The best trained are the pre trained!
We have been progressively getting better and better at training our actors. As far as who trains them- well that would be the stage management team. It use to consist of just myself and the director/owner- but as we go along we are starting to add Haunt Leaders who are veteran actors that can lead their own portions of training.
As far as the process...
First we recruit heavily from local theaters and the college's theater program, usually you get some pretty good ones who are looking to have some fun.
Second we have an orientation night. We spend it going over a lot of things- but also going room by room through our haunt and 'talking' the scare out with the actors. We also spend some time going over some big points that get reiterated over and over again- movement and sound.
While moving between stations- actors have to move in a certain way (zombie dragging their leg, creature on the prowl, bobbing ghost head) , then we have stations to talk about the value of keeping close to customers while not actually touching them. This takes some time and we work in groups going back and forth to get people comfortable moving in tight spaces and working themselves around scenes. Then we work on sound...I push it every year that actors do not have to scream themselves horse to get an effective scare. We work on practicing screaming at different volumes to get actors use to using a volume they're comfortable with and can go all night.
Then come the Boo Camps:
During Boo camps we assign veteran actors with new actors and we start running scenes. We do improvisation exercises to keep things interesting for the group and have people act in front of everyone to get use to being scary in broad day light. Then we do some dry runs for everyone to get use to moving around the haunt and working as a group.
Is our soft opening. Perfect chance for actors to invite family/friends for a super discount price to go through the haunt and have a good time. Also gives us valuable time to give our actors real time scaring and reduces the number of pesky requests on busy nights of 'my family's coming through- can i have an awesome spot/ can you tell me when they're coming in????'
It also gives time for actors to build some confidence because they're having their support group come early on.
Of course during all this the director can move around and make adjustments as he see's fit- and you pray for limited turn over so your actors get better and better every year!