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Hey guys, I hope build season is going well for everybody, mine is coming along decently. That's what I want to talk about. I have been at my haunt for 4 years now. I started out as a volunteer actor as most of us do. Last year, I stepped up into a tech role. As a tech I'm asked to build very little, and once the haunt is open all I am asked to do is turn on all effects and show lights, turn them off and handle actors or fixes while the house is open. This has been great to do to get my foot in the door for that side of the industry, except I'm wanting more. Eventually, I want to own my own attraction but what's the next step? Unfortunately, this will mean I have to leave my current haunt as there isn't any growth opportunity here. What's the next logical step to take? I was thinking about going into a creative director/producer role but how do you even get started with that? I can't possibly think I create a resume and go to a targeted haunt and tell them to hire me. Right? Anybody have experience taking this path? Any insight is greatly appreciated

-Rich
 

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I can't really offer much help, but in the past, when a person took the time to create a resume specifically aimed at the business I worked for, I always gave them a little extra consideration. It shows they were interested enough and took the time to do some extra research. So while a resume and portfolio may seem a little unorthodox in the haunt profession, it shows that you indeed have a serious interest and also gives you the opportunity to show off some of your work.

Good luck to you and hope that the future opens up new opportunities. :)
 

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Hello! I'm not experienced in this myself, but I would think you've got a couple of options.
First, I do think you should create a resume exclusively featuring your haunt experience & expertise. I even think you should outline a brief paragraph stating your desire to have your own attraction within the next X-Y years.

Then you can write a few personalized cover letters that state that you are looking to expand your knowledge, and are wondering if they will consider you for a position at ABC Haunt this season/next season/whenever. You may need to do some legwork to find out exactly who to address your cover letter & resume to at each haunt you are interested in, but it's well worth it to have them take notice of your name & perhaps contact you directly. In addition, you may want to put together a portfolio of any work you've done that you can show off - either of yourself in costume, something you've built, etc. I mean, the purpose is to sell yourself & make yourself stand out, so you want to be prepared when you do get to meet with someone.

Additionally, whether it's your current haunt or another one, can you find out if the owner/operator/person-in-charge would be willing to be a mentor towards you to let you shadow them & learn the ropes from that perspective? This may not be a paid role, but it would probably be well worth your while to find out a lot of the things that go on behind the scenes to see if it's really what you want to do.

I would assume that many owners sometimes take on partners or investors - that's an option for you to buy-in to a haunt. And what happens when owners get older or die? I'd also assume that either the haunt dies out with them or it's sold to someone else to run. Maybe if you get in with an older haunter, an arrangement can be made where you "inherit", KWIM? You never know.

Also, in a similar vein, when you send your resume & cover letter, you could ask that even if they have no place for your talents, would they be willing to do an in-person or phone interview with you so that you could ask some questions about how they got started or what advice they might have for you to follow. They might be able to give you some contacts or information that could be very valuable, and you could get a lot of info just by asking "what do you wish you would have known when you were just starting?", etc.

Good luck to you! :D
 
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