Face Off: SyFy Series Season 10 Premieres January 13

This award winning “reality” series will begin its 10th season by premiering January 13 on the SyFy channel and this season of Face Off will include 14 contestants and some high calibre Guest Judges.

Face Off - Season 10

This award winning “reality” series will begin its 10th season by premiering January 13 on the SyFy channel and this season of  Face Off will include 14 contestants and some high calibre Guest Judges. The special guest’s will be from across the spectrum of the entertainment business, from Film, Gaming and FX.

McKenzie Westmore resumes hosting duties and throughout the entire run of the series thus far, Ms Westmore always manages to convey intense enthusiasm, compassion and interest in each of the contestants who compete for the grand prize of $100,000, a 2016 Fiat 500 and a VIP trip courtesy of Kryolan Professional Make-Up to one of their 85 international locations.

Face Off was named the Critic’s Choice Award winner of 2015  and has been nominated for the Best Reality Show (Competition) in 2016. The reality show  follows the same formula as previous seasons;  the episodes match the amount of contestants, 14. Each episode brings fresh challenges and allows the viewer to learn about the creative process (including the sweat and stress) behind the magic created by FX artists for the screen.

This season’s contestants are from the US and Canada and they are:

Anna Cali (31) Chicago, IL
Anthony Canonica Jr. (21), Jersey City, NJ
Gregory (Greg) Schrantz (21), Allentown, PA
Jennifer Bowden (36), Allegan, MI
John (Johnny) Leftwich (28), Los Angeles, CA
Kaleb Lewis (22), Los Angeles, CA
Katherine (Katie) Kinney (24), Litchfield, IL
Melanie (Mel) Licata (26), Jersey City, NJ
Melissa Ebbe (36), Milwaukee, WI
Njoroge (Samuel) Karumba (49), Atlanta, GA
Robert (Rob) Seal (20), Lake View, Terrance, CA
Robert Lindsay (45), Glendale, CA
Walter Welsh (26), Martinez, CA
Yvonne Cox (28), Alberta, Canada

*List of names, ages and locations provided by NBCUniversal Media Village*

Ms Westmore’s legendary father Michael Westmore will return to dispense advice and guidance and the three  Face Off judges will also return. Award winning and, similar to McKenzie, these series judges are some of the most compassionate and “caring” on any reality competition show. Ve Neill (The Hunger Games, Pirates of the Caribbean), Glenn Hetrick (Heroes, Legion) and Neville Page (Avatar, Prometheus) will all be back. These three not only judge the creations, as well as the artists strengths and weaknesses, but also pass on words of advice and encouragement.

Some of the special guest stars this season will be, Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman, the producer of The Walking Dead;  Gale Anne Hurd, the legendary actor Lance Henriksen,  award winning producer Jason Blum, Rob Kazinsky,  Oscar winning makeup artist Bill Corso and Lois Burwell will return as guest judge.  There will be other “surprise” guest judges as well.

SyFy made the announcement on December 18 and it has been revealed that season 10 will have another two-part series finale, split between April 6th and the 13th, 2016. Kryolan  Professional Make-Up is still the official sponsor of Face Off.

Face Off, one of the most viewed unscripted reality competition shows on television,  will premiere on SyFy  at 9PM ET/PT.  Once again, as with previous seasons, the show will utilize Twitter in order to fully immerse its audience and the contestants in the process. Yet another  group of wildly talented makeup artists will compete for the grand prize and the change to become the next bit Hollywood “FX” artist. Tune in and join the fun.


Face Off: Movie Magic Part II Season 9 Finale (Review)

Face Off - Season 9

It has to be said that Face Off, season 9 delivered a great group of artists and the finale, part two of the Movie Magic challenge saw Nora Hewitt take the prize and win for her excellent detail and hard work. Her positive attitude combined with great talent, and her total focus (sometimes so much that she got lost in herself) made this young lady a favorite from day one.

Nora says at the end of the finale that her dad will be so proud of her, he is not the only one, there cannot be many viewers who are not proud of her total professionalism and “go-to” attitude.

Last week saw the three finalists, Evan Hedges, Ben Ploughman and Nora learn about the end challenge. A two character film which they had to create character for to be shot by  director, and Jack of all trades film professional, Patrick Tatopoulos. After they had finished their characters, and had “last looks,” with Patrick doing a camera test and providing feedback, McKenzie Westmore revealed a last minute script change that included another character.

All three had to then come up with an additional creation and Evan had to redo his first two characters based upon the feedback from Tatopoulos at the screen test. The three projects were broken down as The Prey – Nora, Resurrection – Ben and Quarantine Zone – Evan.

Part Two of the Face Off season 9 finale took place initially in the workshops where the trio of finalists worked on the last minute things needed to complete the challenge. The next part of the episode took place “on set.” Filmed on location, at the Polsa Rosa Ranch,  each short film went through last minute adjustments and some creative license initiated by the director.

This was an incredibly exciting finale, filmed at the Santa Clarita Studios “ranch set” and it was easy to see that a lot of care and thought went into each film’s dressing and the scenario of the projects.  The camera work, along with Tatopoulos’ direction and editing, made the most of each contestant’s creations.

By the end of the final episode each one of the finalists were winners. All three brought something to the “table” and could leave the completion with heads held high.  While Nora took the grand prize; the trip, the money and the car, Ben and Evan took away a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work. Evan was especially excited to have participated in his first film project and first time on set.

Face Off - Season 9
(l-r) Glenn Hetricks, Ve Neill, Neville Page

The show’s judges, Ve Neill, Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page, along with McKenzie and Patrick, watched the three short films and the trio of experts quizzed each artist about their film’s characters, backstory and the rational for their makeup. All the judges were also present during the filming of each project.

Face Off - Season 9
McKenzie and Patrick

As Patrick states later, after the shooting of each film, Nora was the most productive on the set and her characters were so well rounded that she was the complete package.  He did state that all the finalists went “above and beyond” but that Hewitt’s creations were the most realized of all the characters.

Face Off - Season 9
The Prey – “victim” Makeup Nora Hewitt
Face Off - Season 9
The Prey  “Predator”  Makeup Nora Hewitt
Face Off - Season 9
The Prey “uber predator” makeup Nora Hewitt

Nora’s creatures all felt like a part of their setting.  The young artist was pretty overwhelmed and got a little teary-eyed, but this confident and assertive contestant never faltered in the finale challenge. Hewitt did, after all, state that she wanted this last test to be her “b*tch.”

And it was.

While the other two finalists delivered, it was Nora’s attention to detail and her professionalism on set that gave her the win. She earned it and at the end when the verdict was read out, everyone seemed pleased for this versatile and super talented artist.  So congratulations to Nora Hewitt for taking the win for season 9.

Face Off - Season 9
Nora Hewitt Season 9 winner, cue confetti

McKenzie Westmore, who has to be the best host/presenter of any reality show on television, reminded the audience that the next season (10) will start in January 2016.  We cannot wait.


Face Off: Movie Magic Part 1 – Finale Awesomeness (Review)

Face Off - Season 9

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.

Face Off - Season 9
Pictured: (l-r) Scott Fensterer, Megan “Meg” Wilbur, Stephanie “Stevie” Calabrese, Jasmine Ringo, Jordan Patton, Kevon Ward, Patrick Tatopoulos, McKenzie Westmore

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.

Face Off - Season 9
Patrick telling Evan, Stephanie and Kevon what he is looking for.

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.

Face Off - Season 9
Nora working on the “victim” for “The Prey”
Face Off - Season 9
Ben painting his creation for “Resurrection”

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.

Face Off - Season 9

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.

Face Off: Death Becomes Them (Review)

Face Off - Season 9

Face Off changed the formula, yet again on Tuesday’s episode,  where instead of one clear winner for the  week, there were three and two of the artists were sent home by the time the end credits rolled on this fascination reality program. The challenge this week was Death Becomes Them and the finalists, tonight was the semi-final, all met at the Munster’s house on Universal’s backlot. Michael and McKenzie Westmore greeted the five remaining contestants to explain and reminisce.

The award-winning makeup artist, Michael, told of how “back in the day” he remolded a new head for “Herman Munster” (played by Fred Gwynne) and put on Eddie Munster’s “new” ears. The trip down memory lane helped to set up the challenge guidelines and gave the group some inspiration for their creations. The five then picked out their “family members” from the grave stones outside the house and sketched out the creations.

Face Off - Season 9
Left to right: Ben, Nora, Evan, Jordan, Scott.

Evan chose an older brother bully, Nora; the black sheep family member, Scott; strict dad,  Jordan; spinster aunt and Ben picked the inappropriate uncle.  As usual, each contestant went through the paces of sculpting,  molding and painting their creations which were meant to convey  a new “Munster” type family.

Michael Westmore, along with McKenzie, went around to see each artist and he offered advice and tips on how to work on the sculpting and Evan decided to start from scratch after talking to the makeup maestro.

Face Off - Season 9
Evan and the older brother bully…

As the structure of this week’s challenge for Face Off was changed, two contestants were voted forward to the next week. Ben and Nora both got seals of approval for their creations, leaving Evan, Scott and Jordan to “re-compete” for the final space. As usual the judges did an up-close inspection of each of the characters created for the challenge.

The three who were left, received notes on how to improve their dead family members and their next step was to incorporate the suggestions. An additional hour was given to Evan, Scott and Jordan and all of them rushed to improve their versions of a Munster riff.

Face Off - Season 9
Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill and Neville Page looking at Jordan’s “Spinster Aunt.”

Sadly, after the three men made their changes, Scott and Jordan were sent home.  The finalists, Ben, Nora and Evan will compete next week and the two sent home did so, like those before them, head’s held high.

Face Off - Season 9
Nora with her black sheep family member.
Face Off - Season 9
Ben’s inappropriate uncle, that really creeped out Ve.

The one thing that keeps Face Off so fresh is that they do change up the template of each season.  Next week looks quite interesting and some familiar faces appear to show up for a fun challenge .

Face Off airs Tuesdays on SyFy and this popular reality show, voted by critics as a 2015 “choice” offers an in-depth look at the process behind the magic.  The creative contestants are tomorrow’s artists. People who will make the fantastical feel real and the real feel like a dream. Tune in and watch the talented challengers, now down to three, make magic.

Face Off: Freak Show (Review)

Face Off - Season 9Last week Evan won the Judgement Day challenge by a mile. This week, his creation almost got him sent home and Ben, who nearly left the competition last week went on to win the Freak Show challenge this week.

The remaining competitors: Scott Fensterer, Nora Hewitt, Benjamin “Ben” Ploughman, Stephanie “Stevie” Calabrese, Jordan Patton, Megan “Meg” Wilbur, Evan Hedges all had to work on a Foundation Challenge before moving on to the main test with the sideshow theme.

The theme of the foundation dealt with tribal warriors using tattoos, scars and so on to intimidate their enemies in the field of battle. The artists had to use the weapons held by their models to inspire their makeup for  the warriors.  Face Off uses these challenges to show the audience just where the creative juices come from. Each contestant goes through their thought process and we learn what goes into their creation.

In the first Foundation portion, Meg and Scott impressed the guest judge, Oscar winning Robin Mathews, for her work on the film Dallas Buyers Club, who provided some tips and words of motivation before looking at the final products. Although each artist got praise for the makeup applied on the two warriors it was Scott who won and earned immunity for the next challenge.

Face Off - Season 9
Scott’s warrior with “clay” mud makeup.

The next challenge had the artists choosing their circus characters by a wheel of fortune and the choices were varied. As per usual, each one had to come up with their version of a sideshow “freak” but to develop a character that mixed human with fantasy.

Characters ranged from “Lobster Larry” to Inside-Out Oscar (Meg Wilbur’s creation). Each artist has to come up with an idea for their character and once again we see the thought process of these creative and talented people who are able to make magic with prosthetics, paint and powder.

Nora ends up starting all over during the sculpting phase but ultimately her decision pays off at the end when she just squeaks into second place with her Lobster Larry. Stevie, Scott (who had immunity) along with Jordan were all safe after the judges did their “up close” inspection of the creations.

This left Nora, Ben, Meg and Evan as the best and worst of the challenge. As the four explained their thought process on the characters Nevill Page got the quip of the show.

Face Off - Season 9
Nora and her “grilled lobster.”

Nora put gold teeth on her Lobster Larry and when it was Neville’s turn to comment on her creation he stated  that this made him a grilled lobster. Fellow judge’s Glenn Hetrick and Ve Neil were both a bit derisory at Page’s humor, albeit good-naturedly, and Nora got a kick out of the humorous remark.

While Ben Ploughman wowed all the judges, Meg Wilbur’s Inside-Out Oscar failed to meet their expectations and the creation sent her home. Glenn  had words of encouragement and  McKenzie Westmore looked very sad to see @cupcake_meg sent off.

Face Off - Season 9
Meg’s creation did not work for the judges this week.

The challenges have increased in difficulty and even though Meg left, she did so with her head held high. Evan may have been on the bottom again, but he did remember to thank his model this week and this shows the basic essence of the competition. Each contestant learns something each week, or grows in some fashion.

The competitor’s numbers are shrinking, as they do each season, and as the pressures increase on the artists, it is fascinating to see how they respond. Scott took time to help Meg get her mold apart and as usual these creative and imaginative people support one another in a host of other ways.

Face Off season 9 airs Tuesdays on SyFy, miss this show and you miss what goes into the magic of movie making.

Face Off - Season 9
Pictured: (l-r) Scott Fensterer, Nora Hewitt, Benjamin “Ben” Ploughman, Stephanie “Stevie” Calabrese, Jordan Patton, Megan “Meg” Wilbur, Evan Hedges.
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