Basic Course Faculty
This home study program provides an extraordinary feature that no mere book or DVD can deliver: an individual, in-depth consultation with one of our Academy Award-caliber faculty. Ordinarily, an inexpensive program like this one could never hope to give its students individualized, personal access to such grand masters of the makeup profession. But Dick has trained or inspired most of the world’s top makeup artists and now many of these loyal friends have expressed an eagerness to help train the next generation of makeup artists. And you, lucky student, are now the beneficiary of the goodwill and generosity of seven of these extraordinary artists.
Academy Award Winner
Academy Award Winner
Steve LaPorte is a master of all the classic makeup techniques, thanks to mentorship by Dick Smith, Rick Baker, John Chambers, Ken Chase and Tom Burman. He won the Academy Award for his outrageous creations for Beetlejuice with renowned artist Ve Neill. LaPorte is also known for his imaginative out-of-the-kit work—realistic three-dimensional effects made quickly from whatever is at hand. LaPorte is a graduate of Smith’s Advanced Professional Makeup Course. He was makeup department head on ABC’s award-winning series Lost for six seasons and is currently department head on CBS’s Code Black. LaPorte won an Emmy for The X-Files. His work has appeared in over 50 films, including: The Color Purple, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Windtalkers, Lost Boys and The Specialist. For 14 years, he served on the committee that oversees the Academy Award for makeup. LaPorte is also an entrepreneur and creator of the coveted Port-a-Case and FaceMaker Series of cases, kits and makeup pallets.
Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc.
An Academy Award Winning Partnership
In 1988, with the blessing of their mentor Stan Winston, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. formed Amalamaged Dynamics, Inc. which was destined to become one of the top effects labs in the industry. Tom and Alec’s first feature film as partners was Tremors. 1991 was a banner year, with ADI receiving an Academy Award nomination for Alien 3 and an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for Death Becomes Her. Another Academy Award nomination followed for Starship Troopers. Recent Amalgamated work includes X-Men First Class and Ender’s Game.Gillis and Woodruff have been diversifying their company with an emphasis on personal creativity—authoring books together and individually, furthering solo film and television projects. They continue their growth not only as top character effects artists, but also as accomplished filmmakers. To see more of Tom and Alec’s work go to their YouTube channel studioADI.
By age 13 Alec Gillis had decided to pursue a career in creature effects, setting up his own makeup lab in his mother’s garage. He teemed up with a young James Cameron, building a stop-motion puppet in Cameron’s kitchen. Later the two would land jobs at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, participating in a variety of tasks, from model building to camera effects operating. While still a novice in the world of visual effects, Alec began attending UCLA’s film school. It has always served him well as an effects artist to also be a filmmaker. After graduating UCLA, Alec worked for many of Hollywood’s top makeup and creature effects artists including Stan Winston, where he helped manage the foremost creature shop in the industry. Alec was also one of Stan’s key designers on films such as Aliens, Alien Nation and Leviathan. It was during this time that he met Tom Woodrfuff, Jr.Stretching as an artist outside the SPFX world, Alec created a TV pilot for the USA Network and stays involved in a variety of film and writing projects.
Tom Woodruff, Jr.
Tom worked with a number of small effects companies in L.A. in the early 1980s and then joined Stan Winston’s team on The Terminator. That was the beginning of a five-year period that saw Tom become a key coordinator under Winston, with the opportunity to work on such features as Aliens and Predator as well as TV shows such as Amazing Stories. Tom also portrayed the title characters in Monster Squad, Pumpkinhead and Leviathan. Tom ultimately teamed up with Alec Gillis, and together they wrote, coproduced and directed The Demon with Three Tales, a promotional film for a feature project. Soon after, Tom and Alec formed ADI.
Woodruff joined the Director’s Guild in 1998, and continues to create his own in-house projects with Gillis and sometimes as solo efforts, writing, producing, and directing short films. Tom also continues to perform in a variety of creature and animal roles as lead characters in the features The Thing, Zookeeper, Alien vs. Predator, Evolution, Bedazzled, Hollow Man, Alien Resurrection, Alien3, Jumanji, and The X-Files feature.
John Caglione Jr.
Academy Award Winner
One of the most successful makeup artists on the East Coast, Mike Marino is sought after by top directors such as Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, Charlie Kaufman, Francis Lawrence and Kevin Smith. A graduate of Dick Smith’s Advanced Professional Makeup Course, Marino founded his makeup lab Prosthetic Renaissance in 1999. His design credits include the feature films Black Swan, The Wrestler, I Am Legend, Blue Valentine, Synecdoche, New York and the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and he recently worked with Rick Baker on Men in Black III. Marino has transformed many of the entertainment industry’s top actors, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, William Hurt and Winona Ryder.
Academy Award Winner
Love Larson is a character and prosthetic makeup artist from Sweden and a graduate of Dick Smith’s Advanced Professional Makeup Course.Obsessed with makeup and monsters from an early age, he spent most of his years growing up making masks and prosthetics, practicing on friends and himself.
Love received an Academy Award nomination, together with wife and colleague Eva von Bahr, for their work on the 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared.
Previous work includes Let The Right One In, David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, James Bond—Skyfall and most recently The Snowman, starring Michael Fassbender.