View Full Version : Getting and Keeping actors

05-02-2013, 06:59 AM
I did a search of the forum, but didn't find any info. We seem to be having trouble keeping actors. Early in the year, we get a lot of interest, but then when October rolls around most if not ALL of them have other things to do. Are there any tips for recruiting actors and keeping them? Thanks.

Greg Chrise
05-02-2013, 09:46 AM
You have to have a few gatherings that may cost a couple hundred dollars in materials or in hiring outside actor trainers. You have to eliminate, what will I be wearing, what will I be saying and doing, who else does this. And what is my motivation? You will gather money for Christmas or for that charity you want to support or buy an Xbox when this is all over.

Cursory conversations can be just the real wanting to see what the haunt looks like for free rather than actually show up and work. So rather than give dozens of free haunt tours and the questions are answered, it is the art of what brings the haunt to life, the acting and the make up, the participating in set decor to claim their territory. Then there is an obligation and a peer pressure to show up. Perhaps coaching working toward acting in a room, not meant to be excluding everyone but working through all the issues they may be having about acting like an idiot or perhaps messing around with the dark side which isn't the case. It is fun, creative, hands on and you make money. You meet and hang out with others, are part of something and are welcome to come participate. As opposed to give me your name and phone number and be here October 15th.

I'm seeing a girl scout emblem on you facebook page, maybe there is a merit badge that is a pink skull you are earning, there is an after party, pizza every night that your mother never gets for you. Still dressing out scenes and going through the boxes of props is a you wanna see what happens here? You have to lend a hand. And then there is an overall curiosity to what customers will react to this or that item or when you say or do something. Then they are hooked and want to show up. If it isn't for money there needs to be some life experience and time invested in that to make it not be a chore of some kind. You can't let it up to them to create that on their own.

So Bob made this especially for you, this is going to be yours to use, It is going to be pretty cool when you do this and walk over here. It's a sales job. Advanced thinking is like a Japanese factory where teams come up with their own imput and put things into reality and see how it works, intellectual engagement and participation. To some degree many of these things may add a lame factor to your haunt but, it is a balance between engagement with the customers and 45 people in masks pointing to where the next door is.

Greg Chrise
05-02-2013, 09:52 AM
All of these pre show mini seminars and gatherings are things you would not be able to find anywhere, they are special events you really should be excited to attend. Even though this is kind of common and at every convention, it isn't at your haunt and you can't take everyone to seminars at Transworld or some other convention so they can make you $50. You can bring it to them and it doesn't have to be at the haunt, it can be at someones house, a state park outing? Places where that sounds like a good place to go hang out or a few hours and have some cookies.

05-02-2013, 01:34 PM
That sounds good. I have the roles for actors laid out already, but I didn't think of having a gathering. We did our haunt for the Girls Scouts last year, but they won't be with us this year. We can still have a pizza party though. I also thought of doing an awards ceremony after the show and giving out prizes for the best scares, best actors, etc. Very good advice!

Dark Tiki Studios
05-02-2013, 02:24 PM
Many haunts have gatherings throughout the year, to keep their acting troop together. They take them to horror movies, or laser tag, or even industry-related things like makeup demonstrations. Some also start a Facebook page just for their acting troop, so that they can keep in touch with each other (and the haunt) all year. It is important to have one or two gatherings right before the season, to reassemble the troops!

05-17-2013, 02:56 PM
I've only done 1 pro show and been involved in a small Jaycees years ago. I do however, have lots of experience in retail and public relations.

I didn't read all of Greg's posts and he may have hit on it, so, I'm sorry if I missed it being lazy.

The thing with this is, you can't start TOO EARLY, with nothing to keep the excitement up. Yes, gatherings and meetings at a restaurant for lunch is a great way to keep them involved.

Also, be sure to show them that you care about their ideas, their roles etc. If their char doesn't have a name, ask if they'd like to use a name, or w/e. Get them involved while feeling like they matter.

Another thing is, just the sheer timing. If you're recruiting, do it just a few months prior to getting hands on. If I'd do 2012 all over again, I'd do 3 sessions, about a month apart trying to recruit, that way we have lots of talent options, and it's not so far away they get uninterested. I started in July last year and it was almost pushing it for us. Actors tend to want to do things spontaneously, and so we must play on that. They get the idea to act today, they want to act tomorrow! Or it'll tire out in their head with no activity, and go back to playing Call of Duty or w/e else they do now days.

The GREAT ones that come through, do individual counseling with them, quality time if you will. Make sure that you really want them on the team. Ask them for ideas. Give them a bonus after season to prove how valuable they are to you and if they hang around their spot can be permanent with pay / incentives.

Think "attention span". Then work around it!