Seton Hill Student to Appear on Syfy Competition Show premiering 3/25
Jake Corrick loved playing with action figures and reading comic books as a young boy growing up in Rostraver Township, Pa.
He took to building his own action figures – taking parts from one and combining them with parts from another - which got his creative juices flowing.
“They didn’t make toys that I wanted to play with, so I had to make them,” said Corrick, 22, now a student at Seton Hill University.
His early action figure building led him to sculpture. And his love of movies, such as “Jurassic Park,” “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth” led him to realize that sculptures are often used in films as part of the special effects process.
Now, Corrick’s affinity for sculpture and movies are coming together as he is one of the contestants on "Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge" premiering on Syfy on March 25 at 10 p.m./9 p.m. Central.
"Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge" is a competition series featuring ten aspiring creature creators competing to out-imagine one another in a series of challenges where they will build everything from mechanical characters to whimsical beasts, bringing high-end inanimate creature designs to life. The contestants compete for a prize worth up to $100,000 including the opportunity for the job of a lifetime - a contract working at the world-renowned Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
“The group of artists I had the opportunity to work with – everybody should have won that show. It was an incredible group of talent,” Corrick said of his experience. “The quality of work coming out of the show would be right at home on a movie set.”
Corrick, who is a senior studying for his bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture, said he was “discovered” for the show because of the business he started last year, Misfits Monsters and Model Kits.
He produces original, affordable resin busts that people can buy painted or unpainted.
“I’m having a blast designing these characters,” Corrick said. “I also want to give people the option to show their own creativity through providing the unpainted sculptures.”
A casting director saw the Facebook page for Corrick’s business and sent him an application for the show.
After an application and interview process, which included auditions in Los Angeles, Corrick received a phone call during one of his classes to say he was selected.
“And I couldn’t tell anybody,” he said. “I had to go back and sit in this 3 ½ hour class with this knowledge in my head.”
In fact, Corrick isn’t allowed to say much about the show. While he knows the outcome, he’s not allowed to tell. And he wouldn’t want to anyway.
“I want them to watch and get into it as opposed to them already knowing the outcome,” he said of his family and friends.
During the show, the contestants were tasked with creating their own unique creatures based on different parameters every episode.
“We had to do a lot of creatures that are animatronic, and their facial features are moveable by radio control,” Corrick said, adding that animatronics was a skill-set he had to learn on the fly.
They were judged on their work by lead judge Brian Henson Chairman of The Jim Henson Company and the Creature Shop; as well as Beth Hathaway, a creature fabricator who has worked on such projects as “Jurassic Park,” “The Walking Dead” and “Edward Scissorhands,” and Kirk Thatcher, a creature designer whose credits include “Return of the Jedi,” “Gremlins,” and “E.T.” Gigi Edgley, best known for her role on “Farscape,” will serve as host.
“The entire show was beyond my comfort zone. This type of work requires such a broad skill set, it’s almost impossible to know it all. To be able to do everything is really difficult,” Corrick said.
He said the judges provided critiques that were right on point.
“It was definitely a very good way to broaden your skills and to learn,” Corrick said. “I learned so many things on this show and so many things I didn’t think I’d be able to do I did and I did successfully.”
Pati Beachley, associate professor of sculpture and director of the art program at Seton Hill, isn’t surprised at Corrick’s success thus far.
"Jake has always had passion, skill, and focus with his sculptures,” Beachley said. “When you do what you love, the work shows it, and it takes you places."
Corrick, who took a leave of absence last fall to film the show, is expecting to graduate on time in May.
And while he can’t share what happens on the show, he can say one thing about his future.
“I can tell you I’m definitely going to keep sculpting,” Corrick said.