollywood Correspondent
IF on one never-to-be- forgotten day after your arrival in America, you made your successful
Hollywood screen test, and the studio decided you would be a star — you wouldn't just become a star overnight. For a week or two your looks would be done over, and you'd be given a new personality, and a lot more glamour; and then for a few months you would get the most important treatment of all: The Hollywood "Build- Up." Hollywood's publicity men are the best in the world. They make the stars. Your name won't be in blazing lights unless publicity experts, by skill and endless guile, have first planted it, month after month, in thousands of American magazines and newspapers.
Let's suppose that when you come to Hollywood, bound for stardom, you are unknown. Nobody is interested in you except the studio which has you in sight for contract. It's the publicity department's job to make people in- terested in you, until nobody can hear your name without saying: "Oh, yes, that's the girl who . . .," and so on. First of all, you must answer a long list of questions. There is one lot of questions designed to aid publicity in America, another to help get it abroad. I have copies of the questionaires in front of me now. "Where were you born?" asks the one for foreign coun- tries. "If in a foreign country, how long did you live there? What did you do there— attend school, &c.? . . . Your parents' names? Their origin? Where were they born? Do they live in the United States, or in a foreign country? If you have any relatives living outside the United States list their names, where they live, their professions, and other interesting de- tails. "What foreign countries have you visited? How long have you spent in each? What did you do there— work visit, study, research? When? Do you recall any interesting experiences dur- ing these visits? Describe or discuss any interesting or amusing people you met or friendships you formed." * BY this time, potential stars should be get- ting the publicity de- partment's general idea, which should make it a pleasure to answer the next series of questions. "What foreign characteristic, atti- tude, atmosphere would you like to see transplanted to Hollywood; and vice versa. What has Hollywood to of- fer that your native country (if you are a foreigner) has not? What were you able to do in your native country that you cannot do here, and vice versa?"
And now the questionnaire gets more personal. "What is your favour- ite dish? Please give the recipe . . . What is your favourite foreign sport? Do you hold any records; have you won any medals? In a few words, de- scribe what you like or think you would like about England, Ireland, Scot- land," and so on, through the atlas down to the South Sea Islands. The questionnaire for America goes more into the star's private life. "Screen name, real name ? Who changed your name, and why ? . . . . What lodges or societies do you belong to ? . . . . Give interesting details about your relatives. Have you any famous ancestors ? . . . . What was your schoolday ambition ? "If you left the screen, what would you do to earn a living? Do you sketch or paint? What musical instruments do you play? Do you dance or sing? Please list other accomplishments, such as wood carving, sculpture, interior de- corating, designing, whistling, &c. . . . What are your pet aversions, what are your suppressed desires? Your pet economies, favourite extra- vagances? "What do you do to keep fit. Do you diet? If so, how? List your favourite foods. Can you cook? Do you cook? What do you do to protect your good looks? What outdoor games and sports do you play? State handicap and best score. What are your favourite sports to watch? Do you attend prize fights? List five of your favourite books and authors. "Are you married? To whom — please give full name. Have you been di- vorced? From whom; when? "List your pets by name and breed, What motor cars do you own? Do you own a boat; what kind; what is its name? Have you a beach house or mountain cabin? What church do you attend? What is your favourite flower; and colour? Have you a good luck
charm? What is your strongest super- stition? "List your hobbies. What do you collect, such as first editions, jade, elephants ? Do save money ? Have you a definite financial programme ? Have you a business manager ? What time do you get up when not working ? Please name your best friends." There are more questions; quite a few. But these should give you the general idea. Armed with a mass of information from the questionnaires, the press agents write dozens of stories about the stars-to-be, have them interviewed, take them to dinners and anniversar- ies where movie guests are always wel- comed and where cameramen are al- ways present and flood the country with thousands of attractive pictures of them. CONSIDER, for instance, the case of Olivia de Haviland. A year or two ago she was unknown. She spent her first few months in Hollywood, not acting before the cameras, but being photographed for the newspapers. Publicity cameramen photographed her at the circus, at the zoo with the monkeys, playing bad- minton (she'd never had a badminton racquet in her hand before), fishing, riding on the back of an alligator. The alligator was supposed to be tame, but Olivia had a bad half-hour. Once, when she was being photo- graphed at the beach, the waves knocked her down, and in addition to the pictures hundreds of papers across the country carried the story of how she had been rescued from drowning by a gallant cameraman. By the time the star appears in her first picture her name is on its way to being a household word.
MR. CHARLES CHAUVEL, the Queensland producer, who has been comm.ssionecl by New Universal Pictures, U.S.A., to conduct screen tests throughout Australia for an Australian screen personality man and screen personality woman. The Queensland tests, the first in a scries to be made in all Stales, will be begun on the stage at the Winter Garden Ineatre to-morrow. Among Mr. ChauvcPs discoveries is Errol Flymi, now one «f Hollywood a lop-fhght stars, whom he introduced to the screen in ihe w«!£ r -'iT ? T lhc,Bo'nlJ' niutinv, 'I,, the Wake of the Botinrv.' « . ' ? j H7I'npe' anolher of »-?« Australian productions, in which he introduced Mary Maguire to the screen, Mr. Chauvel won a c£2000 Com , - monwcalth Government prize.
MR. CHARLES CHAUVEL, the Queensland producer, who has been commissioned by New Universal Pictures, U.S.A., to conduct screen tests throughout Australia for an Australian screen personality man, and screen personality woman. The Queensland tests, the first in a series to be made in all States, will be begun on the stage at the Winter Garden Tneatre to-morrow. Among Mr. Chauvels discoveries is Errol Flynn, now one of Hollywood's top-flight stars, whom he introduced to the screen in the Australian film on the Bounty mutiny, "In the Wake of the Bounty." With "Heritage," another of his Australian productions, in which he introduced Mary Maguire to the screen, Mr. Chauvel won a £2000 Com- monwealth Government prize.