Savage has worked as an animator, graphic designer, carpenter, projectionist, film developer, television presenter, set designer, toy designer, and gallery owner. He worked as a model maker on the films Galaxy Quest, Bicentennial Man, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, The Matrix Reloaded, and Space Cowboys, among others.
Savage played the role of a helpful engineer in the 2001 film Ever Since the World Ended and the role of an army surplus store owner who sells a man a rocket engine for his pickup truck in 2006 in The Darwin Awards, which also featured MythBusters co-star Jamie Hyneman. He made a cameo appearance along with Jamie Hyneman on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on the May 1, 2008, episode “The Theory of Everything.” In the “making of” material for The Matrix Revolutions, he appears in his role as a special effects artist and discusses some of the miniature effects used and the difficulties involved.
Savage has been involved in MythBusters since its creation. His role in the show (that he shares with all the other talent) is to either disprove (“bust”) myths or confirm them through testing and experiments done at different scales. If the myth is about a one-time occurrence and not about whether or not something can happen at all, it is often deemed “plausible” instead.
He previously taught advanced model making in the department of Industrial Design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Savage has become a regular presenter at magician James Randi’s annual skeptics’ conference, The Amaz!ng Meeting, since first appearing in January 2006. Savage credits his introduction to the skeptical community to Michael Shermer, who interviewed him for Skeptic Magazine. He also appeared in the UK, giving a talk at the first Amazing Meeting London from October 3–4, 2009, hosted at the Mermaid Conference Centre, Blackfriars.
Savage has also been a regular guest speaker at the annual Maker Faire since 2008, speaking on different topics such as his obsession with the dodo bird and problem solving, and also taking questions from the audience members about the Mythbusters and other things.
Savage hosted an episode of the Discovery Channel series Curiosity, in which he speculated as to whether or not it is possible for humans to live forever. During the program various topics such as limb regeneration, organ printers, and even age reversal are discussed.
Savage is an occasional guest host for lecture events at the San Francisco-based non-profit City Arts & Lectures., and delivered the keynote address at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival on March 10, 2014.
Savage is a co-host on the weekly podcast Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project. The project launched on June 5, 2012, and is in the format of a conversation between 3 or 4 people about topics from science and movies to work ethic.