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Badger
12-01-2010, 02:01 PM
I'm looking at revamping my "Boo Camp" actor training course (as I do each year) and wanted to get feedback from haunt owners and actors. What are some of the more common problems your actors faced during the course of a season and how were the best ways to deal with them? Any type of problem is welcome, from unruly patrons to bad working conditions to uncooperative fellow actors, etc...

Thanks in advance for any and all input.

actscared
12-01-2010, 04:24 PM
the haunt I worked at had a number of assaults from the stilt walker having his legs swept out from under him to outright physical attacks on the actors. I personally had the problem of an animatronic constantly breaking down and trying to troubleshoot between customers. And quite a few customers would enter areas not intended and I think all of us actors were looking for a way to redirect them without breaking character.

Jim Warfield
12-01-2010, 07:48 PM
Of the problems you just mentioned, how many of them stemmed from chemicals, alcohol and others?
I believe if all the sloppy, screaming, swearing drunks could be eliminated from the customer-side of the event that our life and time spent doing what we do would be 300% better.
Problem solved! Build a haunted bar scene and allow the drunks to sit in there doing their "thing". Of course have no path accessesable between the haunt and this scene.
The Bartender could be a pink elephant the nudie painting above the bar could feature a huge snake with a feathered "Boa" no human, just the reptile.

actscared
12-02-2010, 09:53 AM
most of the ot drunks were escorted out, the assaults I've mentioned above were people set out to deliberately hurt the actors. In three of these incidents the ppl were detained and w/o having submitted them to drug tests appeared not to be under the influence. I'm quite positive the animatronic that broke down was on angel dust and the idea of a nudie painting of a boa gives me a strange tingley feeling I'll have to discuss w/my therapist. Drunks and jerks go w/the territory of the haunt business I guess.

hauntedkimmy
12-03-2010, 05:03 AM
LOL at the bar scene thing..... GREAT idea! I nearly spit out my oatmeal laughing at that!

We run into the problem of our actors committing to help for an evening then no showing. I suppose being a volunteer type thing, there's no way around that, but its hard to scramble someone to fill that spot sometimes. I think we need some better backup planning this year on our part and possibly incorporating an audition to screen out some of the less serious ones.

spong8
12-09-2010, 11:00 PM
How important it is to listen to your higher ups. Seriously, if your manager tells you an actor to do something and you don't listen...sounds like common sense but! I'm sure you know.

How to deal with unintentional bumps and tackles...Well now that I think about it...a lesson on training your actors onto how to observe and look at their enviorment for either safety hazards, set pieces that are unsafe to have weight on them, etc. OH and don't forget about fire exits and drills.

Jim Warfield
12-10-2010, 07:42 AM
Weapons right infront of you, objects that a goof-ball customer could pick up and hit with or throw at someone, Everything wired down? Screwed down? Any real knives, axes should be very well secured if used at all.
Smearing some grease on a mask to keep patrons from handling it will result in that grease being wiped on the nearest wall.
Give them a bag of suiveneer dirt will see that bag thrown in your face at the next scare or just dirt found all over the place.(I was trying to get the customers to help me carry the dirt away from digging out more of the basement. Later an art gallery 30 miles away used the same gimmick as a promo for their opening, I wonder how they thought of that?)

NightmareAftershockLLC
12-13-2010, 10:03 AM
Badger,
I met you in Atlanta, and you're a big guy like me. All of these issues with drunks, etc seem to happen more with smaller actors! Perhaps the more intense scenes with in your face actors should be older, larger actors, that know how to handle themselves? Just a thought for some tips....

the haunted barn
12-14-2010, 07:38 PM
:rolleyes:my problem, or the actors, is that some of the actors get so annoying:
when does it end
im tired
but its people, let em' be
ect, it gets sooo anoying, and most of the time this is about 5-10 min, into opening

NightmareAftershockLLC
12-14-2010, 07:44 PM
I Agree! To stay on topic, actors who don't know how to read the crowd and individual groups and body language is ridiculously annoying. The kids who keep bothering the patrons when they clearly aren't scared is a waste of their time. YOU don't have to be SCARY, you have to be ENTERTAINMENT. So if you aren't scaring, you can be entertaining! =)

Jim Warfield
12-14-2010, 10:01 PM
A fist-swinging drunk's fist always seems to land upon the smaller, shorter of the two haunters standing there.
"I was drunk."
(But sober enough not to swing at the BIG GUY! Some part of their brain knew better! So How drunk were they, really?)
I just absolutely HATE the "Drunk" excuse..unless you were kidnapped, tied up and they poured the stuff down your throat, against your will....

actscared
12-15-2010, 05:23 PM
I Agree! To stay on topic, actors who don't know how to read the crowd and individual groups and body language is ridiculously annoying. The kids who keep bothering the patrons when they clearly aren't scared is a waste of their time. YOU don't have to be SCARY, you have to be ENTERTAINMENT. So if you aren't scaring, you can be entertaining! =)

Wow, this is the clearest most useful nugget of haunt info I've heard in a looong time. This should be posted in haunts everywhere and I'm going to carry this nugget w/me into every attraction I work at in the future, just too busy or intent to scare you can forget everything else, thank you

Badger
12-16-2010, 05:34 PM
So far, most of these I touch on during my class, however there's some things I haven't considered. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's dealt with some of the negative aspects of haunting. Keegan, I haven't considered the size issue, although I do talk about having the appropriately sized actor for the part.

Please keep the great ideas coming...

BruiseMuse
12-19-2010, 08:33 PM
Badger,
I met you in Atlanta, and you're a big guy like me. All of these issues with drunks, etc seem to happen more with smaller actors! Perhaps the more intense scenes with in your face actors should be older, larger actors, that know how to handle themselves? Just a thought for some tips....



I just think that size isn't an issue; I'm known for being an intense actor and I'm barely 5'3" and 90lbs. I think a lot of bigger actors end up having the handicap where they think "I'm large, therefore I'm scary," meanwhile they have nothing to back that up.

NightmareAftershockLLC
12-20-2010, 09:11 AM
You misinterpreted the statement. We're talking about SAFETY. If a 6'2 225 pound man is shitfaced, somehow made it through the line, and is now looking to start a fight? Your 90 pound ass is about to get thrown around and beat. Whereas my 260 pound 6'3" frame might not even be considered to mess with by the drunk.

BruiseMuse
12-20-2010, 06:13 PM
You misinterpreted the statement. We're talking about SAFETY. If a 6'2 225 pound man is shitfaced, somehow made it through the line, and is now looking to start a fight? Your 90 pound ass is about to get thrown around and beat. Whereas my 260 pound 6'3" frame might not even be considered to mess with by the drunk.

Actually, I am often used for breaking up situations involving problem customers because I do not come across as another large aggressive man that will just add fuel to the fire and cause a bigger reaction. I love dealing with drunk or problematic customers because I can easily diffuse the problem without any violence occurring. I think your latest comment came off as incredibly crass and sexist.

NightmareAftershockLLC
12-20-2010, 06:20 PM
How you interpret it is on you, not me. I'm simply stating, a small girl is NOT intimidating. Period. Sorry you took offense to a seemingly harmless statement.

NightmareAftershockLLC
12-22-2010, 05:31 AM
To get back on topic, another issue I've noticed in MANY haunts that i have visited is that they try only ONCE to scare or startle a group. We all know how on a busy night there may be 20-30 people in a huge line, so startling, resetting, and then doing it again is important to maximize the patron's experience. It sucks being in the back and never being scared, because you walk by the actors resetting for the next group, instead of for the rest of YOUR group.

HauntChick
01-06-2011, 09:48 AM
I know several of our actors complained of being mocked. I've noticed that new actors tend to have "thin skin" when people wanna be jerks about their scare. They eventually began to understand that not everyone will be scared, but you can still be entertaining (as keegan stated) and sometime that means mocking back. Although, this can sometimes present a problem if an actor is inexperienced and doesn't know how to read the group. We try to teach them to never mock those drunks for the very reasons stated above. But if they're just some teens trying to show off, there's not harm in being a little "testy".

It seems to always come back to that, doesn't it. It's so very important, yet so hard to teach properly. You could spend days going over scenarios and still not cover everything that COULD happen. Many of our actors began handling situations better, the longer they stayed in their room/became more confident with their position.

We also had a few instances where someone brought through a light or noise maker. We began teaching them how to tell them to "turn it off" without breaking character. We find it helps if you give them a line to use if it happens. something that fits the scene, so they don't have to make it up on the fly. Improv Acting isn't a skill everyone possesses unfortunately.