So this has built up over a few days, both because I’ve been editing, because I’ve been playing Grand Theft Auto V more than I should be and because I’ve been kind of waffling on whether I should keep posting these or not, as the story is establishing, I’m worried that it’s getting easier to glean spoilers from these and I’d like this to be a spoiler free zone. Or mostly spoiler free anyway. Either way, here are a few things I’ve had to research recently:
Matt Lukin (bass player for The Melvins and Mudhoney. Charlie’s last name was Lukin, because I’ve always thought that was a cool sounding name. I know it mostly as a Pearl Jam song, which is about Matt Lukin, and I wanted to see if there were enough people out there with that name to make it a generic enough to use, or if it’s really obviously a reference. Regardless, cat’s out of the bag now, so good job sitting on that secret Joe)
Symptoms of shock (I need to know. For a thing. I already knew but I needed to confirm what I thought I knew)
European cars (Bentleys, Aston Martins, BMWs, Audis, Morgan. Classy cars more than sports cars)
Breast implants in an autopsy (I occasionally have to search for pretty grizzly, awful things. In this case I was curious if I could find a photo of a dead body where you can see someone’s breast implant exposed and what that might look like. Without much work, google turned it right up. The internet is a dark ass place dude)
Emma Elizabeth Smith (the first victim of the Whitechapel Murders, which is a broader series of murders that include the Jack the Ripper murders among others)
Cameras in the 1940s (just general information. Lots of information. Ugh)
stag films in the 1940s (everything from Irving Klaw fetish reels to silly cheesecake stuff to full on hardcore 8mm loops. There’s a lot of it out there. One thing I didn’t find were films with sound, even though that technology existed then. I guess the underground market wasn’t spending that kind of money just yet. Also, as expected, there are a billion of them online if you look for half a second)
The history of sound in film and how that worked (huh. The 24 fps standard is because of sound. Apparently before sound, they would change the frame rate to compensate for exposure time and movement of the camera, or for tone. Also, apparently, movie theaters would speed projectors up and run movies at faster than normal (which perhaps explains that speedy look you see in a lot of silent movies) to reduce running time. Once on-film sound was invented, frame rates suddenly had to be consistent to match the audio)
Yoga (just curious regarding a story I’m writing later. I’ll have to research more once I’m actually working on that story)
Polari and cockney rhyming slang (I’ve done a lot of research into British dialects, especially RP vs Cockney, and I came across first Polari, which is a kind of code language derived from Cockney Rhyming Slang and Romani and a few other sources that was used (and still used by some) among the gay community in England, so they could speak freely among themselves without fear of being arrested or abused. Polari brought me to Cockney Rhyming Slang, which is a similar sublanguage that was actually developed in London’s East End around the 1860s and was used so criminals could talk about criminal stuff without worrying about cops or snitches catching on. The basic premise of it is that you find a phrase or combination of words that rhymes with what you mean to say, and then you drop the rhyming part. It’s incredibly over complicated and seems like a massive pain in the ass. So like “China plate” rhymes with “mate” so you’d say “China” to mean “mate” or “North and south” rhymes with “mouth” so you drop the “and south” and “north” means “mouth.”
I’m going to write Jack the Ripper/Vickie/Salome stuff sometime soon and I’ve been back and forth on just how cockney I want to go with it. Given that the story takes place right in the center of where and when this language was developed, and it’s dealing with the exact people who were using it (in this case prostitutes and pimps and thieves) I feel like I should probably use it. But then again, if the story took place in Russia, I wouldn’t learn Russian to write the dialog, I’d just have the characters speak English and tell the reader they’re actually speaking Russian. So at what point do I draw the line and forgo authenticity for readability. Or do I Anthony Burges it and go full on Clockwork Orange and make the reader really work for it. It’s something to think about it. I’ll probably end up just peppering bits of it here and there, but I’m not sure yet.)
Our Gang (just the times and certain characters)
8mm film in the 1940s and if they had sound (If I want this thing to have sound it looks like I’m gonna have to either go 35mm, which would be a huge stretch and downright implausible in the context of my story, or I’ll have to have more crew recording sound on a separate system, which is also completely implausible in the context of the story. So it’s looking like the movie is going to have to be silent, which most stag films were back then. I really wanted that audio though. Oh well.
Now wait a minute. Those newsreels they used to show before movies couldn’t have been that expensive to produce. I’m not giving in yet)
Movietone newsreels (apparently the “Movietone” was actually the sound system itself and it started in the 20s.
wait a minute
Did you know that when they filmed Dracula, Universal also filmed a Spanish language version of the same movie at the same time, with Spanish actors, using the same sets and costumes? The Bella Lugosi Dracula filmed during the day, then at night the Spanish Dracula took over. Once production was finished, Universal was unhappy with the English version and actually preferred the Spanish version.
I also went into a completely unrelated tangent about pre-code movies. Apparently there was a window in between the late 20s and mid 30s when there was no real standard for the levels of sex and violence in movies. Dracula and Frankenstein and Freaks and The Mummy an Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde all were pre-code. I found it interesting anyway. Not relevant to my writing, but interesting.
Sexy stuff! Anyway. Movietone. So yeah, they shot those on 35mm.
Apparently early stag films were shot on 35mm, but once 8mm and 16mm became widely available and significantly cheaper, 35mm porno movies went away until the 70s. It stands to reason (and this is just me assuming) the another problem with 35mm porn is that it requires a 35mm projector, which are expensive and large, unlike an 8mm or 16mm, which can be carried around in a little suitcase and set up anywhere.
So that brings us back to it’s entirely unlikely that the characters in my story are making a porno movie in the 1940s with sound. They could, theoretically, be filming on 16mm and recording the sound separately, but that will require more research and I’m all researched out for the night.)