Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge (2014) s01e06 Episode Script

Swamp Things

1 Previously on Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge [Squawks] This week's winning designer is Melissa.
Lex and Jake, one of you will be eliminated.
The eliminated creature designer is Lex.
This week on Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge We want your creatures to be able to camouflage themselves completely within the environment.
Awesome.
It's all about the details.
If I win this challenge, I am going to rub it in.
I'm a little concerned that the head is hidden.
This is high risk, high reward.
If it fails, I could go home.
We broke the arm.
I've ripped the damn arm out.
This is really incredible, because there's a whole other level.
He looks very comical to me.
- What's going on? - It was weird and creepy.
But I didn't buy it.
[Dramatic music] [indistinct chatter] I'm final five.
What? Coming off of a win starting off this challenge, so I feel like I'm in a good spot.
I was in the bottom last week, and I'm definitely bummed to see Lex go.
I can't help but feel a little bit responsible, being her teammate, and this week is pushing me to make sure that I'm in the top.
Good morning, creature designers.
Hey.
I know you're heading to the creature shop, but I think you should come over here for a moment.
So we have a pretty big surprise for you today.
Brian and the crew are in action on the sound stage, and I thought you might want to take a look.
- Yes.
- Yeah, we do.
Absolutely.
- Lead the way.
- Let's check it out.
Here's something we prepared earlier.
- Wow.
- Ah.
Good morning, guys.
- How you doing? - Good morning.
As you can see, our art department and lighting crew are building the set for this week's screen test.
Can you tell what it is? - Swamp? - Yeah.
- Good job.
- Swamp.
This week's creature brief.
We want you to create and build an organic creature that lives - within its natural environment.
- Oh.
When the set is finished, we want your creatures to be able to camouflage themselves completely within the environment.
We want them to hide in plain sight so that when we look at the set, we're looking at your creatures, but we can't see them 'cause they're so perfectly camouflaged.
I think the camouflage aspect of this challenge is kind of difficult, because when the creature comes to life, you want it to have a lot of personality, but it also has to blend completely away.
But here's the twist.
It's feeding season in the swamp, and it's when the swamp scrats come out.
These are wee, timorous beasties that are particularly delicious to your creatures.
So what your creatures will do is, when the swamp scrat comes close to them, they will reveal themselves and attack their prey and then dissolve back into the swamp.
- Love it.
- Awesome.
- Very cool.
- That's great.
For this week's build, it's an individual challenge.
- Nice.
- Both: Cool.
The swamp will have five different plots, one for each of you to perform your creature in.
On this table here, we've got samples from the different areas.
A rock, some weeping juniper, branches, grasses, and a lily pad.
You guys can select one each to take back to the workshop to help build your creature.
Melissa, you won last week's challenge, so you can come forward first.
Oh, gosh.
I'm gonna have to go with the grasses.
I'm feeling it.
I'm choosing grass, and it'll be really easy to add to a creature as, like, spine or, like, hair.
So I feel like I can do a lot with that.
And because I won on a team challenge, I'm gonna have to go with my partner, Ben.
- Thank you.
- Very good.
- Did that already.
- Yes, you did.
[Laughter] I wanna go with the rock.
I did a character made of wood, and I don't want to go down that road again.
I want to create something new and original.
So I definitely want the rock.
- Jake.
- Thanks, man.
The one that I want is still there.
And I'm grabbing the old, gnarly wood.
- Robert.
- Ooh.
Gonna have to go with the lily pads.
Ooh.
The lily pads seem a little easier to hide something than a weeping tree.
- I guess that's me.
- I guess, Russ, you're up.
- There's so much to - [All laughing] I ended up being the last pick, but I got exactly what I wanted.
Weeping junipers.
It goes with my hair, so [Laughter] I wanted to set myself apart from everyone else.
It's hard for me to believe a creature would have grass growing out of it or flowers and stuff.
We want you all to also integrate one element of mechanization in your creature, whatever that may be.
This week's creature shop master working with you will be the shop's fabrication supervisor, Julie Zobel.
- Yay.
- Yes.
Julie is a real master in texturing and finishing, which is gonna be really integral in making your creatures camouflage in plain sight in the environment.
Brian, the judges, and I will see you guys right back here on the sound stage once this swamp set's complete.
You've got three days to create your swamp creatures.
Our art department has three days to finish the environment.
- [All laughing] - So we'll see you then.
- Good luck.
- All: Thank you.
All right, guys.
You guys can head back to the creature shop and start your build.
Have fun.
Thank you.
- This rocks.
- [Chuckles] Wah wah wah wah wah Before going into a sculpture, I like to at least sketch out a quick something that I can be like, okay, this is kind of what I'm going for.
The overall plan for the creature is for it to look like a rock when it's closed up.
And then the shell will open in the front, and you will see an awesome, muscle-y head.
The head will open, and there will be an awesome tongue that comes out, grabs the creature, and then everything will close back up.
I think the camouflage aspect of this challenge is difficult.
Because I have the lily pads.
It's not really something that can turn around and reveal itself.
I think I'm gonna do a double cyclops.
I'm gonna design the puppet so that the top of his head is a lily pad, and I think the body will be more roots that go into the ground.
His lily pad eye will open up, and then his whole head will come up, and he'll look at the swamp scrat, and he'll grab it and shove it in his mouth, and then he'll disappear again.
My first thought when I started the creature was, like, a swamp primate.
Kind of big ears, kind of droopy.
I'm gonna create my own dreadlocks to help blend in with the weeping juniper branches.
My creature's got all this bark texture, and he's sort of at the end of his life and in the middle of becoming part of this tree.
I plan on doing a short, squat body for my creature, and he's gonna have this really kind of potbelly look to him because he's kind of a "sit and wait for his prey and then attack it quickly.
" I'm sculpting a creature that's gonna be hiding in all sorts of wooden sort of textures.
So I'm trying to find a balance between a nice, organic skin texture while incorporating the bark look to it.
Oh, awesome.
Huh? Oh, yeah.
As always, our supply room is super stocked.
I chose grass.
And they've got this really cool green fur that I think I'm gonna integrate into my creature and lots of nice, long, lean leaves and grasses.
I feel like I can do a lot of really cool stuff, like, you know, spines kind of coming out of my creature.
Almost, like, porcupine-esque.
Any day that I get to play with clay is a good day.
Doing a cyclops for this challenge was an obvious choice for me because I didn't want to spend a ton of time making eye mechs.
I love it already, Robert.
Is it cycloptic? It's nice to work on a challenge by myself.
You don't really have to rely on anyone else, so whatever ends up on the screen test is completely up to you.
It's a little more difficult because you don't have another person to take some of the responsibilities, but it's fun because you make all the decisions.
So I enjoy that.
I didn't really win last week.
Melissa got top look for the wings.
And I think that's good, you know.
It was a very important suggestion.
But there was 70% other kinds of movement that came out of our creature that were all due to what I did.
It's important for me to win every single challenge that I'm doing.
I'm aiming for the top every time.
Based on the eye mechanisms that we all made a couple challenges ago, it was very difficult for the eyes to turn because there was not that much room allowed for the eyelids blinking.
This time around, I've been a lot more careful about cutting out the eyelids and making sure that they're flat so that I can get myself as much space as I can between the eyes so that it can turn without chipping my beautiful paint job.
And that's just gonna show the judges the variety of things that I can do well.
I just started on the [Bleep] sculpture, and we got an hour left.
Okay, I'm panicking.
This week, I'm trying to up my game because I'm tired of not being in the top.
But with one hour left, I am still sculpting.
I'm incredibly worried about time right now, because I'm up against a lot of amazing artists.
So there's no wiggle room.
I have to have this damn creature finished, or I'm going home.
Coming up on Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Aah! I'm a little concerned that the head is hidden.
I might be willing to take a chance.
This is high risk, high reward.
If it fails, I could go home.
45 minutes.
Sculpt your animal.
Yay.
This week's creature brief.
Our creature has to blend into a specific part of a swamp, and I happen to have the weeping junipers.
I'm sculpting the hands and burning too much time doing it.
When we come back tomorrow, there is so much fricking work to do.
I'm gonna have to take a step back and evaluate how to finish the creature.
One of our requirements for this challenge this week is to have one sort of mechanization.
I'm gonna be doing servo eyes.
Aah! It's a gamble, but if it pulls off, it'll be great.
Okay, guys, time's up! Put your stuff down, and let's move out.
Come back tomorrow.
[Humming] So it's day two.
The first thing that I'm gonna get done this morning, finish the eyes.
I want to get everything set in place, so when I get the skin, I can put the skin on and really knock it out.
There's a lot that has to get done today.
Last night, I barely finished my eye mechs.
I have to finish painting them.
I have to reinstall them into the mechs, and I need to assemble the whole body.
Day two is building the design that I made on day one, and I have branches.
I've got to work on the body and get this guy anchored down to the base that I want to do while also getting my mechs housed in the core and putting the whole thing together.
This is my first time ever sculpting in mattress foam.
I'm creating this musculature for this creature, and I almost just don't want to stop.
I want this thing to be like the hulk.
- Hey, Melissa.
- Huh? [Laughs] Arrr.
I have my game plan definitely down and want to make my body form as quickly as I can.
It's basically a big rock shape, so it'll be a big foam fabricated L200 shape.
And I got it put together right away.
I'm not a floral artist by any stretch of the imagination.
The only thing that they have is a dogwood flower.
I cut them into the leaf shapes of a lily pad flower, and then I take them into the spray booth, and I paint them to look like I want them to look.
It will eventually look like a lily pad flower around this eyeball.
Wah! Yeah.
Nicely done.
We get our foam latex heads back, and I'm just completely over the moon about it.
Very good, very good.
All right, I'm back to work.
Russ is flocking.
Flocking gives you a really cool, almost hair-punched look.
Flocking is these small fibers that you can use different kinds of glue to adhere them to a foam or actually anything.
You need a static electricity charge so that it actually hits the item at a right angle.
You almost really don't have to do anything.
They just shoot out of the wand and boom stick to the glue.
Hey, Julie.
Hi, Jake.
Today is our master session with Julie Zobel.
Her advice is always really strong.
My character's rooted to the ground.
His arms aren't gonna move.
His lower torso's not gonna move.
He's planted himself in this spot, and I'm gonna have the swamp scrat kind of crawling on him, and that's when his eye opens.
Your finish is gonna be really, really important, that you can really sell the judges on it.
I totally agree, and I have tons of reference.
I'm gonna use the exact piece of wood that we took from the table and everything to use as reference for my colors.
It really reminds me of Jim Henson's sensibility.
Oh, that's great.
He loved nothing more than doing something that appeared one way and then did something else.
He even redesigned a character once that I was having to build.
She was very sweet-looking, and he drew this creature that was terrifying.
And he said, "I want children to understand "that sometimes things appear one way, and there's something else inside.
" That's awesome, really cool.
And that was one of his lessons.
Hearing Julie say that the concept behind my creature reminds her of something that Jim Henson may have come up with is the absolute biggest compliment I could've gotten.
Hey, how are you doing? - Hi, Ben.
- Good, how are you? Tell me, first of all, what element did you pick? The mossy rock.
- Okay.
- He's kind of a turtle, and so his body will be disguised as rock.
There'll be more rock that comes over these.
And so you won't know where his head is until he pushes his head out.
You know, Brian kept using the phrase "it needs to be hiding in plain sight.
" Mm-hmm.
I'm a little concerned that the head is hidden.
I might be willing to take that chance.
You know what I mean? In case they go, "actually, we dug that.
" She's hating it.
I understand where she's coming from, but the entire gimmick of the creature is that it looks like a rock, and then the head cone opens up.
It's too late for me to make changes that big now, so I'm going with it.
The top of his head is a lily pad.
This is gonna go on here like this.
And then, to reveal his self, the eye will open up.
[Gasps] Oh! In all these challenges, the one thing I've had problems with are the eyes.
They are really, really hard.
Remember to trim the mech so that it has its limits.
So right now, very naked.
He is going to be very grassy.
Tell me how he's hiding in plain sight.
His paint job is going to be very much blending in with the grasses.
The textures, the colors, whatever you choose for that will be very, very important in the end.
He's kind of a swamp primate.
I've got the body here.
It seems very bright at the moment.
It is pretty bright.
Keep in mind Brian talking about the "hiding in plain sight" thing, how it's so much a part of the environment that you have no idea that it's a living thing - Okay, mm-hmm.
- Until it moves.
I'm gonna have to take a step back after talking to Julie and evaluate how to finish the creature.
I'm actually doing an old-school mech.
I'm gonna have these moving on a rod so that we get all the movement.
We had the full gamut with Jim from little cables not even cables.
Like, string.
I'm glad you're doing that.
Yeah, I think it would be a little bit of fun.
- You've got plenty to do.
- Yes.
[Both laugh] So good luck.
- Thank you.
Thanks.
- Thanks so much.
It's gonna be so cool.
Like, just that.
You had me sold at eye flower.
It's a really involved under-skull.
Too involved.
This is high-risk, high-reward fabricating.
If it fails, I could go home.
Because my creature has to open its mouth, the tongue has to come out.
That means both my hands are tied up.
One's holding the head, the other one, the tongue.
I have to build a mouth mechanism that opens the mouth up for me.
And I want to get it made fast.
[Bleep].
No, what was that? It was almost a bad thing.
But I caught it 'cause I'm made of panthers.
Hey, guys, we only got an hour left.
I'm not sure how everybody else is looking at my mechanisms.
I'm hoping that it actually pulls on some heartstrings for Brian, because this is the beginning of The Henson studio, was these little tiny mechanisms that were hand-puppeted.
I finished my eyeballs.
I've inserted them into the mechs, and I have to position the mechs inside the head.
It is the hardest thing in my entire life to do with this project.
How are you gonna secure them? Well, I need to know where they need to be placed first.
So much to put together and so much left to do.
It's gonna be down to the wire.
Coming up on Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge [Bleep].
We broke the arm.
I knew this was gonna [Bleep] happen.
He looks very comical to me.
She's very cartoon-y.
It's a really ambitious idea, and it doesn't show enough.
Our creature brief this week is, we have to make some creature that lives in the swamp and he's well-camouflaged by the swamp.
These eye mechs are the bane of my existence.
It's so frustrating, 'cause any little tiny movement, and then your eyes go, like, cross-eyed or walleyed, or then they just don't even match up.
I've spent so much time working on these things.
So that means tomorrow is all the gluing and all the painting.
And I have to do gluing and painting before I put in any grass.
Five minutes left! Right now, I'm right on schedule.
I'm just getting all the parts that have to move moving and making sure that they're put together reliably.
All right, guys, that's it! Clean up.
It's time to go.
Get on out of here.
Today's day three, the last day of the build.
This is the day that everything has to come together.
There's no option to put an unfinished piece in front of the judges.
I'm kind of nervous.
I don't have the skull inside my skin.
I still have to make sure that I can put it in there and that everything's gonna work and blink, because if not, I mean, I might as well not have even done any mech.
Right now, I am completing my mechanization.
The only difference between my mechanisms and the other designers' mechanisms is time.
They've spent roughly five to six hours apiece on their mechanization.
I essentially handcrafted what I needed to do in an hour and a half, and I'm actually gonna have more range of motion with my eyes than theirs.
And if anyone bumps, jars, or smacks their creature, it could easily fall apart on them.
I've got the eye mechs going.
They all work, and I just have to patch it together, put it on the body, and grass it up like crazy.
So hooray, happy fun times.
I've taken the time to really make sure that the hinge on the mouth and the foam are placed where that it'll close all the way, so I won't get dinged this time by the judges.
And the mouth still closes.
[Laughs] Melissa's creature is very bare at the moment.
She seems like she's a slow worker, and she has grass, which sometimes you have to glue each blade of grass on, and that's very time-consuming.
I know it looks bleak at the moment.
But in true Melissa fashion, I always pull it out.
Hey, guys, we got ten minutes left.
- That's it.
- Oh, crud.
Oh, that's cool, Jake.
The fact that the body doesn't move quite as much as the rest of the creature, I'm hoping that it channels the focus to the face.
But if it doesn't read the right way, it could be a knock against me.
Ruse's creature is interesting.
I don't know what to think about it.
Right now, as it stands, it's way too bright.
Okay, designers.
Your time is up.
You get to go home now, get a good rest, and I'll see you tomorrow at the screen test.
Good luck.
The night before a screen test is always a little bit nerve-racking.
That environment to be in and under that much scrutiny from people that you respect as much as I respect the judges definitely is stressful.
- Hey.
- Hi.
How's it going? It's the morning of the screen test, and I actually feel pretty good.
- How's it going, Victor? - How you doing, buddy? Back in business.
I was looking at this guy, he's gorgeous.
Welcome to the Boulder Munch.
There's a spot in the tongue area for your thumb.
It's gonna kind of crawl on him and kinda check him out like he's a tree, maybe look around for some stuff.
And he's gonna be tracking it the whole time with his eye, and then he'll turn, grab, and eat, - and that's a wrap for it.
- Cool.
So the top opens up.
Yes, I was hoping that was an eyeball.
[Both laughing] You'll grab it, pull it down, beat the hell out of it, and then just hold it in your fist.
Whole nother world down here.
We get to do our rehearsals actually in our space onstage.
And that's a huge deal, because there's really no better place to rehearse than the place you're actually going to be for the performance.
We're crawling under the stage, and it's cramped, okay? I mean, there is, like, a 5x2 space that we've got to move around in.
You can try sitting on this on end and see how high that gets you.
It's tight.
We're figuring out where everything's gonna be.
But I think we've got it down.
- Perfect.
- Oh, my gosh.
I kind of want to see if they can get rid of this grass, so I'm gonna have the professional puppeteer puppeteer the head and the hand.
Because the hand and the mouth interact together, it's better that he does both.
And then I'll be off to the side, controlling the eyes, and then we'll have the other puppeteer puppeteering the swamp scrat.
I'm operating the arm, and I'm getting a little flamboyant with smacking the hell out of this swamp scrat.
[Bleep].
We broke the arm.
[Bleep].
I've ripped the damn arm out.
[Bleep].
I start, you know [Growls] Screwing this thing back together.
[Drill whirs] All I can do is just hope that it holds.
I knew some [Bleep] like this was gonna [Bleep] happen.
Creature designers, welcome back to The Henson sound stage and our set for this week's screen test, the swamp.
Before we start the screen test, let's say hello to our judges.
First, a creature fabricator who has created work from Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, and The Chronicles of Narnia, Beth Hathaway.
[Applause] - Hello.
- Nice to see you guys again.
Next, a creature designer and director whose credits include Return of The Jedi, Star Trek, Dinosaurs, and Gremlins.
- It's Kirk Thatcher.
- Ooh! And we have a very special guest judge this week.
He was the head creature designer on the latest Star Treks and only the biggest movie of all time, Avatar.
His creature designs are currently on the big screen in Russell Crowe's Bible epic Noah.
From Face Off, please welcome Neville Page.
- Whoo! - [Applause] Thank you very much.
Neville Page is the top of creature design.
He is definitely one of our modern-day masters.
Just to have him looking at our stuff, like, that's amazing.
And of course, chairman of The Henson Company and head judge, our very own Brian Henson.
[Applause] Our very own.
Good to see you guys.
The judges are considering how you guys camouflage your creatures and how they reveal themselves in their natural environment when they come out to prey for food.
- So let's start the screen test.
- Hey, good luck, guys.
Yeah, good luck.
Please stand by.
Creature Shop screen test, swamp, take one.
[Mystical music] [Crickets chirping] And action.
[Grunts] [grunting] [Laughs] We're under the stage, but I hear the judges laughing as I'm beating this swamp scrat to death, and that's exactly what I wanted.
I wanted it to be train-wreck good.
[Crickets chirping] [Chuckles] [Laughs] I think it looks great.
It's a beautiful lily pad, and you know, the eye, that's a really cool reveal.
So I think there's no reason why I shouldn't win this challenge.
[Chomps] [Chomping] I know I have to redeem myself from that last individual's challenge.
I need to show that I can do well, and I can do well by myself.
[Grunts] I think the design is there.
This challenge isn't a whole bunch about movement.
This challenge is specifically blending into your environment, and I've kind of cornered that.
[Laughter] I feel pretty good about my creature.
I know that there are some points that I could've done better, and I know that there are points that could be a lot cooler on it.
But I'm really happy with how he looks on camera.
We're getting great emotion out of him, and that's what I wanted.
- And that's a cut.
- Thank you, creature designers.
That concludes our screen test.
Why don't you come on up? [Laughs] - Yay.
- Whoo! Awesome.
Russ, how about you start and tell us about your creature? I was kind of going for a little bit of a primate versus alien-ish creature.
Are you puppeteering the eyes? It's set up on a wooden block system where they can actually move it around like this, just like they did in the old days.
- You know, I figured - keeping it old-school.
Exactly.
The paint job, it looks very flat and green.
It might just be hard to read, but I flocked it so that it would read a little mossy.
Okay.
- It's cute.
- Thank you.
It just felt a little bit monochrome.
A little bit of variation would've helped.
The variation may exist, but from a distance and on camera, it wasn't as obvious.
In terms of the believability, it feels very much like an almost-humanoid upper body from the waist up.
So I'm immediately asking the question, what's going on below the waist? They didn't like Green Gene.
I still think he was way cool.
Thank you, Russ.
Let's move on to Robert.
Can you tell us the story behind your creature? This is Mildred.
She uses the top of the lily pad as her camouflage, and then she has her hand-lily pad that she can grab her prey with.
Nice fabrication work.
Is this a sculpture that you did on the face? Yeah, it's a vacuform shell and a foam latex skin on the top.
I love the finishing, that she looks actually really wet and moist.
It looks like seaweed coming down.
The only thing that sort of bothered me is, she's very cartoon-y.
Robert, the execution from your sculpture, paintwork, et cetera, looks beautiful.
And to incorporate the camouflaged lily pad into the head as a hat, I think, is brilliant.
I think in many ways you had the trickiest environment to work with.
I totally believe, texturally and what's going on below the lily pad, as that is a creature that loves to live in the mud.
- So bravo.
- Yeah.
Thank you.
I really like my creature.
I would love to win this challenge.
Melissa, you're up next.
Can you tell us about your creature? This is a type of long-bladed swamp fowl.
They kind of move into an area, and they start to develop the foliage.
The rushes on his head, I like the way it sort of follows a feather pattern or, like, hair.
Well, until he moves, I see a clump of sod.
And then he comes up, and then there's eyes and everything.
I thought that was a great reveal.
Thoroughly enjoyed your character, Melissa.
Thank you.
But I felt the camouflage was so good that it's almost too good to the point where it becomes difficult to read the character.
Kind of the business end of this character is the nose tip, - the kind of beak.
- Yeah.
That would've been a place to maybe just have it wear down a bit to reveal bone or just be a different color.
First of all, on the judging criteria of how well does it camouflage in the environment, you've really addressed that in a very, very successful way.
It's a very entertaining creature.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Ben, you're up next.
This is the Boulder Munch.
[Laughter] And it is a kind of a hermit crab-esque creature, where they're born into a rock.
And as they grow, they will dissolve the inside of the rock.
In terms of his surroundings and being camouflaged, really good job.
On the other hand, he looks very comical to me.
When the face opens up, it actually reminds me of a face we I designed on Dinosaurs for a grandmother named Ethel.
She had bug eyes like that, and it was supposed to be very funny, very cartoon-y.
I think to me it's the juxtaposition of that very cartoon-y, very pop-eyed, white eyes, in this very realistic rock, was very jarring.
The other thing that bothered me a little bit was the way the rock opened up.
It looked almost like a mechanical feature.
By bringing the eyes binocular, you add that element of almost a human underneath it.
And it takes it from being very realistic to being a little bit more playful.
It was not an intention of mine, and it didn't start looking that way until the very end.
I wish that he could've just moved forward a little bit while the tongue came out so that I got a sense of those legs.
Because the end result is really a rock that opens up, and there's a creature inside, which is not hiding in plain sight.
Julie had warned me.
She said, "this is not the challenge.
" And it bit me right in the ass.
I'm in trouble.
Jake, you're up next.
Can you tell us about your creature? This is the Root Breaker.
And these guys are walking around and everything in the beginning of their lives, but when they start to get to the end of their lives, they find a place to settle at the roots of trees.
And eventually they calcify and become part of the root structure.
I do like the texture on the head a lot.
Thank you.
Why did you decide to go sort of so overt with an eye and a mouth? I wanted to go with a head that felt like it was sort of in between, as the texturing and the surface was starting to blend in.
Some of the sculpting work that you did, particularly in the face, was really nice stuff, some great detailing.
I think you made a bold choice to say, "this was "a different kind of creature that has now mutated into this other creature.
" - It's a really ambitious idea.
- Of course.
And it doesn't show enough.
And I kind of wish that you had a better sense - of what the creature was.
- Right.
And then through animation, it tells its story.
Very tough for your creature when he's so incapable of animation.
The feedback I get from the judges is the feedback that I expected.
They wish he was a little bit more animated, and I totally understand that.
Thank you, Brian, and a big thank-you to all the creature designers.
The judges have a lot to discuss.
So you guys can make your way to The Henson screening room, and we'll call you back shortly.
Neville, what did you think of what they just did there? Well, you know, I'm familiar with the three-day, two-day challenge.
But this is really incredible, because there's a whole other level with the mechanisms and the performance.
It's humbling and inspiring.
- Okay.
Let's look at Russ.
- Gene.
My favorite part of the creature was his old-school eyes, but I think it was about the only thing that I really liked.
It seemed a bit rough.
It just looked like a torso with arms and kind of uncomfortable.
And then he just threw juniper and hair on his back.
Yeah.
You couldn't see the creature.
But what it was wasn't necessarily looking organically part of the swamp.
I couldn't tell that there was any textural interest to it.
And it just felt pretty much like rattle-can green and then some stuff on top of it, so it wasn't very complete.
Again, the criteria of the challenge an organic creature camouflaged in the environment.
I don't feel like he really embraced that.
He made a creature and put some weeping juniper on it.
So let's talk about Robert's Mildred.
- Mildred.
- Yeah.
I thought his backstory of his creature was the best.
He had a particularly difficult challenge working with a creature that's part of the lily pads.
It was a little cartoon-y.
- The sculpture up close - Was good.
- Was actually really good.
- Little teeth.
Had nice sculpting going on in here, and I thought the eyeball was ingenious.
It gave it a costume element.
- Right.
- Yeah.
It was so well executed.
It was well-conceived in its storyboard and performance.
When the lily pad came up, I totally believed that that was in terms of textures and color that that was a creature that lives in the mud.
And his finishing, it looked wet.
Let's talk about Melissa's.
Phil, the green swamp fowl.
I just really thought he was a great character.
You know, I loved the eyes.
Her finishing work was really nice.
He had so much personality.
I mean, the first thing I wrote was, "wow.
Amazing personality, great face.
" I think everybody said, "I don't really believe that there's a body underneath there.
" That head really would have benefited from being able to move, because as soon as it all moves together, that really undermines any credibility that there's a body under there.
But I tell you, the way that she took the grasses and cattails and laid them individually so that they had - a sort of hair pattern - Yeah.
That made sense to a creature but also made sense to a bush that was really impressive.
- It was a good base sculpt too.
- Yeah.
It really was well done.
It was a good, solid, kind of classic character.
Let's talk about Ben's rock creature.
- All: Boulder Munch.
- Yes.
Not a fan of the name.
- [Laughter] - No.
I just thought, as we kind of said in the Q&A, this looks like a great rock.
And then it opens up, and it's like - This cute little baby thing.
- It's a cute puppet show.
I mean, it was weird and creepy, but I didn't buy it.
I felt the finishing was good on the outside, but the minute it opened up, it did not look finished, and I could see a hand at the end of the sock.
- Yeah.
- Which drove me nuts.
I actually thought the tongue was pretty impressive, - if you do it once.
- Yes.
The design of the head was way too reminiscent of a cute character that you're very familiar with.
Right.
Ultimately, the whole criteria of camouflaging in plain sight I feel like, no.
I feel like it was hiding inside the rock.
Conceptually, he was kind of off the mark on the challenge.
Yeah.
- Let's look at Jake's work.
- Root Breaker.
I love the texture on his head, and his little horns were nice.
The thing that bothered me most was just the eye and mouth were really evident.
His hiding in plain sight was "I'm here.
" - Right, right.
- [Laughter] But the technical side of it, it was really well executed.
To me, he had a story that wasn't really reflected.
When he told you the story afterward, you go, "oh, I guess that justifies what we just saw," but the story needs to come through.
- I agree.
- It's a good point.
Self-demonstrative design is such an important thing.
When on camera, as we all know, we have a limited time to explain what this character is.
The movie's not about the creature oftentimes.
So it better be evident, what it's about.
Great work this week, guys.
You're really showing us your versatility as creature designers.
One of you made the most successful creature this week and is the winner.
And one of you made the least successful and will be eliminated tonight.
Jake, you are safe this week.
We will see more of your work next week, so thank you.
You can head back to the screening room.
- Thank you guys so much.
- See you later.
Bye.
One of you made the most successful creature this week and is the winner.
Two of the creatures that we saw tonight, we were really impressed with their backstories and with how brilliantly they camouflaged in their environment.
And they were designed by Robert and Melissa.
But one creature was particularly impressive to us in the way that the elements from the swamp were used directly on the creature in such a believable way.
And that creature was designed by One creature was particularly impressive in the way that the elements from the swamp were used directly on the creature in such a believable way.
And that creature was designed by Melissa.
- Thank you.
- Congratulations.
Congratulations, Melissa and Robert.
You can return to the screening room.
[Imitates gunshots] Individual challenge totally means way more than winning a team challenge, so I'm super, super happy.
Who won? - No, that's so good.
- Yes, she did.
- [Laughs] - That's so good.
I'm feeling pretty good, feeling pretty good about being top four.
Russ and Ben, the judges were least impressed with your creatures, and one of you will be eliminated tonight.
Ben, we thought that you had a really ambitious approach.
But we thought that the sculpt of your head was unoriginal, a little too cartoon-y.
And in the end, we felt you had created a creature that was hiding inside a rock as opposed to camouflaged among the rocks.
It was a risk that I ran headlong into and was warned by Julie and ignored the warning signs.
So I need to heed word from those that know better than me.
Russ, although we loved your eyes I particularly like the old-school eyes but your concept and design for your creature really wasn't believable enough for us.
And in execution, we felt that your paint job didn't belong comfortably in this environment.
The modeling didn't come out the way I had hoped it would have.
Tonight, the eliminated creature designer is Russ.
Thank you, Ben.
That means you're safe.
We'll see more of your work next week.
Thank you guys.
You can return to the screening room.
It's been great having you here.
I like you using old-school ideas.
I like you coming at the creatures from kind of a unique perspective that reflects your own background.
I really appreciate the opportunity.
This has been a lot of fun a lot of work and a lot of fun.
You know, as much as this sucks, it was a lot of fun.
- Thank you.
- Thanks.
And it was a hell of an opportunity.
But I think I went out like I would hope that everyone would go out, as a professional.
I am completely grateful that I had the six weeks that I had while I was here.
This has been a fantastic experience.