Television's embrace of horror and sci-fi programming is arguably stronger than ever, which means the accomplishments of many talented effects artists are constantly on display. But you'll have trouble finding more consistently impressive makeup and costume work than on Syfy's long-running competition series Face Off. If you're like me, you've wondered if each season's visual geniuses, especially the winners, were allowed to keep their more prized creations. Series judge and makeup whiz Glenn Hetrick spoke with CinemaBlend about the imminent Face Off: All-Stars season, and here's what he said when I asked about contestants' potential ownership.
No, Syfy holds all of that stuff. There's a super amazing, super special thing [at] Mission Control - our amazing producers at Face Off that are in charge of the show - some of [the costumes/props], you get to see when you come to the offices. But for the most part, they're all under the control of Syfy.
When it comes to the over-stuffed world of unscripted TV, I'm always more game to watch something where people show off their creative talents, which makes Face Off must-see programming each time a new season debuts. Face Off contestants are regularly turning models into monsters, aliens and fairies seemingly destined for big budget TV and film, and there are definitely clunkers in each year's bunch, but even those folks are showing off skills many viewers don't have. And all these years, I've held onto the dwindling but still-present hope that some of these visual virtuosos would be responsible for holding onto their more prized creations in the competition, considering how magnificent and painstaking a lot of the work has been on this show. But apparently that's not the case at all.
And I get it. My pragmatic and logical side knew that Syfy probably held all rights to anything created on Face Off, since the legal side to that kind of thing probably gets insanely complex. (Admittedly, it might even show up in small print during some point in the episode when I'm always looking down.) I think it would be pretty badass if Syfy actually licensed some of those designs out for legitimate movies and TV shows to use; Hell, I would even watch a show that was only populated by the ever-horrific "old people" characters that are created for most seasons, if only because it would mean that some of these masks and applications can be seen and enjoyed by more than just Syfy's viewer base.
Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like any of that ever happens, and if Glenn Hetrick is correct, only the Face Off production company is taking part in flaunting contestants' imaginations. I did ask him if any of the Face Off creations get sold off or used in Syfy's own original programming, but got a similar response.
I don't think so. There's been a couple of things that were crossovers. I think one thing was they got to build for a season, for a show or for a comic, a Syfy tie-in. Other than that, no.
More recently, Season 9 of Face Off had a Spotlight Challenge that was looped into the then-upcoming series The Expanse, which is heading into its own second season on Syfy. And now that we know for sure that the network is in ownership of all of everything Face Off contestants put together, one has to wonder why the show isn't constantly used to create designs, costumes and props for other projects. Perhaps there's some amount of integrity and red tape involved...but we can just cover that stuff up with some foam and spray paint.
Face Off hits Syfy for its all new season of makeup and application wars on Tuesday, January 24, at 9 p.m. ET. You won't want to miss this season, as things are all flipped around by infusing permanent teams into the standard template. Check out what else the extremely genial and supportive Glenn Hetrick told CinemaBlend about the new season here, and then head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what else is heading your way in the coming months.