Wooley will appear in the latest season of SyFy’s “Face Off,” a competition reality show for special effects make-up artists.
The series, already in its third season and SyFy’s most popular unscripted program, challenges the group of artists to create characters fit for big-budget Hollywood films. The alien with the exoskeleton was Wooley's first challenge, which he created with fellow contestant Rod Maxwell, a 47-year-old from West Hollywood.
The character debuted in Face Off’s first episode, airing on Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. EST. It was part of a challenge to create a new character to fit in the hodgepodge of intergalactic creatures from the classic "Star Wars" cantina scene.
One judges for the series competition is Neville Page, lead creature designer for James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Page was also a character designer on Ridley Scott’s recent blockbuster "Prometheus." Guest judges also include “Clerks” director Kevin Smith, actor Sean Astin from “Rudy” and Gale Anne Hurd, producer of Cameron’s “Aliens” and the AMC series “The Walking Dead.”
If Wooley wins the competition, he will receive $100,000 and have the opportunity to become a guest lecturer at the Make Up Forever Academies in New York and Paris.
Wooley grew up in the Beat 10 community and graduated from T.W. Martin High School in 1983.
Wooley's interest in special effects makeup surfaced when, at age 15, he and a friend snuck into a theater to watch John Landis's “An American Werewolf in London." It was the transformation scene, in which protagonist David Kessler writhes in agony as his body involuntarily transforms into a wolf, that captivated Wooley.
“I remember thinking, ‘Someone got paid to do this,’” he said.
Wooley said finding materials to learn the craft was a challenge. The local library had only one book about applying theater makeup.
Wooley said he learned much of what he knows through trial and error, working with supplies ordered from Fangoria magazine or purchased from a costume shop in Birmingham.
After high school, Wooley worked for a Jasper business called Clark Embroidery, which did the stitching work for the hats and jackets for area businesses. He said he eventually worked his way up to the manager, "which was great because I was able to afford my makeup habit."
Wooley said his family and friends were split in regard to supporting his hobby.
He admitted that no one thought he could do it as a full time job. But he said his mother, Anita Wooley, has always been supportive of his special effects work.
“I would say I needed something, and she would run to Alabama Art Supply (in Birmingham) and get me clay and not even blink about it,” he said.
In 1997, Wooley moved to Atlanta. He started as an actor for a haunted house in the area, and he now runs the makeup department for Netherworld Haunted House.
Though Wooley could not discuss the show past the first episode, he said he is honored to be involved with the series.
“It’s amazing just to be around so many talented people who have your same interests,” he said.
For more information about Face Off, log on to http://www.syfy.com/faceoff/.