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WickedWoodsHaunt
01-24-2012, 07:01 PM
Hey everyone.. I am the co-owner of Wicked Woods Haunted Forest in Virginia. We are going on our 6th year for 2012 and we want to try something new.. volunteers for a few nights before actual 'hiring'. Ever since we started we have believed to pay the actors. However I have been told a good way of testing new actors out is by having the first night or 2 to be a 'volunteer' only basis, this way you can weed out the weak..so to speak.

We have tried having meetings and training the weeks before, but there is always that couple of new people that come on board into the season "my friend wants to work here etc" ,and some people just never show back up, so you end up needing someone- you know how it can go during the season. Alot of the time we hire on someone out of desperation of needing to fill the position that night due to someone ditching the haunt because of prom,realizing haunting is actually work, and they'd rather skip out and go on a date...or whatever... etc -you know the deal. Even with paid positions we have trouble getting everyone to show up everynight, as we are pretty far out in the country, and it' s very frustrating.

I'd like to know what other haunts do for a kind of "initiaion" for new actors so you are not stuck with someone that you don't really want to be stuck with the entire season. It may sound harsh, but it's difficult with a trail attraction to see what all of your actors are doing at all times since our scenes are spread out pretty far, so you don't even hear about what that person is doing or not doing until you hear it from another actor 2 nights later. What are some good ways of going about this?

Thanks...

Jim Warfield
01-24-2012, 07:31 PM
In this state. All workers must first have a criminal backround check and these cost money and may take a week or more.
All moot-point though if you run a "Charity" haunt (No perverts Could EVER work in a charity haunt!)
Every year for many years I would spend a min. of an hour talking with a prospective employee only to then never hear from them again!?
I would also hire someone, they work one night and vanish! (Maybe the serial killer from the charity haunt got them?)
We hired a very enthusiast young man, he had a very good, scary costume but he had been "schooled" in believing that even if a small, small, child is screaming bloody murder that you STILL keep at them!? No you don't.
Then he decided "His Public" was very important and he decided they all wanted photo opps with him and his costume, even though he was supposed to be inside the house "working"!?
I have found it very frustrating over the years hiring good help.
The workers I have had now for 6 to 7 years all drive 65 miles to get here. I have always paid my help as they earn it, the way it should happen. I was short-changed for many years in a previous work situation and doing that to someone else is not a thing on my list to ever do to someone else.
Some past people I have had here I really don't know what they could ever do for a real, full time job because they could not even do the simplist of minor tasks here.
Public speaking is one of the most common and widespread fears in humanity, so be prepared to encounter this as a problem with some hires.

N2SPOOKINU
01-24-2012, 09:30 PM
The thing that has worked for us is we have a paid crew we hire for our main opening. When those positions are full we offer volunteer positions.
During our training sessions we spit the two groups and have them face each other.
We tell them take a good look at the people across from you, they are your competition.
We tell the paid actors that those volunteers are after their jobs because when a paid actor quits, gets fired ect. we pull from our volunteer crew first to fill those spots.
It keeps the actors on their toes and keeps the volunteers motivated to do a good job so they will be noticed and considered for a paid position when one becomes available.
This has worked very well for us and keeps everyone motivated.

Greg
Fearfest

DarkTikiEntertainment
02-13-2012, 03:16 PM
The thing that has worked for us is we have a paid crew we hire for our main opening. When those positions are full we offer volunteer positions.
During our training sessions we spit the two groups and have them face each other.
We tell them take a good look at the people across from you, they are your competition.
We tell the paid actors that those volunteers are after their jobs because when a paid actor quits, gets fired ect. we pull from our volunteer crew first to fill those spots.
It keeps the actors on their toes and keeps the volunteers motivated to do a good job so they will be noticed and considered for a paid position when one becomes available.
This has worked very well for us and keeps everyone motivated.

Greg
Fearfest

Is it legal to have paid positions and volunteers? Are you a charity haunt?

sean
02-14-2012, 11:19 AM
I would suggest catching up with the folks at Hundred Acres Manor. They have a system they use for volunteers that is perfect for a rotation and killer pr as well.

Jim Warfield
02-14-2012, 09:21 PM
I would hire the town's "Scary Guys", older men who some people here were afraid of even though nobody should have been.
The one had smoked his lungs out and breathed like Darth and spoke in incomprehensible jibberish a large percentage of the time.
The other one was sort of a sour-puss , a large man who also moved pretty slow but then many old movie monsters lumbered along for half a movie sometimes and I am guessing this factor allowed the audience to build up it's anticipation factor!
even with their shortcomings both of these guys were very good to have around here when I needed someone . Operating a haunted house all by yourself has always been tough and risky, even on the best of situations.

N2SPOOKINU
02-14-2012, 09:38 PM
As long as your volunteers are over 16 it is legal. You cant have volunteers under the age of 16 legally in Missouri.

Greg
Fearfest