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Front Yard Fright
12-02-2008, 01:13 AM
Ever since I started my yard/garage haunt, in the back of my mind I've known I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I love every single aspect of running a haunted house. From the planning, to the building of props, setting up walls, acting, makeup, costumes... I just love everything there is to it.

And as most haunts do, we grow each year. 2005 was our first year and my dad and I put up a few walls in our garage, and I'll admit it wasn't that good (It sucked) but with 2006 brought a new layout, and better acting. 2007 I expanding from my garage to a 16x20 modular building beside the garage that was taken down after the 07 season. This past season I added on to the outdoor haunt, got more into the finer details, and had a total of about 30 volunteers and had about 15 to 20 working on a single night.

I'm constantly thinking of new ideas and new scenes I could have in the haunt for next year (I've had my 09 haunt all planned out since construction of the 08 haunt started) and I'm constantly changing and updating my plans. However, I'm feeling like with how much I add, and how much work it is to tear down, store, and set up again... I feel as if going pro would be the best way to go. I'm just not sure if A.I'll be able to pull it off with starting college next year B.Find a building that's cheap enough and up to code C.Have the resources (and money) to go through with it.

My question for all you pros out there is, when did you decide to go pro? How did you come about getting a building? I've talked to a few haunters and it seems like the luck of the draw. I used to work at a haunt who found a super rich investor who built them a brand new pole building for the soul purpose of having the haunted house in it... Something tells me I wont be so lucky!

Any advice or comments or anything!? I'm all ears!
:D.

Jim Warfield
12-02-2008, 04:45 AM
Jim Warfield Ravens Grin Inn

see : hauntedravensgrin.com

Buy my book
Buy my line of designer haunt builder work clothes
Buy my old hammer (the secrets it could tell you!)
Rent my ex-wives.
Then you will "know"!

Front Yard Fright
12-12-2008, 09:34 PM
Bump.......

Allen H
12-13-2008, 01:09 AM
Zach,
your not asking easy questions. Very rarely does someone luck into an investor, they work for it. It is normally the end of (and the beginning of) a long string of events and hard work.
From what I read in your post I think you should work for a pro haunt next year. Learn the ropes while helping out someone else's show. All of your hard work now is for no profit, so why not help out at someone else's haunt. I guarantee you will learn something and the experience you gain will help you in future endeavors. I also believe no smart haunted house owner will ever turn down free help. You may have to build someone else's vision for a while, but that is what it takes to learn and get ahead.
Much luck in your future endeavors,
Allen
It also costs less to learn lessons at someone else's venue rather than your own.

MDKing
12-13-2008, 07:31 AM
Good advice Allen. Don't jump in too soon Zack. All the aspects of haunting you mentioned are the fun sides to it, but there are just as many sides that are not fun and you will not really experience them fully until you go pro. Learn the ropes from another pro haunt, experience the trials and tribulations those owners and haunts experience first hand, you you will be much better off because of those experiences.

Good luck!

Allan

Jim Warfield
12-13-2008, 10:15 AM
Someone will say as the main reason they wish to have their own pro haunt. Wrong!
As the person doing all the work and responsible to see that it all happens you will probably totally miss Halloween because you will be too busy and distracted but you won't be doing all of those fun things anymore, you will be running a business.
Unless you have enough good business to hire someone else to actually run it for you, which usually is tough to do.
1) Find someone who can do this for what you can pay them.
As Scoobie would say:"Rots of Ruck!"
(Although some people are lucky)

Greg Chrise
12-13-2008, 10:28 AM
A truely pro haunt has nothing to do with how many walls or flopping latex things or full out mastered movie make up. Going pro comes when you as well can master the marketing to make sure it makes money. Or at very least master who to hire to get results.

Anyone can spend money and work for free. You can work for free anywhere to learn anything but, truely understanding what you have to do to make money and getting that money is the point you are a pro.

You can be a pro even if after a season is done you have profited one single dollar and give yourself a merit badge as you have demonstrated to yourself that it indeed does or doesn't not work as a business or remains an act of pilanthropy or a party for the community.

Some regions it is no different than any other business. To live in those fancy homes you hear people own 30 super lube locaions or 6 McDonald's Franchises. Some times to truely be successful you must be somehow involved positively cash wise with many events or have the style of venue that would be open all year long.

Your decision may also come about having all the resources such as locations, finances and eager customers proving out at least in your mind as breaking even. Most of the time the story of people in those fancy houses included having their father start all of these businesses or having land. Starting out first generation is tough and might be a $2 an hour job but, real pros can live on $12 a day.

I'm not really kidding. Are you prepared to not have a paycheck show up in a nice envelope every Friday with out a miss?

shawnc
12-14-2008, 02:43 AM
Also keep in mind that oftentimes the bigger you get the less fun you have. You spend most of your time as a troubleshooter and if you aren't careful, you look at every prop, actor and customer as a potential problem.

Front Yard Fright
12-14-2008, 04:32 AM
Zach,
your not asking easy questions. Very rarely does someone luck into an investor, they work for it. It is normally the end of (and the beginning of) a long string of events and hard work.
From what I read in your post I think you should work for a pro haunt next year. Learn the ropes while helping out someone else's show. All of your hard work now is for no profit, so why not help out at someone else's haunt. I guarantee you will learn something and the experience you gain will help you in future endeavors. I also believe no smart haunted house owner will ever turn down free help. You may have to build someone else's vision for a while, but that is what it takes to learn and get ahead.
Much luck in your future endeavors,
Allen
It also costs less to learn lessons at someone else's venue rather than your own.

I have actually worked at a pro haunt, for 2 years. My show, however, was getting far to big for me to divide my time between the two so I decided to part ways and focus on my show considering I was hoping to make it into a business down the road.


Good advice Allen. Don't jump in too soon Zack. All the aspects of haunting you mentioned are the fun sides to it, but there are just as many sides that are not fun and you will not really experience them fully until you go pro. Learn the ropes from another pro haunt, experience the trials and tribulations those owners and haunts experience first hand, you you will be much better off because of those experiences.

Good luck!

Allan

I have learned while working at the other haunt, and I still continue to learn from stories and advice both online and with friends who run pro haunts. But I do agree that you can never have too much experience.


A truely pro haunt has nothing to do with how many walls or flopping latex things or full out mastered movie make up. Going pro comes when you as well can master the marketing to make sure it makes money. Or at very least master who to hire to get results.

Anyone can spend money and work for free. You can work for free anywhere to learn anything but, truely understanding what you have to do to make money and getting that money is the point you are a pro.

You can be a pro even if after a season is done you have profited one single dollar and give yourself a merit badge as you have demonstrated to yourself that it indeed does or doesn't not work as a business or remains an act of pilanthropy or a party for the community.

Some regions it is no different than any other business. To live in those fancy homes you hear people own 30 super lube locaions or 6 McDonald's Franchises. Some times to truely be successful you must be somehow involved positively cash wise with many events or have the style of venue that would be open all year long.

Your decision may also come about having all the resources such as locations, finances and eager customers proving out at least in your mind as breaking even. Most of the time the story of people in those fancy houses included having their father start all of these businesses or having land. Starting out first generation is tough and might be a $2 an hour job but, real pros can live on $12 a day.

I'm not really kidding. Are you prepared to not have a paycheck show up in a nice envelope every Friday with out a miss?

I have actually put a lot in the haunted house that I current do. I pay what bills I have and the rest goes to the haunted house... So I have somewhat of idea of how expensive it really can be. And I believe my town would fully support it. I have talked to a few people from the city and all really like the idea of bringing to to our city. It's just finding a good location and getting it up to code that's the problem.


Also keep in mind that oftentimes the bigger you get the less fun you have. You spend most of your time as a troubleshooter and if you aren't careful, you look at every prop, actor and customer as a potential problem.

I noticed that this past season. It's really fun to do the haunted house, but once it got to the point where I HAD to do it in order to get ready in time, it really lost its luster. However, there was reasoning behind my late schedule so I believe if I were to make it a business I would definitely approach it more in a business matter.