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New York Film Academy Guest Speakers

New York Film Academy Guest Speakers

Alec Gillis



During his visit to the Los Angeles campus in May 2011, Alec Gillis joined by Tom Woodruff, spent valuable time with students during their Q&A, sharing their experiences as neighborhood adolescent filmmakers to film school students, to Roger Corman’s employees, to the real world of filmmaking in Hollywood. One of the most important lessons they spoke about was the generation gap between practical special effects artists and CGI/digital effects artists. In their eyes it’s truly a change in the evolution of filmmaking since studios and special effects supervisors are usually quick to “make things easier” or “cheaper” by going all-digital with effects, whereas Woodruff and Gillis feel practical effects create a real sense for the audience to truly believe what’s happening in the story. However, they both spoke about doing what’s right for the story.

Tom and Alec spoke very highly about their desire to work closely with the director when creating the vision for the film, as opposed to a producer or studio executive who doesn’t know the specific details the director is looking for. The students thoroughly enjoyed their wisdom and thought-provoking conversation from these Academy Award-winning creature creators.

Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff have worked on some of the largest studio productions in history: The Terminator, Aliens, Star Trek III, Death Becomes Her, Jumanji, The X Files, Cast Away, and Superman Returns.

Notable Credits
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, It, Jumanji, Death Becomes Her, The X Files, Aliens, Cast Away, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Alec Gillis


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