Monday, May 18, 2015

Crypticon preview featuring an Interview with Syfy Face Off contestant RJ Haddy

Crypticon is this weekend, and what better way to preview, than with an interview with another guest! I was lucky enough to chat with a contestant from one of my favorite show, Syfy's Face Off...Enjoy my Q&A with Crypticon guest and Face Off season 2 finalist, RJ Haddy!

The Steve Strout: What have you been working on since Face Off?

RJ: Good question, I've been working on all kinds of stuff. I just finished a movie called Night Watchman. That took place in Annapolis and it's a juicy vampire kind of film. It's gonna be out Halloween hopefully. The next one, I was working on another picture with Becky and House from Face Off. I went up and did a week with them on a show that they were working on in Ohio called The Funhouse Massacre, I believe. That should be out , I think around the same time, Halloween.

Other than that we're working on getting our You Tube videos up for our Beauty and the Beast channel that were working on. It's gonna be more like a Q&A think where people can send in emails and we can respond to you with video messages and that kind of stuff.

Of course My film, The Family Business, we're doing that too. That trailer should be ready to go, probably by June, or the end of June, I would hope.

Other than that we're just doing the conventions, hanging out, meeting folks, teaching workshops, and having a great time.

I was going to ask if you've collaborated with any other contestants from the show, but that kinda answers that question for me.

Yeah, we'll meet up all the time to teach classes together so that would go with that question. Becky, House and I are great friends and we've always wanted to work together. Finally after three years we got a chance to set that up, so that's pretty cool.

Are you actually a fan of Face Off and keep up on the show?
I was on season two, so I was a huge fan of season one, which made me want to audition. I was a big fan of season three, and I'm still a big fan of the show in general. I don't get to watch it as much as I used to because of the convention and travel schedule that I have. It usually keeps me busy on the road or in the shop doing something. I owe all of that to Face Off, so I couldn't complain if I wanted to.

The show has been a boost to the career?
Yeah definitely.

You actually had a career doing makeup and stuff in movies before Face Off?
Oh yeah. I lived in LA from the time I was about 18-19 til I was about 25. I stayed out there off and on. I would come home for a couple months here and there. For the most part I lived out there full time. I worked on a lot of films being a shop monkey working with Tony Gardner on Batman and Robin, Contact, and Mortal Kombat, the second one.We did a lot of stuff for There's Something About Mary. During that late 90's period, Tony had his hand in a lot of stuff that was coming out in that time period.

If it wasn't for those guys, I would have never held my own on Face Off as long as I did. Everything I did on Face Off, I flashed back to my former life as a shop monkey, and it really helped get through the show. I also worked for ADI (unfortunately had rough phone service during the interview so I had to paraphrase a bit here and there) briefly before I moved home.

Then, I went on to graduate school and started teaching after that. It was weird. I stayed a teacher for about 8 years almost. That was a good run there, but you kinda get to the point where you can't move forward any more and your kinda just like dealing with it. Then Face Off premiered, and it was actually the kids

in my class that pushed me to audition because they knew about my history of work and knew I loved it, and am pretty passionate about it. They were like "you gotta do this, you gotta do this", and I was like "well I dunno"...Then the rest is history.

That's a very cool way to get pushed back into it. So, what's been your favorite project to have worked on, so far?

You talking entire life, or post Face Off? Entire, I'd have to say The Family Business has been my favorite project. But... I will say this...When I was a kid, and this is kinda a neat thing, you remember the Secret? You know that movie that came out a couple years ago called The Secret, that tells you to focus on the things you want in life, and eventually it will happen.

Alright, this is a weird story. I ended up out in L.A. Right before I did, you know those little yearbook things you fill out and say "in five years im gonna be blah blah blah", well I filled it out before I went to L.A. and I didn't look at it again. I went off to L.A. and worked on Batman and Robin, came home, and as I was digging through my closet I found that little book. I took that book out and I'll be damned if I didn't write, and I wish I still had it, but I wrote "I'm going to be an effects artists in Los Angeles working on the next Batman

movie", and if that isn't what happened! It is the weirdest thing. So, I always say, even if it's just a subconscious thing, you know they say write your goals down? Man, DO IT! Just do it. Write your goals down.

Very cool, and good advice.
Yeah, so I'd have to say in my entire life, my favorite project has been Batman and Robin. Even though it was a turkey of a movie, at the time I was just out of high school and excited to be working on a Batman movie!


Exactly, who cares (how bad the movie was), IT'S BATMAN!

Post Face Off I would say The Family Business has been my favorite project to do because I'm really just overseeing the whole thing from script to acting to directing. All that stuff. It's kind of like my pet project.

Now, you've been staying busy on the convention scene lately. What do you look to get out of the conventions?
That's a really good question. What do I hope to get? Or what do I already get from them and hope to get from them, which is a connection to those people that really supported, and not just supported me, but supported the show and are fans of the show. I just love the interaction.

The thing about being on a reality show is that people wath you and feel like they know you because people see you doing what you do and being who you are. I always feel like its my duty, because these people paid their hard earned money to come to these shows and learn effects, I feel like its my job to give them something that's worth that money to them. For me, I'm here to find out who YOU are, and understand who you are and talk to you guys for a little bit. It's important to me. It's very important to me especially with the economy. People work so hard for there money anyways, and they're coming to this show to see you and learn from your class. I feel a great sense of responsibility to the fans to do that, and to be a good guy. You know what I mean?

Your going to be at Crypticon in Seattle, as am I, later this month (May 22-24 to be exact). Is this your first trip to Seattle?
It is. I'm really excited. I've been wanting to go to Crypticon since I started doing conventions. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and am really looking forward to being there. We're gonna do some pretty cool classes. I'm gonna do a fangs class, to show people how to easily make fangs. We're also doing a Pros-Aide transfers class. We'll learn how to work with Pros-Aide transfers, which I love. It's probably one of my favorite things to play with right now, Pros-Aide transfers.

What exactly are Pros-Aide transfers?

Pros-Aide transfers are made out of the thickened glue that we use to glue foam and latex appliances with.

What kind of advice would you give to an aspiring makeup/fx artist?
Well, I guess it would depend on what age that person is, because I would say there's different advice for different age levels.

If your still in school, if your a kid and your in high school, and you have access to your art classes, take as many art classes as you can. Take art classes. Take anatomy classes. Take advantage of that. Go to your local technical education school. Use that as part of your study. Use that and learn, maybe cosmetology or dental tech. There's a whole world of things that you can apply those skills to in fx artistry, that you can learn at your local technical education centers. That would be my advice to kids.

If your an adult my advice would be, and to kids too, would be to check out online and look up the Stan Winston school. The Stan Winston school, online, all those videos and stuff are amazing. They're led by Academy Award winning folks that have 20 years of experience on what I got. These guys really know what they're talking about. Your definitely learning from masters. The cool thing about the Stan Winston program is that you can pick and choose what you want to learn. You don't have to go through a prescribed type of, you know , take this class, this class, and that class type of structured environment. AND, you can hang on to those videos forever and use them to reference and go back. I highly recommend checking that out.

I always wrap up by allowing my guest to add or plug anything they'd like to share. Anything you want to pass along?

I would love to try and plug my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and those things. Our Instagram is just @rjhaddy. Twitter is @RJHaddyofficial. Facebook is just Oh and check out the film site at

I had to tell you before closing that your Tim Burton inspired bellhop (which I will be sharing a picture of) has been one of my favorite makeups on Face Off and thank you for your time. Awesome, thank YOU!

Hope to see you all at Crypticon this weekend! Be sure to stop and say hi to RJ and track me down as well! Make sure to check out and follow RJ Haddy on all his social media pages too. publicity page online store artist fb page

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Comic Review: Afterlife With Archie #8

The wait for the new issue of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla's excellent Afterife with Archie has felt like a kid wating for Christmas to come.  So, It's only fitting that the stellar creative duo drop issue number eight last week with a Yultide themed issue.

Part two of the series' latest arc, Betty: RIP, finds the survivors of the Riverdale zombie outbreak taking shelter from the elements in a hotel.  Archie is still reeling from how the gang handled Cheryl's violent actions from last issue, making more of an enemy out of Mr. Lodge and we get a deeper supernatural look as to the possible source of the evil that has descended on the town via a flashback/legend.

Aguirre-Sacasa takes a break from the more intense plots of earlier issues, going light on the zombie action and spending time delivering character development and important expositional details.  Through it all, he demonstrates his love for the horror genre by dropping in loving homages to mainstays like The Shining, The Others, The House on Haunted Hill, and The Lottery.  He uses the wonderful Shining references to frame the larger ghost story the issue is based upon.

Every page drips with the ominious atmosphere that Francavilla with which infects this book.  For a book like this, the mood and tone is extremely important and he has nailed it with every new issue.

If you're not reading this book, I cannot stress how much of a must read this one is...stop sleeping and head to your local comic shop!  Before it's too late!!  

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crypticon preview featuring an interview with zombie apocolypse author, Eloise Knapp...

Crypticon takes place May 22-24, 2015 in Seattle.
For more info
With one of my favorite cons to attend and cover right around the corner in Crypticon Seattle, I figured what better way to preview the convention than with an interview with a show guest. Author of the Undead series (about the zombie apocolypse), Eloise Knapp was gracious enough to take the time out to talk about her upcoming release, The Undead Ruins and Crypticon, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy my chat with Eloise Knapp, and check out her books! I'm on book two and its awesome!

-Thanks for taking the time for this interview. Let's jump right in and talk about your upcoming release, The Undead Ruins, part 3 in the Undead trilogy. Can you give us a quick synopsis of the series?
The series is about a sociopathic man named Cyrus V. Sinclair surviving in the zombie apocalypse. He was a loner with little purpose before the dead came back, but finds the undead world suits him very well. The books follow his journey battling zombies, crazies, cannibals, and making sense of himself now that everything has changed.

-Who or what inspired the main character, Cyrus V Sinclair?
When I started writing his story, it was because I’d read a lot of zombie apocalypse books and they all felt the same. Characters were afraid of zombies, had no preps or guns, and generally had predictable reactions to zompoc situations. I wanted to do something different. That’s what inspired Cyrus. I wanted a character who was not only prepared for the apocalypse, but excited for it. I wrote the kind of book I wanted to read.
-Where and when is The Undead Ruins going to be available?
It’s available April 28th in ebook, and shortly after that paperback on Amazon.
- Is it published through Permuted Press again?
Yes, it is.
-Permuted is one of the premier horror publishers on the market. Do or have you read any other titles on the label? Any recommendations? I love 14 by Peter Clines and would recommend it to anyone. It’s a wild, crazy ride. The book is pretty long, but I was so into it I read it in one sitting.
-Ive gotten through your first book and loved it! I'm a huge zombie fan, so this collection is right up my alley. Your stories show a pretty good grasp on how one would survive a zombie apocalypse. Do you have a game plan for when/if a zombie outbreak goes down? 
Yep! Pack up as many preps as feasible and make a run for my grandparent’s farm. I live in a pretty dense city, so my first goal would be to bug out to a less populated area. I’d like to think I’d act quickly at the signs of a zompoc, before everyone else was in a rush to escape, too.
-Crypticon is coming up later this month. Are we going to see you there? What do you hope to get out of the show?
Yeah, I’ll be there with a bunch of authors like Craig DiLouie, Timothy W. Long, and Katie Cord of Evil Girlfriend Media. This is my 4th or 5th Crypticon now, and as with every year, I’m looking forward to meeting current and new fans, and checking out all the awesome vendors the con has to offer.
-What are you most looking forward to at Crypticon Seattle?
I always like to hang out with fellow authors, but I love checking out art and jewelry makers.
-Besides Crypticon, do you self promote at any other conventions, and what other promotional angles do you work?
I’m going to Texas Frightmare for the second time the first weekend of May. Other than that, I don’t do that many events right now. I do maintain my fan page and upload videos to YouTube on occasion.
-You wrote the first book at a pretty young age, if I'm not mistaken. Was being a writer always a dream for you?
Yeah, it has been. Since I was a young kid, I loved to write stories. I did short stories and fan fiction until I was a teenager, then I tried longer works. When I was 17, I started writing The Undead Situation and I did it with no other goal than “because I want to.” It turned out well, and I decided to self-publish. After PP picked it up and a lot of people seemed to enjoy it, I realized that being a writer didn’t have to stay a dream but could be a reality.
-What about Eloise the person? Tell us a little about you. 
People are always shocked when I tell them what kind of books I write. Eloise the person is quiet and very unassuming. One person I used to work with couldn’t believe it, claiming I was “too sweet to write stuff like that.”  
A sample of Eloise's art
-What other projects are you working on aside from writing? What else are you into?
I design book covers and always have one in the queue. For fun I also like to do apocalyptic photomanipulations. I’m into yoga, meditation, and pilates. I also prep, shoot, do archery, and watch scary movies. It’s a good blend of yin and yang. I don’t limit my interests.
-Before wrapping up, is there anything you'd like to add or plug. Maybe some advice for other aspiring writers?

Some advice for aspiring writers is to take advice for aspiring writers with a grain of salt. Everyone wants to tell you what to do and how to do it. That’s fine. Some of the advice is extremely valid, while some just sucks. The most valid advice I’ve heard is simply to keep writing.

-Thanks for taking the time, Eloise. For more info, check out her website at:

We have another interview in the works with another VERY SPECIAL guest too! I'm really excited about Crypticon this year! I hope to see some of you there!

Before I wrap up here, I'd like to thank Josh Cook for his support and congratulate him for winning our nerdy prize pack! He happens to have a great blog you should check out at:

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout