View Full Version : Any haunt owners experiment with actor costume subsidies?

08-25-2012, 07:50 AM
I'm speaking of ACTOR OWNED costumes of course. We already provide 90% of our costuming for continuity's sake, but with the explosive growth of silicone and other professionally made costumes we have found an increase in desire for actors to own their own complete and highly detailed costumes.

So it has occurred to me that maybe I should get more active in fostering this interest, since it obviously has benefits to the show (and the industry by the way), by having some structured policy of financial subsidization.

Sure it has its down side, but the upside seems to far outweigh that (even if you only consider the morale benefits), so I'm asking you to share your opinion and or experience.

So the way this is forming in my mind is that it would be a reimbursement of a certain percent of a certain amount of money spent by the actor on specific kinds of items during a specific time frame each year. Dated receipts would be required and reimbursement could be made in addition to actor pay (if any) at time pay is issued, or up front if you trust the individual that much.

I would think the the subsidies would start only after a fairly high amount has been invested by the actor in order to keep the quality aimed high and the nickle and diming down. You could even put a maximum amount on it if -god forbid- the actor really goes balls out.

Oh and by the way (not that it was the reason for this post) but wouldn't it be nice if there were a monster uniform service company out there? Maybe one that supported the guy subsidizing the actors?

08-25-2012, 10:06 AM
As an actor (for what it's worth), a program like this would be greatly appreciated. I prefer to supply my own costume, and last years included a silicone mask, stilts, and a stilt costume. Not to mention the time and effort I put into learning to walk on stilts.
I did it for multiple reasons.
I don't like sharing costumes, masks especially. I want to have something I can call my own. And quite frankly, it made me the star of the show. I stood out.

Actors will respect their own costume and take care of it more than if it was owned by the haunt.

I think it goes without saying they would have to meet certain attendance requirements.

Allen H
08-27-2012, 08:21 AM
I think it is more about creating a costume culture than it is about subsidizing. If you do it then dont reimburse during the two months before the show. That way actors wont overload you right before the show and they have a commitment to you months before you open. I do this for contacts right now.
Allen H

08-27-2012, 08:38 AM
Only concern I have is actor conduct, unsupervised, in costume, outside of show. That character is so- to- speak representing you program as long as he is in costume…right? I had an issue with some clowns scaring some small children at Wal-Mart there costumes were unusual and it was known that they worked for me.

08-27-2012, 12:34 PM
Yeah, I was thinking for purchases from Transworld up to August or so. That way the actors at least have a chance to ride the wave of new stuff at the show before they just run off and buy something. Which- really kinda ticks me off about the show entry fee. Say what you want about the benefits- it IS a hurdle for your average actor. We had 10 in our group last year- it was going to be 13 or more but they dropped out.

A culture, eh? Hmmm, I'm sort of leading that way, with a perk attached that works for both the actor and the show... I'll have to ponder that some more. I think with a minimum actor investment and a maximum subsidy I might be able to create said culture on an accelerated scale. One thing I don't have is years of character and wardrobe development behind me.

I too had a clown incident... small, but none the less made it back to me indirectly. We do have a policy about company owned costumes and representing the haunt, but what can you say about privately owned stuff? And actors that wear costumes in July or to say- the Devils Carnival, are going to do so regardless if its haunt related or not.

08-27-2012, 01:05 PM
I like this idea. It saves storage space at the haunt, they take care of it better, and there is less chance of passing around germs. I would only reimburse AFTER the season though, so they don't take your money and run. They can charge it on their credit card and still get paid for it by the time the payment is due.

08-27-2012, 08:30 PM
why not make it a reward end of season set amounts not necessarily full reimbursement to reward creative costume and attendance. Make the amounts large enough that it might be full reimbursement for some that spent a bit. This will give the creative an incentive to spend more.
what can you do about the bad image they create don't hire them back, Warn them that like it or not they represent you year round when they are in that costume. Simple enough if you here of their negative actions they are eliminating their place in your haunt by killing the business.