How to… be a good scare actor
1. Ghosts shouldn’t coast
No matter how impressive the make-up, sets and special effects in a scare attraction, it is your acting skills that create the interactive experience the punters are paying for, and the producers are paying you to deliver. If they just wanted somebody to jump out and shout ‘’Boo!’’, any Halloween party would suffice. Make it your business to give them an experience they’ll remember all year long.
2. Jump right in
Experienced scare actors will always direct their efforts towards the middle of a group for maximum effect, as the people who are the most nervous tend to gravitate there for safety… poor, innocent fools.
3. Be afraid of the dark
Scare acting tends to take place in dark environments and enclosed spaces – where there is more chance of tripping on cables, bumping into parts of the set and otherwise doing yourself actual, as opposed to fake, injury. It’s your employer’s job to ensure a safe environment, but it’s your job to be sensible too.
4. Working while you’re lurking
Stay in character even when nobody is looking. Nothing ruins the atmosphere faster than overhearing two zombies nattering about their next casting just before you enter the haunted chamber.
5. Don’t go from coffin to coughing
Whether you are called upon to scream, growl or howl, scare acting, like panto, can be monstrous on the vocal cords. Make sure you do a proper warm-up and ensure you have access to water. If it’s an extended job, make sure you get vocal rest in between (graveyard) shifts.
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