Many theorists believe Melies to be the first auteur of film. When putting together a film, Melies himself handled much of the task. He was involved in hiring the actors, obviously shooting the film, and also developing and editing the films. Melies even made sure he was a part of their hand-coloring and distribution to theaters. One of the most crucial factors in considering Melies as the first true auteur is his introduction of fade-ins and fade-outs for each scene.
In making the entire film flow as one true story, Melies would fade in between scenes, thus showing how the scenes progress one after another, and how characters and plotlines intertwine within each other. A Trip to the Moon is a brilliant example of how Melies used fades as a way to communicate with the audience the passage of time, and the progression of the story. A shot of the crowd is faded into a shot of the spaceship.
After the spaceship and crowd are seen, a fade into the stay-lit sky and moon is shown, conveying that the spaceship takes off from earth, and travels to the moon, even crashing directly into it. These fades and lap dissolves are the first of their kind, and incredibly crucial to the evolution of film. For a film like A Trip to the Moon it is obvious that it is impossible to shoot on location. And also, it would grow incredibly expensive to build enormous and dramatic sets that try to convey a feeling of location on the moon.
So instead of massive constructs used to reveal location, Melies decided to use vast paintings as backdrops for some of his more fantastical films. Using these paintings was far more efficient that having to build an entire construct for a short scene on film. And not only were the paintings large, but Melies decided to give the paintings a sort of dreamy appearance. He liked dabbling into the abstract and paranormal. Big and beautiful paintings are much more interesting to look at then a set that might try to be incredibly realistic.
While some see Melies strictly as the father of fantasy or science-fiction, I would go as far to say he could easily be considered the father of film. The way Melies constructed entire stories by fading in and out of scenes to advance the plot is a key invention that has brought film to where it is today. Melies made steps within his career that easily could have taken decades for the rest of the world to grasp. The fact that one of his major inventions had arisen out of a common camera jam tells that we learn from our mistakes, and Georges Melies sure learned how to capitalize on his.