Cast Management 101: Taking the industry’s hardest job and turning it into fun for actors and crew

Saturday, 14 April 2018
01:00 pm - 02:00 pm

Do your actors grow stale and repetitive as the month wears on? Do you lose actors mid-season? Is scheduling actors a problem? Are your costumes, makeup, masks unorganized? It might be your management. Unmanaged monsters are like circus animals without the ringmaster: No loyalty. No focus. No common goal. In this informative session, Dana Martin will give attendees proven methods they can use immediately to manage a haunt cast efficiently, allowing owners and other crew to focus on their jobs. Baptized by fire, Martin owned and operated two haunted attractions 90 minutes apart and, out of necessity, developed these techniques to cultivate a positive acting environment and satisfy crew expectations. Haunted attractions, large and small, can benefit from cast and crew that return. Rather than training a new cast every year, returning actors can improve their skills and help mentor new recruits. The attraction’s bottom line benefits if your actors are enthusiastic and return each season. Besides management tips and tricks, Martin will share the most efficient methods to reward and retain actors on a yearly basis, including techniques and classes used to “give back” to actors to equip them with job skills and career training for lifetime enrichment. Enjoying a 75% return rate on actors each season at both of her attractions, Martin will show you how dedicating one well trained person to actor management will drastically improve your show (and save your sanity). Cast managers, haunt moms—learn these techniques and make yourself an invaluable asset to the success of the show.

Dana Martin

Dana Martin owned and managed Talladega Frights in Bakersfield, Calif., and The Raven's Gate Haunted Attraction near Fresno, Calif., both professional, for-profit, multi-event haunted attractions for 8 years until taking a break to pursue her newest adventure, Schoolhouse Escapes. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Martin accepted a job as a magazine editor, which led to an assignment covering the haunt in her hometown and to writing haunted backstories for professional attractions. She became hooked. Since that time, she has trained over 500 volunteer and paid actors, written dozens of backstories, and has developed a non-profit youth enrichment program called S.C.R.E.A.M. (Students Creating Real Entrepreneurial Adventure & Mentors) to provide professional skills and employment opportunities for high school students. She can be reached at Dana@SchoolhouseEscapes.com.