Thursday, March 17, 2011

Face Off on Syfy - Episode Eight, The Final Episode

 
The final episode. Of season one at least.
On Wednesday I read on Fangoria's Facebook feed that Face Off has been picked up for a second season. There is no info as to when the second season will start and I'm not sure if I will do an episode by episode review for it, but I will definitely keep my eyes and ears open and post information about it as it becomes available.

The Final Four - Gage, Tate, Sam, and Conor.

For this week's Spotlight Challenge, each of the contests had to re-invent two characters from a classic fairy tale as well as come up with a back drop for a scene from the story. However, the contestants could only pick from five fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid) and they also had to pick a style (post-apocalyptic, psychedelic, horror, outer space, and industrial). Sam got to pick both items first since she won last week's episode. The other contestants were picked at random to first pick their fairy tale then picked at random again to pick their style.

Each of the contestants were floored with the amount of work they had to do in four days, yet they all were determined to get it done no matter what. However, a little ways into the episode, McKenzie Westmore showed up to reveal that they had brought back all the former contestants to be split into teams to help out the remaining four. Sam got Jo and Megan, a surprising pick since they hated each other but Sam believed their professionalism would prevent there from being any major issues. Tate picked Tom and Ant due to all of them being "indie artists." Gage teamed up with Marcel and Jessica because they all seemed to be good friends. Conor chose Frank, due to him being a very talented artist and having worked on major movies before, and was left with Sergio.

Sam's design was a psychedelic Little Mermaid. She chose the two together because she thought the bright colors of underwater animals would greatly lend itself to the psychedelic style. The judges were the most harsh on her design out of the final four. They didn't like the fact that various parts of the main character were left so flesh toned even though she chose the scene where she was transforming into a human. However, the judges said the fact that she made it to the final four stood as a testament of her ability even though she remained safely in the middle throughout most of the season. I thought this design was very vibrant and eye catching but that there wasn't much to it, at least compared to the other three designs.

Conor chose to do a haunted Frog Prince design. The judges really thought he went above and beyond on a technical level, especially with the self-contained and fully-functioning, inflatable throat. They also really enjoyed the color schemes and the incorporation of the horror theme through the violence and brutality  he was able to convey in the prince's mid-transformation state. The witch in his design was also really unique because he had her be of an earthen nature. I really liked this design even though it wasn't as in your face as the others.



Gage had to design and industrial Hansel and Gretel. At first I was expecting a more steampunk style of industrial, but the route Gage took was really unique and resulted in an amazing design. All of the judges were completely amazed and said it was the strongest thing he had done to date. I liked his idea of instead of having the witch just be some evil woman that she originally started out human but slowly transformed into a witch and mutilated her body with metal scraps along the way. I also liked the dark twist he put on his version by not having it end happily for the kids. This was my favorite design out of the final four.

Gretel with candy stuffed cheeks.

Tate took on a post-apocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood. Instead of having Little Red Riding Hood be the victim, in his story it was her and her red cape wearing cohorts that were the aggressors in a war against werewolf type creatures. He said the idea he had in his head was really influenced by anime which definitely created a more unique design. The judges loved the full suit for the werewolf as well as his unique version of the story. I thought the werewolf piece was amazing and my only issue with the design was the awkwardly long and kind of flimsy machine gun had Little Red Riding Hood had.
Little Red Riding Hood, complete with spear and machine gun hand.

Not only were these designs showcased to the judges, they were also part of a reception for the bests in the industry which hopefully allowed all of them to network. All of the judges were blown away by the final four designs and they said that picking the winner for this challenge was the hardest they had all season and not just because it was picking the winner. First, they dismissed Sam, leaving it down to Gage, Conor, and Tate. After the perfectly timed cliffhanger commercial break, the judges picked Conor as the winner of Face Off. Although there were other contestants that I liked more for various reasons, it was evident through out the entire season that Conor was a very talented artists and it's good to see him recognized for his work. I hope to start seeing his name around more often because he definitely deserves it. Although Conor won the grand prize of $100,000 and a year's supply of makeup from Alcone, all of the contestants have had their names, abilities, and work showcased on national television so I hope all of them will be able to benefit from it.

Besides being a reality show that I could actually tolerate, Face Off provided me with a lot of inspiration to pursue my goal of getting into the special effects business as well as a look into what it takes to make it and what is required of an artist. I may never wind up on a season of Face Off or do special effects for a major Hollywood picture (which I'd be perfectly fine with), but I hope that some day I'll be able to leave my own gory mark on the industry. I took something away from every contestant on the show that I hope will help me as I begin my own transformation from a disheartened international affairs major to a monster maker.

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