Director D.W. Griffith joined Biograph in 1908 as a writer and actor, but within months became their principal director, and helped establish many of the conventions of narrative film, including cross-cutting to show events occurring simultaneously in different places, the flashback, the fade-in/fade-out, the interposition of closeups within a scene, and a moderated acting style more suitable for film. Although Griffith did not invent these techniques, he made them a regular part of the film vocabulary. Griffith's prolific output, often one new film a week, and willingness to experiment in many different genres helped the company become a major commercial success. Many early movie stars were Biograph performers, including Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Robert Harron, Florence Auer, Carol Dempster, Alan Hale, Sr., Blanche Sweet, Harry Carey, Mabel Normand, Henry B. Walthall and Dorothy Davenport. Mack Sennett honed his craft as an actor and director of comedies at Biograph.
In January of 1910, D.W. Griffith, and Lee Dougherty with the rest of the Biograph acting company, traveled to Los Angeles. While the purpose of the trip was to shoot the film Ramona in authentic locations, it was also to determine the suitability of the West Coast as a place for a permanent studio. The group set up a small facility at Washington Street and Grand Avenue (where the Los Angeles Convention Center now stands). After this, Griffith and his players decided to go a little further north to a small village they had heard about that was friendly, and had beautiful floral scenery. They decided to travel there, and fell in love with this little place called Hollywood. Biograph then made the first film ever in Hollywood called In Old California, a Latino melodrama about the early days of Mexico-owned California.
In December 1908, Biograph joined Edison in forming the Motion Picture Patents Company in an attempt to control the industry and shut out smaller producers.
Producer Thomas R. Bond II and his father, the late Tommy Bond (1926–2005), who played "Butch" in Our Gang (also known as "The Little Rascals"), started the new California corporation,