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FX hotshot Haddy hosts hauntingly hip Halloween workshops

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Look out, Batman! Visual effects artist Robert "RJ" Haddy dresses as the villain Penguin at a recent convention. Haddy has attended plenty of them since finishing as a runner-up on season two of Syfy's "Face Off."
Courtesy photo
Haddy stands with perhaps his most popular creation from "Face Off" -- a Tim Burton-esque bellhop.
Haddy's Halloween workshopsAll workshops are for ages 12 and up and held at RadFX Lab, 1007 Bigley Ave. Register online through links found at• FANG-tastic Fangs: Oct. 7, $150. Register by Sunday.• Foam Yard Props: Oct. 14-15, $175. Register by Oct. 1.• Corpse Course 101: Oct. 21-22, $325. Register by Sept. 21. CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Halloween is understandably Robert "RJ" Haddy's favorite holiday. The effects artist, a Season 2 runner-up on Syfy's competition show "Face Off," thrives on creating elaborate prosthetics and props that are often ghoulish.This year, he'll be teaching others how to do the same.In October, Haddy will hold three workshops for the general public: FANG-tastic Fangs on Oct. 7, Foam Yard Props on Oct. 14-15 and Corpse Course 101 on Oct. 21-22. It's a way to kick Halloween decorations and costumes up a notch, he said. "You'll be able to have a fun afternoon learning cool things," he said, "and you'll have enough [supplies] left over to do stuff after you leave."Those supplies are included in each workshop's cost, and advance registration is required so that Haddy has time to get them. (The deadline for the first workshop is Sept 16.)"That's the only drawback to being here," he said. "You can't get supplies locally. You have to order things from out of state. That's another benefit of taking the workshop; you don't have to worry about hunting down supplies."In the first workshop, participants will learn to make acrylic dental appliances -- including, but not limited to, fangs. In the second, they'll make large props such as tombstones out of insulation foam. In the third, they'll turn a medical-grade skeleton into a mummified body.
Each workshop must have a minimum of 10 participants. There's room for up to 15, although Haddy said he might be able to squeeze in a few more people if the interest is there, which he thinks it is."I know people in the area are hungry for it," he said.People everywhere are hungry for it, actually. Haddy has such a busy schedule now that he's had to acquire a booking agent ("which is surreal"). He also had to quit his full-time job at Capital High School, so workshops are a way for him to continue teaching.
"I'm a born teacher," he said. "I want to teach people, and I want people to be excited to learn something they're passionate about."Now, though, with Halloween approaching, his activities leans heavily toward appearances at haunted houses, conventions and other holiday-related events. He said he'll be at one nearly every weekend between now and Halloween, including Fright Nights at the Resort at Glade Springs in Raleigh County on Oct. 19-20.After that, his schedule opens up -- a little. In November, he'll teach a weeklong class for beginners in Charleston (the subject of which is TBA) and serve as art director for a short film in Louisville, Ky. Early next year, he'll serve as a two-week guest instructor at Seaton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa.Oh yeah, he's also preparing to launch an airbrush line with the Paasche Airbrush Co., which he hopes will debut later this month. And he's got his fingers crossed for some makeup to go along with the brush.He's not new to product launches, though. Earlier this year, he debuted his own iPhone app, called "RJ Haddy." It's a free download that offers fans a way to keep up with him. (He's also on Facebook and Twitter, of course.)"Right now, there's a schedule of events, news updates and pictures from the last thing I did," he said. "Eventually, I hope to have in-app purchases where you can download quick tutorials for $4 or $5 each. Maybe some ringtones, too."
Speaking of eventualities, another one is a return to Hollywood and filmmaking. Previously, Haddy studied special effects and make-up artistry at the Joe Blasco Make-Up Artist Training Center and worked at Alterian Studios, assisting on various films.For now, though, he's content to stay on his current path."Films and Hollywood are the ultimate goal, but along the way, there are other stopping points," he said. "That road is a very long road. If I have to, I'll pull over and take some rest stops along the way."Reach Amy Robinson at or 304-348-4881.
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