Face Off is finishing out season 9 with a two part finale titled Movie Magic; parts one and two. The three finalists Nora, Ben and Evan all get some lovely surprises at the start off the penultimate episode and final challenge. Ben gets to see his “best buddy” in the whole world, his dog Quincy, Nora sees her girlfriend, Miriam and Evan sees his dad and girlfriend. All three of the finalists have a tear-filled moment that ends with them feeling a little boost for the last test.
Test, is the operative word as they learn that in the finale they will work with a director and full production crew on a short film shot on location and firstly they will take part in a camera test. The director who will be filming their creations could not be more perfect for this last challenge. Patrick Tatopoulos, director of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and a talented creator with a plethora of credits connected with visual and special effects, makeup, art department, production design, et al.
McKenzie Westmore explains to the final contestants that Patrick has written three scripts, done storyboards and will be guiding them through the process of making their own movie magic.
This two part finale is quite intense. Due to the high level of effort required, Nora, Evan and Ben get help from other finalists: Meg, Stevie, Jordan, Scott, Jasmine and Kevon.
The three screenplays written by Patrick are “The Prey,” “Resurrection,” and “Quarantine Zone.” The teams, hand picked by the contestants were: Nora; Jasmine and Meg, Evan; Stevie and Kevon, Ben; Scott and Jordan. The three groups all work out details of the creatures as described by the screenplays.
This challenge is a brilliant look at not only what goes into the creative process behind the process of developing characters for film and television but also what goes into making movies or television shows. As anyone who watches a “making of” featurette on DVD and Blu-Ray special editions knows, there are a lot of things that come together behind the camera to make films “come to life.”
The three short films all have a science fiction/fantasy theme and will be filmed in HD. The finalists, and their team members, all create and fine tune their characters. After a screen-test of the designs each contestant gets feedback from Tatopoulos on what works and what does not. This after he stopped by, in place of Michael Westmore, to give the groups individual tips and advice as well as what he was looking for from them in terms of characters.
Each film has two characters initially. The two are to be substantially different from each other and this challenge adds pressure to the finalists by not only increasing the difficulty of the task itself, but also adds an element of management to the finale. As the three learn, time management applies not just to themselves but to their team members as well.
Nora, as usual, is “cranked” for this final test. She wants to make this one “her b*tch” and attacks the entire project with a positive attitude. When Nora does have doubts, she steps away from the process and has a meditative moment.
Ben is quietly confident and tells his guys that they are “crushing it” (to their delight). Evan moves forward and “owns” any mistake made. Out of all the finalists, Evan has grown enormously in terms of interacting with the models although he still tends to panic a little bit.
Once again the magic of this whole movie challenge matches the magic of each artist’s creative process.
After some major attention to detail, the camera test takes place and all three finalists are excited but Nora is over the moon. Each contestant gets to see the test on the monitor along with Patrick, Michael Westmore and McKenzie. Michael actually gives some advice to the finalists as well.
Both Nora and Ben have been on film sets before, but Evan is a first timer. All the finalists are pumped up by the atmosphere and the crew on the sets. All get precise directions from Patrick on how they can either enhance or improve their creations.
All walk away with a clearer idea of what is needed, although Nora and Ben have far less to do than Evan. As per every other challenge this season, Face Off raises the competitive bar a little further after the camera tests. While the finalists take in all the things that Michael Westmore and Patrick have told them about perfecting their creations, McKenzie and the director reveal that there has been a “re-write” and a third character has now been added to the three films.
As McKenzie explains, the last challenge is all about the “real life” rigors behind creating characters in the business. The next episode will see the trio, and their teams, making another new character for their films and then each project will be shot and judged by the series judges.
Face Off is a reality show unlike any other. A definite must-see series for movie fanatics who love to see how the magic is created for the screen, big and small. The series airs Tuesdays on SyFy and the season nine finale, part two will air October 26, 2015. Tune in and see who wins the last most exciting challenge.