Face Off is a reality TV series on the SyFy channel that is heading into another season shortly. Face Off has been compared to reality TV shows like Top Chef and Project Runway because similarly to those shows the contestants on the show compete in a series of challenges each week for the chance to stay on the show, with one person being voted off by the judges each week. The final three contestants must compete in a very difficult challenge at the end to show the judges what they are capable of and then the judges award the grand prize which is usually money and some of special prize like a car. What makes Face Off different is that the contestants on Face Off are all aspiring makeup and special effects artists who want to work in film and TV creating the kind of transformations that have made movies and TV special for decades.
The judges on Face Off are experts in the art of creating movie magic like Ve Neill, who has won Oscars for her work on films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Beetlejuice. Glenn Hetrick, who has his own movie and makeup effects studio has worked on The X Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and most recently the smash movie adaptation of The Hunger Games. He also has designed costumes and looks for pop star Lady Gaga. For the first two seasons Ve Neill and Glen Hetrick were joined by creature specialist and director Patrick Tatopolous who directed Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. In the third season Patrick Tatopolous was replaced by special effects master Neville Page whose credits include X-Men 2 and 3, Tron: Legacy, The Watchmen, The Incredible Hulk and TV shows like Falling Skies. The contestants on Face Off are competing for the chance to get their names and work in front of these industry leaders as much as they are competing for the prizes, which include $100,000 in cash and $25,000 of makeup from Alcone.
Each week the contestants must complete a “Spotlight Challenge” that is designed to test a particular skill. They also at times must complete a “Foundation Challenge” which is designed to test their knowledge of basic design principles, creativity, and familiarity with equipment and makeup commonly used in the industry. The person that wins the “Foundation Challenge” will win some type of advantage over the other contestants in that week’s “Spotlight Challenge”. Sometimes that prize is immunity from being voted off the show for that week, other times it is advantages like getting first pick of models, materials, or themes for the “Spotlight Challenge”.
The contestants usually have several days to complete the “Spotlight Challenge” so that they have time to complete any sculpting or appliance making that they might have to do to complete the look. The end results of the efforts are often staggering as the audience gets to see monsters, aliens, vampires, and other unique characters come to life. Face Off is a great look at the process of creating the creatures that become so real on the screen, and it’s also a great way to get makeup tips to use for creating fantastic Halloween looks.