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Thread: Need Advice-Having Tough Skin in this Industry

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  1. Default Need Advice-Having Tough Skin in this Industry 
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Hi, I haven't posted here in several months but I wanted to come back and get some advice.

    I am now an actor a part of a Maryland Haunt attraction and during the sneak preview of our Haunt this past weekend I had a situation I wanted to ask about-

    I was in my scene and the last group of maybe 7 people came in. I was lying down,eyes closed when I felt someone touching a private part of my body-and at the time I didn't say anything [probably my first mistake but since I am new to this I wasn't sure what to do], so I waited until the group left and I said something....well the person was found and kicked out of the Haunt but this brang me to think that maybe I am not tough enough for this industry of haunt acting.

    Tell me if anyone had any negative expierences when they first started out in Haunt acting and how to develop the right mindset to deal with rude audience guests.

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Irving, Texas
    what you did was absolutly right. as an actor in a haunt, the rule for both us
    and customers is "they dont touch us, we dont touch them". it is normal for someone to accidentally brush up against someone or maybe even bump into
    them, but for someone to touch you on purpous and especially on a sensitive
    area, you were right for doing this.

    you shouldnt feel afraid or embarrased. your job is to act, and for someone to
    disrupt you during is wrong and should be removed, as they an cause others or themselves harm.

    First year acting for me was really crazy. I had never done anything like it before, so i wasnt sure what exactly to do. thankfully i had some people teach me some movements and techniques that caused great startles. i actually met my good friends at local haunt, and i still keep in touch with the others. the haunt "family" as its called are a rare and unique bunch of people, and are the most laid back and awesome people you will find.

    when dealing with negative guests, its usually best to perform your scare, and then move back to your spot or reset your scene. this way you have less a chance in dealing with someone. you have to learn to let words slide off your shoulder, and not take things personally. some people are just wanting to piss others off, so i dont encourage them by saying anything back other than script or whatever i feel is necesarry.

    there may be a time or two that you will have to deal with a customer under the influence of alcohol, and its your houses duty to weed these guys out from entering. with all their effort though, its possible for one to slip in. the biggest thing you will need to learn is your hearing. listen for everything that goes on around you, as they are your cueing, and from hearing the response of the crowd, you can tell how they are going to act. at any moment if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, let someone know and try to figure out a way for you to feel more secure.

    hopefully i gave you some words to help you during your first year, and do not be afraid to message anyone on this message board. we all want to help each other out and hope that everyones house goes successfully :-D

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Roanoke, VA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Redhot84 View Post
    I was in my scene and the last group of maybe 7 people came in. I was lying down,eyes closed when I felt someone touching a private part of my body-and at the time I didn't say anything [probably my first mistake but since I am new to this I wasn't sure what to do], so I waited until the group left and I said something....well the person was found and kicked out of the Haunt but this brang me to think that maybe I am not tough enough for this industry of haunt acting.
    The way I see it, there's no shame in not knowing how to react to something like this, especially when you're new to acting in the haunt. When people sign up to act, ideas of having to deal with violent or gropey patrons really don't spring to mind. I didn't think about that stuff when I first started. When it did happened, I didn't know how to react. All I thought was, "What do I do!? Do I yell at him? Do I....what!?" But I didn't do anything, I just did what I was told to do when someone gets troublesome; stay in character and keep my distance. Mr. Trouble Maker was later thrown out of the haunt. I was told later that I did the right thing by not engaging them. Hey, problems can get worse fast when you react violently to voilent people.

    Given what you were doing at the time, there was no way to see it coming or prepare for it and even though you might think that you hesitated and didn't do the right response, it was right course of action. You kept your cool and reported him.

    Those who act long enough all get those moments. When those moments happen, sure we get a little down, but we don't call it quits, we don't stop doing what we do. I say that's what make us tough. It's not punching someone's lights out when they misbehave or telling someone off when they get on our nerves. It's being able to put up with all sorts of crap and continue doing the part because we like it. If you choose to stop acting because you don't want this to happen again, that's very understandable. No one would hold it against you. If you want to continue acting, then I say you are tough enough to be a haunt actor.
    Last edited by Smiley; 08-21-2008 at 07:42 PM.

  4. Default Yikes - a word of advice 
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Painesville, Ohio
    You are right to say something, for sure. Noone should be touched inappropriatley. We all handle these things differently based on beliefs and personal feelings and experiences. What I do question, is what were you doing with your eyes closed and lying down? That is the most vulnerable and dangerous position to be in when dealing with haunted house customers.
    I was a cast manager for several years, and I would never tell someone to do something like that. I had an actor who decided on her own to lay on a couch with her eyes closed, and not only was she touched, she took a flying kick to her head, ended up in the ER and had 7 stitches.
    I look at it this way - gauge your actions on whether or not your would do "this" in a dark alley.
    Thank goodness you weren't seriously injured!!!
    AND.... what makes a perfectly normal average person turn into a flaming moron the instant they walk into a hauntd house? LOL
    Last edited by Killer Katie; 08-21-2008 at 07:43 PM.
    Do Vegan Zombies eat heads of lettuce?

  5. Default  
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    While I agree about not tolerating being groped, I do have to ask, what were you doing lying down with your eyes closed in the middle of a scene?

    Did they think you were fake? I've seen a LOT of patrons grope mannequins 'inappropriately'--hell, I like pulling the 'is-that-real' scare myself--and I've gotten touched as a reward for my choice of scare.

    I guess what I'm saying is that if you were pretending to be fake, and had your eyes closed, you have much less of a reason to complain.

    And it is YOUR job, whether or not you have scene-mates, to know what patrons are doing while they're in your scene--so I've got a big issue with you having your eyes closed.

  6. Default  
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Pataskala, Ohio, United States
    Ive been swong at, Kicked, Punched and Groped. But when that happens i dont wait till the scene is over, usally i just stop the scene point out the person and the cops come and get them. The other thing is that after awhile you know when it was an accident and when it was done on purpose. But it seems that you did the right thing
    Jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

  7. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    I agree with Jack. You or someone around you should have your eyes open at all times. Lying there with them closed is just asking for trouble. I would never allow patrons to walk up to me without me being able to keep an eye on them. That puts them in control and not you. Check youtube for many bad examples of similar instances, most with punches/kicks.

    No, it's not your fault. But if it happened the first night I would plan on it happening again.

    Modify the type of your act/scene so you can have your eyes open.

    No Touching Anyone/Anything should also be on the rules posted outside. There are those customers who think their entry fee entitles them to do some damage.

  8. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    If I was the one laying there , so vulnerable, I would have made some protective padding or a piece of metal shaped to fit a certain attractive area.
    I outfitted a youngman laying in a coffin here once this way, just incase some azzhole customer wants to punch him.
    The coffin was horizontally displayed on a framework about 40 inches high.
    This would make certain punches and all kicks out the question.
    Alocal haunt told a worker to put on a woman's furr coat and a werewolf mask and then to crawl around the floor. Just a very few minutes later he had broken ribs from the kicks.

  9. Default  
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Hey, great to hear from another MD haunter!

    Yeah, I'm not one to break character at all, but if that ever happened to me, I deff. would. But don't worry about it, i'm sure it's happened to all. I remeber my first time as a haunt actor (about 7yrs ago, 11yrs old) I too made the mistake of laying on the ground with my eyes closed and these three huge old drunk guys came over to me and started kicking me. Not hard or anything so I tried to ignor it..but i wondered if they were ever ganna leave..so I finally got up..out of character =/ and silently pointed to the exit..and suprizingly they left lol. So things happen and if it happens again..just punch them and deny the whole thing..or not.

    What trail do you work at?

  10. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    I am 59 years old and I have YET to break character!
    (OK, so i play myself, not play with, play myself.)
    Tonight a woman who worked for me several years ago brought her terrified girlfriend to see the house.
    At the house tour's conclusion she told me that her Mother thinks I'm a nice person..but my voice scares her and since I do this strange haunted house-thing...I must be wierd! So her Mother is afraid of me!
    Her Mother has been through the house before....yet when the two of them were in Vegas after the husband died "Mother" did some outrageous things there that didnot "Stay in Vegas!" (They rode the daughter's memory banks back to Dubuque and now I know about it and that woman is strange! She scares me!
    (Not really)

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