Development Program : Staging as Applied to Presentation of Story and Gag Ideas

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From the collection of Hans Perk at A. Film L.A. and reprinted here with his permission.

[...]unable to go back and add the soup, we could do that single scene much better. I don't think that, at the time Snow White was made, such a thing as presenting those uneaten pies ever entered anybody's mind. Were we to remake it ten years from now, I don't think it would look anything like it does now.

Q. If we had not been afraid of our medium -- if we had had characters that were convincing up close, and had not been afraid of allowing them to show their emotion, we could have done much more with that scene. We could have helped the scene with the animals, too -- if we had been able to show their sadness better.

A. I suggest, for the moment, that we come in on this bier scene through the window with the camera, instead of opening on the scene inside the house as we did. As the camera comes through the window, we would see the uneaten pies. To see something a person was working on just before his death is very touching. From the shot of the uneaten pies, we would come on into the mood of the scene itself.

Q. Why not put it this way -- how would we have presented the scene in ten years, if we did not have a chance to go to anything like the pies?

A. All right. We can limit the footage. We don't need to show the dwarfs for that matter. We could do it in less footage, if it were properly presented. We wouldn't have to show the dwarfs with tears coming out of their eyes.

Q. You mentioned the pies that Snow White had made. It seems to me a more touching thing is something like that that is unfinished -- not quite completed. Suppose the pie on which the little bird was putting the word "Grumpy" was not quite finished, and Doc reached over and put the letter "y" where it belonged.

A. Yes. If we had looked for more things like that, we would have had a stronger picture.

Q. We might, after establishing the dwarfs singing their "Hi-Ho" song through the woods, have shown them passing that same spot silently and reverently.

Q. Had the bed building scene stayed in the picture, it would have been a touching thing to have shown Snow White on that bed -- the dwarfs wanted to build it for her, then got it ready only in time for her death.

Q. It would have been still stronger if they had worked to [...]