View Full Version : How to manage training

01-01-2011, 02:12 PM
Opening our haunt this upcoming season and asking for suggestions/information on how you manage your training sessions. My initial thoughts are to have 2 sessions over multiple dates to allow for everyone to attend. As these sessions will contain safety and security information I'd expect all employees to attend. My question is how do you compensate for this required training? Any idea/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Allen H
01-01-2011, 02:23 PM
We hold four training days, 1/2 the cast at each of the first two nights and they are paid for that. the next two nights are volunteer and they get two tickets for the show (for their friends/family) if they attend. We start those three weeks before opening and then the weekend before opening we have an orientation and dress rehearsal. they are paid for those as well.
Thats how we do it, hope that helps.
Allen H

01-01-2011, 02:34 PM
Your info is always very helpful!

01-02-2011, 09:45 AM
One thing I really liked about Kennywood is that they had a CPR class that we were allowed to attend for free. I don't know if the owner paid for it or just cut a deal with red cross but either way it worked. His workers were CPR certified and some others like me were medical savoy and got to take a free life saving course. An at th end of the day they could say they were doing every thing they could do to make there attraction safer for customers and actors alike.

Ask your local red cross if there willing to provide training, they normally need a bit of PR any way. An just tell your people hay, I'm willing to put this together, you just have to show up. While training its also good to make sure your actors know who is CPR trained and who is on medical.

Its a very scary thought to me of working in a haunt that does not have medical on stand by. Yes we have insurance that covers us but some times these kids don't even know they broke some thing and need to go to the hospital. It then mends incorrectly and becomes an even bigger problem later.

Jim Warfield
01-02-2011, 09:18 PM
Spending endless hours telling potential employees exactly how I want things to happen here and why and then they never show up again.
Sometimes this is fine because I could tell when I'm talking to them they want to do things "Their Way" which almost always would create situations in which it would have been very easy for customers to get hurt or physically abused. Who needs that? No one I know.
Just little things like the "Three Step Rule". If you are coming towards a terrified customer in costume, they can take three steps backwards for each step that you take toward them. Where does this them put the customer? Nine steps backwards if you are taking just those three steps forward and what is there waiting for them nine backwards steps away? Anything soft or is it sharp, solid, hurtfull displays?
Pushing the initial scare forward for maximum screams/reactions for personal ego feeding is very tempting but look with the house lights on and don't forget to think.

01-03-2011, 07:24 AM
In 2010, we held several sessions each of Make-up I, Make-up II, Acting I, Acting II, and one Fire Safety. The make-up and acting included BBQ's of hot dogs and hamburgers.

The Fire Safety session was the only way they could get their passes for friends and family. It consisted of the Fire Extinguisher supplier explaining how to put out a fire. Then they were put in front of a fire pan filled with kerosene that was then lit on fire. They used the fire ext to put out the fire and got real experience.

We have a fire ext and emerg flashlight in nearly every room and make it a part of our walk through each night to point out where it is located along with verifying the primary exit path and secondary exit path.

We also have a few people with CPR certifications and have considered doing that class as well.

01-03-2011, 09:29 PM
Nice JamBam, I have to say I have never had some one actually get me to extinguish a real fire in a training session.

I also do agree with the food payment idea also. This is some thing I have seen done at a few haunts personally and you can get some good reactions from this. This is some thing you can use to your advantage because your kinda forcing your actors to mingle with one another. This is always important and you will see me stress it over and over. Force your more experienced actors that you trust to mingle with new people more not just with another. Actors that don't get along are actors that don't work well together. An watch them interact, this is a good time spot out your divas, ego trippers, and other future problem makers.

The only time I saw this go wrong was at one haunt. It had to be probably the second worst haunt I ever worked for. They managed there cook out very poorly and didn't put any real planning into it. They didn't even bother to ask there own staff what would be a good time or even what day for them to do this. It was just "Hay if you come to work shop tomorrow there is food".. That was it, no real warning so no one really had time to make room to go. That night when people showed up to work all they got was an ear full of "No one came" , "I'm stuck with all this damn food", "ungrateful SOB's" out of there own bosses mouth. Needless to say a few of the actors didn't come back.

01-06-2011, 09:27 AM
Wow, sorry to hear that Jessica! We try to always positively re-enforce wherever possible!

We hold several sessions and rely on actors who truly enjoy what they do, so we can save on compensation, which tends to be a huge part of every haunts budget. I love the cook out idea though and it's been tossed around in meetings so far. *fingers crossed for the in-favor vote*

We hope to have auditions on several different dates, then have a couple of dates for "hiring" where they get the grand tour, get their employee manual that tells them what we expect out of them as actors and helps us when training for safety and incident management etc, we also go over pay and their specific roles their interested in or good at. Then we'll do a couple days of actor/safety training (possibly when we do your cook out?) and then a dress rehearsal which in mandatory, so perhaps we should pay our actors for this. The more i read your suggestions, the more it seems right.

We do our best to make the process easy for our actors since we want them to feel at home and have tons of fun. We try to keep in close contact with them so we know when their schedule changes and we can shuffle their training/work schedule around appropriately. Last year I ended up having to hold about 5 different actor training sessions because they all had weird schedules. THis ended up working out better because it was smaller groups. THis year we hope to have more people training with more organization. I think that's the key to keeping actors - organization so it's simple for them! People don't want any extra bother. Just the fun part - coming in putting on a costume/makeup and going to scare people. They tend to not care about all those little details like scheduling and making sure they get all their training in, so you've gotta take some extra time and get it all laid out for them.

01-06-2011, 09:39 PM
Wow, sorry to hear that Jessica! We try to always positively re-enforce wherever possible!

I'm sorry I didn't get that.