Here’s what Nathan was looking for:
Effort: Higher points will be awarded to those who combine diverse skills with incredible imagination to create a detailed and captivating horror look. Makeup technique is fundamental, but the more visually stunning the final image is—through the tasteful use of hair, costume styling, props, and accessories—the more points will be awarded.
Skill/Technique: Students who demonstrate the use of polished makeup skills, detailed application, symmetry (when it is supposed to be symmetrical), and a diverse use of techniques will be awarded higher points. There are no rules in horror, so don’t be afraid to change, refine, and create new techniques.
Photo Quality: A good quality image is essential. The photograph should be clean, crisp, and appropriately lit. Higher points will be awarded to images that look like they could be in a horror magazine or media feed. Points will be deducted for images that are blurry, messy, or have cluttered or thoughtless backgrounds (e.g. messy bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.). This doesn’t mean that you need an expensive setup, it just means you need to clean the oils off your camera lens or to borrow a better phone or camera. Incredibly gentle retouching is acceptable, although your makeup should be doing the perfecting on its own. Blurred skin, visible or over-retouching, and filters will result in a loss of points or disqualification.
Fun/Originality: Create a makeup look that is original and from the deepest recesses of your imagination. I expect to see wonder, terror, beauty, and horror! Have fun every step of the way! If you copy or tweak an influencer’s existing work, you will be disqualified. You are an artist—don’t copy. And I can promise you, everyone in the industry has seen enough of the well-shadowed skeleton teeth, the typical sugar skull, the ventriloquist’s dummy, and all the other over-done and constantly copied tutorials. Originality is difficult, especially in a social media driven world, so accept the challenge to create.
Story: A few sentences about your creation and the story behind him/her/it can do a lot to sell your image. Don’t fall into the trap of telling what you did with the makeup. Instead, tell the story of who or what this person or creature is. The stronger your story and concept, the more precise and clear your application will be, and the more points you’ll be awarded. In the past, amazing makeup artists have lost the contest because they refused to tell a story. Don’t let that be you.