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George Melies

A professional magician by training, George Melies first saw the new "moving pictures" in 1895. Just over a year later, Melies was filming and projecting his own creations. By accident, he discovered that he could use stop-motion photography to render trick visual effects. Melies also pioneered the use of techniques such as the dissolve, the fade-in and the fade-out, to create the first real narrative films. Though he made over 500 films, his most famous is his 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune). Trained in classic eighteenth century theater, Melies conceived all of his films in terms of fully played-out scenes. Unable to keep up with the changing industry, Melies spent the last years of his life in poverty, though his films would go on to be celebrated and cited as influences by such great auteurs as D.W. Griffith.