Monday, 11 February 2013

Face Off - Twisted Tales

The series finale of season one of SyFy's 'Face Off' asked the four finalists to each pick a fairytale and a genre for their designs. The options were; Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, The Frog Prince and Hansel and Gretel. These were to be paired with; Psychedelic, Post-Apocolyptic, Haunted, Outer-Space and Industrial. Each design had to incorporate two characters from the story.

The contestants chose as such:

- Tate: Post-Apocolyptic Red Riding Hood
- Gage: Industrial Hansel and Gretel
- Sam: Psychedelic Little Mermaid
- Connor: Haunted Frog Prince

Tate's Post-Apocolyptic Red Riding Hood

Tate chose to focus most of his time on the wolf character as, in his own words; "All I ever said when I got here was I wanted to build a f***ing werewolf, and today, I built a f***ing werewolf!"

Initial Design
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His design was very ambitious as it incorporated a full body suit and a full scale head with glowing red LED eyes. In the story that he was telling with his make-up he reversed the roles of the characters and had Little Red Riding Hood as some form of warrior with huge goggles, facial scarring and a gatling gun embedded into her right arm. In contrast, the wolf character was portrayed as the victim in this post-apolyptic setting as Tate incorporated bullet wounds into the body suit. He said that a lot of his inspiration, especially for the glowing red eyes came from Japanese Anime which he wanted to use to 'traditionalise' the characters.
All of the finalists were also asked to meet with a set designer and explain the type of setting that they envisaged to go alongside their makeups. Tate requested an industrial cityscape where the land was completely iced over. Ideally the setting would be night time and incorporate a lot of blue tones. Seeing the make-ups within the setting I believe that these were very good choices that contrasted very well against the predominant colours of white and red.
The judges commended Tate's decision to keep the Red Riding Hood make-up quite simplistic and pour all of his energy into the construction of the werewolf and the dynamics of the two characters worked well together. They were also impressed with his choice of colour; particularly the fact that the werewolf was white as opposed to the traditional grey and praised his ambitiousness in tackling a full body suit.

Tate finished Face Off in the final three contestants.

Gage's Industrial Hansel and Gretel

Initial Design
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Gage's vision for his make-ups was to focus on portraying something evil against something innocent; to dramatise the violence of the story and highlight the fact that the children are being fed to be eaten. His dark twist on the traditional story is that in his world, the witch succeeds in eating the kids and there is no happy ending.

 His two characters for this make-up would be witch and Gretel, who contrasted strongly in their design.

Gretel was designed to appear, in my opinion, almost cartoon-like. Her cheeks were swollen to appear as if they had been stuffed with candy and her eyes were painted much larger than life onto the model's closed eyelids.

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In contrast, the witch incorporated the traditional nose that is often seen on fairytale witch characters, but was taken one step further into something very
grotesque by having her jaw completely dislocated and hanging down from her face. 
My favourite element of this design, however, was the witch's stomach, which Gage created a prosthetic for to make it appear huge and swollen with the imprints of small hands pushing against the skin from within. In order to make the witch seem 'fused' with the industrial setting, Gage added a huge amount of metal shrapnel that was embedded into the skin. His story behind this was that the witch was human at one time and as she began to transform she started to self mutilate using all of these pieces of metal.
For his setting Gage requested that the designer create an old dilapidated candy shop that once   had many bright colours but that now appeared faded as it had worn away and been torn down.

The judges were utterly blown away by Gage's creation and deemed it his best work. He was commended most highly for his ability to tell the story without explanation through tiny little details in his make-up such as the small pieces of foil around Gretel's mouth and the hands pushing against the stomach of the witch.

Gage finished Face Off in the final three contestants.

Sam's Psychedelic Little Mermaid

Sam's make-up was all going to be based around colour as she felt that psychedelic colours and aquatic creatures would go well together. Her vision for the little mermaid character was quite clear as she wanted to recreate the scene in which her fin begins to split into legs, her vision for the evil witch, however, was not quite so clear at first. Eventually she finalised an idea of having the witch wearing a jelly fish hood that would cover the top and back of her head and whose tentacles would come down to cover her chest, instead of her having hair. Initially the judges seemed confident with her choice of colour scheme but had their reservations about her choice of materials for the tentacles; that if they were run in silicone they would be far too heavy. 

Initial Design
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When the final make-ups were complete the judges were a little disappointed to see that the background setting contained such vibrant colours, whereas the characters' colours were almost muted when ideally, it should have been the other way around. The judges were a little confused at Sam's decision to leave the arms and the legs unpainted, despite her explanation of her character being halfway through her transition from mermaid to human, and also questioned her decision to leave the centre of the face a pinkish tone that was perhaps too similar to the model's skin tone. They did, however, praise the shapes that she created.
 In the final decision making process the judges commented that Sam's presence in the final was a 'testament to her raw skill' but that she did not quite 'bring her all'. She was eliminated first from the finalist but was commended for all of her achievements.

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Connor's Haunted Frog Prince

Although Connor got last pick of the tales and themes he retained a strong image in his head about what he wanted from his design. He wanted to recreate the moment when the Prince is transformed into  frog, but to make it seem very painful and grotesque as he is halfway through the transformation. 

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