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View Full Version : Should or Shouldn't... Transworld 2013



drfrightner
05-09-2012, 02:25 AM
2013 is the Darkness 20th season ... isn't that cool 2013 is the 20th season??? We will probably be doing something really huge for the Darkness 20th season... I don't know what right now but it will be something huge. Right now we are trying to renovate our last haunted house, while we are still working on Darkness. So the question really boils down to what you guys think...

I'm not sure if I want to go through all that stress to renovate the Darkness prior to the March show, its a ton of work and stress. On the flip side I'm going to do something awesome for our 20th season, so do you think we should open for TW or not?

Are you sick of the place or do you want to see us go through all that nightmare again, considering we'll probably do it anyway. A couple things we might be installing a huge dark ride project in the winter so I'm not sure how much time we'll have or not...

So the question really is if we do something really awesome should we open or not? If we do open should we do Lemp as well, just actor show, or just walk through with no actors or everything. Let me know.

Larry

Darkangel
05-09-2012, 08:09 AM
Larry,

I think it's pretty obvious to us all that you will be opening again. Like clockwork every year you say you won't but after some time you get motivated again and announce you'll open
Then the buildup and promotion starts throughout the winter months leading up to Transworld. It's like the 4 seasons at this point it's expected.

I doubt you'll get an honest answer on here when you asked if people are tired of the Darkness, not around here at least. I missed it this past year since I didn't go to the show. I'd check it out if I could make it out this coming year though.

I think that there is a lot more going on during the show then there used to be. Back at Rosemont the only event to do was Bob's party and then Dreamreapers. Now there is stuff going on most night from parties, ceremonies, tours, events, etc. Many of these activities charge a fee so people have to be selective due to cost and time.


DA

mindtumor
05-09-2012, 11:14 AM
People will always come see it if it looks worthwhile, so your going to have to figure out for yourself if you feel like doing it. If you enjoy it, do it. If your wore out skip it for a year. People will always say they want stuff like that if they aren't the ones having to put the effort forth.

Jolly Pumpkin
05-09-2012, 12:08 PM
Unless you are going to charge regular admission or a little more than regular admission then I would suggest you don't open for 2013. Unless the haunt is perfect in everywhere I can't justify spending $40 or $50 on a ticket. I purchased a ticket for 2009, 2010 and 2011, but was let down with The Darkness. I would like to see The Darkness with quality actors because during the Transworld tours, the acting seems to be forgotten about which baffles me. If you decide to open for 2013 then focus on acting and just make a few renovations here and there. Something about paying $50 a ticket during Transworld when you are charging customers $20 during the haunt season doesn't sit well with me. I just feel like I'm paying a high price for renovations that are really meant for the customers in the fall when you make most of your money off the haunt. I hope I'm wrong though.

If you do decide to open for Transworld next year then make sure you can get everything finished because there always seems to be things not working properly. We also hear you complain about how there's no time to get everything you had planned done. This happens every year a few weeks before the tour. After all of these years of doing the tour, you should have an idea about what can be done in time instead of guessing. Like I said, if you decide to open The Darkness during Transworld and charge $40 or $50 then it should be perfect in every way from design to acting.

drfrightner
05-09-2012, 12:10 PM
DA,

You never mince words that is for sure... umm no you are wrong btw. This past year we said we wouldn't do it and we stuck to that. TW actually asked me to do it because they where marketing to new groups of buyers and wanted a haunt open. I was done with it. Apparently they had sent out some marketing materials promoting that there would be haunt tours to farmers and stuff.

Look... I was NOT going to do that big massive renovation process again. Just like the first year, second year, and third year we didn't get finished, had up to 20 people working at a time nearly around the clock, I was down there myself sometimes until 3am like all the time, it ruins the show for you, its just overall a nightmare.

We spent nearly 4 times more to do the event than we got back in ticket sales... and that is a fact.

My only thought is here is that I am for sure doing something cool because it will be our 20th year, its a matter of if I do it before TW or after...

I was just wondering if people would rather us open again or not. If people don't care I don't care. Its not about money its about offering another experience that hopefully helps people. So I don't know... I just wanted some input. Positive input pro or con would be perfered.

Larry

Jolly Pumpkin
05-09-2012, 12:22 PM
So Transworld contacted you to have the tour again because they were marketing to a new group of buyers and already sent out information about how there were going to be tours without knowing. I hope they helped with the cost of renovations because it sounds like it was benefiting them more than it was you.

drfrightner
05-09-2012, 12:28 PM
Noah,

Couple things... I would NEVER charge less than say $50.00 or so because anything less and I'd be paying you to attend. Haunts in order to make money during the season need I'm guessing just by my own experience 80% of the entire season before you can even break even. In other words all those long nights and thousands of people up until about the last ten days is just to break even. Maybe some break even sooner but I bet a lot break even in the last few days of the season.

You can't make money just because you open it doesn't work like that... you need several weekends to get out of the black. With these haunt tours and I'm pretty sure this is across the board for everyone most of these owners are losing money doing them. I doubt you could find ONE even ONE haunt who opened this past weekend for Hauntcon who would tell you anything but they invested a lot to fix up the place, stock it with staff, and then took a bath on opening.

Yes true their haunts might be fixed up or whatever but they probably spent more than they would otherwise, and now they have to sit on that fixed up haunt for months on end before they can finally open.

These haunt tours and I mean everyone who does them loses money take that to the bank. You do them because you want to showcase your attraction to the industry, I think some people think its an honor to show you what they can do so are willing to lose the money to do it. Me personally I'm not going to lose any more money than I already do... the first year it almost bankrupted me to wail all those months after spending absurd amounts of money trying to do everything.

Couple other things... yes you are right every year we had stuff we didn't get done. Yes this is correct. I think the difference however is this... we didn't just go to blah, blah vendor and buy something, we created each and every single effect ourselves or had someone custom make something for us. We are creating FX half the time we are not exactly sure will work the first time we turn them on... so finally when you get that far you realize where you've gone wrong, or simply time runs out. I think we've got 90% plus of the stuff we wanted to finish finished... our problem is we try to do to much. Now I call that getting your monies worth, rather than trying to do to little.

If I did less trust me it would be done with a month to spare... but that isn't my style. I have big idea's and its fun to try stuff that no one has ever tried to do before.

People overwhelming loved the Falling Barrel wall year two because no one had ever seen that before, people loved the swamp house year one because no one had ever seen that before, this past year everyone without a doubts favorite thing was the Clown Truck ... again no one had ever seen it done before. Did I know for sure the falling barrel wall would work exactly as I had dreamed it up in my head... NO I DID NOT! Did it work the first time we turned it on ... NO IT DID NOT and honestly it took another couple weeks to trouble shoot it.

But hey its fun to try and do things like that...

Now back to the root of the question.

1) I would NOT EVER open if I couldn't do something BIG that is worth attempting because it wouldn't be fun for me. Being that its my 20th year I'm going to think about something over the top bank on that. But the question is do I push myself to get this done prior to March or just skip it all together.

I want to know do people want a haunt open or not, because if you don't I will skip it.

Larry

SomeThingInTheIce
05-09-2012, 03:45 PM
As for the price, I can see why more is charged, not being in season you are only going to get a set number of people and it does cost money to open the doors with or with out up grades. I agree that the actors should be the focus. That first year (the year I went) the actors were about 50/50. I think half just put in the time and the other half put in some effort. If I came to the show I would pay to see it again. I mean how offen do you get to go to a Haunted House.

HauntedPaws
05-09-2012, 04:13 PM
When I went this year as a first year haunter I was a little disappointed the barrel effect wasn't working as weren't a few other large animatronics. I chalked it up to getting it going for the live night. I think if you do it this year you need to be sure everything works for everyone paying for any ticket.

Grimley
05-09-2012, 04:21 PM
I have been to Darkness the last three years. I would rather go see Creepyworld. Why is it that can not be arranged?

Darkangel
05-09-2012, 04:56 PM
I think he has already said Creepyworld would be too hard to open because he breaks some it down after the season.

Larry, I'm just offering you an opinion and the history I've seen. Whether you wanted to
Open or transworld asks you to open it still has worked out the way I described above. Nothing wrong with it, but that show it's happened each year. I agree with Jared do it if you feel up to it but it sounds like you need a break and I'm sure your crew could use one as well. If you took a year off and then reopened in 2014 it could be more successful than if you opened this coming year. Food for thought.

DA

megaplay
05-09-2012, 09:33 PM
Larry some food for thought about some of the issues discussed in this tread. You mention you are going to make a big change this year. This change is going to be huge and is going to happen regardless of if you are open for TW.
For the sake of this post lets say the change is going to be a room and you budget it will take 200 man hours to change this room. Regardless of when this 200 hours is put in, before or after TW, it is going to be put into the house. Just because it is put in before TW does not mean that it cost 200 hours of changes to be open for TW. Now if you have to pay people over time hours because they had to put in more then 40 hours a week to get this change done before TW then you could count the cost of the over time pay to the cost of TW opening. Your quote earlier is "We spent nearly 4 times more to do the event than we got back in ticket sales... and that is a fact." I would disagree, you may have had to work harder during a shorter time but don't contribute the entire cost to being open for TW.

To open any house does require per hour operating expense. This would be your electric to run, employee hours, wear and tear on props and the like, if needed special insurance for this weekend, ect. All of these expenses could be contributed to being open for TW. These expenses and the possible overtime from the example above are the only cost in TW.

So then the point got brought up about the higher ticket price. Again I would refer the first part of this post that all changes did not equal your cost for TW. But you say you can't be open for less then $50 a head. You know the number of people who come and know your hourly operating expenses and yes you may not break even at less then $50 but that should be the only thing that determine the price per person, not the total of expenses to update which would have been spent anyways.

You mention in this thread that no house should expect to break even the opening weekend. And I agree on this. If you can break even the opening weekend you did not do enough changes and you house will not be around long.

If you weren't open for TW would you charge $50 your opening weekend cause that was the cost to get the show ready for those people?

So now it just comes down to the true operating expenses. If all the information taken into account above and to run the show for electric, paycheck, ect is above $50 per head is the best price still $50? Say charging $20 you lose money, what is the worth of advertisement to a core group of haunters. And for that mater what is the worth of a core group of haunter coming out say "It was a great show but why is the owner charging more just cause he can".

None of this even addresses the points made about the house not even being ready for TW so we get a 75% show at a higher cost.

It seems the people who come to TW are expected to absorb all the cost of changes which means you true opening weekend you might break even.

HauntedOzarks
05-11-2012, 03:52 PM
Just my 2 cents on this, but I think it would make sense to split up your renovations between March and your opening in October and then do minor ones after the season until TW opens. That way you're not pressed on time and stressed because things aren't working the way you want them to. Because between March and March, the majority of the TW attendees aren't going to go to the Darkness or Lemp, so even if you make major changes after TW in the months leading up to your season, the TW people won't see them until the following March. Might make your life a little less stressful!

HomeHauntaddict 311
05-26-2012, 10:07 AM
Larry I was at transworld but couldn't afford to attend the behind the scenes tour. I'm saving up and will be attending so you better offer the behind the scenes tour! Haha. Thanks for all you do and offer!

damon carson
05-26-2012, 02:10 PM
This will indeed be a biig year for the Darkness! Congrats on such a successful and great haunt you and Jim and h.p has created over that time! I have enjoyed every year ii ever went since 1995. I like the idea in a previous post. With what you will have planned you will have to show it off to the industry just try to split it up and still keep some of the darkness that you will need to renovate after March up so it will be complete for TW. I think everyone would really like to see some way over the top stuff for the anniversary!
Thanks
Damon
Frightmasters