When we speak about Hollywood, everyone immediately thinks about the film industry. The big sign in white lettering on the mountaintop looks down upon the area that is affectionately known as Tinsel Town that is synonymous with the film industry. It’s so close to home to me, that nearly one in every ten people I know work in moviemaking in one way or another. Film editors, grips, casting, cameramen, screenwriters, actors, digital experts, etc. So, it wasn’t a coincedence that I wrote a Moonlight Beach bachelor who was a celebrated movie star, think Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth or Brad Pitt. Yes, it was deliberate because, let’s face it, these celebrities lead amazing, interesting lives. Dylan McKay is all that and more. But his story is not your usual suspect. But we do have suspects, a bit of mystery, amnesia and lots of plot twists.
So how did we get to this point?
Well, my research took me back to one very ingenious Englishman named Eadweard Muybridge, born in 1830 who was a bookseller first, before becoming a pioneer in photographic studies in motion and early projection. Leading a mondane life was not in the cards for Eadweard, though.
Although he first arrived in New York city, he soon traveled to San Francisco during the Gold Rush period. At that time there were 40 bookstores and 60 hotels and many photograhpy studios in the area and he spent his youth working as a bookseller. But his love of photography and motion took him back to England for a time and then back to America.
In 1860, while traveling to St Louis he was involved in a horrendous stagecoach accident. Edweard was thrown ten feet in the air and hit his head on a rock. He suffered great head injuries and some say, it was the cause of often bizarre and highly innovative behavior.
Then in 1874, he shot and killed his wife’s lover. He originally pleaded insanity due to the head injury, but had shown brilliance to the jury, seeming to undo the insanity case. He was acquitted of all charges on the grounds of justifiable homicide.
In 1887 and 1868 his photographs of the Yosemite Valley made him world renowned.
But his work with motion is what fascinated me the most. Take a look at how he studied and put together these amazing early photos in stop-motion. It is said he had produced over 100,000 images of animals and humans in motion. His invention, zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures predated the perforated film strip later used in cinematography.
Eadweard Muybridge spent many years perfecting the technique ( commissioned by the former Governor of California, Leland Stanford- a race horse owner) to determine the much debated topic of whether when a horse gallops, all four feet leave the ground at once, thus flying through the air. I find it fascinating that the movie making world we have all come to know, dated as far back as the 1800’s. Take a peek HERE to see how these twelve images become stop motion.
Every time I see the beginnings of what we now take for granted, I’m floored by the inventive spirit of our ancestors. I happen to love the entire movie going experience. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I wonder if Edweard would have ever imagined how this medium has taken flight!
While the romance is prevalent in my new release, One Secret Night, One Secret Baby, there’s a behind the scenes look at Hollywood, celebrity and film making and I have to thank my son-in-law for his help and expertise in keeping me honest and authentic with my story! What about you? Does this fascinate you? Are you a movie goer? I’ll be giving away a copy of a backlist book to one lucky blogger today!!