07-13-2010, 07:41 AM
I know a few people on this board are members of haunted acting troupes. (Legion of Terror and Feature Creatures come to mind) Many of you are hired by haunts to come and work at their place for a weekend or two. I was curious as to things that you do outside of the Halloween season. Do you participate in community service projects? Parades? Other events? What do you do to promote yourselves to local and not-so-local haunted attractions? How do you balance your time between your local haunt and going to others out of town or state?
Haunt owners, do you promote these actors as 'special guests' when they come to your haunt? How do you go about the process of getting these actors to your attraction?
Last winter I founded a small acting troupe based out of Charlotte (The Charlotte Creeper Corps(e) and we are currently looking to promote ourselves and hire ourselves out to various haunts in the area. We have nearly 100 years of combined experience and several of us have slider, makeup, and actor training experience. We hope to have our website up soon with complete bios and photos of our (s)characters.
Any and all advice as to how we can get off the ground and promote ourselves would be greatly appreciated. If you'd like more info about us, drop me a line and I'll tell you all about the Corps(e)...
07-13-2010, 12:30 PM
When I helped co-create an acting troop just over 10 years ago, the biggest networking tool for us was Transworld via introductions through people we independently knew. With just word of mouth of our past histories at one Transworld show, we had offers to act at several great places across the country....unfortunately many of the members were just out of high school, and no one had the money to travel, even if pay was offered. Give-a-way merch really helped spread our name around too. We just had some simple white t-shirts with our logo on the front left chest that we gave to every haunt we worked at for a t-shirt swap and/or gift for them as well as to a couple others we met along the way. Whenever we went out as a group we all wore our black t-shirts with the same logo on front and name really big on the back, even had a couple hoodies with the same. We also had custom glow in the dark embroidered black hats made up with our personal "haunt character names" on the back of them. We only toured for a year before finding a "home" but really all I did to set up the tour was to call the haunt owners, explain what we were about and all but 3 that I talked to were totally down for the idea of guest actors.
A little different scenario in that we were more non-profit looking for a home at the time, but Im sure a similar approach would work well if looking to be hired out, basically you pick a representative and they become a salesman for the troupe, as in the end you are trying to sell them a product. A website with photos and videos that prospective haunts could look at would also likely be huge....it would be like your portfolio, that can show a lot more.
Then from there, I believe word of mouth has always been the best tool for advertisement within this community for any type of service or product....the reason you same foam work, and the first thing that pops in most people's head is Bad Boys...
On the subject of working at a home haunt as well as traveling...I have run into a lot of protest on that. In most cases you will be "helping the competition" and while it is good for the industry, to help improve the competition, most owners I have come across frown on it (when they are your home haunt), even if on off nights. They dont want to lose their talent or edge to another competitor even if only temporarily for 1 night. Kind of like working at Burger King and going to McDonalds for a night and making them all Whoppers.
One word of advice with troupes....keep it fun, keep heirarchy and politics to a minimum and do as much as possible as a group. We had monthly meetings sometimes just getting together to watch horror movies and critique the makeup, or random photo shoots just as an excuse to get in makeup and mess around. Having a permanent haunt location really helps, but depending on the size of your group, you can do lots of great activities and workshops in the off season.
Before I get too much more into a book, ill end at that...lol. Hope some of the info/insight is helpful.
Mike "Pogo" Hach
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