View Full Version : haunt negativity
i remember when i used to be a backyard haunter. everything was so fun and stress free. we all got together and had a blast. no fighting , no arguing and no drama. it seems since i went pro i developed a staff of people that help build but some also bring to the table a load of bad baggage. every idea i have seems to be questioned by people that have no haunt experience. like their brains automatically look at alternative ways of doing things and argue the point. if they dont get their way they get pissy and mad and talk into the ears of my good helpers. i have some that always show up in a bad mood and it seems their not happy untill they piss someone off. i once hung a sign saying " if your in a bad mood do not enter" it didnt work. they fight with each other like kids. one is always mad at another and so on. i want to get my haunt back to how it was before. i didnt get into haunting to be mad every day wile im doing it. do any of you deal with problems like this? it really takes the wind out of u. is it worth keeping a hard working bad egg in the bunch?
Welcome to the world of haunting. In a nut shell....Remember how you fought with brothers and sisters, etc.?....It's all family brother
11-12-2012, 07:55 AM
I have to tell you, when I worked over at the Hex House, in Tulsa, there were a couple guys that would daily criticize and "improve" my works before I had time to finish. There is no right way to build something that has never been done before but there are right ways to build. This is why I left the Hex House. There was no one in charge and everyone in charge. The owner, rarely came in during the builds. This was 3 years ago.
The actors and builders are going to make suggestions. But, from Ben at netherworld, I heard him tell someone that unless you can build it, don't tell me about it. When he said that, it was a private talk and he was venting a little… He told me once, that he likes my work because I have ideas and can build them. Well, in all honesty, I can't build all my ideas but I try when I get the opportunity. And if I get stuck I ask for instruction from someone who knows.
My suggestion is not the best or even good advice but might help:
This takes time. To build your haunt over and over you need at least two quality builders you can rely on. Pick one of them to be your main guy. If you have a bunch of people helping build a room, for instance, use this main guy as manager. You as the boss should only have direct contact to lead managers, artists, builders, designers, etc. Once they understand your vision/idea, let them make it for you. Granted, if you’re like most owners, you can show up right in the middle of a build and make changes if necessary (changes are not always needed, but owners like to exercise the “who-is-who” thing.
If you enjoy building, you might have to have just a few skilled people and yourself to build. No one else. If your skilled people are causing the issues, then let them know your concerns and if it continues, find new people. Eventually, you will get the right people to work with who can respect each other.
11-12-2012, 09:36 AM
Exactly what Sean said... However, you can control this. I am having the same issue in around about way. Couple of years ago I let my staff run the haunt for me so I could do what I love best while we are open, ACT! I have now found out that this can not happen. I have had no issues with my actors whatsoever. They love every minute of what they do. My backstage staff which includes, (GM, techs, security, make-up, etc..) can not get along at all. Everytime I would get in costume and off of headset is when it would hit the fan in one are or the other. So.. a solution. I tried to have a sit down with the what I called HH team (backstage staff) and tell them to stop the bitching and to quit questioning my decisions. If they couldnt do this then this was not the place for them to be. This worked except for a couple of the group. But.... that was my warning of what I would and would not tolerate. What they do next is their own fault of getting let go. No matter how good or how long someone has worked with you, if they disrupt the group with their antics, they need to go. Plain and simple.
With your build team.. I am all about the build. So letting my build team have projects of their own is very slim, but I pick my build team who works with me and not agaist me. These guys are on the same page and know my vision. I tell them to always give me suggestions on anything we do, but dont be upset when I say no.. Although, I will not just say no and that is it. I will give them the reasons why it will not work. This will give them a better understanding of how the haunt works and will process that for the next suggestion.
Again, those that disrupt the group and go behind your back to try to overpower your decisions NEED TO GO. I am doing that this year. It is sad and I hate doing it cause some of these have been with me from the beginning. However they have shot themselves in the foot over this, because I gave them warning. Plain and simple.
I will no longer have someone else running my haunt any longer, and will be taking my haunt back.
Howie Slobber Erlich
11-12-2012, 12:03 PM
What I have always done is have different departments in charge of different area of the haunt and assign a boss for each. For example; Have a concept dept. these individuals would only be in charge of coming up with new ideas or figuring out ways to make your idea come to life. You would have one boss or Head of creative concepts and all suggestions will go through that person. Everyone knows it up front and simply has to deal with it. Then you might have a construction department. These people would only be people who have experience with tools and some sort of construction experiences. Never let Joe blow who has never picked up a circular saw be part of construction. The head of this dept. should be the most creative person who has the most experience. Preferably a carpenter. Everyone knows that all ideas go through them. Then you might also have a decorating team who will be the ones that dress the sets and help to give the overall look of your show. Again one person would be the head person their too.
Make it very clear in the beginning that this is how it's gonna be. That you have chosen these people to be in charge of each dept based on experience. If anybody doesn't like it or can't work that way then maybe it's time to move on. I would give the heads of department a lot of leeway on how things run but also keep a short lease on time frames and things like that. If they are having problems with people let then have some authority to deal with the situation. If they feel it's beyond their control, that's when you will have to step in. Don't' be afraid of firing someone if they just become too much of a problem. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Remember it's your show and it should be the way you want it. Friendships and other peoples feelings are of course important but not at the cost of your show falling apart or not ending up the way you want it too.
Just make sure you have something for everyone to do and make sure they are doing it. If you are having busy nights there should be no time for any BS from anyone out there, they all have things to do and should be doing it.
11-12-2012, 06:23 PM
Your staff is your garden. Feed and nurture the plants that yield, and weed the ones that dont. Trim the leaves that die and give all of them the chance to succed.
11-12-2012, 07:12 PM
I have applied the same concepts in my business and personal life.
It has changed everything!
11-12-2012, 07:45 PM
Jab them with spikes of fertilizer, spray them with mild poisons for bugs and let the bees lose on them, I Got this!
11-12-2012, 08:01 PM
Allen is freaking awesome,
If I may elaborate. There is a time to brainstorm, during this time any and all ideas can be looked at and are appreciated. Once this time has passed, further discussion of ideas are only academic, in fact they can be a distraction. It is time to move past that stage and move into the implementation of the ideas that have made the final cut. There is nothing wrong with reminding your staff that you are no longer in the brainstorming phase and that it is time to get behind the ideas that they are supposed to be implimenting. From time to time you may have a staff member challenge you on this. It is always best to try persuasion first, but it is your job to keep everyone focused on the task at hand. You may occasionally get somone who takes the rejection of their suggestion or idea personally and will then show attitiude. They may be chomping at the bit to see you proven wrong. This is a great opportunity to instill in your staff that there job is not to prove you wrong, but to do everything within their power to prove you right. You may give them an impossible task that should have 0 chance of success. If they pull it off, the pride that comes with success under such extreme circumstances is what seperates winners from a group of whiners that talk about giving it their best. The boss is the guy that makes sure things get done. He is the guy that everyone looks to for direction. At times he is a man to be feared and respected. At the end of the day, he is responsible for success or failure. I recomend that you study tactics of management. It will get easier with time. A good place to start is with the acronymn used by the Marine Corps. JJDIDTIEBUCKLE. Judgement, Justice, Decisiveness, integrity, dependability, tact, initiative, entheusiasim, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge, loyalty, and endurence. Master these, leadership traits and subordinates will follow you to hell and back.
11-13-2012, 04:12 AM
"House On The Rock", largest tourist attraction in Wisconsin, 75 miles due north of Ravens Grin (we are in Illiniois)
It's creator died maybe 20 years ago. He did a lot of the original work on "the house" himself, but years later as he had a crew of 140 workers, he was much older and work like that was not what a man of his age should maybe be doing anymore anyway?
The creative meetings sometimes went like this:" The electrician said," I think we should hang those 100 maniquins from the ceiling, dressing them as angels."
The owner:"HHHmm? Naw, I don't think that would look quite right."
The next day at the meeting:"Owner:"I just had this incredible idea, we are going to hang maniquins from the ceilings and we are going to dress them as... angels!!"
Much lip-biting was the norm, I understand.
Those maniquins were posed stiff-legged and looked hilarious, although I'm not sure that was the "look" he was envisioning.
I was told by the neighbors the "House" began as a weekend party house, only accessable via rope ladder, climbing it straight up the cillf face, that way if they were being raided they just pulled up the ladder.
The neighbors would later be my Sister's in-laws.
thank u every1. i think its time to prune some bad leaves off my plant. i see im not the only one that deals with this. great advice that i will indeed use.
11-13-2012, 10:43 AM
"He-Said-She -said" among employees who start out possibly Boy-friend-girlfriend but it all falls apart and they seem to think you, the owner , are a counciller and that you have time on a busy October night to sit and listen?
I guess if they just turned up their volume they could part of the horrific urban show? "Relationships From HELL!"
Cringing customers is not what I aim for here, though.
11-13-2012, 11:06 AM
Jab them with spikes of fertilizer, spray them with mild poisons for bugs and let the bees lose on them, I Got this!
11-13-2012, 12:53 PM
I have always taken the approach that if you can not fit in with our group then our haunt is not the place for you. I have lost some quality people and friends because they came in and ruffled the feathers of core crew members. In the end I looked like a bad guy but after 3 years, I can say that I would do it all over again. We now have a solid team that works very well together.
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