One of the biggest problems I've seen with haunt actors that comes up every year is physical fitness. Specifically, the lack there of. If you're following my haunt acting rules and tips you'll find that acting in a haunt is exhausting and physically demanding. I even go so far as to make sure that each actor is going home sore and well worked each evening. If you're not, then you simply aren't doing your job right.

I train my actors that intensity is the key to all haunt acting problems, if you are intense enough, anything you do will be scary. At the first day of training I say the same thing to every haunt actor, if you aren't already working out at least twice a week, then you need to start. Most people hear that advice and kind of let it go into one ear and drift out of the opposing one, then the haunt opens and halfway through the season people stop coming to work. Why?

It could be a number of reasons but mainly, they are sick or too sore and weak to continue. They want to come but they fear that ill health would get the better of them if they don't take a day or two off. The problem with haunt work is that the day or two they take off equates to an entire weekend which is a big chunk of time to miss out on haunt acting.

I figure this when I work:

I normally work out everyday or every other. When the haunt season begins I stop work out routines in favor of haunt acting. If I normally work out for an hour everyday then I work out for five hours a week, that is excluding weekends to recover.

When I work at the haunt as a manager I need to be at every open day so for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I work from seven till midnight actually running around and being in character, and in my case, with a twenty-five to thirty pound chainsaw. That equates to five hours each night, not including make-up and dress down. Fifteen hours in one weekend involve me in costume screeching and screaming while sliding, running, crawling, and literally throwing a chainsaw at arms length at patrons.

5 hours/ week becomes 15 hours/weekend

That doesn't include the hell weeks when we are open everyday through Halloween.

Actors don't typically work out the general math like above, so we have people going from zero physical activity to around 10 to 15 hours a week smashed into two to three day bursts.

The only solution is to get your actors fit and ready to perform so that the soreness and the fatigue becomes something they are accustomed to dealing with and recovering from. Stressing the importance of a good diet is also a must. Actors need the right fuel to perform and recover their bodies with. Then at least at the end of the season actors can go home with a little money and in better, healthier bodies than they started with.


ps I'll post my haunt acting rules and tips in the next post.

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