Park City High School graduate Logan Long will compete on ‘Face Off’
January 9, 2015
Logan Long is fascinated with makeup — special effects makeup.
The Park City High School graduate has worked with Ballet West on the dance company’s productions of "Firebird" and "Sleeping Beauty."
He’s fulfilled special orders for Salt Lake Comic Con and has partnered with his brother for a production company called Red Coral Crew, which completed its first feature film, "Point B."
On Tuesday, Jan. 13, the world will get a chance to see Long at work when he and 14 other special-effects artists compete on SyFy channel’s reality game show "Face Off."
Now in its eighth season, "Face Off" is a competition for new special effects artists from around the country. The winner will receive $100,000, a 2015 Fiat , and a VIP trip to one of Kryolan’s makeup locations.
Kryolan is the brand that makeup artists from around the world use in film, models and stage, according to "Face Off."
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Long took a winding road to "Face Off," which began when he was a kid.
"I’ve had a fascination with a number of films that have utilized some great special effects," Long said during a phone call from his home in Atlanta, Georgia. "There are some staples that I think everyone can agree with me on including the ‘Alien’ series, ‘Predator,’ ‘Pumpkinhead’ and ‘American Werewolf in London.’"
When he was in high school, he was a puppeteer for the carnivorous plant in the play "Little Shop of Horrors."
"That was what started it all, I think," Long said.
In 2009, Long and three of his buddies got together and decided they were going to make some Halloween masks.
"There were four of us, but I was the only one that followed through," Long said with a laugh. "I really enjoyed doing that sort of thing."
Still, Long only had a cursory interest in making masks until "Face Off" premiered in 2011.
"That’s when I began to see an avenue where I would be able to put certain skills to work," he said. "The Halloween mask was like a very basic version of the things that went on in the show and, further in the [special-effects and makeup] industry. So I figured if I could make a mask, I might be able to get on the show."
That was easier said than done.
"I auditioned three times," Long laughed. "I tried out for Season 6, 7 and 8."
For his first audition, Long created an old-age mask.
"There are different materials that you can use for these sorts of prosthetics — silicone, latex, foam latex or gelatin," he said. "I chose foam latex, which is an ambitious choice, and I had to bake it and do all kinds of stuff with it."
Long created a one-piece prosthetic that looked more like a fat face than an old man.
"Needless to say, I didn’t get very far in the audition stages, but the producers encouraged me to audition for Season 7, because they could see some potential," he said.
For that audition, Long created a green troll with a big nose.
"I made it out of a prosthetic combination, so the lower part of it was foam latex and the upper portion was casting latex," he said. "I applied the lower part to my jaw so I could talk and I think they liked that, because I was invited to Los Angeles for the final audition stage."
Out of the thousands of hopefuls who audition each season, "Face Off" invites 40 to the finals, which that lasts five days.
"It was an honor to get invited to finals," Long said. "We went through a two-hour makeup session, where we applied our different characters on ourselves, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds."
The finalists then undergo a psychological evaluation and a series of interviews.
"There is also an additional makeup session for finals and I made a cyborg Krampus, the ancient Yule lord," Long said.
Unfortunately, Long didn’t make the cut.
"I made the top 20 and they select 15 out of the final 20 to appear on the show," he said. "That was a gut check for me and I felt like not wasting any more time on this."
However, the show’s producers felt differently.
"They called me up before auditions for Season 8 and told me that I didn’t have to do anything but show up for finals," Long said. "I flew out once more and got accepted."
For this final audition, Long created a troll-looking monster that had a huge latex hand.
"That was challenging, by the way, because if you make a latex hand and you apply the makeup on yourself, you need to make sure you do the hand last," he said with another laugh.
Crews shot footage six days a week for two months.
"It was all very stressful," Long said of the experience. "I mean, people see some of the stress on the program, but there is a lot of footage that was shot that had more."
He was also surprised at the deadlines.
"I think that sometimes the makeup and characters that the contestants create suffer because of the time constraints," Long said. "However, it was amazing to participate because the lab is packed with different materials and tools to make these creatures."
In addition, Long enjoyed working alongside other makeup and special-effects artists from around the country.
"One thing I need to say is that ‘Face Off’ is not ‘Road Rules,’" Long emphasized. "The drama you see on the program isn’t of the contestants bickering and screaming at each other. It’s about all this cool art being made."
One of the hardest things about the filming was being separated from his family and friends.
"Our phones were taken away and weren’t able to talk with our families," Long said. "We couldn’t watch TV and had no outside contact. But that was the beauty of it. We just worked hard and I really got to know these other people. I hope to see and work with them again."
That may come to a surprise to Park City residents who know Long.
"They may still think I’m trying to be a pilot with the Air National Guard," he said. "That’s why I went to college and got my pilot’s license and worked nine years to get into the Guard."
That changed when he landed the "Face Off" slot.
"The same time that happened, I was accepted to the reserves in Minneapolis, which would have been my dream job," Long said. "I had to tell them that I wasn’t interested, because the ‘Face Off’ experience really inspired me."
Long’s plan now is to move back to Utah and open up a special-effects shop.
"I would like to provide masks and props to theater departments of schools and I’d like to be considered for contracted sculptures and paintings at any local resort or hotel," he said. "I have connections with numerous wonderful artists that are shaking up the world of contemporary art and I would love to host an exhibit on Main Street where patrons can explore art of all mediums that was or is currently inspired by film."
Long is thankful for his wife, Sarah, for her support in this new endeavor.
"I would absolutely not be in the position I am without my loving and supportive wife," he said. "Sarah is absolutely my number one supporter and she deserves acknowledgement."
For more information about Logan Long and his work, visit http://www.loganlongcw.com.