Screams vs. Laughter
While I consider myself pretty good at scaring people at my haunt, I realize that there's always going to be some people who just refuse to get scared. These people, I've decided, I'm going to try to make laugh. In fact, I've developed my act that I try to incorporate both scares and comedy into all of my customers. I'll scare them, and then tease them, taunt them, insult them, maybe actually have a short conversation with them in order to make them laugh. My character I'm pretending to be is fairly good at this, being a lonely, insane hillbilly that's only too eager to chat with everybody who comes his way. I've found that the customers generally tend to enjoy this, especially when I manage to strike one of their friend's nerves (mentioning how a guy is hiding behind his girlfriend, for instance).
What's your opinion? Is comedy a good tactic to use in a haunted house, or should actors stick strictly to scaring their guests?
It is the main tactic for outside entertainment. sounds like you are doing fine. A non speaking non humorous character has a very short usefulness outside, lines can be very long and you will see the same people for long periods of time, improv and comedy will help your longevity with the crowds.
Actually, I'm inside the haunt. I'm outside in the sense that I'm working the outside PORTION of the haunt, but I'm not out in the crowd like I thought I was going to be.
ok, where in the haunt are you? Beginning middle or end?
Um... I'm fairly close to the end. It may take them another two minutes to get out after going past me.
In that case I would lay off of the comedy or try to get moved toward the middle. Momentum and building are the way haunts work. Levity close to the end hits an emotional reset switch and will lessen the scariness of the rest of the show. It is good to want to give them something, but what happens in each room affects the rest of the show. Im not saying dont do it, but be cautious.
Ravens Grin Methodology
Be goofy, be strange, be funny ("Was that intentional or was that accidental?") Scare, starle, make them scream, then be funny.
When the mood strikes me and the tonal qualities of my voice seem to be up for it, I will simply tell some groups the haunted history of this house in a deeper voice and slower speed than usual, which does seem to scare moerso than not.
The thing I love is mixing it up and ad-libbing in responce to what someone else might be doing or saying in the room.
Basically, if I get bored, then how can I expect them to have a good time? OR a really super-memorable experience?
I do feed off of the crowd and become inspired by their reactions whether it might be fearfull noises or their laughter.
It is always quite a challenge to entertain a mixed group of ages and expectations with half of them strangers to one another, but this haunted house experience does lend itself often to people being friendly toward one another as this shared experience unites them.
Playing with words, ennunciations, accents and the volume and the timing of spoken words can be very stimulating , to me and them. A slight pause , a turn of the head can add silly meaning to a simple sentence, and if this is only "caught" by a few in the room, the rest will be re-focused to try to find out what was so interesting or funny.
It does usually require 60 to 90 minutes to get through the house.. mostly like 90 moreso.
Sometimes I even surprise myself when I happen to say something funny. There is that advantage of the nervousness of the customer at first one can work with using humor. Humor is often said to be the hardest thing to get right. Some Hollywood show interviewing celebs. said this.