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Thread: Thoughts on character development

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  1. Default Thoughts on character development 
    #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Flora, illinos
    Posts
    29
    We're a second year haunt trying toamp up our acting skills. We're located in a rural area with little or no experienced actors to pull from. Last year we did fairly well with our pool of actors, but would like to increase the scares.

    My thought is to develop character profiles for everyone. So instead of just saying "You are going to be an evil clown tonight. " we would be saying something to the effect of "Tonight you are playing Garbonzo the clown. She is the most viscious of all of the clowns and hates it when people invade her space. She had polio when she was a child and suffers a dead left leg. Due to the constant taunting of a childhood classmate with red hair, she had developed an extreme hatred of redheads and will go berzerk upon seeing them"

    I'm hoping that this might give our actors a little more basis to build thier characters upon. It seemed like last year we had a lot of run-of-the-mill characters.

    As actors, do you think this would be helpful? Especially with newer actors?
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Posts
    86
    I think this will be very helpful for the new actors. I remember my first year acting i wasn't quite sure what to do really needed some motivation for my character. now ive got character development down pretty well. Just tell them to ALWAYS stay in character. if they can in between groups continue talking in character talk to the other actors in character. and SPEND TIME getting in character. don't just send them out and say good luck. give them 10-15 minutes to get in character in their scene. the longer they are in character the more they will get into it. I run around talk in character practice movements and walking etc at least 15 minutes before the groups start coming through. Really helps build on character and time to experiment each night.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Flora, illinos
    Posts
    29
    Great tips! We are hosting our first planning meeting tomorrow and I'll definitely take this to heart. Thanks for the advice!
     

  4. Default Yes! Good Ideas. 
    #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,806
    I have been walking around in my character for 61 years. The mask looks pretty bad now, wrinkled and slightly damaged. I can still make it do several things and it seems to be able to scare more people now than ever before.
    I drag myself around and often limp abit infront of the customers then sprint when I need to where they can't see me, making me seem even more mysterious and incredible seeming to appear quickly from far away.
    Someday they may walk around that corner right after I sprinted and find me laying there, playing "dead".
    If this is the scenario , don't worry, I won't be breaking character..ever. (Molecular break down, too slow to notice at first)
    I have pretty much got the smell down already.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Posts
    86
    ^^ Dedication at its finest. Cant forget the monster smell!!
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lock Haven PA
    Posts
    554
    We had Badger come and do some training with our actors. It was one of the best things we did and rather inexpensive.

    My suggestion however is that switching things up with everyone is not the way to go. Once someone is comfortable with a character and can help that character their own, they should play it through the season.

    They need some renewal after the third week. Once some are coming back then it seems to get old and response, of course, is not what is was the first time around. This is one thing we are going to focus on for the year.

    We had a night that 10 of my main actors were not there and it was a nightmare. So I suggest once they are comforable, keep them in that spot. It because another "them" and they are comfortable in that skin.
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    Spooky world used to have character sheets that Ed annon wrote up. each one had the name of the character they were playing where they were in the house a bit of story and some sugestions of lines to say to the guests.
    So know how many actors you will have and then make a sheet for each spot. If they like the caracter the first night they play it and do well then keep them there. If they dont like it as much move them untill they are in a good spot if they arent good anywhere get rid of them.
    Many actors want to play the same thing each night and thats great, others want to play something different each night and thats great, they are your fill in guys and can rotate between different spots.
    Once an actor has been there awhile let them know that they can submit ideas for characters and then they play a character that fits the show and they created.
    Allen H
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
    Posts
    87
    We have this problem as well. Most of our actors have little to no experience. They're excited, but nervous to jump into roles. I'm a writer and this year we had a complete backstory to our haunt. We told the story to our actors and gave them details to the characters. they picked based on what they were comfortable with and then tried out. Many of them ended up in other places because they fit a different character better. Many of the new actors tended to express their character without becoming something too different from themselves, so we matched their natural personality to a character close to that. We even had some really awesome renditions come out that created completely new characters in the haunt! No two actors are the same, and I love it.

    Catie Mahfouz
    Blood Ink Writing Service
    www.hauntwriter.com
     

  9. Default  
    #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Posts
    86
    jsut be sure to give the actors some room for improv. improv makes it more fun for the actors and a different experience each time someone comes through. also it helps if the actors need to fill in in other places. being good at improv will not only help them but help you be more comfortable and not nervous if an actor doesnt show up you have someone that can fill their spot well.
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
    Posts
    87
    Quote Originally Posted by NightmareOnYourStreet View Post
    jsut be sure to give the actors some room for improv.
    I completely agree with you! I was mostly refering to those actors who want to be involved but have issues coming out of their shell so to speak. we give everyone something to aim for and say "Got it? Show us what you can make it into" or if they clearly don't know where to take it, we give them some key things to do and let them get comfortable with the role. they usually start to incorporate their own ideas after a few nights. by the end of the haunt, those are the scariest actors!

    Catie Mahfouz
    Blood Ink Writing Service
    www.hauntwriter.com
     

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