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QUEUE LINE ACTING: WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY Terry Rook Jr. Margaret Blackburn Haunt. Con January 17, 2020 New Orleans, LA
HOUSE RULES • Housekeeping • Restrooms, snackbar, refreshments, etc • Cell phone disclaimers/ use photo • Conversations (mindful) • Announcements
BIO Terry Rook Jr Terry has been performing in the haunt industry for over 25 years. Starting in his teens, he performed in local charity and community haunts, simply having fun scaring people. He started his paid haunt acting in 2003, at Kings Island Fearfest (later rebranded to Halloween Haunt). Having performed in attractions as title characters and as a roamer, he then went to work for Cincinnati’s premier and Nationally Ranked attraction, the Dent Schoolhouse. Terry has been an actor, manager, Personnel Coordinator, Promotions Coordinator, Ghost Tour guide, and actor trainer in his career. Terry also is the lead presenter for the Cincinnati ‘Don’t Be A Monster’ Bullying prevention program. Terry has other performance credits as well, including stage theatrical productions, 7 years stand up comedy, costumed character work (Bad Santa, Scooby Doo, Frosty the Snowman, etc), a “Murder Pro” with the Murder Mystery Company, and is also known as B. A. Bundy in the independent wrestling scene. Margaret Blackburn Margaret has been in the haunt industry for 19 years. Having performed in attractions as multiple different characters , a breaker, and then moving into other non acting roles. Working for Cincinnati’s premier and Nationally Ranked attraction, the Dent Schoolhouse. During her time there Margaret has been an actor, merchandise sales, tickets, promotions, and currently filling a role of Personnel Coordinator and coordinator for the Cincinnati ‘Don’t Be A Monster’ Bullying prevention program. As a Personnel Coordinator Margaret interviews, hires, and trains all of the actors in the haunt as well as placement of actors to make sure the haunt is full and running at its best each night. Margaret has other performance credits as well, including costumed character work at the local Cincinnati Zoo festival of lights Christmas event, and as a “Murder Pro” with the Murder Mystery Company.
WHAT WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH…. Goals of the Session • Attendees will understand why actors seek Queue Line (QL) positions • Attendees will define traits of successful QL actors • Attendees will understand what it takes to develop successful QL actors • Attendees will understand 3 basic exercises for building various improvisational skills
WHY IS QL SO DESIRED/COVETED? • Exposure • Potential to interact with nearly every guest- multiple times • Extended interaction times • Radio/news/reviewer interaction • Recognizability • Typically more ornate costumes/masks/make-up • Character is typically named and featured (marketing, promos, etc) • Character may even be an integral part of the haunt backstory (ICON character) • Notoriety • Photos, Videos, Interviews, Reviews • The Social Media Phenomenon • Actor’s DREAM – a “nobody” can become a “legend”…instantly.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL QL ACTOR? • Understand the PURPOSE of the QL position • Set the bar of expectations for the attraction • High quality, talent, etc. • ENTERTAINING!! Scary or funny- it works in QL • Distract • Long lines • Value of the ticket price • Security • Know the rules and expectations of the haunt and management • Be extra eyes and ears of security and management • Be able to alert security and/or management to respond quickly when needed • Earn the trust and respect of management and security • Patience • Self control • Work with minimal oversight • Extra eyes & ears • Become an unofficial face and voice of the haunt
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL QL ACTOR? • Mastery of Scare Acting Basics • Character Development – what influences the Guests’s Buy in of your character? • Backstory • Mannerisms • Gait, posture, speed, tics/traits • Speech/communication • Content, Tone, Accent, nonverbal • Your character …is you…. cranked up a bit • Personality, quirks, etc • YOUR buy in to the character • Speed, proximity, volume • Types of scares • Timing • When to stop scaring • Dialogue • Improv
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT • Character Development • Backstory • How did the character come to be? • How do they fit in attraction’s backstory? • Why do they behave the way they do? (walk, talk, act, etc) • Mannerisms • Gait- how one walks • Posture – how one stands • Speed – how fast one moves • tics/traits- how one acts during these actions • Speech/communication • Content (vernacular/vocabulary) • Accent • Cadence The ACTOR brings the Character to Life- the costume/make-up/mask/props make the character recognizable to guests
IMPROV • Improvisation – to perfom without preparation • Interacting with guests who could say and do……ANYTHING! • Skill development. - prepare to perform without preparation • Character development • Actions • Dialogue • But—How? Just like an athlete or bodybuilder- we train & practice • Clanging & Banging! There are tons of games you can find online for FREE. We will discuss 3 popular games I like to utilize. • For each game, Think about these questions: • What skill(s) are we trying to practice? • How will that be accomplished? • (After Playing)-Did the game successfully do that? Advice Panel Freeze Tag Fortunately/Unfortunately
IMPROV Advice Panel 3 players & a host. The audience provides questions or problems for which they need advice. The 3 players provide good, bad, and worse advice. A beneficial variation for the haunt community- each player is a character. Characters: Iron Man/Captain Marvel, Freddy Krueger, Jim Carrey/Amy Schumer Skill: Dialogue, scene consistency, & character development Freeze Tag 2 actors start an improvised scene. At any point in time another player can call Freeze. This player then tags out one of the 2 actors, and takes his place. Both players then start a new scene, justifying their positions Skill: Physicality, adaptability, dialogue Fortunately/Unfortunately Have all your players sit in a circle, or establish a clear playing order. Then proceed to tell a story, with each person saying one sentence at a time. Here’s the catch: each sentence must start with either “fortunately” or “unfortunately, ” always alternating. Skill: Dialogue, story fluidity, listening
MEDIA Margaret Blackburn margaretblackburn 0808@gmail. com Terry Rook trookjr 1976@gmail. com