Interview with Face Off Season Three Finalist Laura Tyler
Face Off finalist and self-confessed sci-fi geek Laura Tyler talks about D&D, Buffy, and the east coast/west coast FX scenes in this exclusive interview.
Ed Grabianowski for Gothic.net: You’ve mentioned the difference between east coast make up artists, who work in haunted houses and have tight deadlines, and west coast artists who work on film sets with longer schedules. How do you think that affects methods and design choices? Does the haunted house scene give east coast artists a more horror-based design aesthetic?
Laura Tyler: In my opinion, in the theme parks and haunted houses industry we are used to having tight deadlines. In film, an FX artist might have months in order to make a creature in a lab. That being said, I think Face Off is a different monster then that of film. You can’t go onto the show thinking you’re going to have all the time in the world. You have to budget your time carefully and make sure every minute is spent doing something. We want film quality work on the show in theme park/haunted house timelines, and that is just unheard of. But it wouldn’t be a challenge if they didn’t ask the impossible. That’s why I think the show is so fun to watch, the possibility of tremendous success or epic failure. Even for the most experienced FX professional, either outcome can happen on Face Off.
EG: What movies or TV shows inspired you to dedicate yourself to make up and creature design?
LT: Well, I LOVED LOVED LOVED Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sorry, I was in school in the 90s, what do you expect? After that, it was Star Trek Next Gen. For movies, I loved Legend. I play that every Halloween with The Crow for some reason, and Predator. I remember watching those movies at a young age and not even looking at the makeup. On some subconscious level, I was pretty convinced the makeups were real, which allowed me to enjoy the movie even more. While watching those movies, I didn’t think about anything other then the safety of the characters trying to overcome these villains. It imbued in me a sense purpose. My goal in any makeup became, “to make the audience believe it’s real.” If I could achieve that, then I feel I have done my job. A sense of purpose and accomplishment is truly what I strive for in my art.
EG: Rumor has it you’re a serious gamer and D&D player. What are some iconic D&D monsters you’d like to bring to life? How would you go about designing and creating a beholder?
LT: Well, I would love to see an illithid (mindflayer) made (No, Davy Jones [from Pirates of the Carribean] doesn’t count). Or anything Lovecraft related. Yes, Cthulhu was in the Monster Manual. You can tell I play AD&D 2nd edition now. I loved the whole RA Salvatore series about Drizzt the dark elf. I would love to see a movie made about those books, in Lord of the Rings quality of course. But a beholder would be fun to make…although I can think of several movies and TV shows that have done beholder like monsters already. Big Trouble Little China anyone?
EG: Cosplay is becoming such a huge part of fantasy, sci-fi and gaming conventions. Have you done any design and make up work in that area, either on yourself on for other people?
LT: I LOVE to cosplay. I have had several costumes over the years that I made myself. Cat Woman from Batman Returns, Zira from Planet of the Apes, Gwen Stacy from Spider-man, and Buffy the Vampire from the episode “Nightmares.” I made my husband into the Geico Caveman one year and that was a lot of fun. But now I don’t think I’ll have a lot more time to make stuff for myself anymore. I just went to DragonCon for the first time this year (the trip to Atlanta was always too expensive), and man do they know how to do it right!
EG: What’s next on your plate now that Face Off has ended?
LT: I have a film project coming up here in Florida which I can’t talk about. Other than that, I would love to do more conventions like Monsterpalooza and Transworld. I would also like to visit Comic-Con, Imats, and do DragonCon again. At these cons I just love teaching makeup classes so that fellow nerds like myself can get better at cosplay. I would love to do more panels, sell display pieces, meet people, and have fun. Yeah…let’s do more of that…having fun.