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Thread: So, who trains your actors?

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  1. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    When I've run haunts, I was in charge of actor training and it was something that I focused on year round (we did lots of activities, seminars, and acting games in the off season). When we had new actors show up during production, I would work with them before the show opened and talk to them about the room, their ideas for their character, and make sure that I put an experienced actor in with them. Throughout the night I would go into that area and "play" with the new actor and give them pointers, fix any bad habits, and make sure that they aren't getting frustrated.

    I believe your actors are some of your best assets, so proper education and training is a must. They should also be treated well (a little appreciation goes a long way) and I've used "Best of" awards each night to promote them to strive to be the best.

    I love training actors and it is one of my favorite things to teach, whether it be at a Con or at a haunt.
    Katie Lane
    Raven's Wolf Art Productions (www.ravens-wolf.com)

    Bansheette Morningstar (www.bansheette.com)

  2. Default The best trained are the pre trained! 
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Richmond, VA
    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.
    Dress Rehearsal:
    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!
    Join The Collective

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Great thread!

    Clap! Clap! Clap! Chop! Hack! Drag! Drag! Drag!
    How can a man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temple of his gods.

    What you put into your mind- you put into your life.


  4. Default  
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Near Charlotte NC
    Most owners dont really train their actors, they are to busy. I urge you to find the time. If you cant then it is worth the money to bring in a pro like Badger.
    Allen H
    Thanks for the kind words Allen (I sent the check yesterday)

    I'll be heading up to Spookhaven this weekend to begin the 2010 season of actor training and have several other haunts lined up. I still have a couple available weekends in September. If you would like me to come to your haunt and put on my "Boo Camp" for your actors, please drop me a line. I would be more than happy to talk to you..
    Last edited by Badger; 08-09-2010 at 06:47 PM.

  5. Default  
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Austin, Texas, United States
    I've assisted and or run actor training for the past seven years.

    I prescribe to a different school of thought about actor/scene selection. It is best to pick the actor that best fits the scene and theme even if a veteran preferred that particular scene.

    Actors are trained to trust management's judgment as we run through the haunt over and over during slow nights to drill them and find the right actor for the right room.


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