View Full Version : let's do some thinking, actors...

09-18-2008, 08:10 AM
Actors are integral part of haunted houses. Why is this board so rarely used for actual discussion. Why are the owners/managers/operators not on here looking for advice about how to help their actors? Why are we not sharing better tips with each other.

Some questions to start things off:

Why do we not have resumes if we travel to other haunted houses or teach seminars or speak at conventions? Who decides that the experience is valid?

I think this is poor judgement on the part of the owners and tends to ruin it for those of us who do more than just say "I've acted at umpty million haunts". I think that if the quality of actors and make-up artists had to be backed up with proof and referrals, then the quality would continue to improve at a rate that could keep up with the industry itself.

How can we have a more united and efficient voice in the haunt industry?

This is not about the debate of regional conventions vs. national tradeshows. I think there is room for both and that they both fill needs, but we need to be a reliable and professional presence in the shows and on the internet. If all we do is give advice on what to say in the asylum and we don't discuss how we are contributing as a whole to our haunts and the haunt industry, then the owners will continue to pat us on our heads and go on about their business.

How can we maintain continuity between those who do this as a hobby/service hours/fun/obsession and those who see the business potential or professional aspects of being a haunted house actor and/or make-up artist?

There is no way for me to put an actual answer in here, it's a long and protracted essay, lol.

That is a good start, I think. We have an actors' forum on here, let's make use of it!


Raycliff Manor
09-18-2008, 05:43 PM
You pose excellent questions Ananda! I admit I'm one of the haunt owners who rarely makes it over to the Actor discussion forum and I should! I don't think it's because I'm not interested, because as an active paricipant and actor in my haunt I am, but it's because I get caught up in all the business operation aspects of it I suppose. I do work hard to provide fair pay, company sponsored get-togethers, cool prizes and bonuses, snacks and beverages nightly along with more prizes, an Appreciation Dinner and Golden Ghoul Award Ceremony at a restaraunt or banquet hall fully sponsored by the company for the entire Fright Team, including Makeup Artists, Security and Actors. I also maintain a Raycliff Manor Library of acting, makeup and other videos that I check out to any Fright Team member interested in further developing their skills. I am interested in hearing from professional Actors such as yourself what else I could and should be doing to support a strong moral and a happy Fright Team. I'd also be interested in learning about what it is I am missing, and I'm sure there's plenty, so please help me to help my Fright Team feel rewarded and appreciated. I sincerely look forward to your feedback as well as the feedback of other Actors in this industry! Thanks for this post!


Raycliff Manor
09-18-2008, 05:48 PM
By the way, I forget to mention, I am investigating some additional business directions that will allow me to extend more opportunities to our Fright Team members outside the haunting season as well, such as character appearances for events, on site Raycliff Manor parties, and some other things I'm investigating with corporations in the area that I'd rather not mention publicly just yet, but I do realize that the Actors are the life blood of Raycliff Manor and without them we just have hideously attractive sets. ;) I also have made it a point to ask all of our Actors to let me know if they are comfortable being interviewed by the Press and Media. I want them in front of the cameras, not only because they perform better than I, but also because I know they've earned the limelight. : )


Jim Warfield
09-19-2008, 01:11 AM
I wear no make up, I sweat it off fast. I wear no make up because I have to change my basic character many times in one night/afternoon to suit the customer, calm them, reassure them, get them in the door, make them feel some amount of trust in me. Make up on my face would not make alot of this possible and it necesarry that I succeed in getting the timid ones in the door, it's a dollar sign thing.
I act with voice, body and face, my face, unobscured so they can have the challenge of reading it, ("Is he serious? Is he nuts? Is that the truth he's telling us?" So it goes.
My personal ego-kick was when I would greet the group, get them in the front room, seated, make them scream in fear, then make them laugh, then make them scream again, all within my alloted ten minutes as I also told them about the house(somewhat, this would talke alot more time to begin to do it justice)
I am usually talking the entire 90 minutes they are in the house.
I found that using variations of voice and accents makes one's voice last longer and I think this often leaves the customers abit more unsettled too.

Warren Vanderdark
09-19-2008, 07:17 AM
"Do some thinking"? Y'know, I've gotten in more trouble that way *chuckle*
I wholeheartedly agree with Jim about the use of vocal tone to produce an effective scare, especially if you're a "host" character like myself. I'm still amazed after six years that I can scare the hell out of people by (as I like to call it) "channeling Vincent Price" just as easily as when I used to trash my vocal chords growling and snarling as the Wolf Man.

09-19-2008, 07:33 AM
Thanks for replying!! You sound like the kind of haunt owner this industry needs to continue to grow.
It seems like you are doing all the right stuff and honestly, I was laughing because it looked like an outline for a haunt owner seminar that my husband and I might do. 8) Your website looks good too!

I am fully aware that the business aspects of running a haunted attraction can easily get in the way of other things and this thread does not degrade the owners for doing what they need to do. This industry is tough and encompasses many many different things to worry about. However, it is time for the actors and make-up artists to become part of the business, not just the creative furniture that the owners tend to sit on. Also, we are equally responsible for presenting a professional and business-like face for our industry. We need to be just as capable of promoting your haunts as you are, maybe moreso. I don't think this is all the haunt owners' responsibility. Actors and make-up artists have choices too and often those choices do not reflect what is best for the haunt they are working for. No, I don't expect the kids that are volunteering to suddenly absorb the business acumen of a 40 year old corp-type, but I do think that if they are given better guidelines and expectations they will more easily be an asset to your haunt and our industry. A volunteer organization should look just as professional as a for-profit haunt and we should all be helping each other to accomplish that in order to make this industry grow in the direction that we want it to.

The constant IQ-lowering bickering that occurs on these boards is a perfect example of how NOT to make our businesses grow and I would love to know how many media people are on here laughing their heads off. However, this is kind of off the subject.

Ken, thanks again for the reply. Hopefully, it helps engender a really good discussion.

I very much want to make time to come and see Raven's Grin Inn. What you do, I think, is a perfect example of how to be professional while still maintaining your unique style and constant quality.

09-19-2008, 07:36 AM
You are so right about that. Often, people forget that "less is more" really does work. Our customers pretty much expect to be screamed at, towered over and frankly, bullied into a scare. They do not often expect the more subtle and creepy twists.

Jim Warfield
09-19-2008, 08:26 AM
"Bullying" begets bullying as a response from many customers but wierdness usually stimulates and confuses opening up an avenue to scare them.
Using language also limits some customer's response since language is not always a tool often used with any fine quality of effecting a desired result .
The number one fear or phobia as shown by survey is "Speaking in Public".
So if you have no problem speaking in public, the odds might be that the customer is not as comfortable doing this, which gives you the edge.
You may linguistically take them down before they can even utter or stutter.
(Azz their undies fill with butter)

10-01-2008, 08:27 AM
Our thread trickled off, though not without a good start.

How do we get more owners and more actors involved?

How do we keep the discussion more involved in here than just "what should I say for this character"?