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Are actors a thing of the past in New York?

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  • Are actors a thing of the past in New York?

    Hello fellow haunters,
    Just wanted to hear what you have to say about the minimum wage in NYS being increased to $15 an hour by mid 2021.
    Min. wage will increase to $9.75 by the haunt season this year and go up again in 2017 I think to 10.50.
    How would you handle the increases in labor costs over the next few years?
    In Darkness they hunt the living
    http://www.DarkMatterScreamWorks.com

  • #2
    Almost to what I pay now

    I pay corn maze workers $$10 -11 an hour plus FICA, plus a home cooked meal at night for those hear for 8-10 hours on a Sat or Sun.

    Haunted section is about the same per hour but is after dinner hours.

    Don't worry....just raise rates accordingly for tickets in coming years. After all; your customers will all be getting bigger pay checks so they can afford it. Well, except for those who had hours cut for Obamacare. Oh yeah and those who will be phased out of a job when more places put in order kiosks.

    And when the per hour rate gets up to $15 an hour just replace your employees with some $2000 animatronics. The animatronics are depreciable and work out better tax wise than real life bone bags , show up to work on time, never show up drunk, are not hauled away by cops in middle of night for not paying child support, do not need smoke breaks or pee breaks, never ask "Hey can I have the weekend off Oct. 23 & 24th ?"

    Wicked Farmer

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    • #3
      Originally posted by wickedfarmer View Post
      IAnd when the per hour rate gets up to $15 an hour just replace your employees with some $2000 animatronics. The animatronics are depreciable and work out better tax wise than real life bone bags , show up to work on time, never show up drunk, are not hauled away by cops in middle of night for not paying child support, do not need smoke breaks or pee breaks, never ask "Hey can I have the weekend off Oct. 23 & 24th ?"

      Wicked Farmer
      ...and cue the backlash now

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      • #4
        can never replace good actors... don't really like animatronics timing is always an issue. wish we had a few more years under our belt then payroll may not be such an issue.
        In Darkness they hunt the living
        http://www.DarkMatterScreamWorks.com

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        • #5
          Depending on your location, accessing a high school or college drama club for actors. Instead of a payroll offer the drama club a donation in exchange for "X" amount of hours and actors for your haunt. Their club gets a donation and the students get class credit. You need to do the math and see what works best for your budget. Any club would be happy with a $500-$1000 donation I'm sure and that cost would be a lot lower then payroll, workmans comp, etc.... Hope this helps, good luck!

          Jack Beckwith
          Twisted Fields Of Terror
          Www.twistedfieldsofterror.com

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          • #6
            Amen to that Farmer

            Couldn't have said it better myself......as far as volunteers, if you are for profit it will be sketchy based on you state laws and how long you are open per year. Make sure you find out first so you don't have some disgruntled ex volunteer try to turn you in for running sweat shops! And as far as animatronics go, there is an art to the scare...I can make animatronics sing and hit who I want and when I want 90% of the time. Cant time out those runners, still working on that
            Joe Phillips
            The Shallow Grave
            Winter Haven FL
            http://www.theshallowgrave.com/

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            • #7
              If you are a for-profit business you cannot use unpaid labor. Only a registered charity like a registered 501c can use volunteers. Aside from the laws, don't you think your staff works hard and earns their pay?

              Allan

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              • #8
                I just got back from Disney World. I went through the Haunted Mansion about 10 times during the week. It was packed attendance the entire time. They have zero scare actors and only animatronics. I never heard a single complaint. Just sayin'.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mrfoos View Post
                  I just got back from Disney World. I went through the Haunted Mansion about 10 times during the week. It was packed attendance the entire time. They have zero scare actors and only animatronics. I never heard a single complaint. Just sayin'.
                  That's not really a good example. Disney doesn't charge a separate fee for the haunted mansion and now one expects live actors inside like they do at haunted attractions.

                  Jake

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                  • #10
                    This is a great topic. I'm sorry but the answer is YES! If they raise the wages in STL to $15.00 I will buy twice as many animations and hire half the amount of actors. The only way to avoid this is to simply double your ticket costs and sadly no one would pay it.

                    I think the best actors get hired and the loser ones get fired. The new mantra will be the best of the best can work and the rest can buy a ticket.

                    You can't pay 100 actors $15.00 an hour just isn't going to happen!!!!

                    Larry
                    Larry Kirchner
                    President
                    www.HalloweenProductions.com
                    www.BlacklightAttractions.com
                    www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
                    www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

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                    • #11
                      Animations

                      If you change things every year animations will still cost more. Animatronics run about 3k to 20k and if you replace every actor with a animation I think it will cost more then less. To justify replacing actors with expensive animations you would have to use the animatronic a lot of years. If the animation cost lets say 10k you would have to use it for 5 years to justify cost.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think the 2k scary animation will become VERY popular... and it doesn't matter if the actor is cheaper they are cheaper for what one season. Let me do the math for you here...

                        Most of the quick scare animations from say Poison props falls in the 2k range. The Darkness in 2016 will be worth about 122 hours per actor totally about $1800 per actor.

                        So this is a wash right now!

                        Now add up $1800 per actor x say 100 actors / any type of other employee you are at $180,000.00 for a season.

                        Now if I was to say buy from someone like poison props 30 animations at 2k that is $60k and then cut 30 actors that is around $54,000.00

                        Now lets not forget workers comp, make up for those people, and everything between you might make money... the biggest thing is those animations will always do their job and you will own them beyond the first year. So the second year you would SAVE $60,000.00 without buy even ONE additional animation.

                        You could do another 60k on pop out animations and eliminate yet another 15 actors saving another 30,000 dollars ... at the very least you now have SIXTY pop out scare tronics right? Couple that with about 35 actors and you are right there in the 100 screams area. When you start adding in things like air cannons, or animations you may already have you could be talking 80 to 100 animations plus 30 actors might just do the trick.

                        Look here is the point... NO MATTER what you do if they raise wages I will be figuring out ways to CUT STAFF because I can't afford to pay 200,000 or more for staff, plus they want you to pay HIGH taxes, and everything else.

                        Here is what you do DO NOT VOTE DEMOCRAT EVER they are small job KILLERS!

                        Larry
                        Larry Kirchner
                        President
                        www.HalloweenProductions.com
                        www.BlacklightAttractions.com
                        www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
                        www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Minimum wage typically applies to employees not contractors. What does NY's laws state about contractors vs employees? Does your haunt, OP, use contract based employment?

                          There might be no change to haunts, not sure. Good topic though!

                          In Ohio, at least, there is no requirement to pay independent contractors minimum wage. The haunt I work at uses a contract since the work is temporary and is well within the laws. The only caveat is Federal earnings thresholds, if you make so much as a contractor then you have to pay certain taxes.

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                          • #14
                            Unions behind the $15 minimum wage...

                            Studio City in California the city council agreed to raise the minimum wage at larger hotels to over $15 an hour, problem was the unions had an exception and if the hotel was union they didnt have to pay their employees the higher wage??? The hotels that weren't union had to raise their wages??? The hotels would vote to join the union to pay the lower wage and the unions win, why because the unions now get new members! $50 per member is allot better than a % for a few dollar increase. I know its only California right??? coming to your state/city/location soon.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Everyone knows GOOD actors make a haunt. 100 animations versus 5 WELL TRAINED actors is worth its weight to me. Example, here in SC I repetitively visited the Ripley's haunt in Myrtle Beach cause it had a brand attached...avoided the crap out of the little mom and pop looking haunt next door...Ripley's was consistently a disappointment. Animations broken and lots of dimly lit spaces and maybe 3 actors to run 2 floors of haunt...inversely, finally went to the mom and pop looking haunt...spoke with the crew and they were true haunters...even had a nice collection of silicone masks. Long story short, there was one actor in the whole place but he used intense acting, timing and overall terror to truly scare. Amazing.

                              ...soooooo if haunts convert to a museum of props the market will die

                              Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
                              O'Shawn McClendon
                              Creative Chair -- Operator: Cayce-West Columbia Hall of Horrors

                              One mans junk is another mans kick-ass new prop...

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