Lois Burwell

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Face Off Season 10 Episode 13: The Big Finale Part 1: “Sinister Showdown”

Published April 7, 2016 by vfdpixie

Season 10 would end with my kind of challenge!!  The 3 finalists found themselves in an oil field with a creepy looking house in the background.  It set the scene for the final challenge of the season.  McKenzie had special guest Jason Blum, creator of the production company Blumhouse that brought us all the latest horrors like The Purge and Insidious with her to bring them the challenge details.  They would have to create 2 characters to star in their own film. The film would be an adaptation of a short story taken from The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City, a collection of short stories by writers, actors and directors like Eli Roth and Scott Derrickson.  The story, entitled “Hellhole” by Chris Denham, tells of a family that buys a house only to find that it’s a portal to Hell and that they have unleashed a demon.  The artists had to create a demon and a possessed family member according to a script from one of 3 new up-and-coming directors hand-picked for this challenge.  The artists would get a lighting and screen test, 2 helpers in the way of their former contestants, and  Jason Blum would also be a judge for the final looks in the film.  Another surprise was that Oscar-winning makeup artist Lois Burwell, one of the judges from season 7, would be there for the walk-through.

Rob picked Anna and Kaleb.  His script described a demon that came up from the oil fields.  The director, Bryce McGuire, wanted a molten, cracked and crusted skin on the demon.  Rob came up with a sun-baked demon and a possessed woman who would ooze oil.  He wanted to create a larger than life chest piece, face and cowl.  Anna would do the possession makeup and Rob would do the demon face. Lois warned him to avoid a leonine look to the nose and cheeks.  Rob was floundering a bit with the design of the face, but came up with a mole/rhino look that he was happy with.  He also wanted a unique horn shape that would add height.  Kaleb fabricated a back piece that looked like roots, and even though the mold stuck creating a huge split in the demon face, and the heavy cowl was making the demon face push forward, they came up with a great makeup.  During the screen test, Rob soon learned that his vision didn’t match the director’s.  Bryce wanted a paler, more powdery look, the horns placed further back on the head, and shovel-like hands.  He also wanted imbedded natural elements.  The possessed makeup was too extreme for him, and he wanted the possession to not manifest physically.  Um….sure.  Poor Rob had a tall order ahead of him and would have to do a whole new makeup.

Rob and his first demon draft,

Rob and his first demon draft.



Melissa had Yvonne and Johnny on her team.  Her script involved a cyclops-type demon so she wanted to make sure she didn’t recreate her last makeup and came up with a fleshy eye membrane instead of an actual eye.  She would be doing the face of the demon, Yvonne the demon cowl, and Johnny the possessed family member.  During the walk-through, they thought the possessed makeup was too subtle, and she had to shift his eye shape.  The demon needed a stronger jaw line, and they had to watch their time.  She let Johnny do the molds since that was his strength, and she created a diseased look emanating from the heart area for the possessed character.  She was stressed because they were running out of time. At the screen test, director John Wynn didn’t like the demon chest piece because it might look like he was lactating once the oil started to ooze.  He wanted oil oozing from the demon’s mouth and more redness in the eye area.  The possessed makeup needed more makeup on the shoulder and branches growing from his fingertips.  Melissa intended to step it up for a win.

Melissa and her demonic duo.

Melissa and her demonic duo.



Walter, Mel and Robert would avoid the typical demon look and create a simple possessed makeup.  Lois and Mr. Westmore suggested sculpting skin around the vines that would protrude from the possessed character’s face.  They loved the demon, but Lois advised him to pay attention to where the lighting would hit the makeup.  Walter went for an asymmetrical feel with vines on one side and a pumpkin like look on the other shoulder.  He created a set of teeth for his model and Robert used moss to cover edges and gave a great look to the demon.  Mel worked on the possessed makeup and although the edges were lifting on the face piece, they got the makeups to the soundstage.  Ryan Spindell seemed happy with the look but wanted the vines finished and Mr. Westmore suggested fixing spots on the nose and brow bone that reflected too much light.  Ryan also wanted to see more of the actor in the possessed makeup.  Walter was pleased that he didn’t have to redo the whole makeup.

Walter and his vined demons.

Walter and his vined demons.



All the artists had a lot of work to do before the final filming, and once again, Face Off left us hanging until the second part of the finale.  This is killing me!!

Face Off Season 7: Life and Death!!

Published July 23, 2014 by vfdpixie

So season 7 started out with a bang with host McKenzie Westmore announcing a “never been seen before, Life and Death” Season.  16 eager contestants were ushered into the Vibiana Event Space which was a Cathedral in the past where baptisms and funerals took place, illustrated by a lavish light and dark set.  What better place to stage a Sudden Death Challenge!  McKenzie (looking fabulous as always!) told the group that they were not actually on the show yet.  This challenge would be a final audition to determine who the final 14 contestants would be, meaning  2 people would go home.  They were all floored but jumped to the challenge as they scrambled to work stations representing Life and Death with boxes containing an item they had to use in the makeups.  The artists had to create characters that showed their personality as an artist and the subject matter of the challenge.  As they tried to overcome nerves and work with what was provided, they were stopped mid-way by McKenzie so she could introduce a second part to the challenge…and ROBERT ENGLUND, the actor behind legendary character Freddy Krueger!  Everyone was floored once again as he offered them advice, and I think he made even McKenzie blush as he kissed her hand!  What a charmer!  They had to incorporated a new item into their makeups as many times in the industry, directors and producers will often change things at a moment’s notice as the scripts change.  Mr. Englund told them to pay attention to and use their models’ features in order to create a successful makeup.  He said Freddy’s claw inspired him as an actor to bring the character to life, so the props were also important.

When the 4 hours were up, Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick came out to do a preliminary judging on their looks.  The standouts for me were Dina, a cake decorator who changed careers.  She created a forest nymph that was really beautiful, and Cig, who has been working in the industry for several years who created a great paint job on his “life warrior”.

The next day, they reconvened on the Reveal Stage, where they were joined by Neville, Glenn and Ve Neill, who had been absent the previous day due to her work on The Hunger Games set.  She would not be around too much on the show because she was to be working, so they had Lois Burwell, Oscar-winning artist for Braveheart, join the Face Off team.  The final contestants would be lucky to have such incredible judges!

They were split up into 2 groups:  Group 1 would be safe and Group 2 would be the best and the worst for this challenge.  Group 1 consisted of Cig, Rachelle, Stella, Damien, George, Drew, Barry and Doc.  The second group included Keaghlan, Scott, Sasha, Jason, Dina, Gabby, Gwen, and Vince.  In the middle of their critiques, the judges decided to call out the first person to go home.  It was a unanimous decision to ask Scott to leave.  He had used a neck prosthetic as a face piece which went against the challenge, and the judges thought his skill set wasn’t up to par for the competition.  Disappointed but not defeated, this late bloomer who started makeup classes with his son, left the show determined to continue his passion.

As the judges continued on, they chose Dina with her forest nymph, Vince who created a unique mutated zombie demon and made good use of rib bones on the face of his character, Sasha and her “Raven Maven” graveyard dweller which was a complete character even though she ignored a key prosthetic, and Keaghlan with her creative muse with had a great colour scheme as the top in Group 2.  The bottom consisted of Gwen who created a death character that looked good from afar but was muddy.  They felt she didn’t make bold decisions.  Jason’s well creature was “buried” in makeup and had a muddy paint job, and Gabby, who admitted that her makeup was sub par, didn’t design around the piece she was given.  In the end, Gabby, a self-taught makeup artist, was sent home.  She too would not give up her passion and was fueled to carry on.

The remaining artists breathed a sigh of relief as the realized they were the 14 contestants for season 7 of Face Off!  I am very interested to see how Vince performs.  He was an Emmy award winner and worked under Mr. Westmore on Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine.  This artist took a 15 year break to raise a family, so I can’t wait to see how he does this season.  Dina has also peaked my interest.  Her innovative use of a piping bag to create veins for her forest nymph shows she has untapped creativity that I think will blossom as the show progresses.  Cig has great painting skills, so I think he will deliver.  And finally, Gwen looks like she has promise, but must build her confidence if she wants to survive on the show.   This should be an exciting and more intense season as the challenges get crazier!

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