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Face Off: Season 4 Finale!!! So Dreamy..

Published March 27, 2013 by vfdpixie

Wow!!  What a whirlwind of an episode!!  My head is still spinning from all that went on for the Face Off Season 4 finale “Living the Dream“!  The guys were all mentally and physically exhausted, so a sweet surprise was in order.  They all got to have a Skype chat with loved ones.  Tears and words of encouragement fueled the guys and gave them the motivation to get to the finish line.

Their final spotlight challenge was pretty amazing.  They had to create 2 characters for the Las Vegas show La Reve-The Dream at the Wynn Resort.  The stage for this one of a kind show was a 1 million gallon tank, where over 90 acrobats, artists and olympic athletes performed daring feats in and out of the water.  Artistic Director for the show, James Santos introduced the characters:  a dream thief who is an adrenaline junkie looking for danger and the quarry of their victim.  The thief and victim makeups had to be, of course, completely waterproof, and since they existed in the subconscious, the gang was presented with dream themes.  Anthony chose sinister, Wayne picked supernatural, and Kris took on ethereal.  They were also presented with assistants:  their former competitors!  Wayne’s team included Eric F. and Meagan; Kris worked with House and Alam, and Anthony picked Eric Z. and Autumn.  After the selection, they got to work with energy and team spirit.  Kris loved his team, but hated the challenge as he worried his idea might not be enough.  Anthony seemed to have a few hiccups as Autumn’s mold got locked, and his face appliance had to be re-sculpted due to bubbling.  Wayne was concerned with- you guessed it- time.  Michael Westmore came in for his last mentor visit.  It was really nice to see how much the gang was going to miss him.  They all appreciated beyond words his guidance and they basically wanted to take him with them when they left, especially Wayne, who was sorry that Westmore would not longer warn him about time management.  Love it!  I also loved how some team members became guinea pigs with paint and hair pieces.  They definitely got marks for team work.

And then they were in Las Vegas.  Ah, Vegas!  Where you can walk down the street with a giant bottle of beer at 10 a.m.  Where I celebrated a birthday that ended in a zero in maximum overdrive!  I miss you, Frankie’s Tiki Room!  Ahem, but I digress…so the guys checked in to the Wynn Resort and took in their lavish surroundings.  Popping some bubbly, the boys toasted to a good competition and geared up for the final day.

Last 4 hours and last looks were pretty hairy.  Everyone was worried about the staying power of the makeups in water, and diligently sealed their appliances.  And Wayne?  Seriously???  He was so short on time, again.  Once out in the theatre, the tension mounted.  McKenzie Westmore looked glamorous for the final show, and presented the makeups and the performance.  And what a performance it was!  Total disclosure here:  there are 2 things this pixie does not like:  heights and (cess) pools.  This show had both, but these performers were so talented, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.  And the makeups looked incredible!  I especially liked Kris’s silver dream thief.  After, the contestants were proud and pumped, and the judges thought the makeups looked just as good in and out of the water.  Glenn thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen.

Kris created his ethereal “water celestial” duo with beautiful colour, sculpting and originality.  The judges loved the paint on the male character because it worked with the lighting, and all the detail in the sculpting.  They did find the female a bit disconnected because of her bright colouring but the sculpting was very clean.  They were “delighted” that he went out of the box.

Anthony used sinister for his characters, and they definitely were.  His idea came from a thief who wanted the soul of a princess because his own had been ripped from him.  Neville loved the profile of the female character and thought it was perfect.  The male character had a gargoyle-like appearance and the paint job was admired as well.  Glenn thought the female was beautiful in an alien way, especially since she had no hair.  You could immediately tell there was harmony with the characters, as they looked similar, but it looked natural.  The judges loved that Anthony took their guidance as the competition went on.

Wayne got praised for his sculpting with the supernatural duo.  He had created a demon who wanted the new wings of an angel.  He had great detail and they felt it was a great team of characters.  The male had unique horns that blended back into the base of the skull, and the back sculpture on the angel was also unique.  They thought it was truly unique design and they were clearly from the same world.

The judges had a hard time choosing a winner.  Glenn mentioned how blown away he was because they all created something the judges had never seen before which is extremely difficult.  In the end, Anthony ruled supreme!  He was the proud winner of a Fiat 500, $100,000, and a spot as a guest lecturer for Makeup Forever in NYC and Paris.  I thought his characters were truly sinister, beautiful, and very clean-looking.  He definitely earned the prize as a fairly consistent artist with beautiful designs, and was humbly grateful.  He was also honoured to be among his peers.  Good job, Anthony!  The best man won!

I enjoyed this season, and all the competitors were worthy of making it to the finale.  I’m glad we got to see some of the other artists come back, and I wish every one of them great success and satisfaction in the future!   I think Face Off is a brilliant show, and I’ve watched it from the start.  I love, love, love Ve Neill, Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick as judges.  They are truly forerunners of the industry.  I’m so glad there is a show like this on t.v to spotlight how a SFX makeup artist creates their vision.    Hats off to another successful season!

Face Off Season 4 Episode 9: Mummy Gods

Published March 13, 2013 by vfdpixie

The lads are on top!  It’s a boys club as we near the final episodes of Face Off.  Meagan departed on a good note with Anthony and Eric F. as she left them messages that gave them a good laugh.  It was needed as we see the guys feeling stressed, run down, and along with the others, Eric F. is really missing his family.

The challenge this week on “Mummy Mayhem” brought the boys to the Egyptian Theatre where America’s first movie premiere of Robin Hood occurred in 1922 .  Five Egyptian gods were lined up for the artists to choose from.  In anticipation of the remake of Evil Dead, and since the real Book of the Dead was Egyptian, the guys had to create a mummified, decaying version of a god of their choice.  Specific instructions dictated that they make sure the makeups were seriously haunting, creepy and represented themselves as artists.  I was really excited to see what they came up with since these guys are all really creative and talented, and since I love Evil Dead!  (As an aside, I am quite aware of the movie plug, but I’ve seen a clip of the remake and it actually looks good, so I’ll let the shameless plug rage slide).

Kris picked Khnum, god of water and creation and planned to create an elaborate ram’s head.  Anthony chose Anubis, god of embalming and death and planned to use lots of cheese cloth to create a mummy look.  Eric went with the sun-god, Ra, and decided to use a woman model with a smaller frame to emphasize an emaciated mummy.  He also wanted to pay tribute to Evil Dead by going totally 80’s with his design.  Wayne got Sobek, god of crocodiles, and really wanted to create a great paint job this time around.  Lastly, House took on Thoth, the moon-god who is also a scribe, so he decided to use his body as a tablet and etch in hieroglyphics which I thought was cool.

I always find it fascinating to watch them in action.  These guys are amazing as the tension mounts for stellar work.  Even though they are stressed and exhausted, it is nice to see the camaraderie and friendship between the five.  They respect each other’s skills and I actually believe they want the best man to win.  Mentor Michael Westmore revealed that he was a history major as he made his rounds and was excited about the Egyptian challenge.  He was impressed by all the designs but warned them, especially Wayne, to be mindful of their time management.

On elimination day, Wayne struggled to complete his paint job, even though he has been warned time and time again, and House is also scrambled a bit, using a gold paint wash to create a god-like glow.  Glenn Hetrick said this was his favourite challenge to date and that they had all done great jobs.  Top looks were created by Kris and Wayne.  Kris came up with a genuinely scary god with gorgeous sculpting.  the judges loved the dryness of the paint job that looked like a “real mummified body” and the eyes.  Glenn  loved the “exquisite nuance” of the makeup and they all felt that it was not only camera ready, but close up ready as well.  Wayne managed to get his makeup together at the last-minute and his crocodile god displayed great sculpting, called “unreal” by one of the judges.  They only criticisms were the transitioning of the head, which Wayne had done intentionally, but the judges thought it was too obvious, and the lack of eyes.  Honorable mention must go to Eric F.  His mummy god looked the Evil Dead part, and definitely showed his personality.  I loved it, but Glenn hated the dominant red colour of his paint job; they found the mouth to be a slight issue, and it was almost too Evil Dead for them.  Eric was also warned that he would need to go more realistic next time, but I think they were just splitting hairs.  Give the guy a break!  At least he didn’t “go big” this time!

Bottom looks came from Anthony and House.  Anthony’s god got criticized for the angularity of the face and the proportions of the death mask and shoulders, which they felt should have both been wider.  Neville Page felt that the beautiful sculpture in the ribs was obscured by his paint job and there was too much yellow used.  House got nailed with his last-minute decision to do a gold wash over his design.  The judges felt there was too much gloss going on for a mummy, and Ve Neill felt that the body was too bulky and didn’t look decayed.  They liked his concept but the overall look was rough.

The winner was Kris!  So glad for him as the judges praised all the details in the makeup and called it an exceptional job.  House was sent home.  I am sad to see his cranky ass go, and the judges love him as an artist and look forward to see what he does in the future.  I do think it was a fair choice, but I think he is really innovative and will make his mark in the industry.  I don’t want the show to end, but I also can’t wait to see who makes it to the finale!

Face Off Season 4 Episode 8: Black Light Fish Tank

Published March 6, 2013 by vfdpixie

Face Off has given the contestants a gift with mentor Michael Westmore.  They should (and some do) heed his direct and sensible advice more than ever as it gets down to the final challenges that will lead us to a winner.  After wiping their collective brow upon Autumn’s departure, the remaining artists realize that there is much at stake as the grand prize gets closer.

This week on “It’s Better In The Dark”, the gang goes to Leo Carrillo State Park, where films like Inception and the Usual Suspects were filmed, as an inspiration for the next challenge.  They must create a new species from any of earth’s eco-systems, but this species must be bio-luminous.  The design must incorporate a black light paint job as well as a regular one.  After spending some time at the park, they get back to the lab only to find out that this is a double elimination week.  The stakes are raised and they MUST step up their game.

House, Anthony, Eric F, and Kris all opt out for fish-like, or amphibious creatures.  Meagan’s creature evolved into a venus flytrap type of character, Eric Z. chose a cavern dwelling part amphibious design, and Wayne went with a crab humanoid.  The last few episodes have really given us a chance to see what incredible skills Wayne and Kris have in sculpting, and this week was no exception.  I’m glad they’ve made it this far because they are great competition for Eric F., Anthony and House, who have all shown their skills early on in the show.

An unfortunate turn of events (or the stomach!) occurs for Meagan that takes her out of the first day of the challenge, but she comes back the next day, still woozy from food poisoning, determined to at least finish her design which has suffered from her absence.  Others are plagued with time management issues, “steam pockets” in their foam pieces (too much moisture in molds that leaves pits in foam), pieces getting stuck in molds, and trying to keep things simple so they can have a finished makeup to present to the judges.

The guest judge on elimination day was Jon Landau, producer of Titanic and Avatar.  I liked his straightforward input that comes from many years in the film industry.  The bottom looks came from House, Eric Z and Meagan.  House’s fish woman was slammed for the hands, bad paint job and coarse sculpting.  Landau commented on how she had that “been there, done that” look.  Eric Z and his tough rock dwelling “guy” was called a “big cookie monster” by Ve and Landau though it wasn’t original and didn’t work.  The black light paint job was also compared to a child’s finger painting.  Meagan’s venus flytrap creature had too much going on and not a clear concept, but Landau pointed out that it was the only land based creature presented.

The top looks were created by Kris, Anthony, Wayne and Eric F.  Kris had great sculpting and Ve loved the 60/70’s look.  It was also praised for being very stylized which has been his strength in the competition.  Landau felt, however, that the face and mouth might make it difficult for expression.  Anthony’s creation was called beautiful, and “genius” as his paint job both in black light and normal, and the sculpting impressed the judges.  It was also, to me, the most complete and executed the challenge properly.  Wayne’s crab creature showed a significant improvement in his abilities and Neville commented on how the makeup had a natural artistic sensibility and great detail.  Finally, Eric F. had a great black light presentation with his amphibian girl, and even though he admitted that it was unfinished, was told it was a bold concept.  Landau added that the ribs should have been painted in black light for more effect.

The winner ended up being Anthony for the most cohesive design that stood out in both lighting.  I thought it was just beautiful myself, so I’m glad he won.  Meagan and Eric Z went home.  The judges saw potential in Eric Z, but felt he lost his way, and Meagan went because she had no real design.  Even though I liked Eric Z., I thought this was a fair choice.  I think the remaining contestants are deserving of the final places in the competition, and I would love to see Eric F. and Wayne step up their games with better time management.  I would also like to see Eric F. do something other than really, really big!  He has really unique ideas, but the judges are on to him.  Even though they liked what he did this time around, he needs to be careful.  Anthony had a few bumps in the road, but he’s a serious contender for the win, and House needs to come out of Cranky Pants Land (even though I kind of like the crankiness) and focus, focus, focus!  Looking forward to see what the boys bring us next week!

Face Off Season 4 Episode 7: Muzzle Up!

Published February 27, 2013 by vfdpixie

This week’s episode “Howl at the Moon” brings us some bummed out contestants.  They all miss Alam, and so do I!  They quickly cheer up at the Foundation Challenge, however, where they team up again to create a host of zombies.  I loved how their models introduced themselves by stumbling zombie style out of a barn.  Their guest judge was Gale Ann Hurd, executive producer of The Walking Dead.  That in itself was pretty amazing.  She tells them to think about how their zombies died to create a makeup.  Eric F. and Wayne, Meagan and Anthony, and House and Eric Z. all worked well with each other and banged out some cohesive, complete zombie looks.  Unfortunately Kris got teamed up with Autumn and they could not work as a team.  Autumn had a temper tantrum over her lack of sponges, and I loved how Kris just ignored her and kept going.  Gale Ann said their makeups were not complete because there was no attention paid to the backs of their models.   The winning team of this challenge was Meagan and Anthony, with Meagan surprisingly (at least to me) winning immunity.  Gale Ann said she liked how Meagan took charge of the all the models to get organized, and felt she could hire her to work on a set tomorrow.  Sure, whatever.

The Spotlight Challenge was pretty cool.  Once again in teams, they had to choose a planet and create a werewolf that might exist there.  They gang seemed energized with this challenge, and got together to create their looks.  House and Meagan chose Mars and designed an astronaut in mid-transformation after an attack from a Martian werewolf.  Eric Z. and Autumn went for Jupiter and came up with a werewolf partially made of stone to withstand the gravitational pull.  Eric F. and Anthony get Saturn and go for a design where the model will have to walk backwards for the makeup to be effective.  Wayne and Kris end up with Neptune and create a creature that dwells in darkness and comes out at night to feed, transforming into a werewolf in the moonlight.

Poor Eric Z.!!  His patience was tested to the limit with his partner Autumn.  The usually calm and collected man finally had to step away as their project got steamrolled by Autumn’s overbearing personality and over confidence with her skill.  She even had the nerve to call out Eric when mentor Michael Westmore came to see their progress.  Oi Autumn!  Please shut your mouth!!  The other team members plugged away, casting sympathic looks and shaking their heads at the kerfuffle.  Meagan surrendered full creativity to House since she had immunity, and she seemed to annoy him, but they did work fairly well together.  As always, there was the usual scramble at last looks before the final judging.

The top looks came from House and Meagan and Kris and Wayne.  the judges loved how House and Meagan created a solid back story that was obvious, the proportions that stayed true to a classic werewolf, and a great head sculpture and paint job.  Kris and Wayne got props for an interesting and beautiful werewolf and they loved the detailing of the spine, the paint job and the cohesiveness of the makeup.

The bottoms looks were created by Eric Z. and Autumn, and Eric F. and Anthony.  Eric Z. and Autumn’s werewolf was called “terrier-esque” by one of the judges, and even Eric has mentioned something about the face looking like a chihuahua.  The judges also disliked the sculpting and felt there was no blending of the makeup and no teamwork, and called Autumn bossy (thank you!!) for bullying Eric during the challenge.  The amount of work Eric F. and Anthony put into their design was acknowledge, but ultimately, the judges felt the reversal of the suit would prevent the model from functioning properly and the head look like a Halloween mask.  They also felt that Eric was always going big and hoped the sheer size of his makeup would get him through.

The top team ended up being Kris and Wayne, the winner being Kris because of his great sculpting of the back piece to their design.  I’m very happy that he won because he is really coming out of his shell and it seems like his confidence and comfort level has risen to the challenges.  I don’t want to sound like a mean person, but I actually cheered when they sent Autumn home.  They hated the werewolf from Jupiter, and called her loathsome for her behaviour and throwing Eric under the bus.  So glad!  She was really difficult and deserved to go home.  I think the judges are going to keep an eye on Eric F. and Anthony now, as they are quickly being challenged by Kris, Wayne, House and even Meagan.  And I hope that Eric Z. gets it together and uses some of his calm to step up because the judges noted that he didn’t really defend himself this time around.  Can’t wait for next week as the crunch for a winner get crunchier!!

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