American director and producer Irvin Willat began his film career in 1910 as an actor with IMP studios and appeared in several films with Mary Pickford. Later he abandoned acting in favor of behind-the-scenes work, which he found more interesting. He then began working in a film processing lab, and after that, began assisting in the manufacture of cameras and lenses. He became a cinematographer for Thomas Ince's production Civilization in 1916, and became a director the following year where he became known for creating consistently high-quality action and adventure films. Following the advent of sound, his career ground to a halt.