My friend is a haunted attraction designer so I look at the mazes in a different perspective. Most of the mazes were amazing. The Busch gardens crew did a great job with the time they had. I know a lot of people think some of the mazes weren't all that scary but everyone has to realize that most of the mazes would be terrifying with great actors.
A mediocre maze can be turned solid by great actors, and unfortunately, vice versa.
Unfortunately, I think the majority of Busch's actors tend to fall into the "mediocre" category. It disappoints me when most of the actors simply pop out and grunt, as such a method contributes nothing to the atmosphere and is simply not scary.
I'd like to give a shout out to whomever the scare-actor was in Catacombs the night we took our visiting friends through. He ask the person at the back of our line what the name of the girl in front was. Then he went up and whispered her name while following her. It freaked her with maximum impact. It made best maze that night when talking afterwards. I wish more had been this clever.
I think a lot of the actors at BGW were quite creative and effective this year. It was the first time in a while that they didn't rely mostly on startles. They were working in groups, interacting with guests, and stalking people.
Personally, I don't buy the idea that the mazes were all brilliantly designed and all of the problems were the result of poor acting. There were strengths and weaknesses in both. Furthermore, I think it was the best HOS we have had in a few years.
I thought the actors this year were better than they've been in a while. It's also worth noting that problems in direction from the house's stage manager can result in what you may perceive as poor performance on the actor's part.
The actors :heart: cameras. The actors were pretty solid, saying lines and stuff adding to the realism of a situation yet there were still skeletons making grunting noises in Catacombs so there is still room for improvement. I imagine based on the costume they are given limits to the role the actors can play.
The noises made by the actors in Catacombs could be better, perhaps. I always thought they weren't supposed to talk. The noise that most of them go for is a grinding noise, like dry bones being grated.
That brings up a new point. Should any characters be speechless? I don't think an entire house should be speechless. I worked in a haunt for a few years. One time, at the beginning of the night, the stage manager said in reference to me "Are zombies supposed to talk at all? At least his speech sounded garbled."
The owner responded "He can act, and he has a good voice. (To me) Either continue what you are doing, or we won't make you be a zombie if the others can't talk." That is a case-and-point of what Thomas was saying about a stage managers' ability to ruin a good thing.
I haven't been to that event yet. That said, spoken lines can be a hit or miss. BGT teaches improvisational tricks, including picking up on names of guests. You're right. That is one of the most effective ways to creep people out.
The worst thing that can happen with rehearsed lines, is that the actor may sound like a broken record if they don't wait for the next guests. This is particularly a problem at Universal, where they literally wait for a green light that pays no attention to guests. Even KD has trouble with this, especially in Slaughterhouse and Doll Factory.
For me, personally, theatre is everything in a haunt, just like a regular show. If any park knows theatre, it's BGW. They just need to apply their expertise to their haunts a bit more. To some degree, they already did that this year. Both Lumberhack and Scarlett's Revenge (when staffed) had people improvising a scenario at the entrance all night.
I enjoyed this past years event. It was an awesome event. There were pros and cons to almost everything. There always is haha. But as compared to my other experiences it was great. The game has been stepped up now its time to keep the ball rolling BGW.