Reality check: Savini grad is painting 'Face Off' Green

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From the time he was a freshman in high school, Tyler Green knew he wanted to one day live in Monessen.

"I actually based my entire high school years gearing myself toward that school," said Mr. Green, 26, a native of Litchfield, Conn. "I knew what I wanted to do there."

Reality show aficionados might guess why. Monessen is home to the Douglas Education Center's Tom Savini Special Make-up Effects Program.

If you want to make monsters, it helps to go down the river.

In each of its six seasons, Syfy's "Face Off" has featured at least one Savini alumnus in the cast. This time around there were four, with Mr. Green and Kansas City, Mo.'s Daran Holt still in the running as the artists were whisked away to Tokyo at the end of this week's episode.

Mr. Green, who wowed the judges by creating an elaborate tree wizard, said that innovation is just who he is: "It's like an itch you can't scratch, and I have to create."

A fan of the great outdoors, Mr. Green benefited from years of observing the flora and fauna in the woods.

"Trees have a lot of character. ... I think, in my heart, that the key is making things look organic. Does this feel 'real' to me? I think my tree guy proved it; that thing looked like a freaking tree."

The Savini program focuses on more than movie makeup. Students are taught to create prosthetics and dental devices, among other real-world applications. Mr. Green has been doing well on the show but noted his interests lie in other fields, such as his startup company, Creative Genius LLC.

"It doesn't matter to me whether it's creating a monster, a prosthetic or something for humanity," he said. "I really feel that I can benefit the world by creating interesting products for people."

On the show, he wears a prototype of the company's first product, the patented Wonderband System. ("there should be a 'TM' after that," he noted cheerfully.)

Mr. Green's enthusiasm shines through on "Face Off," on a season that has featured scant friction among contestants. When contestant Cat Paschen was eliminated last week for creating a bright orange cat-like wizard dotted with flower petals, there were tears all around.

Then host McKenzie Westmore popped in to tell the exhausted artists they would be flying to Japan in the morning.

Next Tuesday's episode finds the remaining contestants in an anime challenge.

Elsewhere on reality TV ...

• Beginning tonight, TV Guide Network will run encore episodes of "The Amazing Race" and "Survivor" in a two-hour block beginning at 8. Both shows had season premieres this week. TVGN is owned by CBS.

• Speaking of "The Amazing Race," the latest all-star season kicked off Sunday with "Twinnies" Natalie and Nadiya Anderson doing viewers a favor by becoming the first team to be eliminated. After bickering on two continents -- "idiot" was referenced a couple of times -- the ladies failed to pay attention to the placement of clues atop a skyscraper in China and placed last on the leg.

Of course, editing can make anyone look better or worse, but one hour of Twinnies was about 30 minutes too much.

•  There are reality programs, and then there are other definitions of reality. The Television Academy recently announced the 66th Primetime Emmys will honor two versions: structured and unstructured. The first would include competitive shows such as "Project Runway" or "So You Think You Can Dance?"

The "Real Housewives" and "Dance Moms" bunch would be "unstructured," although fans of such shows know that some of these programs can be very structured, indeed.

Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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