Studio Task-sheet


The Studio System

You have five class periods to complete this work-sheet.
The final essay is to be completed for homework.


1) Open the Mediamatrix wiki ( ) navigate to the pages: Film Industry Part 2 and Film Audiences.
Open the power point on Film Industry Part 2 - read the slides and make your own notes answering the following questions.
At the prompts in the questions open the hyperlinks to provide further information to add to that culled from the Film Industry ppt. You may also refer to the wikipage - Film Industry part 1.
When you access the link to video on demand / essays you will have to sign in as a student using your email address as site id to the Annenburg Media site. It is free.
You will need to do this to view the video on the Studio System which is important to this unit of work.

The power point Studio System in Action 1930-50 provides the background about the ownership and control of the Film Industry during the period of the Big Studios. You should also follow any links on the wikipage to get additional information.
You are to make your own notes using the information from this wikispace using the questions below as a guide.


1) The Studio System developed because the costs involved became greater than an individual could afford. How did the productions of DW Griffith contribute to the evolution of the Studio System?
2) The Studio System was designed to maximise the profit from the investment in each film. Describe and explain how the studios organised themselves to achieve the maximum return. How efficient was this organisation?
3) To what extent and why did the social conditions of 1929-33 benefit the MGM studio? How did the genre of MGM films contribute to this success?
4) An early attempt to control the Studios occurred during the period 1920-30 what was it? How and why did this control evolve? How effective was this control mechanism and what effect did it have on some of the personnel involved?
5) The Studio System depended on vertical structuring to maximise profits. What is meant by “vertical structuring” and how did such a structure benefit the Paramount, MGM, RKO, Fox and Warners over the other studios? What is an oligopoloy? and how does the term apply to the Studio System?
6) What were the advantages gained by the Studios in developing the industry in California away from the Eastern Seaboard of the USA?
7) What were the famous names of film associated with the Studios during this period and how did their presence contribute to the success of the Studio System? ( You will need to access the VOD links to Annenburg Media for this information.)
8) Describe the ways and means the Studios moved towards the “industrialisation” of movie making and explain how such a system maximised the returns of profit for the Studios?
9) The Anti-Trust Laws of 1948 were a form of external control on the Studios describe and explain how they evolved and how effective they were in controlling the Studio System.
10) To what extent did the development of (a) individual unlimited Star Contracts and (b) Unionisation act as both internal and external controls on the Studios?
11) To what extent did such events as the Wall Street Crash, World War II and technological advances act as external controls on the Studio System?
12) Write an essay of between 750 and 1000 words in response to the following:


Explain and analyse how a specific media industry is organised and controlled. You are required to perceptively analyse the role of at least one important feature and / or one key person within the organisation of the industry and how at least one important internal or external control operates within or over the industry. Offer reasons for these developments and explain how effective these structures and controls where in affecting the development of the media industry involved.


Describe, explain and analyse how "moral outrage" and economic pressures affected the development and control of the movie industry during the period 1920-50. NOTE: You must provide analysis of at least one important feature and / or one important person within the industry during this time as well as describing, explaining and analysing how at least one internal or one external control affected the develoments in the movie industry between 1920 & 1950.