How to be successful at scare-acting
by Wendy Withers
Scare-acting is one of the more unusual jobs out there - you'll find scare actors in theme parks, 'haunted house' visitor attractions - anywhere where there might be a need for a vampire or werewolf to jump out at a punter and scare them sideways. The lovely and non-scary Wendy Withers gives you 10 tips on how to be really effective at scare-acting...
As a four year veteran for one of Florida's top haunted attractions, I've caught on to a few things that can transform any haunted house, woods, or other scary location from a dud to a horrific event. I've decided to fill out the details for anyone interested in creating a creepy locale.
1. Enlist help from your friends.
While the setting is important, the people you bring in to scare are essential. Without the actors in your haunted setting, all you have is some mood music, cobwebs, and maybe a few bodies lying around.
2. Startling is the way to go.
In our postmodern era, people are desensitized. They know who Freddy and Jason are; Saw and The Devil's Rejects show in theaters all over the world. Once again, setting and a spooky ambience are important, but maniacs jumping out at jittery crowds and loud noises are where the scares really are.
3. Scare and get out of there.
If you hang around for too long, your victims might not find you as scary. Especially if they notice your spooky-bat pompom earrings or the boogie hanging out of your nose. It's a lot better to scare one victim and immediately go on the prowl for another.
4. Try to work in some time for touch-ups.
If you're wearing makeup or have a tricky costume, check yourself out every once in a while. You don't want your shorts hanging out from the bottom of your mini or the blood streaks on your face wiping off.
5. Use props to your advantage.
Also, make sure you're not going to break them. Test them out before you start scaring, then shake your rattles or wield your (fake) meat cleaver.
6. Use your voice to your advantage.
Whether it's a chuckle or a shriek you want, make sure to warm up your voice. After a few hours, it's going to start to give whether you think you can handle the job all night or not. Sing some energetic songs before you get scaring or hum quietly under your breath (which is creepy by itself) in between victims. Then, go to town.
7. Drink water.
This is important. Drink as much water as you can as often as possible. A human body in a costume passed out along the path through the haunt zone is a very different scare than a vibrant creep.
8. Eat food.
Then, drink more water.
9. Have fun.
Don't take yourself too seriously. You're a freak, not a lawyer. Enjoy the high you get from making other people pee their pants.
10. Make a fool out of yourself.
You might feel stupid in the beginning, but people aren't coming to see cute little Julie who can play the piano and likes to play rugby in her spare time. They want to see vampires, serial killers, mad scientists and the like. Play it up; this is your chance to shine and be a monster for a while.