Mel Licata Face Off Contestant Season 10

Mel Licata Face Off Contestant Season 10

Melanie Licata
Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program Graduate – January 2015

If you’ve been following SyFy Channel’s Face Off then you know Melanie (Mel) Licata.  She’s one of our favorites this season and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching her this season!

Mel attended Douglas Education Center (“DEC”) in the fall of 2013, where she studied in the Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program.  After extensive time researching online for special effects schools in the United States, Mel decided that DEC’s program would be the best fit.  She paid close attention to other reviews about the school, success rates after graduation, as well as length of program. She loved the idea of getting an actual degree from DEC, and although the program is longer than some others, Mel believed that to learn something as unique and complex as special effects that the 16-month program was more than worth the time and effort.  She didn’t attend an open house like many students contemplating their future choice of schooling, but rather she came in for a one on one tour and that’s when she fell in love with the place. “What a great environment!  The place was amazing, but I really loved how happy everyone was.  I loved meeting the people and felt that their being so happy was a good sign about the school,“ Mel stated during a phone interview.


Mel and Kaleb collaborating on Face Off. One of Mel’s favorite times so far on the show.

Not unlike many of the DEC students, Mel traveled over 6 hours away from her hometown of Highstown, New Jersey to attend the Tom Savini Program, and from day one she was laser focused and serious about her education.  Mel put her all into her learning.  While in attendance at DEC, she was the student who made relationships with all of her instructors.  She utilized everything that they had to offer and really excelled at building relationships and maximizing her time.  Mel was described as the student who was always looking for experiences to expand her education. Mel’s admiration is reciprocated when speaking of the instructors, “Each one of the teachers was willing to give you as much as you wanted to take from them.  There was no end to what they were willing to do to help me learn whether I needed advice, extra materials, or just some help with troubleshooting.  They were there.”

When Mel was a student at DEC working on Universal Monsters

At the moment she’s most proud of how she has handled things thus far on Face Off.  She’s motivated by working with other people, she’s competitive, and thrives on collaboration and seeing what she can create and build while sharing visions with others.  “I love how collaborative everyone is and the time we all spend helping each other. Yes, we are competitive, but everyone works together as a team.”  She has also enjoyed working with Kaleb Lewis – another DEC graduate, prompting her to say, “Face Off is like graduate school for Douglas!”  Mel is certainly making the most of her opportunity and finds great value in showcasing her work for industry experts.  “The amount I learn each week hearing from real life industry experts is unlike any of the usual critique I’m used to getting from clients that simply critique based on their needs.”

Although a lot of positives things have been a part of Mel’s life, including loving and supportive parents, she still had to overcome a series of obstacles at one point.  She was wondering why the obstacles were so prevalent, so she turned to her dad for the answer.  “He said if you want stuff to stop happening, stop doing things. Overcoming obstacles has been one of the reasons for my growth to this day, even when the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for it to be.”

When asked what she would tell a student starting at DEC, she didn’t hesitate with a response. “ Take it seriously, be at the school as much as you can, get to know the instructors, they’ll give you the world if you ask for it…..OH and you’ll never have that kind of free material again so ENJOY IT!

I have a feeling that if Mel keeps doing what she is doing, we will all be enjoying watching her continued success story unfold.

Face Off airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on Syfy.


Learn more about Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program
Read Nora Hewitt’s Story
Read Jason Baker’s Story
Read Brittany Fontain’s Story