View Full Version : Actor accountabilty/Commitment

05-19-2010, 07:45 AM
I have a question that as the season crawls closer, I am curious to how you do it. I have seen on the TV that there are haunts (represented here :-)) that have a waiting list for actors and have a much more sense of responsibility, dependability and accountability from the actors. Without naming the exact names of the haunts that do this, my bottom line question is this....How do you get the actors to know that it is a privilege to work there and if they screw up they are gone with the next actor ready and eager to fill that spot? That making the actors chosen more inclined to do what they were hired to do and do a damn good job doing it because they know it was hard to get the spot to begin with. Where does it start? Does it start at auditions, does it start at preseason meetings? Does it start with the chain of command and the respect there and limiting how many chiefs there are?

As an operator, we pay well, take very good care of our actors and treat them with respect for their talent and craft. After last season we have more people wanting to be a part of our home and we have older actors who just feel because of their "tenure" they are untouchable. All we ask them to be dependable, responsible, accountable and mature. Staring this season we are not going to be as soft as we have been in the past. We want to give them everything, but let them know there is a tag to that and if they can't do it, then bye. I want to be like the one haunt that comes to mind, where that example thrives and makes the haunt even better because everyone is on the same page. My biggest pet peeve is an actor taking a night off on a busy Saturday night to then show up with their boyfriend/girlfriend and take them through the haunt.

05-19-2010, 08:08 AM
My biggest pet peeve is an actor taking a night off on a busy Saturday night to then show up with their boyfriend/girlfriend and take them through the haunt.

Amen, brother! I canned one last year for just that.

05-19-2010, 11:08 AM
You need to be willing to fire people. Tell them from the start what your rules are and stick to them , you will need to fire a really good actor now and then but if you don't they will run you.

Fright Factory PA

05-19-2010, 01:18 PM
Just be straight with them in the prelem meetings and be like most jobs and tell them if they need a night off make sure to call and let you know a good while ahead so you can either adjust schedules or get a fill in for the night. then let them know they will be fired or not on the prefered actors list for next season.
If they know the rule and break the rule then there are bad things that happen.
I mean you pull that stuff at any other job you would be gone why should it be any diffrent at a haunt.

05-19-2010, 02:16 PM
I mean you pull that stuff at any other job you would be gone why should it be any different at a haunt.

I agree it shouldn't be, but it is. Most haunts need all the actors they can get and aren't able to say stop the drama. Its hard to get out of that rut. I have been doing this for a lot of years and of course don't act that way, but that is not always the case for many others. I think it comes from maturity. And regardless of how old you are, you can still be immature.

Jim Warfield
05-19-2010, 10:21 PM
"I have to leave now and go look at an apartment."
Of course the apartment was 10 miles away.
We have the suspicion it might have been I have to go buy some weed 10 miles away.
He got arrested for such a thing pretty close to that night.
"I can do anything I want to because I'm Jim's relative."
Guess again, we are related but that is all "relative" when you are supposed to work then decide to sit in a tavern that night instead. That was his last ever opportunity here.
These are the tough things about an October haunt in my opinion.
If you need 15 people, it gets expensive hiring 30 to show up, so you may end up with 15.

05-20-2010, 09:07 AM
I created a rules of conduct contract that each actor signed before season, which listed the rules and what types of behavior are not tolerated (being late, leaving early, cell phones, etc) and that violation will lead to suspensions or termination.

I also had issues where older members thought they could do anything and not suffer any consequences and I found that enforcing the rules with them (suspending one member for a weekend due to rude behavior to other actors), caused the rest to fall in line because they realize their behavior was being monitored and I was willing to "lose" them if they could not follow basic rules.

Jim Warfield
05-20-2010, 04:05 PM
If I laid off an actor..I would be short that night and the tours would suffer along with the people still working trying to do more since we were short. I have also noticed that a few more employees helps keep the items in the house in better order too.
Overall it is a better tour experience with more help, a safer experience, and not as many things get misplaced or broken or taken.
Most of my help drive over an hour and a half to get here.
IF I had a dollar for each wild-eyed ,rabid Halloween nut that begged me to work here , and then never showed up again.....if I had a dollar for each potential employee that I spent a minimum of at least an hour talking to, explaining things about working here and things about the house, then I never see or hear from them again!!! Wow! It is frustrating!
Middle of Nowhere, Mount Carroll, Illinois! The Illinois county with the oldest averaged aged citizens, 1,700 people in the town, 534 coyotes next to the town in the woods, 175 raccoons, 550 squirrels, 47 skunks, 195 possuum, and customers wonder why I have live animals running through my back path? They work here!
If I have to be critical of their work I send skunk over to make a stink.
If one of the racoons or possuum are goofing off the coyotes eat them.
I have the squirrels checking the employees and customers arriving for any nuts.
Then someone asks me, "Is that real blood in your backyard?"
"The clean up crew will be here in the morning, turkeybuzzards don't work at night."