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Thread: Advice!

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  1. Default Advice! 
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    I have recently gotten into haunted acting, and I wonder if any of you have any beginner advice you would be willing to share all would be very much appreciated!!!!

  2. Default  
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    I think the best ADVICE I could offer is to, HAVE FUN! after that, Remember that you have all Year, Year after year to practice, Practice your make up, practice your costuming, practice your Character developement. Get in with a group of Haunters, Join a Haunt acting troupe, visit www.hauntedconnection.com or www.featurecreatures.com
    and be sure to stop by our site Too. Rob BodyBag Entertainment
    Buried deep beneath Darksyde acres Haunted house In Michigan I'm the Best at what I do, What I do Isn't very NICE!

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Here is the advice I give (free of charge!!!) to people working here:
    1) Remain at least arm's distance away from the customers, their arm's length)
    2) Always have one or two small, powerfull flashlights on you at all times
    3) Be ready to make a quick retreat if a customer takes a few quick steps toward you
    4) Be ready to shine your bright flashlight into such an aggressive customer's eyes to help you to escape getting hit or worse.
    5) If you are in a place to watch and choose your victim, learn to choose well and have an escape route if suddenly you are ganged up on.
    6)Be prepared for almost anything to happen because some people can hide drunkeness pretty well for awhile.
    7)Never scare people into a display(this should go without saying, but....)
    8) When figuring out what you are to be doing for the whole night asses your own physical endurence level, will you be able to do that all night long, hour after hour? If not, what then?
    9) Think, don't stop thinking, anticipate.......there are equal and not so equal reactions in response to actions taken. If you take one step (threateningly) towards someone, they may be inclined to answer this by taking three steps back. Is there room for this to happen? Were will this put them?
    10) Subtlety works if given half a chance, you don't have to scream your throat out all night long. Sometimes moving s l o w l y attracts more attention and aphrehension, fear-anticipation can be more enjoyed than a quick outburst because you gave it a chance mentally consider it and to brew.
    Ignore everything you just read if you want to. I have my own different style (for various reasons) I have this old, wrinkled face, so I don't need make up, my voice is deeper than it used to be from throat-abuse over 20 years of doing this almost every night of the those years. I also do a very slow presentation most of the time that allows me to more actively engage more of the patron's mind for elongated time periods, most of them lose all sense of time when here.
    My seasonal helpers get to see their audience for long time periods also and do whatever they deem to be entertaining, mostly.
    The Ravens Grin Inn is a very different experience. Maybe that's why people spend the time and money that they do to come here and see it?

  4. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Portland, OR
    Jim gave you some very good advice. I will add a few things and reiterate a few of his.

    Rule no. 1: Keep yourself safe
    Rule no. 2: Keep your guest safe
    Rule no. 3: Never, ever jump out and say "boo"
    Rule no. 4: Don't touch the guests (see discussion of that in pro haunt forum).

    Beyond that, as Jim implied, you will have to find a style which works for you. Some of that will be driven by your employer, some by the theme of the haunt, and some by your own personality and skill set. It takes some experimentation. High energy and startle scares can work well. So can very slow movements and very quiet voices. Switching between the two with no notice and get great reactions. Experiment.

    Observe. Watch how guests react not only to you, but to other actors. Keep a journal, notebook, or file on computer with those observations. Learn what scares people. Just as importantly, learn what doesn't.

    As important as noting what scares people, learn to read people. A solid, experienced haunt actor can almost always predict how a given person will react to a scare and often what kind of scare will work best for them. Learn to read their body language, to listen to what they are saying, to see (if possible) how they reacted to the previous scare.

    Learn to attack groups in different ways. Don't always attack the front. Some scares should be directed at the middle or even the back of the group (where the most scared tend to hide).

    Lastly, once you get the initial scare, back off, let them feel safe, then go after them again. The second scare can often be better than the first.

    Screams are the most addictive substance on earth. Oh, and rule 5: Have fun!

    Lords of Chaos, LLC
    House of Chaos Haunted Attraction

  5. Default  
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    hey thanks alot u guys! great advice

  6. Default reply 
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    From another somewhat new but accomplished actor welcome to the club,good luck getting out once your sucked into it.

    Im just starting my 5th year as an actor and i say starting because acting during Transworld in February is my midseason.

    My best advice to is, you are what you put into the character. There are a lot of actors that are in it to hang out with freinds and then there are those who are in it for the haunt. The ones that are in it for the haunt are a lot of times the ones having fun away from the haunt or are invited to more activity's year round.

    There are a dozen great actors from my haunt that,well all just started 5 years ago along with me, we grew an learned together. This group i hang out with all the time. We didn't open this last season so we toured together, thought this would be better than sitting in the house during October.

    As far as personal character like i said what you put into it, how far do you want to take it. Our crew all have multiple costumes and personality's, we have taken our characters as far as we believe we can and when were in that character we believe we are that character. Make sense? As stated by another learn that there are many different types of scare, i try and work a different spot whenever i can, I have two freak characters that fit many themes as well as line and a few themed costumes for certain themes such as a zombie and a hillbilly,working on the clown, and something darker and just scary.

    When learning to act learn the different personality's

    The slow moving zombie, walks with a creep and hunched over,dosen't say much but has a lot of growls and weird sounds.

    The clown who is for the most part obnoxious,crazy, funny and moves fast. Lots of props for this guy,lots of improv!

    The pshyco who is bouncing off the walls nuts, says the crazyest things
    Lots of improv as well, works with the crowd.

    Hillbilly, dirty, nasty,yellow toothed,accent, very fun role to play.

    I say it's up to the actor to set his mind into overdrive when it becomes gametime,become that freak and go 110%. Pace yourself i believe another person said,a full night will wear you out beyond belief if you go all out. If you got that crazy stare going and your dragging your leg and the costume looks cool and you truly believe you can stomp anybody. You will succeed! People that go into it with only 90% will struggle through scares, only entertain or scare part of the group and ultimatley make the haunt fake. The actors sell the show in my opinion. You can have an OK decorated house packed with actors that know how to really scare and people will talk about it forever. Take the same mildly decorated house with few actors or actors not trying hard and you might not appear so good.

    The more % of people all lined up waiting for the group to go through that are really into it, will make the haunt rock. If only half are and the other half just there to hang out,well you see where im going. But it's valuable advice and a quick way to understand how it works.

    Like the guys said have fun, create lots of personalitys and see how far you want to run with it if thats what you chose, you will meet lots of great people, make many freinds, and have the time of your life if you stick with and learn it. There are trade shows, you can travel like our crew did to guest act, and learn many aspects of the trade if you open the doors.

    Good luck and let us know if you have anymore questions, love to help the interested newbie.


  7. Default  
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Green Bay, WI
    One thing that works for me is getting pumped up before the haunted house starts and just getting into character...It seems to help alot and really improves my character...It also helps if you have other good actors around you because you are always trying to keep up with them. But i would have to say no matter what just keep trying to improve from night to night and have fun!
    David "Pug" DeChamps
    Owner of Unlucky 13 Haunted Design

  8. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Well maybe it's a little laziness, ego or age but I'll confess right here my "character" is "Jim Warfield", although my main talent is convincing people that the strange guy (strange enough to be doing this at my age) is somehow smarter and more clever than they are, the same guy who has just perminently closed that big, heavy door behind you as you entered his house and this very different room.
    How does one go about convincing anyone that they are smarter than the next guy? Use bigger words when you talk, talk alittle slower, enunciate clearly, if you mumble or stumble through enough words, go the opposite direction, start talking pure jibberish, throw yourself on the floor, roll around, have a fit, then slap yourself, stand up and pretend like all of it never happened. This seems to ellict most people's rapt attention, at least for awhile, some are still writing me years later........
    Oh, yeah, I also sometimes seem "Smarter" because I have alot of snappy come-backs to the things people say when they come here. I am not smarter, but I have already heard alot of it said before, usually many times before, so I know the answers.
    "Have you ever had secks, by yourself, in a cornfield late at night before?"
    Asked a young idiot infront of a room full of customers he didn't know.
    "Well, you might be able to accomplish this if you had enough butter for the cobbs, "I told him, not being an expert on "everything", I was merely guessing? Trying to be helpfull.

  9. Default  
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Motivation...Keep yourslef motivated. You are there to humiliate these people and make them feel uncomfortable. Use that to your advantage to entertain yourself.

    During the slow parts don't let your mind stray. Use the time between groups not to talk to other actors but to think of other ways you can utilize your suroundings to better impact the next group. Use your imagination, think of something different for each group, you wont get quite as bored if you simply keep your mind busy. Repetative acts can drive even to most seasoned of actor crazy. Most importantly...Have fun, too many people are in it for the wrong reason and don't enjoy themselves.
    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

  10. Default  
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Dear scary,
    Having been a haunt actor for roughly 30 years now (which is scary enough in itself *chuckle*), here's a few pointers I've learned over the years:

    1) Keep in character, regardless of your role. Remember that for
    every obnoxious lout who's spouting obscenities or asking rude
    questions, there are 10 times as many customers who've come
    to see the show and have a good time/scare. Nothing quite ruins the
    mood like a character shouting "!@%$#@! you too, a-hole!" at some

    2) Brush-up on your improv skills. Sometimes, unexpected things will
    happen and it can help with the overall effect if you use it to your
    advantage. Over the past 6 years at The Baxter Avenue Morgue,
    I've dealt with prop failures, power failures, customers having panic
    attacks and even a tornado warning. For example, the area where I
    stand is a darkened hallway with a sliding door (which takes you to
    where the fun REALLY begins) and I'll often have customers who
    decide then and there that they want out NOW. As one of our "pall-
    bearers" escorts them out, I'll look at the rest of the group and give
    a reply like, "They say that when faced with danger, a smart person
    knows when to leave. Let's see how smart the REST of you are!"

    3) Be attentive. If the scene you're in is located early on the tour, keep
    a watch for rowdy guests who're mistreating actors or damaging props
    & scenery. Alerting your security staff right away can help take care
    of the problem and save both repair money and aggravation by
    removing the offending party.

    4) If playing a "traditional" haunt character (i.e., a vampire, zombie,
    werewolf), trying doing something unexpected with the role. For
    example, instead of a growling, snarling werewolf, how about one that
    quietly sneaks up on its victims?

    5) The following is a personal rule of mine, in that you'll sometimes
    encounter clueless parents who'll bring underage children to haunts.
    If I see that the child is becoming overly frightened, I'll either back off
    a bit or turn my attention to someone older. I'm there to entertain,
    not to emotionally scar adolescents. (Although I HAVE seen some
    parents carrying toddlers through and they've emerged laughing and
    giggling from the experience. Needless to say, these children may be
    future haunters in the making...*grin*)

    6) As stated earlier in this thread, have FUN. It's like being cast in a stage
    show and people are coming to see YOU. Revel in the moment. To
    paraphrase Billy Joel, "...I know that it's me, that's making them flee
    and fear for their lives for awhile..." :twisted:
    "We all go a little mad sometimes..."

    - Norman Bates

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