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tyree
02-15-2010, 10:48 AM
How does everyone handle break times for the people working in your haunt? Do you stagger their times so your haunt continues to run but leaves certain scenes unmanned or do stop for 15 minutes, etc.?

Allen H
02-15-2010, 12:36 PM
I have a "breaker" actor in a costume that fits every room. He starts an hour after the other actors. He goes to the most physically taxing spot and gives that actor a 15 min break. When that actor returns he goes to a different spot and works his way through the show.
by starting with the hardest jobs they will get more breaks. It works well to have one breaker for every 8 actors, you can go 10 actors if you need to. Expect him to give three, not four breaks per hour. Things come up, people come back late. They should be pretty responsible. It helps to have a designated break taking area, that way you can monitor who is there and for how long, and he cn go fetch them if need be and does not have to run around looking.

freak 'n' stein
02-15-2010, 04:48 PM
When I worked at a local amusement park, they didn't really have a specified "break time". They just gave us all water bottles and we left in and out as we pleased. This didn't work every night, because as the season went on and all the actors started taking advantage of the lax break system, more scenes started to go unmanned.

Last season when I started with the Jaycees, we let our characters out in three sections; Front, Middle, Back, as the groups progressed through. When the haunt was empty, we'd give the characters who let out in the front a few minutes before they had to get back into position. We'd then let the middle and lastly the back characters into position and groups would resume. It left for no more than 15 minutes of down time and everyone stayed happy. During their 15 minutes they ate, drank and took restroom breaks.

rwrussom
02-15-2010, 07:55 PM
After some experimentation, we arrived at a "rolling" break. On the busy (long) nights, it was two per night. We held the line and as a room finished they went to break. The last rooms had not started their break by the time the show restarted in the first rooms. We had a break room stocked with drink and food for the breaks and would have a runner during the rest of the show distributing water and hard candy.

Rocky Mountain Terror
02-15-2010, 09:24 PM
In my experiences as an actor, I have only worked at one haunted house that had an all actor break in the middle of the evening. I believe that this method is extremely anti-productive. When an actor comes back from a break, it takes him/her a while to get fully back into the character, back into the scene, into the atmosphere, etc.

There are three times in which an actor is not at their respective 100%. The beginning of the night, after a break, and at the very end of the night. I believe a show gets better as the night progresses, letting everyone get acquainted with their character and their scene. If you let everyone go on break at the same time, they are ALL back at square one when they come back. Letting one or a few go at a time allows them them to re-enter the haunt and regain that energy and spirit faster by feeding off of their fellow actors.

My preferred method is the "breaker" actor, as Allen mentioned (great job by the way! You get to act in EVERY scene throughout the night!!!).

Tom
02-16-2010, 02:22 PM
We tried the "stop the haunt for a break" thing one time and got very behind. Won't do that again.
Since then we have a "breaker" or "roamer". My roamer (dressed as a neutral monster) would go thru the haunt during operation and keep in check of all actors & patrons, props & scenes. When an actor needed water or a break, they would be relieved and the roamer would act their part for that scene. This works out great as some actors don't want a break till later and some have smaller bladders and need to go more often. Either way, it keeps everyone in check all night. Plus if a prop or sound wasn't acting right, it wouldn't be long before we got notified and fixed the problem thereby keeping everything in good working order.
The best thing, I didn't have to mess with it. LOL
Actually, the better thing is, the actors felt like they were treated like a person, not a number.

Dreamreaper
02-16-2010, 09:45 PM
After some experimentation, we arrived at a "rolling" break. On the busy (long) nights, it was two per night. We held the line and as a room finished they went to break. The last rooms had not started their break by the time the show restarted in the first rooms. We had a break room stocked with drink and food for the breaks and would have a runner during the rest of the show distributing water and hard candy.

We are almost like that. when it gets to where our main actors can't hold any more we do the rolling break for 5 min.

cheeseboy33
02-17-2010, 12:33 AM
I totally agree with allan and rocky mountain terror, it is simply the best way to do it. also if something goes wrong in a room you have somebody in costume who can go in and fix it between groups. but if a group does see them it wont matter because you will be in a costume. Also my favorite position along with scaring people in the parking lot/ line

The Nightmare Factory
03-21-2010, 12:30 AM
We have a team that are a break team. We used to close the haunt then reopen, never again! No need!

The 'runners' help in many aspects of the haunt; Security, they are on the move all the time and can easly catch anyone acting out, and take care it the problem. They have the ablitity to give short potty breaks. They give actors their required breaks. They help keep the haunt clean throughout the night, taking trash with them as the roam the haunt. Fire watch, first aide, fix broken set pieces, you name it.

To be on the 'runners' team is to be an A lister at the Factory!

See you all in May at the www.westcoasthauntersconvention.com

BruiseMuse
03-22-2010, 04:29 PM
We have "zone leaders" that cover specific areas of the haunt (typically a half dozen rooms), that can jump into any of their zone's areas to cover for an actor needing a break. Breaking the kids one at a time also keeps the breaks shorter, since a group of them can't chat for 20 minutes.