Face Off: Is the Syfy Show Scripted or Real?

Image Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Syfy

One thing Syfy’s ‘Face Off’ is well-known for is its selection of talented prosthetic artists who can make even the most extraordinary artistic visions come to life. The competition is fierce and often gives us a hard time while trying to select only one person to root for. While the show has enjoyed much love since it premiered in 2011, many in the public are also curious about different possibilities attached to the show’s legitimacy. Is the show as real as it claims to be, or is it scripted? This is one of the questions we ourselves are looking forward to exploring.

Face Off is Not Fake

Despite the fact that the whole concept of ‘Face Off’ is based on the idea of creating something unrealistic, the show itself does not seem to be scripted. A major part of one’s belief behind the show’s legitimacy can be directly attributed to the fact that prosthetic makeup is far from an easy skill to bluff about. That is not to say that the series has never found itself facing accusations regarding things that happen behind the scenes.

Image Credit: Nicole Wilder/Syfy


Going back all the way to season 3, we have Joe Castro, the man to have the dubious honor of being the first ever person to be disqualified from the show. His elimination happened before the results of the season’s first Spotlight Challenge could be announced, ending his on-screen journey in the very first episode. However, Castro then decided to release a documentary in 2014 called ‘Franken//Fake,’ in which he shares his version of events that led him to apparently walk out of the show on his own terms.

As per Castro’s account, he was being asked to sign multiple contracts as he progressed in the competition. The contracts in question would allegedly give the producers the right to the contestant’s work, which he was apparently not happy with. In his movie, Steven Escobar., a reality television editor, claimed that Castro was deliberately kept away from his medication, was humiliated, and was chased out physically from the show. ‘Franken//Fake’ also claims to have real footage of things that actually happened on the show and talks about the temporary restraining orders that the showmakers attempted to file against Castro. One of the biggest claims made by Castro was that the Syfy series is scripted.

While Castro’s account of events seems to fit the criteria of an exposé, it also does not line up with most of the accounts shared by other contestants. Over the seasons, participants have seemed only to express their admiration for the platform that the series provided to them, adding that they enjoyed the whole experience. Many in the public have also taken Castro’s words with a grain of salt, likely due to the visible success that most of the stars of the show have had recently.

Image Credit: Jordin Althaus/Syfy

“We all genuinely like each other. We’re actually creating art. We don’t have time for that,” Stella Sensel from season 7 told The New York Post while talking about possible animosity between participants. “We don’t want people to see us on the show acting like jerks because people are not going to want to work with each other. We’re going to hire each other.” The contestant was more than happy to talk about how prosthetic makeup can often take hours, which allows contestants to bond with each other every season, with them often helping each other out.

Many of the show’s participants have gone on to not only work on some highly prestigious projects but also earn awards for the same. In fact, season 4 winner Anthony Kosar was actually nominated for an Emmy Award in 2021 for his work in ‘Lovecraft Country.’ This is perhaps a true testament to how the show prioritizes skill over possible drama, even though that has not stopped showrunners from trying to shield themselves from accusations of others.

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