View Full Version : Using Drama Students

04-07-2009, 07:15 AM
Does anyone else use high school kids? What would be a good incentive for these kids.....afterall they are working for free? Should we make a donation to their school or give out some type of award? Just wondering if anyone else does this or has any suggestions?

04-07-2009, 07:44 AM
Sometime HS students can get credits for working outside of school. Sometime you need to send weekly or bi-weekly progress reports/evaluations of their work. Usually that is enough incentive for them.

04-07-2009, 08:26 AM
For haunts that donate to charity, acting can count as volunteer hours (some schools have required volunteer hours for different programs) and it was a great source of kids (since scaring people is more fun than picking up garbage). In those cases, we just had to sign off on their school form and indicate their hours worked.

04-07-2009, 08:39 AM
That's a good question.
I thought of college students as some schools/colleges require "community service" credit, or something like that which is part of their final grade. I didn't think about high school drama students though. Hummm, another source to think about.

Killer Katie
04-07-2009, 08:32 PM
My cast has consisted primarily of teens. we do pay them, although it's seasonal, lump sum pay, which stinks..LOL
We did give awards at the end of the night, the most popular were T-shirts for the haunt (counts as walking advertising too!) and movie tickets (we had a movie theater sponsor that provided them)
My experience, the better actors, the ones that really wanted to be there, didn't work for money, but the really liked the shirts.
We also sat the actors down and point blank asked them what they wanted.
Good luck! PM me if you have any questions on teens!

Side note - the majority of drama students I had, thought that huant acting was beneath them, so choose wisely! If you can find those that go fo the dark side AND can come up with their own dialogue and body movement, treasure them!!!!

04-08-2009, 06:59 AM
Side note - the majority of drama students I had, thought that huant acting was beneath them, so choose wisely! If you can find those that go fo the dark side AND can come up with their own dialogue and body movement, treasure them!!!!

Agreed, you will often find the prima donna actors that will not last because this isn't a Rodgers and Hammerstein choreorgraphed production, and they aren't too fond of getting sticky and dirty.

I liked having little awards at the end of the night (Actor of the Night, Room of the Night, and Makeup of the night) that I gave out on certificate paper. It was cheap and easy, but it gave the kids something to work towards every night. We also gave them a free haunt shirt for working a certain number of nights and then had a big end of the year awards banquet (which was free if they worked about half the nights), with a nice dinner, dancing, and tons of awards.

04-08-2009, 07:18 AM
Personally im divided....i think that it would completely depend on the types of Drama students you would use. Because being in Drama all through out high school i know that there are two different types of actors there.

A. the kind that are good at what they do, dedicated, willing to work, respectful, and understand when it's time to play and have fun, and when its time to be serious and go to work


B. the kind that do it because their friends do it, consider stages and sets their own personal playgrounds, are not willing to work, are not respectful of other peoples property, and dont put forth a willing effort

we occasionally have a few type B's in my haunt and occasionally i find myself tempted to lock them in our stasis chamber and not let them out, they dont respect property, and they roam from scene to scene doing whatever they want no matter how many times our zone capitans put them back in their spots

but then again we have the great kids who come night after night and really want to learn the makeup, learn the acting, and learn the skills

so it really all depends the kinds of kids you get, personally i feel that we should have a stringent screening process to weed out the bad eggs, and i think that there should be a 3 strikes system for all high school kids, but then again i am sort of a hard ass when it comes to dealing with our younger actors lol


Rottting Flesh Radio Haunt Hottie

Dr. Giggles
04-08-2009, 01:56 PM
A lot of schools use community service hours. Example, my son need 30 hours each year to graduate that grade. You could offer those, offer little prizes for doing a good job. Give an award to the "Actor of the year" or something like that.

04-08-2009, 02:03 PM
We hire anyone over the age of 16 as long as they are motivated and willing to work hard. We do tend to have a lot of drama/theatre students and they have tended to be good workers because they can grasp the concept of an area and understand what we're trying to do in a particular room.

We've had them actually create skits and act out scenes with other actors and it has worked well in most cases. I think a lot of them just look at it as a fun way to spend a month and it certainly is less stressfull than practicing for a 'serious' role...

04-08-2009, 03:06 PM
The first year that we were open we used all volunteers and there are several things that worked for us. We gave out awards at the end of each weekend for best scare, room etc. We got some of the awards from things that were donated by sponsors or things that we purchased ourselves. We gave them free tickets to the haunt (decide how many you want to give per volunteer) we gave 4. We fed them every night that we were open and still do lol. We have a concession stand now and on week nights we give them food from there and then on Fridays and Saturdays they get free pizza. We have a pizza sponsor and we get the pizza at a discount. That is a big hit lol. I think that the biggest thing is that you need to find them a character that works for them and that they really like then you have them hooked!! We had one volunteer that would come right after school and help with anything we needed done so that he could make sure that he got the spot that he wanted!!LOL


04-08-2009, 04:28 PM
Using high school drama students can be a great tool... however, watch out for which schools have October plays..... Drama teachers will frown on you distracting their best talent. Most of the drama students that I picked up were just in a drama class... and not necessarily the lead in the school play.

We have tons of outlets for getting actors... most of them will only come a night or two. Your best bet is putting the word out that you need help... and the people into this sort of thing will find you (craigs list, myspace, etc.) They will be your most loyal and long-term help.

The best thing that we do to motivate our kids and all volunteers is the nightly treatment. On busy nights, they get three square meals... all the coke and water they can drink, and all the snacks they can get their hands on. We also have small incentives/tokens of appreciation to those who come more often that not... t-shirts, sweatshirts, movie posters, etc. On nights that you know you're short on actors, have an incentive night like gift cards to best buy or some restaurant or popular spot. When it gets close to the end of the season, we take everyone on a field trip to another haunt. The first year, we took everyone to the Bates Motel and last year we went to Bennett's Curse (also in Maryland). Finally, when its all said and done, we throw a big party at the end with food and a bonfire.

If you treat them right, volunteers will pour in to your haunt. Once we reach around 150 actors... we have to turn people away... which is almost a good thing. However, its the nights that you need them the most that they will remember how well you treat them...

04-08-2009, 05:39 PM
We use alot of high school students as volunteers in our haunt. Since we are 100% for the local United Cerebral Palsy branch we are able to use service groups such as Key Clubs who need service hours for their clubs. This works fairly well for us. When I started doing the haunt I recruited heavily from the clubs only to find that most of the kids in the clubs were also band kids. This was great because they were used to taking orders but bad because they could not work Friday nights. We have since recruited from the local drama departments at the high school level and have had great responses. It is not that hard to work with drama kids, they just want to be treated right and have some direction in what you need from them. We do try to take care of our actors since they are not paid. I remember being a volunteer actor way back when so I try to do good by the kids. We feed them everynight before we open and take them bottled water every hour and a half, or if they really need something to drink or whatever one of the zone leaders will run fetch it. To reward their efforts we give a monster of the night trophy that we usually pick up at Target, it is a cheap little gargoyle they have in their Halloween section each year. The monsters of the night are all recorded and recognized at the actor party at the end of the season. The monster of the year winner last year received an I-Pod touch and a trophy made by Gore-Galore. We also have an award for rookie of the year, Mr. and Mrs. Fright Factory, best actor and best actress. These recieve the nifty trophies from Ghost-Ride as well as a gift certificate to a local resteraunt. We also have two other big ones, the directors choice and the Scotty Cockrell memorial award. Scotty's award is for the person that puts the most effort into the year's haunt, and it is one that always has a major impact on the winner. Sorry to ramble, if you need anything pm me.

Kevin Dells
04-08-2009, 08:28 PM
Totally agree with Bruisemuse on this one some Drama students can be real prima donna's.

You do get some though that are phenominal at acting and can take the tough work of making iti through the month. As i believe Odette stated these are the ones that really get into all aspects of the haunt and turn out to be the best of the best.

Our actress of the year last season was a girl that played a victim, she was a rookie and she just rocked the house every night with her performances. Drama student and Ballerina go figure she is one tough kid and yes went on to work in the make up and building departments as well.

04-09-2009, 06:59 PM
Using high school kids can be hit or miss... either they're into it and its a great way to save some money on costs, or they don't want to be there and do a poor job and/or don't show up. Also something to consider is how scary a house full of teenagers is. Some work great, while others really aren't very intimidating. It really varies with the kind of kids you get, but just keep in mind that if the kids don't really want to be there, free food and a pat on the back is not going to keep them motivated.

04-09-2009, 08:09 PM
We had the honors program at the local university and they did a great job. They weren't afraid to scare people and act "not like nerds". They were just all around great. We had some high school kids and they did an ok job. Most of them worked off community service hours. We gave them money for their Halloween Party and they were happy and returning this year.

screamline studios
04-09-2009, 09:07 PM

I say for the most part!!! drama students= failure!!! If your talking high school!!! i would say go after college drama and your percentage goes way the hell up!!!

Just my thoughts

Jason Blaszczak

P.S Even college drama can suck for your haunt!!! I believe its within the soul!! giving it your all! no scripts no director, just pure tallent and guess what??? talent will always be just that TALENT for what ever reason they have it in them!! whether there 16 years old or 47 years old!!!!

P.S.S There is a big difference between haunt actors and drama students, however both can co-exist