Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1959, much of Tom's early interest in movies and monsters was a result of late-night broadcasts of the now classic Universal monster movies and the stop-motion effects of Ray Harryhausen. Finally, seeing one of the Planet of the Apes films in a theater focused his attention on the craft of make-up, while getting his hands on his father's 8mm home movie camera at 13 years old simultaneously encouraged his interest in filmmaking.
While living so far from Hollywood, Tom's only professional contact was through the mail, writing letters to the artists who's work he admired most, like John Chambers, who created the Planet of the Apes make-ups. Early in high school, he began to crank out his own Super 8 movies, using friends as cast members and saving money for his own camera equipment. Later, in college, Tom was allowed to adapt an independent studies curriculum in Theater to focus on filmmaking and writing and continued to work on his own make-up creations and film work, story ideas, and screenplays.
Tom finally made his move to Los Angeles in 1982. After a year of working with small make-up effects houses, Tom 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. During this time, Tom began wearing the complicated make-ups and costumes of the creatures designed at the studio. His physical build and tolerance, as well as his ability to perform as an actor, led to his portraying the title characters in such movies as Monster Squad, Pumpkinhead, and Leviathan.
During these years, Tom continued to write, ultimately teaming up with another of Winston's designer- technicians, Alec Gillis, to co-produce, write, and direct The Demon with Three Tales, a promotional piece designed to sell a feature anthology project. As interest was beginning to generate on the Demon project, Winston was in a position where letting two of his main crew members go would not interfere with his plans. Tom and Alec formed Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., primarily as an imposing-sounding source from which to pursue their own Character Effects projects, but with the intent to use the company as an umbrella under which their own film productions could eventually grow.
Tom and Alec quickly grew to become two of the major Character Effects talents in the business today, with their work gathering numerous accolades and awards including an Academy Award for Death Becomes Her and multiple Academy Award nominations for Starship Troopers and Alien3.
Not content to create only the visual image, both Tom and Alec continue to be personally involved in the performance of their characters as well. Tom continues to perform in a variety of creature and animal rolls as lead characters in the features The Thing, Zookeeper, Old Dogs, AVP (Alien Vs. Predator), Evolution, Bedazzled, Hollow Man, Alien Resurrection and Alien3, Jumanji, The X-Files feature, and more, as well as television series such as Two and a Half Men, Harry’s Law, nip/tuck, Chicago Hope, and Seven Days.
Woodruff joined the Director's Guild in 1998, directing a number of segments for the Dick Clark series, Beyond Belief. He continues to create his own in-house projects with Gillis and sometimes as solo efforts, writing, producing, and directing short films. His extensive background in practical effects and his leadership skills that allow him to take charge of 100-man crews make directing a logical and natural extension of the creative process that builds on his recognized expertise.
Along with Alec Gillis, Tom co-wrote, AVP: The Creature Effects of ADI, and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem: Inside the Monster Shop, books which document the entire creative process behind creating the huge cast of creatures for the hit Alien/Predator films. He has also contributed to dozens of books on the art of Character Effects and is a guest on many behind-the-scenes DVD features.
Together they created their own Youtube channel, studioADI, to reach out to their fans as well as fans of the physical world of monsters, creatures, and aliens with nearly 120 million views.
At the same time he is working on writing projects, Woodruff is developing additional properties with new writers to create a slate of productions that will see Woodruff and Gillis continue their growth not only as top Character Effects Artists, but also as accomplished filmmakers.
Woodruff recently exec-produced the feature, Wellwood, has exec- produced the feature, Harbinger Down (written and directed by Alec Gillis), and directed the demon noir thriller, Fire City: The Interpreter of Signs.