In 1969, aspiring to become an actor, Stan decide to move to Hollywood. Feeling that he wasn't going to get any worthwhile parts, Stan got a day job at Disney in a makeup apprenticeship. After having success in makeup artistry including winning an Emmy for his work on the telefilm Gargoyles, Stan decided to keep on with the trade.
Between 1973 and 1979, Stan had many more Emmy nominations. Stan soon set up his own studio, and in 1981, Stan achieved his first Oscar nomination for Heartbeeps.
Stan went on to work with James Cameron, providing significant special effects work on both Terminator, and Aliens.
Stan and his studio soon became well known for their high quality practical effects work. Their work on Predator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and Jurassic Park got them nominations and won them Oscars for "Best Visual Effects".