The Historical Spectator.

Kinds of Photoplays to Avoid

In 1915, a book of instructions for the novice writer of mov­ing-picture plays included this helpful advice on catering to the taste of the moviegoing public.

Avoid any scenes or suggestive compli­cations that may offend good taste or morals. Avoid scenes of murder, suicide, robbery, kidnap­ping, harrowing death­beds, horrible accidents, persons being tortured, scenes attending an electro­cution or hanging, violent fights showing strangling, shooting, or stabbing, stag­gering drunkards, depraved or wayward women, rioting strikers, funerals, and all such scenes of a depres­sing or unpleasant nature. Do not make a hero of a high­wayman or escaped convict. Do not reflect upon any religious belief, national­ity, or physical deformity. Thou­sands of men, women, and CHILDREN of all classes, national­ities, and creeds witness these pictures daily. We may occa­sionally see some play depicted which is contrary to the above advice, but they are the excep­tions, and are to be avoided. Give your story a clean, whole­some, pleasant tone, leaving the few morbid tales for others to write. These tales of crime are growing less every day, and conse­quently the photo­play is growing better.

From How to Write Moving Picture Plays by William Lewis Gordon.