Saturday, July 21, 2012

Walt Vs. the Musicians

Kudos to President Emeritus Sito for showing us the Babbit blog. Wherein is found this:

Organized Labor vs Steamboat Willie

... Efforts to make the first-ever synchronized recording went up in smoke. Screening the completed film [Steamboat Willie] before Edouarde and his Orchestra was more distracting than helpful. Not only that, the musicians seemed to have their own issues with their recorded instrumentation. In a letter dated September 20, 1928, Walt writes to partner Ub Iwerks in California,

"Boy, the unions are sure tough on movie recording. They are doing all they can to discourage the “Sound Film” craze." ...

Kind of clear why theater musicians (via the American Federation of Musicians) were against recorded music in films. In one fell swoop, several thousand re-wired movie theaters would have no need for house musicians.

Similar dynamics continue eighty-five years further on: digital stunt men replace flesh and blood stunt men. Digital environments supplant wood and plaster sets. And of course there are actors and dress extras created inside a computer. Sort of crimps the style of real actors and extras, don't you think?

Technology constantly drives change, and labor is wise to change with it. (Because it's hard to stop the tide from coming in.)

5 comments:

Floyd Norman said...

Flash forward a couple of decades and all film making will be totally digital with NOTHING real on screen.

It's the future but not a future I'm eager to embrace.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Me neither!

David said...

"Technology constantly drives change, and labor is wise to change with it."

Until finally there is no more need for (human) labor as we know it ? How is that wise ?

Floyd Norman said...

I guess the unions will be trying to organize computers. That should be fun.

Steve Hulett said...

I doubt that technology will eliminate labor. Hasn't happened in animatin, certainly. The number of people creating product has gone steadily up for decades.

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