I overheard "Grandpa & Grandma telling how they have all this wonderfull volunteer help , they were taking in $140,000 an October and they "Pay" their help with a "Free" hot dog at the end of the night. (I feel they were really paying them with a giant sausage!) (Non-greased!)
This was a walk-in-the woods type haunt and everyone knows how expensive trees can be!
Maybe in past lives I was always the one getting the weinie? I could never do this to anyone working for me.
Are you meaning by this the evil thrill of inflicting sheer fright upon another? Yes, this can be very addictive (I know SO WELL)
Unfortunately I have found very few people who are driven this way as I was when in the JCs and have been for 25 years here in Ravens Grin Inn.
Sorry. I would Still Pay them.
Maybe it strikes a deep personal feeling of the forgone "Shaft-Itiss" I experienced for many years in a work situation?
"Do unto others....."
Do the right thing by others and sleep will never ellude you at the end of a long day.
I have stated this in the past, it's all about attitude and how you treat your actors. We are an actor based house. The actor gets
the scare, they are the focus.
Some people can not grasp how you can be making money and using volunteers.
The best way to explain is that this is just like a local community theater group.
We have the producer (us) who puts up all the capital, finds the location, buys all the props and costumes, pays for all the utilities,
pays for all the promotion and publicity, simply takes all the risk. IF it makes back it's investment there is a chance of a profit, if not
it is the producer that suffers the financial hit. Like the local theater group we provide the place for the actors to ply their craft.
Without the haunted house, the haunt actor has no where to go, no where to "play". If you hang out at the mall to jump out and
scare people the best you expect is to be escorted off property or you may need a right home from the police station after booking!!
So as opposed to a normal business model, we are closer to a local theater model, after all we do provide a live theatrical performance!
We provide the venue and outlet but do all we can to make them feel a part of the production. Our actors feel they belong to the production.
It becomes a huge pride thing. You see our actors wearing their haunt shirts and hoodies year round, people will ask "so you're part of the
Asylum or Hotel Fear? our actors proudly exclaim, "Yes I am!!"
It becomes a clique, a family. Our actors get together on a regular basis sometimes just to do social things. We took them all over to see the
Bodies Exhibit. A week or so they all got together on their own and did a bonfire at the lake. When you create this type of comradery you
don't have "employees" you have cast members. We tried paid actors twice and both times people came up and asked what was wrong,
they felt the level of the acting wasn't as intense!!
I don't do volunteers because it's cheaper, I probably spend as much. But I create long term team members, not one time employees!
There is no right or wrong way, just options and this is the option we chose.
So I have not opened yet. (Year one, lets hope all goes well.) But as far as volunteers versus paid actors you also need to consider the laws of your state. The state I am in has very specific regulation for a haunted house. The rules become much more involved when you pay someone. They are also explicit in law that any compensation is payment. In my case I plan to pay the actors with an expectation that an employee is a full time person there every night. Itís a job. I will provide for volunteers, but it would be to allow friends and people I might not pay who want to work. One Ďadvantageí I can say I have is that you must have a background check to be an employee. So if you didnít have a background check, you donít get paid. Now by the first of November I might realize I am totally wrongÖ.
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