David Woodruff interview

David Woodruff is a special makeup effects artist. He mainly works for AID effects studio that is owned by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff JR who is his father. Examples for AID projects he has worked on are Annabelle: Creation, IT from 2017 and Alien vs Predator: Requiem. Projects he has worked on outside of AID is as a makeup artist on The Mandalorian season 1 and True Detective season 2.

1. What made you decide to follow in your fathers footsteps and become a special makeup effects artist ? 

Hard to say… I think it was a combination of being surrounded by the art in my formidable years and the delight in being able to create fantastical characters. This art form is really a great outlet.

2. Do you prefer to do a character make up or do you prefer to design and build a creature from the ground up? Why do you choice the option that you choice?

I don’t know that I really have a preference. You still have some creative freedom in doing the character makeup itself but there’s always something exciting about being a part of the creation from the ground up.

3. What’s your favorite creature design and why? 

I think for me it’s a toss up between Pierces original Frankenstein monster on Karloff, the Alien Xenomorph, and Pumpkinhead. I don’t know that I can really put a “why” into words, there’s just something about them that will always resonate with me and has since I first saw them and I think that that says a lot in and of itself.

4. Is the horror genre your favorite genre and if it is what attracts you to it, both as a person and as a artist? 

Honestly, not necessarily. I don’t tend to lean towards any one genre over another. For me it’s about the look and tone. I want a a good story overall with solid characters and good acting. This probably stems from my high school film classes and into my film production major in college.

5. Do you have any plans to branch out from the make up effects world and if you have those plans, what do you want to branch out to? 

I’m really enjoying producing my own photo shoots lately and really want to move into producing and directing on a larger scale!

6.. Growing up surrounded by the movie world and the makeup world, how did that shape you as an artist? What are the pros and cons of that? 

I think the best thing to come of it is exposure to experienced craftspeople. I got to meet and experience things from a side that most others interested in the business simply don’t. I had access to a lot of people, places, and tools that I think put me on a shirt track to getting to build things.

It’s really a double edged sword, though I don’t know how to really put the cons into words…. I try not to think about the negative side but it seems like there can be some expectations and perceptions of not having worked for things… I don’t know.

7. On project X from 2012 you are credited as assistant to the stunt coordinator. How did that come to be? 

I got lucky.  Right out of college I was out in touch with a great UPM who had a relationship with my dad. I got to meet with him at WB and he found a position for me that was a good starting position for someone new in the business.  It was a great opportunity and huge learning experience and I’m forever greatful for it!

8. Advice to young artist just starting out?

I think my two biggest points of advice are really just do it and finish something.

Don’t wait for an opportunity or listen to anyone who tells you you won’t make it. Just do it. Make something!

And finish something. One of the hardest hurdles is to get a project finished no matter what it is. Everything is generally stacked against you so regardless of whether or not this thing is going to be good or make you proud or get noticed, finish it. You’ll be proud that you got through and that product will lead to something else that you may get more out of. Trust yourself.

Tom Woodruff JR

9. When you are the father of a big name in the industry, how do you stand out as your own artist and give yourself your own artistic voice?

That’s a tough one… I guess you just do… I don’t think too much about it or trying to separate myself. I don’t concentrate on giving myself an artistic voice I just kind of do or make what I like. I guess that’s how you find that voice, you just have to let it come out on its own accord.