PDA

View Full Version : Age of your Actors



mrfoos
08-06-2012, 08:10 PM
Hey,

Do you guys hire anyone under 18 to work in your haunt? Are there reasons I shouldn't? Maturity issues? I have a lot of 16 to 18 year high school students asking.

Thanks!

BruiseMuse
08-06-2012, 08:36 PM
When dealing with minors, there are different labor laws (they vary from state to state) with restrictions regarding curfews, etc. Also, with minors, you need to have their parents/legal guardians sign off on all paperwork (and you should include a parentla permission slip too).

RobfromErie
08-06-2012, 09:34 PM
Aside from the legal issues...everything you just said is true.


The haunt I work at is 90% volunteer, meaning it's 90% kids under 18.

So that's at least 15-30 of them depending on our turnout. IF you have enough people that are older, I would hire them instead...unless you know a particular teenager is mature enough.

We had a woods trail where customers walked through.
Common problems on trail:
teens making out
texting
less supervision being spread out more
leaving their scare zone for some random ass reason - To talk to the other volunteers
all of which leads to not being ready

And regardless of where they were in the park, there are these issues:

Still more texting
Trouble controlling themselves: ego, temper = when enough is enough and when to back off, losing their temper to unruly customers, or customers that just like to laugh AT them
Most of them do not treat your costumes with enough respect

And this is with volunteers who were not new.

there's some other stuff too.

some of these things can be remedied by telling exactly where to be and what to do.

BigT
08-07-2012, 01:35 PM
I have about a 50/50 split between adult and teenagers this year, between two haunts. I get approached by a lot of kids wanting to be part of the haunt, but only for the scaring part. When it comes to the building part, they are no where to be found. That's why this year, the kids who show up to help unload the trucks, do all the heavy lifting and grunt work that comes with building a haunt get the first crack at an acting role. Shows their dedication to the haunt and gives me an opportunity to get to know them a little better, and determine where they best fit.

Of course, I have some adults that are just as big a problem as kids - wandering off and leaving their post for whatever reason, falling asleep in the coffin (actually happened last year), losing their temper (happened a few times last year), and showing up late for makeup. I'm still training them!

Sinister Woods
08-07-2012, 02:05 PM
Hey mrfoos,

Here is another thread that might be useful to you:

http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?15802-Age-Restrictions-for-Workers

Hope this helps!

mrfoos
08-07-2012, 03:26 PM
falling asleep in the coffin (actually happened last year),


LOL! Sounds like the setup for a youtube viral video.

mrfoos
08-07-2012, 03:32 PM
Hey mrfoos,

Here is another thread that might be useful to you:

http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?15802-Age-Restrictions-for-Workers

Hope this helps!

Thanks Chad. I swear I looked in the archives first but didn't see that.

Haunter
08-10-2012, 08:14 AM
I typically try to stay away from anyone under 18 but I might allow on a case by case situation for reasons already mentioned. I usuall pull volunteers in from college dram departments that are willing to give students extra credit for participation for the season (season not just once) this ensures you are staffed better. I also design my haunts to be able to do without certain acting positions in case I'm short that night.

Kids tend to get bored and wander around or not get timing right. As previously mentioned there are certain laws and what not you have to worry about. Not to mention that a haunt that I knew the owners had used both adult and under 18 and there was an incident where a minor was sexually assaulted one night at the haunt. Talk about EXTREME BAD PUBLICITY! Especially when you had nothing to do with it... :mad:


So I try to not use minors...

Ryan

BrotherMysterio
08-10-2012, 11:58 PM
So I try to not use minors . . .

I'm in a similar situation. I have a mix of different ages, and I'm not sure who I will be working with until a few weeks before the production, apart from one or two key players.

Fortunately, the event is for one day, so I don't have to deal with any long term issues.

C.

fright
08-11-2012, 09:59 AM
Even if you hire anyone under the age of 18, you could always just put them in a drop panel.


Fright

BrotherMysterio
08-11-2012, 11:20 AM
Even if you hire anyone under the age of 18, you could always just put them in a drop panel.

Assuming they'll stay there. :(

C.

Haunter
08-11-2012, 12:17 PM
Assuming they'll stay there. :(

C.


Exactly, nothing worse than actors running around and ruining other area's scares or just setting there texting. I have had a strict policy that does not allow actors to have cell phones and to take it one step further not to ever break character. If either one are done then they are asked to leave for the night.

Is it harsh? Some would say yes, but your haunt's success is dependent on the quality of the haunt.

Again, just my thoughts...

Ryan

BrotherMysterio
08-11-2012, 10:40 PM
Is it harsh? Some would say yes, but your haunt's success is dependent on the quality of the haunt.

Is it harsh? Well, let's break it down.

They're making $7 an hour. You are making bank for the next entire year . . . money you need to live on, as well as have something left over from which to work on next season's haunt.

Ergo, I think we are entitled to expect a certain level of professionalism from our professional actors . . . which is precisely what they are if we pay them. After all, would they expect any different in any other job setting . . . even a fast food place?

C.

Jim Warfield
08-12-2012, 11:38 AM
WE WERE PAYING OUR ADULT ACTORS $10 AN HOUR .. and still had many of the problems already mentioned here in this thread.
My biggest personal overall dissappointment has usually been no matter how old a actor is, that they have such a minimal enthusiasm for Halloween and scaring people.??
Many go from being "Bored" to "Over-worked" in half a second. Too much to do, to loitering...
I would design scare options and then it was too much "work", I made it super-simple, then they were bored...
And then.. add to this the "He-Said-She Said" drama between employees and you just want to scream and pull hair! (I want to pull theirs!)
One very busy night as I was about to open the front door to a parking lot packed full of eager customers one of my actors begins telling me about some stupid crap he saw on television recently, as if he , we , had all the time in the world to yammer at That Moment!??
The kick-in-the-butt about all of this is, this can all be So simple, just do what I have told and shown you to do! When you are expected to do it!
Hiring advice:Don't think you have found a good employee if they have figured out how to live on $5. a week and sleep on "Momma's couch. The first paycheck , and they can retire til Spring! I have always felt compelled to pay people I owe in a timely manner because I spent yrs. on the other end of such deals when I never got paid on-time and sometimes never. I'm not doing that to anyone else. Wonder why my House is open every night of the year? I get to do it all (with my Wife's help for large groups) but then I have always had enthusiasm to entertain, scare despite the money factor.

Haunter
08-12-2012, 02:53 PM
My biggest personal overall dissappointment has usually been no matter how old a actor is, that they have such a minimal enthusiasm for Halloween and scaring people.??

And then.. add to this the "He-Said-She Said" drama between employees and you just want to scream and pull hair! (I want to pull theirs!)




I have always fished out the drama departments at the colleges/universities. I'm going to be blunt for a moment with hopes of not hurting anyone's feelings. Actors that are inspired to do their best are not low maintenance. They crave attention and want to be the center of attention. As a producer there is nothing more scary to me than to be in a room with 50 high maintenance actors that crave attention. For this reason I hire in a casting director/coach (usually a drama teacher from a high school). It keeps the "needy" actors out of my way and the casting director will coach them and check up on them through the night so I can focus my attention where ever I need to. This is just my experience.

Hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings though...

Ryan

BrotherMysterio
08-12-2012, 03:19 PM
Hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings though . . .

I've been a casting director before at a haunt and I can tell you that everything you just mentioned is quite true.

One of the owners at that haunt used to laugh at how I let myself "get caught up in the drama and minor grievances" of the relatively young cast, until one of those "minor grievances" reared up and bit her on the ass, causing some serious problems that had to be dealt with. Funnily enough, since I paid close attention to the "minor grievances"and little "petty goings-on" that took place, I saw it coming a mile away, but she disregarded my concerns outright from the start.

It definitely pays to be tuned in, especially when it's your finances (and possibly your life savings) on the line.

C.

Jim Warfield
08-12-2012, 08:11 PM
"He-said-She-said" was always a romantic friction and episodes from a soap opera in which they thought we needed to be involved in? No thanks. sort it out yourselves...haha!
It would be nice to have some prima donas here... besides,, me? hahaha!
Filming onesself removes much of any over-ego levels I may have once had. My mind is usually working too fast to be bothered with ego. I am shifting gears quickly and physically moving the whole time for usually 90 minutes/per/tour, or more.
MY ad-libs seem to entertain and amuse most of my patrons and these only really get cranking from myself getting inspired by certain groups.
My first room routine can go on for many minutes, 45 , 60? And I do cover a lot of "Ground" when I do this making the haunted history of this house have some attempted humor interjected to give the timid something to grab on to and then ignore the scary parts.
I have So Much material !
25 years ,open every night (And Sat. & Sun. afternoons)
If they don't need the haunted history, don't like my attempted humor, I can still entertain them retelling the fun, funny things other customers have done and said throughout this house!