Syfy introduces ten hopeful creature designers who have come to Los Angeles with an incredible shared dream: to land a job working in Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™. The new reality competition series, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, premieres Tuesday, March 25 at 10 p.m. ET/PT following an all-new episode of Syfy’s acclaimed Face Off. The eight-episode series provides a fascinating window into the imaginative and wildly creative environment of world-class creature design, fabrication and mechanization.
The series features host Gigi Edgley (Farscape) and lead judge Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company, who also oversees the groundbreaking work of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™. Henson is an award-winning writer, puppeteer, director and producer whose mentor was the iconic genius, his father Jim Henson.
The competing creature designers are allowed unprecedented access to the world-renowned Creature Shop, gaining hands-on experience to learn every aspect of what it takes to become a master creature designer. Following a series of elaborate challenges, only one will be awarded a prize worth up to $100,000, including the opportunity for the job of a lifetime – a contract working at the world-renowned Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™.
Who will be competing in Syfy´s Jim Henson´s Creature Shop premiering March 25
With backgrounds ranging from art students and teachers to professional sculptors to mask makers, the ten competing creature designers are:
· Ben Bayouth, 25, from Woodland Hills, CA, Freelance SFX Artist.
· Chaz Vance, 27, from Collins, NY (currently living in West Falls, NY), Owner of Technically Magic Effects and Sculpture Teacher.
· Ivonne Escoto, 35, from Los Angeles, CA, Freelance SFX Artist.
· Jake Corrick, 21, from Belle Vernon, PA, Student and Sculptor.
· Josh Smith, 27, from Claremore, OK (currently living in Minot, ND), Creature Costumer and Prop Builder.
· Lex Rudd, 34, from SE England (currently living in Guerneville, CA), Puppet and Creature Costume Maker.
· Melissa Doss, 24, from Big Bear, CA (currently living in Fort Wainwright, AK), Freelance SFX Artist.
· Robert Bennett, 29, from Baton Rouge, LA (currently lives in Orlando, FL), Sculptor for Walt Disney Imagineering.
· Russ Adams, 41, from Ogden, UT, Owner of Escape Design Effects, Creature Creator and Mask Maker.
· Tina Roland, 28, from Doylestown, PA (currently living Hollywood, CA), Freelance Effects Artist.
Challenges on the series explore all aspects of the creature design field, from sculpting and animatronics to full-body creature creation. Some episodes are inspired by Henson film and television classics The Dark Crystal and Farscape. Evaluating the designs are the esteemed panel of judges, led by Brian Henson and including creature fabricator Beth Hathaway (Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Batman Returns) and creature designer Kirk R. Thatcher (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Dinosaurs, Muppets Wizard of Oz). The judges will be evaluating the creatures for overall creativity and originality, technical execution and, most importantly, how convincingly the creature designers bring their creations to life. Each episode, the creatures will be featured in a screen test in which professional puppeteers showcase the creatures’ ability to perform and transport an audience to another world.
Serving as mentors are world-renowned designer Peter Brooke, mechanization and animatronics master John Criswell and fabrication and artistic specialist Julie Zobel. The three are longtime Creature Shop artists who have dedicated their talents to the Henson legacy. Their tenures with The Jim Henson Company span decades and they bring a specialized knowledge gained through their direct collaborations with Jim Henson. Working alongside the creature creators inside their workplace at the Creature Shop, they will be available for consultation and hands-on assistance.
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