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Thomas G. Smith

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Tom Smith
Thomas G. Smith ca. 1986.jpg

Thomas G. Smith

Birth name: Thomas Graham Smith
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 1938
Place of birth: Canton, Illinois
Roles: ILM production staffer, Star Trek author
You may also be looking for Tom Smith, the comic book artist.

Thomas "Tom" Graham Smith (born 1938) is a cinematographer who was employed at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) from 1979 until 1988. Starting out as production supervisor, he worked upon Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dragonslayer (both 1981), and Poltergeist (1982). Promoted to general manager he has overseen the production of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as well as the ILM productions E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and two Ewok Adventures television movies, having received a daytime Emmy Award nomination for each in 1985 and 1986 respectively.

Hailing from Illinois, Smith was a 1960 graduate from the Northwestern University and upon graduation went to Europe to study film in Paris before a three year stint in the United States Air Force. In 1965, following his service the U.S. Air Force, Smith joined Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation as a writer/director, making educational films, something he would intermittently continue to do afterwards. By the time he joined ILM he had already made sixty of these, one of his last ones during that period, Solar System (1977), on which he cooperated with effects camera man Jim Veilleux, catching the eye of ILM's founder, George Lucas. [1]

After he left ILM in 1988, he joined Walt Disney Studios and has worked as executive producer on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989, winning him a British Academy Award-BAFTA-) and its 1992 follow-up Honey I Blew Up the Kid as well as on several 3D theme park attractions. For Jim Henson Productions, Smith has worked on two Muppet installments, Muppet Treasure Island (1992) and Muppets from Space (1996) as well as the television series Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories (1992). His last recorded mainstream credit was for Turner Pictures' critically acclaimed Civil War drama Gods and Generals (2003) as visual effects producer. Smith has written the script of, and produced a project of his own, the science-fiction thriller The Arrival (1996).

In between, Smith continued to make educational films, in addition to writing numerous articles on the subject of film making. He has authored one influential reference book, Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects, published in 1986, chronicling the first decade of that company's existence.

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