Kurtzman began his career in 1984 when he moved from his hometown of Crestline, Ohio, to Hollywood, California, to pursue his interest in prosthetic makeup, better known as special make-up effects. In 1988, along with Gregory Nicotero and Howard Berger, he formed K.N.B. EFX Group, a special make-up effects studio which has gone on to work on over 400 film and television projects. K.N.B. has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award in 2001 for their work on the 2000 Sci Fi Channel miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune. They were awarded an Academy Award in 2006 for achievement in makeup for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
After establishing himself in the special effects arena, Kurtzman turned to directing and producing. His first project was From Dusk till Dawn, for which he wrote the original story, served as co-producer, and created the special effects. The Demolitionist marked Kurtzman’s directorial debut. He went on to direct Wishmaster, in which he had an uncredited cameo as "piano wire guy". In 2002, Kurtzman left K.N.B. EFX Group. Kurtzman and his wife, Anne, relocated their family to Crestline, Ohio, and started their own production company, Precinct 13 Entertainment. Founded in 2003, Precinct 13 is described as a Film/Television and Radio Commercial/Visual Effects production facility. The Rage was their first in-house, fully financed, independent feature film. Kurtzman and P13 have, also, recently co-produced the supernatural film The Dead Matter, featuring Andrew Divoff, Tom Savini, and Jim O'Rear. Kurtzman also directed the action-thriller film Deadly Impact, which was written by Alexander Vesha.