By Emmie Shugert
“Face Off” is a reality TV show on which special effects artists compete to make “living art.” This show is like an “American Idol” for geeks, nerds, freaks and more. It shows you that your dreams, no matter how quirky, are possible to reach through competition. The stars here are “background” people, just your average freaks, not famous actresses or singers.
The competition offers the winner a contract with a make-up company and a chance to go on and design costumes and prosthetics for other TV shows and movies. “Face Off” features amazing contestants who sometimes take their work to extreme levels that shouldn’t be possible in the short time they have. When they manage to pull that off, it doesn’t go unnoticed by the judges, experienced makeup and special effects artists like Ve Neill, who’s worked on projects like “The Hunger Games” and “The Pirates of the Caribbean;” Glenn Hetrick, who’s worked on “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Angel”; and Neville Page, who’s worked on “Star Trek” and “Avatar.” Because these judges are experts, not celebrities meant to grab ratings, even when your favorite contestant gets kicked off the show, you don’t feel cheated, and neither do the contestants.
The contestants are usually pretty eccentric but there is plenty of drama in the way they clash. You want to see your favorite contestant win and the bitchy ones lose. If you don’t like the whole sci-fi thing, the drama might draw you in. Everyone needs to feel the triumph of having their favorite contestant or design win one of the competitions or hey, maybe even the whole thing. What really gets you is the hope and effort of the contestants. In the “Howl at the Moon” episode, they were split into groups, one of which made a six-foot tall full body suit for a werewolf. You ended up on the edge of your seat because you weren’t sure if they’d be able to finish the prosthetic in time. This team was able to pull it off, but sometimes when the contestants screw up, you just want to curl up in the fetal position because you don’t want them to go home.
If the competition or the drama doesn’t draw you in, you can tune in to look at the finished projects. The good ones end up insanely well done and the bad ones, well, they look like road kill. Mostly, the work they do is amazing. Not only do contestants have to make prosthetics in two to three days, they also have to create a cohesive make-up, which they only get about four to six hours to do. In this episode, Kris Kobzina and Wayne Anderson were the ones who made the full body suit but they also did a complete paint job. Their assignment was to design a werewolf from Neptune. To deal with this, they painted their werewolf an ice blue. The judges were impressed.
With each episode, the contestants get better and better. In the end, “Face Off” is inspiring because these are average people trying to follow their dreams. At the end of each episode, you get to see these out-of-this-world designs that seemed impossible to make in the short time they’re given.