View Full Version : Actor Audition questions

07-29-2007, 12:06 AM
My actor auditions are a little over a month away and I need some input from the pros. In general how do you guys handle the actor auditions? What questions do you ask the would be actors? What do you look for? Do you have his/her perform anything? All input is greatly apreciated.

Kyle Nadeau
Sinister Intentions Haunted Attractions

Jim Warfield
07-29-2007, 12:37 AM
I ask the usual questions plus one more. Since this is a "Haunted" haunted house, I ask if they would be afraid if such a thing happened here and they saw it happen?
I have suddenly lost good, reliable employees because of such things.
Some can handle such an experience some people can't begin to handle it in the least. Good to know right upfront.

Chainsaw Charlie
07-30-2007, 09:07 AM
I would say it depends on what types of roles you're casting for.
As a former actor I would usually get a list of general things that I would not like to do or be able to do at the haunt, I.E. Wearing a mask or gloves for long periods of time, full face makeup, can you lift a certain weight repeatedly for 4 hours, handle being out on the trail in the dark for hours, being confined to a small scare box in a haunt for hours, etc... Generally overall tasks related to your haunt. If someone is uncomfortable being confined or out on the trail you may not want to place them there.
If they are a principal actor w/ lines then you might want them to read some lines just to check voice level, and ability.
My biggest recommendation is just seeing what type of person they are, and what kind of jobs they have worked for, and for how long. You really need smart, mature people who are going to be dependable. Makes no difference how great they are if they don't show up past the first weekend, or call out on Sunday after 2hard nights. So I would say look for responsible, safety minded people who have held down a job so you know they won't bolt when they find out Haunting can be hard work.
Hope that helps, and good luck!


07-31-2007, 03:55 PM
make sure they are animated, and not afraid to let loose. Some people are too timid to let out a good scream or yell. I would ask them to give you a full force scream at the interview. If they cant do it in front of you, most likely they will be too shy to let loose when you need it most.

07-31-2007, 04:28 PM
We typically audition for three types of characters:

"Simple Characters"
"Complex Characters"

The "Boo" characters basically have to have a pulse, be able to sign their name, and be able to attend our training sessions.

The "Simple Characters" acutally audition for a specific part, but they may be trained on several in the same category. Basic speech, instruction following, and the ability to be who we requested is a must. We usually give them a starting point and ask them to develop the character. Sometimes these characters have lines, sometimes they don't, so the level of audition varies.

The "Complex" characters get a full rundown. We demand all of the above plus excellent improv skills and a lot of time to dedicate to training. We will play a few improv games, and we might ask them to try thier warez on some of the other staff members to see how they do.

In our area, actors can be hard to come by, so we take the approach of trying to mold them into something we can use. We do this via extensive training, so if they show an interest and are reliable, we will usually use them for something...

Jim Warfield
07-31-2007, 08:44 PM
So what would everyone posting here think that the average number of people who seem so promising, yet never come back again?
Out of 40 hopefulls? 1/2 never work out or never show up the first night?
Don't come back the 2nd night?

07-31-2007, 09:26 PM
I'd say we retain about 20 - 25% of all volunteers.

Of those, maybe 2% are hard-core, and those are the important ones!

08-01-2007, 09:18 AM
Our actors are auditioned in several different areas. We screen for several different emotions, improv skills, physical ability to move awkwardly and such. The big test was mentioned above...are they willing to let loose and make an a$$ of themselves in front of you? What about in front of a small group of strangers? Can they be goofy, angry, violent, psychotic, sad, terrified? There are other factors, too, but those are the most basic.

damon carson
08-01-2007, 09:55 AM
Dont forget to make sure to ask about very important things such as Transportation. Will they all be able to get a ride and have a ride home. That way you will know up front how many you can load up in your car or if you will have to take the hearse. Find out if there parents are cool with them helping with a haunt if your dealing with minors. We did consent forms. That really helps out alot. No crazy jesus freaks thinking your taking there child away to sacrifice to Satan in your demonic business to hell. Believe me we have dealt with some types like this in the years past. Talk to them find out whos into horror movies, monsters, the horror video games ect. Feel them out you will be able to weed out your hardcore haunters from the amatuers. And just because one person goes on about the next Halloween or Saw movie thats out doesnt mean there all that hardcore. Ya those are some big movies coming out but if they know all the classics too then you'll know.

08-02-2007, 05:53 PM
These are the first questions we ask.

a few are negotiable, like the smoking thing.
we DO NOT allow smoke breaks, there is absolutley no smoking once an actor is it costume, butif they can last the night, use a patch , whatever that's cool.

but other wise, here's what they have to agree to before I even talk to them about whether they are good or not.

New Actor Questions

To be part of our all-volunteer acting crew with Castle Blood, you need to be able to agree with / say yes to the following statements/questions:

Are you over 18 years of age?

Are you a non-smoker?

Do you have your own transportation?

Can you take direction?

Even if you don’t see the value of or agree with the direction?

While everyone strives to be the best actor/character they can be, do you understand that no one actor is more important than the show itself?

Are you willing to work the positions that some consider not the most glamorous because they are just as important as any other spot?

Even if sometimes, it’s selling hot dogs?

the Castle is a ‘show’ that has a defined script, and needs a certain amount of actors to fill those scripted parts (yes, even selling the hot dogs). Are you responsible enough to realize that one person missing hurts everybody?
(And yes, we recognize and understand real emergencies in life, but we still will be short that night.)

Even though we are a scripted show, the fact that we deal with the public in true interactive theater style means that each tour can vary widely no matter how precise we try to be. Can you adapt and ad lib to help smooth things along, without totally losing character, or getting upset with surrounding actors?

Can you stay in character for an entire evening, regardless of how cold, tired, or sick you might be?

The Castle is a great escape for all the actors as well as the public. Can you leave trauma and drama in your real life outside the castle?

At least while we’re open (LOL!)?

If you can answer yes to all the questions above and are still interested in an acting position at the Castle, we still need people for the 2007 season and you should contact us at:__________________________

That's it.

So, too tough? some think so, but it helps screen a bunch of people you'll just fire after the first weekend anyway.

it's not an easy thing to get past, but I have over 15 people that have been with me for at least 10 years, and I have handed out over 30 of our 5 year gifts.

hope this helps


Jim Warfield
08-03-2007, 09:07 AM
My best most talented people drive 75 miles to get here.
Living in a town(village?) of 1,700 retired people , living in the Illinois county that has on average the oldest citizens in the entire state, makes finding haunt help very difficult here.
One of the problems I have are the youngsters that think my house is to be run just like another house they once went through.
If people want that style, the other houses are open in October. My customers come here for the way I have been doing it for the last 20 years. Sorry.
A few days ago we spread the final remains (ashes) of one of my first helpers here. They went off from a big cliff, then I found out that he had spread his Mother's ashes from the same cliff...my eternal question will be, did he always want to throw his Mother off a big cliff?
He finally got to!

08-03-2007, 09:12 AM
We mention much from the above two posts as well, before the auditions even start. It's really important to ask a lot of questions and get a feel of how these people will be. We've only had a few who never returned, after all of the stipulations were set forth.

Gravely, I hope that you find a reliable, non-smoking, well-spoken hot dog vendor this year. :)

08-04-2007, 07:55 AM
"Gravely, I hope that you find a reliable, non-smoking, well-spoken hot dog vendor this year. "

LOL! Thanks, Me too!, as much as 20% of my haunts revenue comes from our concession area, so it is both one of the least fun, as well as most important positions we have here.

It usually ends up getting split between our more experienced actors, a night here or there, as they understand the need.

When we get someone who can do it in character, it's all that much more fun.

Jim Warfield
08-05-2007, 01:35 PM
I should probably have an Abbieville Sausage stand here since it would tie into my front room routine as I tell the cold hard facts of the semi running over me.
It was the Abbieville Sausage semi! (Full of 1,000's of pounds of dead, tubular meat!)
We could set up right next to my crunched T-Bird, the victim of that fatefull August 28th six years ago....
Of course it might be implying, sort of , that the feast is of my sausage-parts!?
"We keep coming back every year and we still are chewing on Jim? How big of a piece of meat was he?"

08-07-2007, 11:21 AM
Wow Jim, Are you makingthat up?
Cause, "Dead Tubular Meat "was the name of my band in college