TOM STERN: BIO
Tom was born and raised in the town of Pleasantville, New York. At the age of ten, he made an 8mm film entitled "Blowing Stuff Up", thus showing an early mastery of the essentials of American film. In high school he made many short films including an award winning parody of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. His short fiction also garnered awards, including first prize in a country wide short story contest.
Tom graduated with honors from N.Y.U. Film School, where he directed several 16mm films, two of which were sold and aired on the USA Network's Nightflight program. One of these was Squeal of Death , a super fast paced comedy that looked like a live action Tex Avery cartoon (long before The Mask!). It marked the beginning of his collaboration with Alex Winter .
Tom and Alex came to Hollywood in 1987, wrote several spec screenplays, and got their first professional job directing Impact Video Magazine , which featured a short film starring the Butthole Surfers, as well as documentary and music video segments on Jane's Addiction, Public Enemy, and others. In 1989 Tom and Alex began directing music videos for Propaganda Films, including clips for The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ice Cube and Extreme. They also made short comedy films for television variety shows such as CBS TV's Hard Rock Cafe Saves the Planet and the Playboy Channel's Inside Out .
During this time Tom wrote for the Jim Henson Hour variety show on NBC and was hired by Universal Studios to co-write a comedy screenplay called Milo Rigby On Wheels. A breakthrough happened in 1991 when Tom and Alex were hired by MTV to create and star in the comedy series The Idiot Box . They completed one season of the show and then made a deal with Joe Roth at 20th Century Fox to direct their first feature film, Freaked , with Harry and Mary Jane Ufland producing. The special effects laden film was a groundbreaking absurd comedy that came off on schedule and on budget and was enthusiastically supported by Roth and Fox through post production. Unfortunately, after Roth left the studio, the film was not supported by the subsequent administration, and received only a perfunctory release. It was a hit on the festival circuit and receive many glowing reviews. Entertainment Weekly wrote that Freaked contained more belly laughs than a month worth of Saturday Night Lives, and said the writer/directors were destined to be the next Zucker Brothers if "Hollywood would let them".
Next Tom was hired by Propaganda to write the sequel to An American Werewolf in London, entitled An American Werewolf in Paris . He co-wrote the film with Tim Burns , whom he'd collaborated with previously on The Idiot Box and Freaked. American Werewolf is finally (after changing hands many times over two years) being made at Hollywood Pictures.
Recently, Tom completed Bad Pinocchio, a feature screenplay he wrote to direct himself. He directed and co-wrote Space Monkeys, an MTV pilot. He finished a re-write of The Adventures of Tom Thumb, a feature screenplay being developed by Mark Damon Productions. He directed a music video for the hit band Marilyn Manson's song Dopehat. And he directed a short film for the Butthole Surfers concert tour.
Tom is currently producing a short computer animated film with Tim Burns at Palomar Pictures. Tom and Tim created the character, Goofy Gus, wrote the script and are directing the animation. It might be described in Hollywood shorthand as a "Mr. Bill for the 90's". Tom recently teamed up with Palomar Pictures. They will be representing him for directing work in music videos and commercials, and together with Warner Television, they have optioned Ultra Chimps, a half hour comedy television series idea created by Tom and Tim. Tom and Tim Burns are currently finishing a spec featurscreenplay entitled Dick Future: Future Dick, about a down and out private eye in the 2070's.
Tom has served as a resident director and writer on the shows "The Man Show", "That's My Bush", and "The Jimmy Kimmell Show." He is the creator of the short lived mock travel show "Wanderlust" on Comedy Central and is currently directing "The Andy Milanokis Show." Check out Tom's work with Monkeys HERE.
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