Facing Off in the Star Wars Cantina


I have been a fan of Star Wars since the beginning, so this challenge was very exciting for me for numerous reasons. First and foremost, it was a Star Wars challenge! It was also the first challenge of the competition. As we were standing there as a group I remember thinking to myself “Not only did I make it on Face Off, but our first spotlight challenge is creating a Star Wars inspired alien? Wow! How many people would love to be in my place right now?” What made it the most exciting for me though, was that in some way, I had a chance to follow in the footsteps of great special make-up effects artist like Stuart Freeborn and Rick Baker. Their work has always been an inspiration, and this was the challenge of a lifetime for me. I don’t know of any other film that has inspired as many generations as Star Wars has.

I still remember the first time I saw Star Wars and the excitement of the first battle scene. The adrenaline rush didn’t stop even after the movie was over. I got that same rush when I realized what our first challenge was. My mind started racing with all I could remember about Star Wars creatures and what we could make that would fit, and yet still be something new.


I felt very fortunate to get Rod Maxwell as a teammate. Rod is a very talented sculptor and make-up artist, and I think we made a great team. It was kind of eerie, because we both had almost identical ideas on the way we wanted the design to go. I think it was a little difficult for both of us in the beginning simply because we had only just met and didn’t really know each other’s skill level. That, however, changed pretty quickly.

Rod and I had the idea to create a character that was a small greedy low-level boss. The exo-suit was based on an idea that I’ve wanted to create for several years, but hadn’t had the chance to fabricate quite yet. This challenge gave me the opportunity to use that concept, as it fit the overall idea perfectly. We could make a creature with as many arms and legs as we wanted. They could be thick or thin. We could put tentacles on it, or anything else we wanted for that matter. We could do things with this character that you couldn’t do with a normal character. The trick was making it in three days.

I tried to incorporate a lot of designs from other vehicles on Tatooine in the exo-suit. If you look you can see inspirations from land speeders and sand crawlers. To me, one of the things that makes the cantina scene stand out is the look of the cantina itself. It looks lived in. It’s not the clean sterile environment that you see in a good portion of the film. I tried to capture the grittiness of the cantina in the overall look of the exo-suit.

All in all, this spotlight challenge was a lot fun! I was able to work with an incredible artist, and together we created something really cool that nobody has ever seen before! The Star Wars challenge was definitely one of the highlights of my time on Face Off!

On an all-new episode of Syfy’s
Face Off Tuesday, August 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the artists create original pirate makeups. In a Face Off first, the artist compete to win their very own pirate’s booty — $5,000.