View Full Version : How Would You Have Handled This Situation?

10-21-2010, 11:26 AM
I'm sure many of you have dealt with something like this before, but it was the first time for me. I opened up my first haunt this year, and last weekend we had our first instance of a customer kicking one of our actors. It was a young woman at that, and was kicked square in the knee-cap by a really big dude.

Myself, along with 2 others walk the trail continuously to make sure our actors are taken care of. I was just a few minutes behind the trouble making group, and when I was notified I tried to catch up to the guy.

We run an outdoor haunt, so we have a hayride that takes them in and out of the area. The guy was on the wagon, but the actor couldn't point the guy out since it was too dark for her to get a good look. I felt there really wasn't much I could do at that point.

What would any of you have done in this situation? I know its pretty impossible to totally prevent instances like this from happening, but I do want my actors to feel safe in their environment and want to prevent instances like this if at all possible in the future. What are your recommendations?

10-21-2010, 12:15 PM
Actors getting kicked and hit is one of the things that happen no matter what you do. Its simply one of those things you arent going to be able to prevent.... sooner or later it happens. We tell our actors that up front. Now when it does happen it will make a difference to us if it was a reaction, someone thought the actor was not real so were checking it out, or done intentionally. If its done intentionally they are booted, and booted immediately. If it was one of the other two we ask them not to touch the actors or the props and keep the tour moving.
Most of the time the actors just want to know that you are watching out for them.

10-21-2010, 12:23 PM
Suggest you always keep your actors at least a few feet away from the hay wagons (i.e., a bit more than kicking distance), and second, if you encounter physical contact of this nature (or worse) suggest you have some kind of code word(s) that the actor can yell out to the driver who would immediately stop the ride and so security in that area of your attraction can hear and come running (for example: CODE RED). Be sure that the actor can identify the person causing the problems and also get witnesses on board the hay wagon who can point out the perpetrator.

Arx Mortis
10-21-2010, 12:35 PM
We always start each tour group with a spiel that tells our visitors the actors will not touch them, but they are not allowed to touch our actors, either... and we warn them at this time that striking our actors will lead to their immediate removal from the attraction and possibly a trip to jail. Our actors are told to come out of character immediately if they or someone in their area is injured by a visitor, and radio for help OR follow the offender until a person of authority can get there. Our actors seem to feel comfortable with this system, and know we have their best interests in mind. That being said, it still happens.

Sometimes, it's an accident, and I think each occurrence should be assessed individually. A startled customer who flings his/her arms out instinctively is one thing. A big guy who is embarrassed to have been frightened in front of his girlfriend is something totally different. We WILL send a violent customer to jail, if necessary, and our actors know it. Sheri, Mrs. Mortis to my guys.

Allen H
10-21-2010, 12:55 PM
It sounds like you handled it well and the actor handled it poorly. If they were injured by someone they should be able to identify them. They should be able to watch them long enough to get a description.
Its so dark on your trail that an actor (whos eyes have adjusted to the light) cant see enough to tell who kicked her? That sounds odd to me.

10-21-2010, 01:52 PM
I always teach actors that things like this happen, but there is a safe and effective way to handle this. I usually tell them to get a good look at the assailant, follow if necessary, and identify them at the end when there is security or a supervisor present. If they can find a supervisor walking the haunt before they get too far ahead, have them follow you while you explain the situation and get them to contact security at the end. I especially stress this to women who may be touched inappropriately.

Twin Locusts
10-21-2010, 03:45 PM
When I used to train my employees on shoplifter ID I told them to think of Head and Hands when the crime happened. That is focus on the head down to the hands in that order. Hat, hair color, collar or no collar shirt, color of shirt. And since they saw them lift merchandise they would often remember jewelry and watches, believe it or not.

The light of a haunt poses a special challenge, but I really believe a brief session during a pep talk or update on what to think about when an emergency takes place would help.

I also bet that if you have off duty police working or even an on duty police in your precinct they'd be glad to talk to the staff about what to do if assaulted, a cop is going to have very pragmatic real-world tips and it will also likely boost the actor and staff confidence in you for working out the brief talk. An attitude about safety starts with leadership and it appears you're doing a great job of taking that role head on, expanding training would be a logical expansion of your efforts that would yield results.

10-21-2010, 05:13 PM
i agree with twin locusts, we tell actors to look at hat no hat skin tone style and color of shirt. Also in a outside environment very actor should have a flashlight, incase they get hit or if a customer gets hurt you will be able to see what you are doing. It really just goes back to teaching your actors how to do things and reinforcing it.