View Full Version : Question on paying actors

Allen H
08-24-2009, 07:26 AM
At my park we pay all of our actors, my question is how much time do you pay them for to get ready.
Our park opens at 7:30pm and we start paying actors at 7:00pm. We request that some characters come in early to get better makeup and more intricate costumes. early being 6 or 6:30pm.
While the actors do not complain, our HR person says I cannot ask them to come in until I start paying them. I see it as being ready to work when we start paying, she sees it differently. I know when I worked at home depot I had to have my apron on and be ready to work before I clocked in, why would it not be the same for haunts. they way I see it if I can start paying 1/2 hour before show, that means I can hire eight more people to be actors. With a cast of 90 an extra hour makes a huge difference.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Allen H

08-24-2009, 09:05 AM
Its a little different getting into costume and makeup than throwing on an apron.

The way I see it, is if you need these people to come in early because they need more work on their makeup, you should be paying them.

freak 'n' stein
08-24-2009, 10:54 AM
haha, I was gonna say WOW, Home Depot asked you to come in an entire hour and a half early to put on an apron...they must be committed to the cause...I DO love HD though.

When I worked at SCarowinds they had us come in at 4:30 in the afternoon and we opened at 7. Of course they had hundreds of actors to outfit and makeup, but we still all got payed for being there. I'm as dedicated as the next guy to Halloween, but I'll tell you that I'm not going to be some place well in advance and not be payed for my time.

08-24-2009, 11:52 AM
I come running into the haunt on Fridays like a nut. My plane lands and I am off to the races. I usually get there 1/2 hour prior to opening. I set up my booth, get in costume, splash of blood, streach and get to work. These kids milk stuff too much.:-D
What kind of costume takes more than a 1/2 hour to get in? Just wondering

RJ Productions
08-24-2009, 01:35 PM
The problem here is not that it takes a person more than a half hour to put on a costume, it's the fact that Allen has to get NINETY people into costume and makeup. So either you have 90 make up kits and everyone is trained to do their own make up or you get 90 makeup artists!!! Either way a cost factor.

This can be a huge dilemma when dealing with this many actors. Have you thought of utilizing a tiered system? An example was illustrated in the DVD extras on the making of the movie Planet of the Apes.

They had the "hero actors" with speaking part on camera, detailed prosthetics and hours in the make-up chair. "Mid range actors" were seen in the immediate background interacted with the heroes but may not have speaking parts. They had fairly detailed costumes, pieces of armor and higher end masks. Then you had the “background actors”, hordes of foot soldiers, crowd scenes, etc. They had nothing but a cheap latex mask and one piece slip over costume. Up close you’d think it was kid’s costume from Kmart!

We have our haunt actors utilize the same 3 tier system. Hero actors roam around outside or are in rooms with a lot of interaction. They have detailed make-up, prosthetics and layered costumes. Second level or mid range actors have a scare but may remain in the scene or be seen in the scene longer before the scare. Then there is the background type actor, in just a quick pop up or slam door scare. They may just have a quick shadow under the eyes or you could use a mask.

So you only bring in the heroes earlier, the mid range guys later and the startle scare guys right before you open.

As far as having to report early I do think you should have some leeway. Look at people that work in unique situations like the kid that works at Burger King at the airport. He may have to show up an hour or so early just to park, get to the airport, get through security and get all the way out to the actual restaurant. Many uniformed jobs do not pay you the time necessary to get into uniform, so haunt actors would be the same.

So maybe a combination of tiering your actors and expecting them to be there before for a reasonable time. If the hero spots become the sought after positions, make it known that that position requires the extra time for makeup. If you don't agree to the extra time, you get a lesser position!

That's why I love volunteers. They show up a couple hours early just to hang out and talk about the last night's scares! I usually have a group waiting before I even get there to unlock!

08-24-2009, 01:43 PM
Put them on a per night wage. Instead of hourly, you get X amount of dollars for the night.

Allen H
08-24-2009, 02:12 PM
I do have a three tiered system in place but it is not that formal. I need 10 actors to show up early, then rest are fine with the paid 1/2 hour before hand.
Im not legally allowed to pay them per night, Im not sure why, Im not in HR or the accounting dept.
Stacker- we have a few make-ups that take about 45 min to put on.
Thanks all for the input I hope more comes in,
Allen H

08-25-2009, 07:24 PM
Back in the day..... when I was general manager of a haunt. The ones I would bring in early to get ready I would find them something to do until we opened.

08-25-2009, 08:01 PM
Our policy is "when you're getting ready, you're working". Same as when you're getting out of makeup. We use a phone-in punch clock and get paid according to that time.

Jim Warfield
08-27-2009, 12:54 AM
Would not show up 30 min. early even when we paid them for the time.
One guy used to want to tell me all about some crap he saw on Tv as I am about to open the door for the first group?
What the hell? Get with the "program"!
I Really like the rest of the year when I work alone, mostly.