View Full Version : Internship/getting into the business

12-14-2006, 09:01 PM
Two questions for everyone...

First, a friend of mine is an amazing artist, sculpter, make-up artist, and prop builder, and would like to get into the business somehow. What could she do to get noticed by major (or minor) haunt prop companies?

My other question...is there such a thing as an internship with a haunted attraction? I am a business marketing major at Central Connecticut State University, taking theatre set design and business management courses as well. Getting into the business world there are internship and work-group opportunities to go inside a company and learn, has anyone ever offered such an opportunity in this industry before? Does anyone know of someone I could talk to about this?

Everyone on here has always been kind, I appreciate all the advice. Thank you

Jim Warfield
12-14-2006, 09:07 PM
I suggest staying right where you are for now, learn everything there that they offer, get your degree, then dabble into this gypsie-circus entertainment venue, if you still want to. As far as your talented friend, have her get her own web site and frequent the Mask makers web sites and forums, post her wares see what is out there.
A web site is the best way to allow the world to discover her talent while still allowing her the time to work on her craft. Self promotion is time consuming and detracts from the time and energy needed while focusing on accumulating a body of work

12-14-2006, 09:24 PM
Well I mean I want to get into the industry with a degree under my belt, I just figured maybe there is a way to learn from the pros themselves along with my schooling?

12-14-2006, 10:08 PM
SSP... As a Scenic Design major myself, I can tell you there is about NO way to do this... Or at least for college credit.

My suggestion too you is to get involved with a local theme park that has a Halloween event and get "in the door" there. You can certainly just go to a haunt and present a resume with a portfolio of work and try to get hired. But an internship? I don't think it would happen.

For most haunt companies you need to have a degree and experience... I am currently working for a theme park as a park dresser (decorate the park with all of it's 'spookiness') and am consulted for future properties and elements.

But keep working at it... try something; let us ALL know! Good luck. -Tyler

12-15-2006, 06:54 AM
I guess you are right about the credits, I figured I'd ask

But, beyond acting, where can I get my experience? I'm not looking for pay, or credits really, I just want to see the truth behind a haunt, how it's run, managed, I'd love to be a part of such a thing but you're right, I'd need some credability. How do I work my way up?

12-15-2006, 10:01 AM
Volunteer at a charity haunt, like a JayCee's or something similar. If there are any still around in your area.

Greg Chrise
12-15-2006, 03:31 PM
Actually, colleges here in Texas, as a prerequisite to graduating expect some level of hours spent doing a community service. Sort of a graduate seeing of the real world. Thus it is a form of college credit and some of the actors and set up at our haunt do infact get credit for up to 40 hours of such service being performed.

It is the haunt however, the charity that already had such official status and connections to do so. You might ask around?

This connection with the real world then justifies you including your experiences in reports, observations of sociology and so on. Understanding the applications of your particular development of skill and knoweledge and how it benefits the world at large.

Working in a charity haunt is certainly better than volunteering to clean up 2 miles of the highway with a garbage bag or planting bushes in a city park or hustling people door to door for some kind of community donation.

If you really wish glowing reports from your sponsors, be sure to show up when it is time to "tear down" and clean up the mess after the haunt season as well. Get the complete picture of how much work is involved.

If you are into make up and effects, that is much easier and ANY haunt needs such help at reasonable rates and would be glad to fill out a form.

The word intern escapes me though. This usually means gettting college credit to go get coffee and sandwitches for either sub standard pay or college credit? Advertised as hands on skill development like learning a surgical proceedure but, in fact you will be the coffee boy when ever that word is used. In some applications like being an intern to a radio station and then getting on the air, this might have some merrit. The general problem is that college councilers are not really too worldly or creative and you must go above and beyond their knoweledge and get them to go along with it to have some personal benefit for yourself.

12-15-2006, 10:00 PM
Well, I don't necessarily want to bring haunting into my college education, but my education into haunting. Though, I'm only a freshman, I've barely explored my major yet, so I guess my question morphs away from the actual term "internship" to a possible work opportunity within a haunt beyond acting. Maybe acting is a gateway into larger opportunities?

Greg Chrise
12-15-2006, 10:24 PM
Sometimes an acting position IS the larger opportunity that is right for someone but, certainly at worst case a way to look around at what is needed and find what the opportunities are in your region. Plus in some circumstances you are paid to be there.

Actually having a set design business is well, all the things that a business has problems with like how much work is there, who is willing to pay and what? How far and free to travel are you to make it happen? How many months can you actually perform work and provide equipment, materials and labor with out being compensated? are your skills a match for what is needed in the market? Or perhaps you will discover your abilities are more higher end? If you can't foot this bill yourself by getting a good start, who would employ a recent graduate? You might meet them by being out and about and waiting until the 11th hour might be a mistake.

01-04-2007, 04:51 PM
No, there is no formal internship. However, contact the pro-haunts around you. Tell them you're a theatre major, and ask if they sould need any help (make sure they don't throw you into an actor position, as that does nothing for scene design) I'm sure they would greatly appreciate any help with making scenes you can give them. And yes, they will show you pointers along the way.

01-08-2007, 10:23 AM
I agree with the previous post, contact all the professional haunts in your area. I've had two employees receive college credits for working on my tech crew at Eastern State Penitentiary. One was an Industrial Design student who worked on my animatronics and now is working for a design firm in LA that works with Disney. Another was a film student who received credits for a stage management class. Go to your dean and look into getting credits for working within your major during the summer.

As for your friend, have her send resumes and samples of her work to companies that she would want to work for. Another route to go is also contact local haunts. I had a very talented prop maker contact me 3 years ago. I had her do a few pieces for me the first year, then we hired her to be in charge of our costumes and make-up. She now even has her own company and will be a vendor at TransWorld this February. Visit her web-site: http://www.safarianomalous.com

Hope those examples give you the inspiration to get your name out there. Remember, it's impossible for haunts to find you, but we're always looking for talented people to find us!

Raycliff Manor
01-08-2007, 11:07 AM
Ditto the last two posts! All the posts have been great advice. As a haunted attraction owner, I'd love it if someone like you came to me and said they were looking to apply their talents and education in order to gain some real world experience and get noticed! Once they'd proven their commitment and ability, I'd do everything in my power to either find a way to create a position within our company that would entice them to stay, while at the same time offering to help them springboard to bigger and better things with excellent experience! It seems that a haunted attraction would be a great place to apply your education and build an amazing portfolio! Best of luck to you in your endeavors SSP!

Hey Nightgore, how's school going? I'll bet your staying busy, but I hope you're enjoying the process of learning and moving closer to your goals!


01-08-2007, 11:38 AM
Thank you all for the help. I think I have something underway, possibly, and I'm taking all your advice with me. I can't say enough how helpful you all have been. If I ever do get my hands on a good position somwhere, I'll let you all know.

Thank you

Jim Warfield
01-08-2007, 12:27 PM
There are numerous "Job-Opportunitys" out there in which you will be able to use your creative skills , just beware of the work agreement and don't allow yourself to be unfairly taken advantage of.
Danging a lone dollar bill infront of someone (hypnosis?) and then getting all the financial benefit from their sweat and creative ideas, all for that lone, measley dollar........well I have had this type of a situation offered to me a few times over the years, as have probably many others on this forum.
Be wary.

Raycliff Manor
01-08-2007, 12:52 PM
Probably some of the best advice yet Jim! :wink: In my younger days, I've been on the receiving end of false promises and the perpetually forward moving dangling carrot!


Jim Warfield
01-08-2007, 08:27 PM
One man wanted to hire a group of artists and artisans to build his dream. A Ghost Town along a busy highway, a tourist attraction, it would be being built on a barren piece of land, alot of work, of course he was totally prepared to pay all the talent a whopping $5.00 an hour for their sweat, creativity and talents.
For some reason it never got built? Gee?
Another man mulled some of my ideas over for three months then shot me this deal: He would provide the land (a really terrible piece of land good for almost nothing , except maybe a mountain goat farm) He would provide $30,000 and his crew of men to help build a building to put the attraction in (a small building , not a haunted house, but something possibly equally entertaining that I don't think has been done before)
After it was up I would manage it and be a 30% partner...sounded good so far...then he took a breath and said "After the first three years it would then become all mine and you would just walk away."
And how many years do most new businesses take to begin to really make a dollar? I think probably about three years, I would say.
This whole project never happened either? Gee?
Well that's enough, anyone who hasn't "been there" can sort of get the picture , I imagine.