Face Off Season 9: The Reality Of Movie Make Up (Part 1)

This season’s Face Off finale is a two-part episode. Upon reflection, it’s a little strange they’ve never done a two-part finale in the history of the show. Especially in these last three cycles, where they’ve pushed to stretch the season longer, including a couple of seasons with Judge’s Saves, and random interruptions of extra special episodes, like last year’s Judge Match. They’ve done two-part premieres, and two-part Top Fours, but never a two-part finale, until now.

The reason the finale is two episodes is due to the complexity of challenge. For many seasons, finales consisted of make up jobs that had to endure modern dance routines with varying levels of success. (The make ups were successes, the modern dance routines not so much.) The idea behind it was solid–see if the make up could survive being worked in–but modern dance seemed an odd fit for a show based on creating movie make ups. After a year where they tried jousting, they switched to the idea of creating looks for a something more relevant to the theme of the show: movie make ups. Last season they made looks for a large-scale fantasy franchise. But those looks were merely presented in a diorama type setting to be judged. This year they’re taking it a step further. They’re going to create movie make up designs and then see if they can survive being worked in, by filming them for a movie.

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Why no one thought of this before has got to be chalked up to a failure to think big enough. After all, as McKenzie notes, they have a qualified director as part of the “Face Off Family,” who since leaving the show after the second season, routinely comes back for the larger scale projects. Patrick Tatopoulos has done an enormous amount of prep work with the production for this. He has a set of two character B-Movie scripts with him that he and the producers pre-wrote. He’s also scouted filming set locations, and drawn up storyboards for them to follow.

The cast off contestants have returned to play assistants to our finalists, and pick up an extra paycheck. The final three pick their scripts and their helpers. To wit:

  • Evan: Quarantine Zone (Kevon&Stevie)
  • Nora: The Prey (Meg&Jasmine)
  • Ben: Resurrection (Scott&Jordan)

The question is, with a two-part finale, will there actually be make up to judge this week? Yes, because, much like the real world, the contestants will submit their designs for a screen test. Then they’ll get feedback and notes. Next week, they’ll edit, and then they’ll film.

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The finale is always an exercise in the management skills of the contestants as well as their imagination and designs. Evan is really bad at managing his people, alternately questioning his own choices and micro managing his assistants. Ben managed to score the finalists who went the farthest in the competition, and that might be why he’s more comfortable leaving them to work. Unfortunately, his laid back style doesn’t really help in time management, and they are literally scrambling to get any paint on the designs in last looks. Nora seems to manage the best of the three, playing to the skills of those she’s working with, and popping in work on pieces so everything looks like it was done by the same hand. It turns out having someone to hand things off to works also in her favor. When she starts questioning herself, and going into her usual hating her piece routine, instead of melting down, she hands it off and goes to work on something else.

Let’s check out the first drafts of the designs and see what Patrick has to say.

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Since this is merely the camera test, and not the final product, the judges are not in residence this week. Sorry Neville, Ve and Glenn We’ll see you guys next week, when the final product is ready. (This really works in the contestant’s favor, because that means the judges will be judging without any sort of first drafts clouding their judgement.) Instead Patrick is joined by what may be the ultimate Westmore Walkthrough, as McKenzie and Michael sit with him behind the camera and judge how things look.

Nora Hunter and Prey

Nora: The Prey Her “Hunter” is a tree and the “Prey” is a swamp girl. I think the prey is supposed to be greener, but on camera she looks more grey. Michael Westmore likes the subtly of the prosthesis work, but Patrick notes that the paint job doesn’t pop much on camera, and needs to be louder and bigger. But otherwise, she in the best shape of the three.

Ben priest and resurrected

Ben: Resurrection The Priest looks unfinished. I get that the character is supposed to be pale. But especially on camera, it looks like it’s unpainted. The Resurrected character doesn’t just look unfinished, it is unfinished. The paint job stops halfway down the back. Michael also notes the eyes are really dark and looks raccoon like. But the direction is good, they just have to actually finish the designs.

Evan Wanderer and Infected

Evan: Quarantine Zone His female “Wanderer” is supposed to be infected, but only partly, while his male character is supposed to be very sick. She looks like she’s got slightly bulging veins, while he looks like an alien. They don’t look like they’re two different stages of the same disease. And worse, the male character’s makeup doesn’t sit right on the model’s face, so it looks like a full head mask, and not a character. Patrick and Michael are kind, and gently suggest he needs to rehumanize the second character. Evan definitely in the worst position right now.

McKenzie assures them that was a great first go at the characters. Some have more work than others for next week, but considering how inexperienced they are, that’s to be expected. And not to worry about some people not having enough to do–they’re all being thrown a curveball that assures they’ll have quite a bit of work. Not only did Patrick write a first set of scripts, he wrote a second set–all of which include a third character for them to create. They’ll create that, and shoot the film for the judges in part two next week.

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