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Lois Weber was one of the first American female directors. The bulk of her work

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Lois Weber was one of the first American female directors. The bulk of her work was done in the silent era, and she continued directing until 1934, helming the talkie White Heat. (A Short History of Film, 27) From capital punishment to birth control, Weber made films on subjects most people would rather ignore. (Reel Women Lois Weber, YouTube) One example is her film Where are My Children (1916), where she dealt with birth control.
She started her movie career as an actress for Gaumont, and shortly after that; she began directing. Between 1911-1914 she wrote and directed one 10 minute movie a week. She wrote. Directed and acted in many of her films. Weber’s use of the camera shows great attention to little details. Her search for realism extended to her use of natural-source lighting for exterior sequences and the use of actual locations, instead of sets for establishing shots. (A Short History of Film, 28)
In her short film Suspense (1913), she was the first American to use the “split-screen” technique. Weber and her husband made the trip West like the rest of the film industry and were recruited to work for Universal. Shortly after that, she left to head up Bosworth Studios, where she had complete creative control. (Reel Women Lois Weber, YouTube) At Bosworth studios, she began to make full-length feature films that reflected her beliefs. Her film Hypocrites (1915) had the first full-frontal female nude scenes, which attracted attention and caused people to call for censorship.
After Hypocrites (1915), Weber returned to Universal and became their top director. Universal set Weber up in her own studio called Lois Weber Productions. That was the first time a studio gave a female director a production deal. (Reel Women Lois Weber, YouTube) After WWI, Weber was forced to close her studio because her films were no longer in demand.
Mary Pickford was dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” for a succession of films in which she portrayed a poor young woman adrift in an often hostile world. (A Short History of Film, 35) Pickford was a stage actress yahoo decided to get into screen acting, and she was hired at Biograph, where she worked with D.W. Griffith. She quickly became the Biograph Girl because Biograph did not release the names of their cast. (Life and Times, IFC) In 1916, she insisted on a salary of $500,000 and total control of her films.
She was the first actress to be typecast, so many of the films she produced were based on children’s stories. In 1919, she joined with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith to create a studio called United Artists. Pickford made a few films for United Artists, and her last film was in 1927.
Buster Keaton because acting in two-reel comedies under the direction of Fatty Arbuckle for Comique Film Company. (The Great Buster, Documentary) Keaton learned directing from Fatty Arbuckle, who had full creative control of his two-reel comedies. When Arbuckle got signed to Paramount, Joe Schenck turned Comique over to Keaton. He set up production at the old Charlie Chaplin studios and named it Buster Keaton Studios. (The Great Buster, Documentary) Between 1920 and 1923, Keaton writes and stars in 19 two-reel comedies.
Keaton’s humor derived from his lack of expression or emotion no matter how perilous the situation in which he might find himself. (A Short History of Film, 36) Keaton was a master at special effects and used his body for the gags in his films. In 1923 he started to make his own feature films. He never used a script for his films, and they cost more than the typical studio feature film. (The Great Buster, Documentary) Between 1923 and 1928, he conceives, directs, and stars in 10 feature comedies. He signed with MGM, and his career was never the same because he lost creative control over his films. (The Great Buster, Documentary)

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