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Hi everyone! It's that wonderful time of year again where all of the haunt attractions start to open up

 

I have been hired as a scare actor at a fairly large event near me. I have done haunted house acting at amateur haunts previously, but this will be my first time in a professional production. I'm looking for your wisdom on what makes an excellent scare. I have my own ideas of course, but I feel like you all can give me some great input.

 

Of course any general advice would be awesome, but I'll give you some specifics about my role. I am in one of the outdoor trails and am the very first scene guests will get to. The premise is that we were a settlement of drifters/miners in the late 1920s. Not knowing we were out in the woods, people used the area as a toxic wasteland, killing and deforming us. You can read the official synopsis on the website below.

 

Also, has anyone been to Corner of Chaos? I'd love to hear some reviews as I never attended in previous years. The Barnyard maze won "Maze of the Year" by FrightTour last year, so I'm really excited to be a part of the operation this year.

 

http://cornerofchaos.com/attractions/

 

Thanks for you help and have a great Halloween season everyone!

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This will be my second year at a professional haunt, and I can tell you some stuff:

-Go for the middle of the group. They get frightened more easily.

-Have the mentality that you are not just an actor in a role; think that you ARE the character you become. This makes it easier for you to act, and more believable to guests.

-Scaring directly from the front or sides won't work; try to use different angles to get the reaction you want.

-Break the personal space of the guest. This makes you more intimidating. However, people react in different ways to you being to close, including physical aggression. If you get into someones personal space intentionally, be prepared to get out of that space after the scare.

-After you deliver a scare, don't stick around unless you are planning to do something else. If you just stand by the group, they will expect you to do more; if you don't deliver, they will be disappointed.

-If you use a startle scare, use a reasonable time frame. If you go too fast, the guests won't see what you did.

-Never EVER say "get out" or any other variant. It sounds extremely unprofessional. If they aren't moving, they likely aren't scared. If needed, use another method to suggest that they continue through.

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Bang on a wall and go "boogey boogey boogey." Seriously, it takes almost nothing to startle or scare. Have done it twice now and it just amazes me how little you have to do to make some people drop to the floor. The people who go into the maze are already tensed up as it is, and just following someone creepily or a quick startle is enough to get your 'started.' One of the people I was working with last night was helping me to 'tag-team', which was really fun, but sort of got repetitive. You'll figure out in 10 minutes that people will get freaked out over the littlest thing. Then if you want to expand on that, go for it.

Edited by robbalvey
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This is my 5th season in the haunt industry and I am happy to help anyone with questions.

 

1. Stretch your muscles, this will help prevent you from getting sore at the end of the night.

2. Loosen your vocal chords, this can be done by stretching your jaw and humming. This helps prevent you from losing your voice.

3. Scare for the middle of the group, most groups send the bravest first.

4. Listen for names, Especially girls sometimes someone in the group will say it accidently and sometimes the BF will give it to you. Use it!

5. Know your scene, study your scare zone and figure out how to use the resources you have (Shadows, Props, Lights, and other hiding places) and try some variety. Find out what works and doesn't work.

6. Create a character, Create a name for your character and put together a story line and put it together with your scene.

7. Reload! You cant get everyone that come through especially if they are in a group and in a line get every 4-5 person. Bang, reload, Bang, reload (Im sure you get the idea)

8. Stay in character! This is one of my biggest pet peeves when my monsters do this or when I go to another attraction and I am coming to a scene and I start hearing "Is someone coming""Are there people?" Don't do that because you will have just ruined your scene. As soon as you put that costume get in character, if it has an accent use it until your take of the costume.

9. Keep your costume on, unless you look like Kelly Osbourne your not scary. Keep your costume on!

10. If someone isn't scared just back off, you can't win them all.

11. Watch horror movies and visit other haunts for ideas.

12. Know the characters on either side of you, they can help you.

 

And a few general tips:

Bring water bottles, if you can a gallon should get you through the night.

Bring Cough drops.

Don't wear good shoes, more than likely you will have to pitch them at the end of the month and make sure they are a dark color.

Wear black.

Have Fun!

 

Oh and one more thing, don't say "Boo", boo is not professional so save it for casper!

 

Good Luck!

Edited by kidcoaster 2
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This is my 5th season in the haunt industry and I am happy to help anyone with questions.

 

4. Listen for names, Especially girls sometimes someone in the group will say it accidently and sometimes the BF will give it to you. Use it!

 

 

Good Luck!

 

I've been known to divulge info to scare actors who are portraying clowns that might wife is severely afraid of them. I'm probably going to hell for that, but it does make things a lot more fun!

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Yesterday, a local high school held an Oktoberfest event and one of the attraction was a small haunted house. From the outside, this inflatable beast looked pretty mint, until I entered. So here's what I highly suggest you shouldn't do:

1.) Stand in plain sight and do nothing.

2.) Don't give into d_____bags (stay in character).

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Thanks for the input so far. I know it sounds like a pretty ridiculous question on the surface, but I'm glad to have gotten a couple detailed responses. As I mentioned before, I will be in an outdoor haunt that goes through the woods, which also changes things a little when compared to a house. I just drove by today and the entire place is really looking awesome

 

Thanks again!

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^Thanks MayTheGForce.

 

Remember that I am in an outdoor trail, and will be the first "scene" guests get to. I am trying to figure out how to play this to my advantage. Will scares from behind be effective in this situation? I know that in many haunts, a group will walk very slowly at first anticipating the first scare. How can I use this to my advantage? I will have one other actor to work with at my scene I believe.

Edited by coasterdude28
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I've found that distraction scares or the best. If you have an animatronic available, people tend to think that they're real and will jump up at them. If you have another actor, use one of you as a distraction to attempt to push the guests towards the other actor, who then pops out to scare the guests; they won't be expecting it. Good luck! It's so much fun!

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I agree with above. The use of misdirection is the most effective element. Say, if guests looking forward at other actor, come up from behind, walk quietly, then scare. One of the best ones I ever saw (universal) was an actor with a severed head costume on slumped against the wall. He was motionless, and the eyes focused on more of the gore in the room. At the last second, he would burst out from the wall towards the feet of the guests. Everyone jumped like crazy to get out of the room.

 

I suppose the other thing is to be aware of how far back in the line they can see you. In some of the conga lines for the mazes, if many people see what is coming, then the scare is less effective. Pacing between scares is a good thing.

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Everything everyone has said with an emphasis on SAFETY. Guests are there to have fun, but a few bad apples will think it's cool to beat up one of the monsters (they must forget that we're people).

 

Seriously, when I worked at Fright Fest, a guest pepper sprayed me and another scare actor. Both times were unprovoked (we were waiting to scare some one else).

 

Also, stretch a lot before hand and get some dr. scholls.

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^ Wow really??? Luckily I have never encountered something like that but as he said you will meet some jerks... don't let them disencourage you though since they are in the minority.

 

However do ask what your haunt's procedure is if someone does attack you. Although rare it can happen and most haunts would like to remove them immediately before they hurt someone else.

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Lots of good advice so far for you, going through third year as a Screamster here is my input.

 

- It doesn't matter what you yell, it is when you yell it. I have scared with the following, and these are my favorites it is not extensive. "Scooby-doo, Economy, Razzle Dazzle, Cheetoes, Fruit Loops, Hubba Bubba, and my all time personal favorite Fallopian Tubes."

 

- Someone earlier said direct from front scares don't work. That is not true. If you have good timing, loud noise, and sudden movement from nothing you can scare someone who has seen you walking toward them from 20 or more feet away. I wander my zone from front to back and vice versa, 50% of my scares are on people who have already seen me. The mantra I use is, "If you have good fundamentals (Timing, quickness, and noise) you can scare in broad daylight." The exit of Fear Faire was brightly lit opening weekend because they forgot to switch the lights off, me and another Screamster worked the exit in bright lights and got great scares.

 

- Trial and error is a great learning tool. We can tell you lots of things to do but until you are out there you never know what you want to do. Learn the timing first, then work on a way to scare within your character.

 

- Never ever ever ever ever ever ever (continue with ever's for sideways 8) ever say boo ever. Don't do it.

 

- The last few posters mentioned bad guests. These things do happen, and you will get hit both on accident and on purpose. We had a girl get choked last year. Those are super rare though. You can always tell when it is an accident too. The worst friggin thing, and this is for the Theme Parks more then local haunts, is those damm lightsabers. Those stupid things hurt a lot and dumb parents tell their kids that they will protect them from the monsters.

 

-Enjoy yourself. Scaring people is the absolute most fun thing I have ever done with my life.

 

Chris 'Minos' Damm

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Thanks for all of the input and advice. Opening night was this past Friday. Everything went really well. There seemed to be a great turnout for the first night of the season. I managed to get in some really good scares, but of course did have a few duds as well. I'm really looking forward to creating new ways to scare as my partner and I have a decent area of trail and a lot of good spots to work with.

 

Thanks again!

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The first weekend went pretty well. Great turnout on Friday. Saturday was rained out. Sunday was a little slow from what I could tell. I'm having a lot of fun with it so far though.

 

Here is my look. Part lizard, part man.

 

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