Mark Viniello ’92
Viniello works at MASTERSFX in Los Angeles, a special-effects company serving the television and movie industries.
He supervised the effects on season six of HBO’s True Blood, and his credits include spending a month in New Zealand on the Lord of the Rings films, creating dinosaurs for Jurassic Park 3, and even playing creatures he made in the movie Alien and the television show Xena, Warrior Princess.
“I have the greatest job in the world,” he insists. “A bad day in the office for me is if the elf ears don’t turn out.”
Viniello ’92 knew from the time he was four what he wanted to do: create monsters for the movies. He made creatures from anything he could get his hands on.
Describing a childhood spent in his basement and garage “sticking things to his face,” he recalls attempting to recreate classic Universal Studios’ monster makeup designs, “from putting a small brown paper bag over my head to do Frankenstein to gluing cotton and fur to my face to be the Wolfman.” He repeatedly watched monster movies such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Man of a Thousand Faces, and Q.
“I must have watched the transformation scene in An American Werewolf in London over 100 times trying to figure out how (with makeup) you could change someone’s face like that.”
The Hopewell Junction, NY, native describes the day he discovered the BALA program (BA in Liberal Arts) during his sophomore year as “probably the happiest day of my college career.”
He blended biology and the visual arts, specifically anatomy and sculpture. “It afforded me the information that is critical in the first steps of creating a character or prosthetic makeup—sculpture techniques and anatomy study,” he says.