Lessons Learned From Face Off Part IX

Maybe I haven’t mentioned this before, but Gale Anne Hurd is my all-time favorite producer.  Her films include Aliens, The Terminator, Dante’s Peak, Armageddon, Tremors, The Abyss, and many others, including the TV hit The Walking Dead.  So I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that she was this week’s guest judge.  The challenge included creating a cyborg from parts found in a junkyard.  The judges obviously wanted to see a fresh take on cyborgs and the contestants dug into their imaginations to produce a zombie cyborg, a warrior princess cyborg, and automated soldier cyborg.  Originality was everywhere except with the contestant at the bottom of the competition. Below are my notes on episode 9…


Lessons Learned From Faceoff episode 9

Junkyard Cyborg (Episode 9)

  1. In Hollywood, and especially in the competitive Faceoff environment, you don’t want a typical concept.  Hollywood craves for the fresh take.  But you need ‘a’ concept to start.
  2. One contestant realized her concept was predictable (predictability is the kiss of death)! Luckily she gave her concept more thought before she was too far committed.
  3. During the walk-through, the judge made perceptive comments on the works-in-progress:  “Don’t come in with a flat surface with things stuck on it.”  (Advice not taken).  “I like the direction you’re taking. Get that zombie aspect going.”  (Advice taken).  And “It’s a strong design. Put that pop on it.”  (Advice taken).  Guess which contestant was eliminated?
  4. Another contestant took a look around at the works of her competitors and realized she hadn’t gone big enough.  She quickly made changes to her cyborg.
  5. When a mask piece didn’t turn out well, that contestant made it work.
  6. One person again tried to do too much and made mistakes, causing him to end up in the bottom looks.  (This same person had been told in previous episodes not to always create big fabricated pieces).
  7. The moral of items #2 thru #6 above is about having adaptability, about having the knack to make adjustments as necessary.  A Hollywood set (and scripts) is dynamic. Versatility is a necessity for anyone on the set.
  8. Of the top looks in this episode, the judges thought one contestant made stellar use of the found objects.  Also, the purple-haired contestant particularly impressed them. They liked how hungry she was and that she trusted her instincts.  She replied, “Before I was giving you what I thought you wanted to see, now I’m doing what I want to see.”  (Huge lesson here, folks)!
  9. The person sent home for not creating a fully realized cyborg had to hear a mouthful from the judges: “You need to know the function of your character, and know the history of your character.” “You’re crippled by not knowing iconic films.” “You didn’t know why your character had pieces or what those pieces were used for or what body part they were replacing.” And lastly, “You were crippled by your inability to make adjustments.”
  10. Remember you don’t get a face-to-face meeting with a true Hollywood legend everyday.  So when you do have the opportunity to show your talent, show them everything you’ve got! This episode’s winner got a surprise invitation from Gale Anne Hurd to join her at Comic-Con.  That’s the best prize yet!


Click to read lessons from episode 10

Click to read lessons from episode 1


About Victoria M. Johnson

I am a published author and filmmaker. Mi Casa Su Casa Productions launched in 2007 as part of the 48 Hour Film Project. As with all my writing, Mi Casa Su Casa Productions will focus on short films that entertain, enlighten and surprise viewers.
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