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DrDeath
09-06-2012, 01:20 PM
This will be my first year and a little concerned about actors. The haunt is benefitting my son's 11yr old baseball team. I'm splitting half of the proceeds with the team. I have talked with everyone on the team about partisipating on a volunteer basis back in March. All is good...so I think. My concern is that other things are coming up and even though they said they would, when it boils down to it, who can you count on, right?

My question to ALL is: If my parents are not going to fullfil the acting portion and once I have determinded that they are not partisipating. Should I pay for actors or should I stick to volunteers and if I do end up having to pay them, would it be terribly wrong to pay them at the end of the week. Since we are only open 7:30-10:30 Oct. 26th-Halloween night.

Would like some input, on what some of you did starting out. I will continue this next year as a full season. This year is just a trial run.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Greg Chrise
09-06-2012, 07:05 PM
If it is going to be a home haunt, I don't think you can gage other parents participation until it is actually October. Then it is something to do that all the kids and parents can get together and do. More of something to participate in that is a fun thing rather than this is going to raise lots of money. It won't. Even being right in the middle of all the haunts in your area, you will be lucky to see 300 people in one night. At what amount, $1 or $2 donation?

So having all the parents all excited to put in 1000 a year for $300 that is going to be split a dozen ways doesn't have that excitement factor to everyone. When everyone is already spending probably lots of expendable income just to get to every practice and game, buy the equipment and spend the time. Unless they can see this is something that is fun and will be remembered with their kid participating and it might lead to something bigger, most people will just say Steve, I didn't know you needed money that bad, here's $50. Let's not do that.

There have been pro haunts out in that area open all month long that only saw 800 total customers at $20 a pop for 3 haunts. SO no, I would not pay any labor to be there, but find people that want to do these things just for the love of doing them. Of course it will be you being a gateway drug to working at any of the areas big haunts for a long time and you will just have to live with that and wish everyone well.

If you are going ahead and having to pay, then the baseball team is not getting anything. Then you are building your own event at your own investment and it might be to have just your kid get an education and become a world banker or something. Or to put in an application with illuminati or something.

I just think you are premature in wondering if any one cares or as excited about doing this as you are. They will do it and enjoy it greatly but may not commit until the last minute and it is up to you to sell the enjoyment of the parents and kids hanging out and learning to make things and having cook outs for a couple weekends and the wonderment of how people coming to see it appreciate what ever has been made no matter how retarded. You really only need about 5 people to really be into it for a home haunt and maybe the proceeds as small as they are are for some Baseball team christmas party, something that has incentive rather than if it is successful, everyone gets new jock straps.

farnsworth
09-07-2012, 07:51 AM
This will be my first year and a little concerned about actors. The haunt is benefitting my son's 11yr old baseball team. I'm splitting half of the proceeds with the team. I have talked with everyone on the team about partisipating on a volunteer basis back in March. All is good...so I think. My concern is that other things are coming up and even though they said they would, when it boils down to it, who can you count on, right?

My question to ALL is: If my parents are not going to fullfil the acting portion and once I have determinded that they are not partisipating. Should I pay for actors or should I stick to volunteers and if I do end up having to pay them, would it be terribly wrong to pay them at the end of the week. Since we are only open 7:30-10:30 Oct. 26th-Halloween night.

Would like some input, on what some of you did starting out. I will continue this next year as a full season. This year is just a trial run.

Thank you for your thoughts.


I would send out a letter asking for information on which days they (the parents) can help. If you show that you are aware that everyone has a busy schedule, and are willing to cater to them, it goes a long way in getting commitments. Depending on how you have this haunt set up, you can invite the ballplayers to help out too, which will help get their parents to attend.

As far as paying for actors, I, personally, would not recommend it, as it does eat into your "profit", being a small haunt for a charity. You could pay for food after one of the games as a thank you, or something to show your appreciation for the work everyone has put in. There's plenty of incentives other than straight cash for work, it just takes a bit of creative thinking. Good Luck!

Wellinton
09-08-2012, 05:02 AM
Our first year, when we were raising money for our Taekwondo team to go to Nationals, we all chipped in, assigned parents to decorate their own room. We had little people and big people in the house. We had 50 volunteers the first year, 100 volunteers three years later. The little volunteers bring brothers, sisters and both parents. Our guests were pretty scared of the little monsters. They chant, they come out of great hiding spots. Some of our best actors are under 4 feet.
Year 3, 4 we had a very large sign and put it outside the event and wrote letters to local businesses that we will put their 8" X 8" logo on the sign for $100. They are supporting the team. We raise an extra $5000 a year for the team this way. Even the businesses that declined to sponsor, seem to come to the event to check it out. Some would sponsor the following year. We also put their logo on posters and thank Sponsors on our website and kijiji ad.
We raised about $2500 the first year from $5.00 ticket sales....in 8 hours, two days. We only made about $200 from kitchen because it wasn't very visible.
I would suggest pre- sell vouchers for food items that the kitchen can store in separate envelopes for your actors. Nobody has I.O. U.'s and actors don't have to carry cash. We made $650 on pre-sold tickets from actors the first night last year.
I would have a meeting with everyone, show the lay-out of your haunt, get the kids to take posters to their schools, give acting tips, have a sign-up board up with a description of every actor you need and what they will look like. If they sign up, I think you have a 95% chance they will show. Try to accommodate the actors that want masks and the actors that want make-up. If they think they have a pretty cool role to play, they tend to show up. Tell them you want to get a great picture of each actor in costume, before you open, for the website.
Tell them Haunts grow fast and it is the most fun way to eventually raise thousands for the team. Kids will have wonderful memories and the Community will support you!!

DrDeath
09-09-2012, 09:08 PM
Thank you for all for your input, this does help.

Wellinton, we are looking to have a meeting with everyone at the end of the month. I agree also on the pre-sale tickets. I have an Ad that I traded for with a magazine company that will hit 120K+ homes in 4 towns surrounding us as. We are also getting the Chamber involved with doing a city festival on top of the haunt.

Greg, No home haunt, we have a 50+ yr old building that is about 1,300 sq ft that the City has rented to us for the month of October for almost nothing. Insurance was hardly anything plus our sponsors covered all of that plus some supplies. After this year I want to do this as a full season next year with out the ball team. If they want to help next year then that would be fine. The parents have not put any money into it. I only want them to help act and I will donate half of the proceeds to the team. Of course they need to help out amd feel that they are. I think you're right, they aren't excited as much as I am about it.

Farnsworth, we are getting the kids involved. We have actually surrounded the theme around the kids, so that will be great for the kids. They are excited and I have brought most of the team over to walk through and see the progress.

I think I'm just getting the idea of how much work is put into a haunt. I'm sure this is just normal for people that just dive in. I have been involved with several haunts as an actor and have a vision in mind for the future. It's been a great ride and it's coming along well, I guess I just wish everyone else had that same excitement. Thank you all again I will keep you posted with how it goes.

Greg Chrise
09-10-2012, 12:37 AM
I'm sorry, I thought in another post somewhere you said you would just have to use your own home. 1300 SF is a good starter haunt, maybe 50 to 60 walls and not really too hard to put together in a short period of time. Yes, it is real work and then there is work on top of that and just when the work is done you have to do some work.

Still with 4 to 6 healthy adults, pre made wall panels can be screwed together in about 3 hours. From scratch in 10 to 12 hours. Decorated in 3 days and open.

Frightener
09-10-2012, 07:27 AM
He ain't kidding either! WORK WORK WORK! Now, we're slow at getting some things done, especially with one of my main builders falling in love with another volunteer. Hell they make out 30% of the time here and we have to stop it, but they're kids.
Fact still remains, we've been on it, 10 hours a day and we only have 3,000+ sq ft and we're STILL only 80% of the way done. We worked until about 10:00 last night, closed shop and kicked tail in Mortal Kombat in the theater till we fell asleep. they went home and now we're fixing ot hit it again, 8:26 by my pc time.

It's work, but if you pace yourself and have fun, it'll be easier. It can be done. :P

Good luck.

Dewayne

Mr. Haunt
09-11-2012, 07:49 PM
Actors are a hard thing to find, not only that but for those who have no idea how to scare people is a challenge of it's own. Been there done that, even my actors at the time had some theater skills and not one ever used what skills they had. I think out of the 10-15 only 2-3 were doing a good job at scares.

Age is also a big deal, the younger they are the less they are going to try, not screw around, waist time, be out of charictor, and doing what ever else they want to do. I do understnd that there will be some of the kids haunting, but I have seen them in haunts just standing there looking at you walk by.

It will be a hard ride, but I know you can do it, my first haunt had every challenge you could come up with maybe not all but I had to deal with all myself and NO HELP WHAT SO EVER!!!

But thats part of the learning prosses and believe me I would be telling a lie if I said I did'nt learn a thing. It taught me a LOT.

Mr. Haunt

DrDeath
09-12-2012, 05:57 AM
Good to see I'm not alone on this. I have truley enjoyed building, everything. I'm just glad it was some sort of a Haunt before. I'm hanging in there, it has been a dream of mine to have a haunt. I have added 20 walls with 2 drop panels. I know it will all work out. It already has been, I just guess I need to be a tad more patient. Thank you all again for your comments and support.

Mr. Haunt
09-13-2012, 05:05 PM
I have been home haunting for over 10 years, I guess you could say that I am going to share everyone my little story because we have all started small with a home haunt or somthing.

When it got to the point that I was no longer able to go trick or treating because of my age I thought what could I do to still have some fun. Now lets go back a few more years before that. I did visit my first haunt when I was about between the ages of 10-12. It was a very esstablished haunted hayride that was located at a barry farm. I can remember that it was the best time of my life until for what ever reason, the cemtery portion of the hayride just freaked me out so I hid in my moms arms pretty much the rest of the way.

Now back to being to old for trick or treating, my first year that I did not join in with the other kids grabbing all the candy you could handel. I dressed up in some raddy cloths with hat and gloves and pretty much looked like a stuffed dumby. Sat down on a lawnchair holding a bucket a candy and a sign that read "no ones home, but take one piece of candy. As someone came up to reach their hand into the bucket, I would flinch or grab at their hands. FUN FUN FUN!!!

I only did that one year, then I started with my own dumby that I would light up and prop up in a corner. Everyone was 100% sure that he was real, but he never moved. The following years I made my first dumby stand up on it's own and that was cooler yet.

But to keep the story short I just kept adding things year after year, and I have even dressed up to scare the kids along with some friends. Now I have a cemtery theme, but that could be still changing this year.

Have come a long way with haunting every Halloween, but I to some day would like to expand into something else.

Mr. Haunt

BrotherMysterio
09-14-2012, 10:13 AM
This will be my first year and a little concerned about actors.

You know, the one thing I haven't seen any mention of here is the actual floorplan - how actor friendly it is, what kind of room designs it has, and how many actors it actually needs.

That is a key consideration.

If you have something that amounts to 1-2 torso tables in each room, or a static location for the actor to stand in all night (Spidoras, picnic traumas, accident scenes, Frank on a lab slab, Drac in a coffin), multiplied times 10-15 rooms or events, then that's at least 10-30 actors that you need to show up. That can be a problem. If your house requires 20 actors to be effective, and only 10 show up, the technical term for that is "you're screwed". If, however, your house can get by on 5 well placed, well used, well utilized, flexible, multi-room actors, and you have 10 show up, you're in hog heaven. Then it's all gravy.

Don't underestimate the power of this concept. JB's legendary Castle Dragon was 4000 sq ft, and it could get by with only 3 actors on slow nights, and you literally thought you were seeing 10 different actors. And that was without breaking a sweat. I know cuz I worked it. I never had to do a 3 actor night, fortunately, but not only was it very evident from the floorplan how that would work, JB trained us for that, and I often used that principle to play 3 parts myself, all at the same time - two behind the walls and one in view of the patrons in a key room.

Likewise, last year, we were promised we would have twice as many actors as actually showed up, with a whole bus load of 9 drama club kids & teacher not showing up, but fortunately I designed the haunt to run on as few actors as possible, and those kids not showing up ended up being a blessing, not a curse. That would have been $300 extra that we would have had to pay out just to have 9 kids and a teacher in masks lulling about, going "grrr" on occasion, but more likely visiting with each other or off in a corner texting or wandering about. Also, another problem to deal with would have been the fact that they were drama club kids. As one other astute member pointed out, they spend all their time learning how to sing and dance and recite soliloquies, not actually interact with people and scare them. They usually feel naked without their Fourth Wall.

So, as to your original concern, if you design your haunt to need as few actors as possible, say, 5 to get by, then anything more that is a bonus. If you need 5, and 10 show up, your set. If need 20, and 10 show up, you're screwed.

How many did you originally need? And, also, how many non-actor rooms do you have?

C.

Mr. Haunt
09-14-2012, 03:50 PM
BrotherMysterio

Very well put about the number of actors needed for haunting, would work great for a haunted house. I however ran a haunted trail last year that simply got way to big (long) and there were many nights where we needed 15 actors and no less for all of the nights, but most of the nights we were lucky to have 10 so for some haunts it does not work.

My family and I went to Wisconsin Dells this summer, and there just so happened to be a few haunted houses that you could go through. So I just had to go check it out, lets just say it was a waste of money but it's a nice example of what was said about actors. There was ONE, YES I SAID ONE person that did ALL the scares, no I was not impressed but my wife sure was scared LOL!!! But she does not care to much for haunted stuff, yet it's funny she will be the first to say lets go!!! She say's I don't like getting scared, well thats the whole reason why you are there and pay them money.

Anyway it's a VERY important subject that gets overlooked and needs to resurface every once in a while.

So thanks for that!!!!!!

Mr. Haunt

DrDeath
09-18-2012, 05:10 AM
Mr. Haunt, that sounds about like me. My grandfather would take me to the Jaycee's Haunted House every year. I want to say I was 7 or 8. I remember every year at the end of the haunt they would have a white sheet up in a room and the image would be shown on the screen. The actor would do a quick 30 second skit, the strobe would come on and then out from behind the sheet behind you the chainsaw would chase you out. I knew it was coming and I still got scared.

When I first got married we bought our first home and I built a little one scene haunt in my garage with that same concept as I just described. I didn't charge anything...wish I would have. On Halloween night though, I had a line down my driveway and then down the street past my neighbors house. I let 3 to 4 in the haunt and had a blast. Now older, I still have this same concept in my new haunt. His name...Dr. Death.

I'm having a blast putting it all together. I'm just glad that the city is not charging me and arm and a leg, no pun intended, for the building I'm renting. My insurance through Donat is reasonable and my out of pocket so far has around been around $2k. The building was a haunt last year for the high school, so a lot of things just needed to be tweaked. I added 20 new walls more lighting more paint and theme. I just hope I have more than a few people to come out.

DrDeath
09-18-2012, 06:15 AM
BrotherMysterio,

My haunt can host up to 25+ actors no more than 35 though. It has a good layout with guests having to walk through a black revolving door to enter the first room. 2 guest can go through the door at a time and 6 to 8 guests in a group. Room 1 will have a Doctor's office feel that will host 3 live actors, room 2 will be the hall of credentials with 2 actors that will scare guests twice each, room 3 will have 2 actors that will scare twice each. Room 4 is Dr. Death's chamber will have 3 actors then we have a slanted hallway that will have 1 actor or use from the ajointed Room 5 that will have 3 actors and Room 6 that will have 5 actors.

We are having a staff meeting this Sunday to see who we have and what type of schedule everyone can work. I just found out this weekend that another haunt is shutting down early this season and as they are shutting down we are opening and my get a few from them to work. I believe I will have more than enough however, say one thing do another is what you can count on most of the time. It will work it's self out one way or another and we will adjust accordingly.

BrotherMysterio
09-18-2012, 08:57 AM
My haunt can host up to 25+ actors no more than 35 though. It has a good layout with guests having to walk through a black revolving door to enter the first room. 2 guest can go through the door at a time and 6 to 8 guests in a group. Room 1 will have a Doctor's office feel that will host 3 live actors, room 2 will be the hall of credentials with 2 actors that will scare guests twice each, room 3 will have 2 actors that will scare twice each. Room 4 is Dr. Death's chamber will have 3 actors then we have a slanted hallway that will have 1 actor or use from the adjoined Room 5 that will have 3 actors and Room 6 that will have 5 actors.

Alright, that sounds really actor intensive. :shock: Do Rooms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, all need 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, and 5 actors respectively in order to be effective, or can each room get by with one?

And, also, what is your square footage, do hallways connect the rooms, what actor corridors do you have, and do the entrance and exit start and end near each other, or is your haunt one long shot with the entrance and exit opposite each other at what are essentially opposing ends of the haunt?

If you have a surplus of free volunteer actors show up, then having that kind of staffing or casting is great, but if you are paying them all, or if you are worried that a lot of them will flake on you or toast out, it can hurt you to have such intense, stringent actor requirements to make the rooms effective.

Keep in mind, that's 18 actors where 4-6 could be effective. Just making that one key adjustment could solve all your problems for you. In the current equation, you need 18 actors, and if only 10 show up, every single room will suffer.

Also, how many non-actor rooms do you have?

C.

DrDeath
09-19-2012, 02:51 AM
All 6 rooms connect with each other. I made the walls to make corridors and to make it longer. Before it was just (6) 13x13 rooms. Some of these actors are in the corridors which are tecnically in the rooms. I just listed it that way. RM 1 yes with 3 actors, RM 2 yes because of 2 drop panels across from each other. RM 3 with cooridor has 2 actors in room and 1 in cooridor. RM 4 will have 2 actors 1 as Dr. Death and 1 Chainsaw. Then 1 helper with Dr. Death to work the lights. RM 5 might be able to get away with using 1, however the room has 2 different scare zones opposite from each other and no way of getting to each one as an actor without being seen first, so really 2 actors here. RM 6 is split into 2 parts, 1 actor will be in part 1 and 1 actor in part 2 with air blasts as they exit and then an actor at the exit showing them the way out as chainsaw #2 appears. So, really only 4 actors here.

None of these actors will be paid, they are all vols. I will know more on Sunday and if I will need to make any adjustments or not.

Mr. Haunt
09-19-2012, 04:19 PM
Dr Death

Sounds like you have got a good thing going for ya and I hope it all goes well.

I am trying to get something together for next year, but it's still early in the game yet to say or give much information of whats to come. Have a lot of great ideas and they just keep coming.

Mr. Haunt

DrDeath
09-20-2012, 07:30 AM
Good luck to you Mr. Haunt,

Hope you have fun in the process of making it happen...I know I have. Thank you for your input, without people like you to help people think outside of the box, we would just be in the...box.