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Thread: Change name?

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  1. Default Change name? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    76
    I bought a haunt this year and I was wondering if I should change the name? The haunt was open for four years but there has to be a reason why they sold because nobody sells when there making money hand over fist. The only reason why I was thinking of keeping the name because it already has a website and they must have some faith the name has a following because I only put down 10% and were working the rest out on ticket sales. I am changing the hole story line to the haunt to fit it better to what I want to do but I am not sure if I should change the name. I am going to advertise that its under new ownership and I did a 15k renovation to the haunt of things I have had from home haunting[really good professional stuff pneumatic props, pro lighting, set design etc]. Any advise would be nice.
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    613
    Quote Originally Posted by son-of-sam View Post
    I bought a haunt this year and I was wondering if I should change the name? The haunt was open for four years but there has to be a reason why they sold because nobody sells when there making money hand over fist. The only reason why I was thinking of keeping the name because it already has a website and they must have some faith the name has a following because I only put down 10% and were working the rest out on ticket sales. I am changing the hole story line to the haunt to fit it better to what I want to do but I am not sure if I should change the name. I am going to advertise that its under new ownership and I did a 15k renovation to the haunt of things I have had from home haunting[really good professional stuff pneumatic props, pro lighting, set design etc]. Any advise would be nice.
    First, there are plenty of reasons why someone would want to sell a successful pro-haunt, just like there are many reasons why people would sell a successful business. Maybe they are getting tired of the business. Maybe they are getting tired of the lifestyle. Maybe they have medical conditions, or need to handle major life changes. Maybe they want to try something different. Maybe it's just not fun for them anymore. Maybe they suck at it, and it took them four years to figure this out.

    I've heard people say that pro-haunting is a young man's business. Maybe. Maybe not. I've known of a lot of people in their older years who love it and could work any younger person under the table, but there is some truth in that statement. It is a visceral business that requires vigor and vitality, no matter what age you are. It is a year round lifestyle that requires a very large commitment; the kind of commitment you don't see on the front end when your local, friendly neighborhood pro-haunt is only open three weekends a year.

    Also, there is a major distinction between what I call "home haunters wanting to go pro", and "dream-haunters", who want to own the "haunt of their dreams", but don't really know what they are getting into, or know anything about the industry, or have ever even worked in a pro-haunt before. It's kinda like the yuppies who love spending Sunday Brunch at this lovely little Breakfast Eatery, or a lovely B'n'B that serves Breakfast, and they think of how wonderful and life affirming it would be to own their own Eatery or Café, or B'n'B even, even tho they have never set foot in a restaurant or professional kitchen, don't know a thing about the food or hospitality industry, don't really do a lot of cooking, don't really do a lot of entertaining, aren't really foodies, per se, and have never owned a business or done anything related to customer service. Of course, on the plus side, they do have a lovely place already picked out, and they've already written up a wonderful "business plan" that is sure to impress the local bank manager and secure them a half million dollar loan. They may not even have to mortgage their McMansion to do it.

    Second, before advice, we need details . . .

    • What was the name?
    • What do you want to change it to?
    • What was the old theme?
    • What will be the new theme?
    • What was the old storyline?
    • What will be the new storyline?
    • What is the square footage of the home haunt?
    • What is the square footage of the pro haunt?
    • Will the competition in your area allow you to make such a radical change?



    All of these things are important, and if you just change them (or the haunt's name) willy-nilly, you can lose your whole business model. The only reason why you buy a preexisting haunt is to either a) lessen the work of creating a new one from scratch, b) capitalize on an already established market and attraction's popularity, name-recognition, and existing clientele or fan-base, or c), ideally, both. Well, if you change everything, then you just basically killed all the advantages of buying the already existing haunt. The only thing you did for yourself was save yourself from making some new wall panels.

    As for advertising a change of management or ownership, well, no, you didn't. You didn't change management or ownership because it's not going to be the same haunt with a new manager or owner. It's just going to be a bunch of wall panels and props that used to belong to one haunt, that you now own and will fashion into a completely different haunt.

    The biggest advantage you'll lose is owning a haunt that has some life and a history to it. For instance, even if you kept it within the same general theme - a Big Top theme, for instance - it would still be a totally different haunt. If the name was CarnEvil of Death, and you changed it to Mr. Chuckles' Funhouse of Terrors, all the preexisting fans of CarnEvil of Death will simply think COD closed down, as Haunts typically do from time to time, and now Mr. Chuckles' Funhouse of Terrors, having absolutely no name recognition whatsoever, will simple be another first year haunt, which may totally suck in the minds of potential customers, which many first year haunts typically do.

    The fact that it used to be a good haunt will mean absolutely nothing to anyone, and wasting valuable advertising dollars and marketing resources to try and make old customers aware of that change is a bad idea. Most people have a hard enough time getting patrons out to their regular, "same name as before" haunts, let alone make the general public aware of something as esoteric as a new name, management, or ownership team. (It's not like a restaurant where you drive by it on a daily basis, and they have an "under new management" banner out front.)

    Also, it seems to me that allowing what you did in a home haunt decide what you will do in a pro-haunt is a lot like the tail wagging the dog. I'm not sure how great your home haunt is, and it would be good to see what your pro-haunt looks like, but I have rarely, if ever, seen a home haunt that would be good enough to decide the artistic direction of a pro-haunt, and, believe me, I've seen some really, really good home haunts, some that I thought were better than some pro-haunts.

    To wit: if the two entities are compatible enough so that the transition would be fairly seamless, then you should repurpose the home haunt, not the pro-haunt. If they are not compatible, and a lot of changes need to be made, it would again be much easier to repurpose the home haunt materials than completely retheme a pro-haunt. You might also look at keeping the pro-haunt the same for your first year (and the pro-haunt's fifth year), and then let your home haunt be the start of a new element, so you can have a two element (attraction, house, haunt) event, rather than just the one, say for the following year.

    Also, if this will be your first pro-haunt experience, what you learn from this will most likely impact your future decisions, and you might consider different approaches to what you think you'll doing anyway, so, you don't want to go changing things willy-nilly.

    Ask yourself, "Am I a home haunter who wants to go pro?" or "Do I just want to have 'the haunt of my dreams', whether it's actually worthwhile to go that route or not?"

    C.
     

  3. Default First off 
    #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    76
    First off I am not just some ''yuppie'' that just wants to own a haunt to feel some dream that I thought up of yesterday. Why I bought the haunt because they had a 23k fire panel that I really needed and the haunt had 30,000 dollars worth of panels that were already treated with flamex pf that costs 180 dollars a five gallon bucket and it would take a hole lot of buckets to treat 30,000 dollars worth of panel. All the stuff I am adding is pro stage lighting that costed me 190 dollars a light plus three special fx lights that were five hundred bucks a piece. Also I am adding a cut in half zombie that thrashes I bought off of juneaustudios, also a unit 70 bed with the chicks head is split in half, a scare parts exorcist bed, Exploding fuse boxes, and some other things just to name a few. Also why I bought the haunt because I am not rich like alot of people that get in this[even though alot of people try to act like there not] and did not have a 100k to blow out my own pocket to start my own haunt[I did not even have 25k to start if I wanted to]. The haunt I bought did not really have any props except props that ran off of electricity. I was warned that people on this forum could be pretty harsh but for you to jump to the concept that I pretty much have no clue without you even knowing me is pretty pig headed. Also I heard some negative comments by local critics on the haunt and with the props I seen they had made me think it was justified [no silicone masks either but I have a friend custom making all my masks that is pretty good and my masks will only be in my haunt and no other haunt. So sorry I even asked for advise yoda of the haunted house world.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    East Haven, Connecticut, United States
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    1,192
    Woah woah woah, relax son of Sam.

    Listen, no one is out to get you. But there is a reality of pro haunt done for income and a home haunt done for fun! If you can make something fun and profitable out of what you have acquired, GREAT! But don't jump down someone's throat for telling you something you asked to hear.

    I'm 19. And have been screwed over as many times as most veterans in this industry, since I've been on this forum I've grown exponentially as a business owner for both my haunt that I am newly opening with my business partner, and the DJ company I have built from the ground up. That growth stems from accepting and adjusting to harsh reality's and not getting all fired up just from someone being honest with me.

    If you're that quick to get all pissy, you are in the wrong business my friend. Take the 10% loss and find a new way to make money. Sure you may not have liked what BrotherMysterio had to tell you, but maybe you needed to hear it.

    It's a good thing you didn't say the name of your new haunt, you are the official person representing your new business, you don't want to look like an ass. It reflects poorly on your business, so even if you now hate me and BM, put on a happy face and learn basic business practices, otherwise you will quickly fail and won't have many friends to help you back up when you need it the most.

    Ps- this is from my phone, sorry if it has any grammar issues lol.
     

  5. Default same spot 
    #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    76
    If your just opening your doors this year then me and you are in the same spot my friend. Do not try to act like your Larry over here and you have a hole bunch of great advise to give when you have never even opened your doors yet. I was not mad at all I was just saying how I felt like BM did and if he has the right to then so do I. Maybe you should take some of the advice that you gave me and do not get all upset when some one else is just saying how they feel. Something also to is what is wrong with having a ''dream'' how can I touch the sky if I stop reaching for it? Martin Luther King had a dream and if he would of gave up because he felt he was out of his league then how would the world be today. All I was getting at was if other people can make it in this biz why cant I ? I am not all that different from anybody else on this forum except for experience. If someone says I probably do not know what I am doing then of course I am going to say something. I am a very proud person and I do not jock anybodies jock. Since your just starting you could fall flat on your face to and it even makes it harder on you when you have a partner. After you pay rent you have to split profit with your partner when All my revenue after rent goes just to me. If you think you know more because you were on this forum first then you are mistaken. I know quite a few haunt owners that do not even get on this forum that are moguls[one of my friends made 8.5 million dollars in 17 years just off of one of his haunts and thats after paying uncle sam]. Do not take this to the heart and I wish you the best of luck even though I probably will not get it back in return
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, SC
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    751
    Quote Originally Posted by screamforadream View Post
    Woah woah woah, relax son of Sam.

    Listen, no one is out to get you. But there is a reality of pro haunt done for income and a home haunt done for fun! If you can make something fun and profitable out of what you have acquired, GREAT! But don't jump down someone's throat for telling you something you asked to hear.

    I'm 19. And have been screwed over as many times as most veterans in this industry, since I've been on this forum I've grown exponentially as a business owner for both my haunt that I am newly opening with my business partner, and the DJ company I have built from the ground up. That growth stems from accepting and adjusting to harsh reality's and not getting all fired up just from someone being honest with me.

    If you're that quick to get all pissy, you are in the wrong business my friend. Take the 10% loss and find a new way to make money. Sure you may not have liked what BrotherMysterio had to tell you, but maybe you needed to hear it.

    It's a good thing you didn't say the name of your new haunt, you are the official person representing your new business, you don't want to look like an ass. It reflects poorly on your business, so even if you now hate me and BM, put on a happy face and learn basic business practices, otherwise you will quickly fail and won't have many friends to help you back up when you need it the most.

    Ps- this is from my phone, sorry if it has any grammar issues lol.
    I couldn't agree more Bobby! This forum is here to HELP, not hurt anyone. Occasionally we get those individuals who have nothing better to do with their lives other than to put people down. I've seen it all. I HONESTLY think BM gave very sound advice, some of which even I'm going to use to my advantage. Maybe EVERY bit didn't apply to you Son of Sam, but take what you need instead of feeling attacked, cause that clearly wasn't the intent. I'm going to answer your question straight up, no frills...

    I've talked A LOT with my team over the last few months about changing the name of my show. The show has been around longer than I have and it's name reflects it's age. "Hall of Horrors". In going with a few reasons I wanted a name change, haunts these days seem a lot edgier in their titles. "Netherworld", "Necropolis", "The 13th Gate" to name a few. Those names and others definitely reflect a newer generation of haunts. I've since resolved to keep the name the same only because it's got history. In my opinion it would be easier for me to branch out and do a sister haunt rather than changing names completely. Don't get me wrong though, this coming season we're working on the BRAND IMAGE...cleaner more up to date logos, websites, marketing, etc. Haven't launched any of it as of yet, but I assure, your customers will probably take better heed to a re-imaging than new title cause then you might come off as a "Fly-by-night" attraction. Our market has had plenty of them. Haunts that don't stick around and try to reemerge as an all new show by simply offering a new name. Future plans to expand are where I'd introduce new show names. Take Larry for example. The Darkness, Creepyworld, Lemp. All different venues under the same parent. Just my two cents! Best of luck!!
    Last edited by freak 'n' stein; 07-06-2012 at 11:25 AM.
    O'Shawn McClendon
    Creative Chair -- Operator: Cayce-West Columbia Hall of Horrors

    One mans junk is another mans kick-ass new prop...

    http://www.hallofhorrors.com

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    http://cwchallofhorrors.blogspot.com

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    http://www.myspace.com/cwcjc_hallofhorrors
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    East Haven, Connecticut, United States
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    Thanks O'Shawn!

    And your reply only validated what I said.

    I hope you learn and grow with time, otherwise with that attitude you'll never go far in this biz. I only wish you the best and that you'll realize I, nor BM, was trying to do anything other than give you what you asked for.
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    322
    If you can't find it having a fantastic rap I wouldn't keep it..... more because I would want to personalize it with my vision, at this stage, if its not already built up a following. Just redirect the domain to the new site for the stragglers. Just my opinion...
     

  9. Default  
    #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
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    2,788
    Brother Mysterio- Work on answering the questions that are asked. No one asks to be judged and you are unwise to guess someone intentions or even to question their intent. that was not asked . You are most helpful when you answer the questions that are asked. Never answer questions to prove how much you know, answer them because you want to help. You want to help I know that, just make sure that the text reflects that. it is so easy to see context in writing that is not there, make sure it is very hard to read anything negative in your replies.

    Son-of Sam- Chill out, relax. Accept any help in the text and leave anything negative on the page. Breathe in, Haunt, Breathe out. No one is out to insult you and if they are the best thing you can do is ignore them. You have said some foolish and insulting things hopefully that is a forum phase we can move past. Be nice, all we can be is a good example.
    The name your haunt is and the name you want to change it to are important. In general I say never change the name or location of your show if you can help it. However if you bought "SATANS SHITTY SCAREHOUSE!" then a name change may expand your audience quite a bit. You did not ask this but I feel it is important to throw in whenever names are discussed, If you change the name try to move forward in the alphabet as opposed to backwards. Most events listings are alphabetical, being seen first will help you get more customers.

    Happy 4th all, lets leave the fireworks in the sky and off of the forum,
    Allen H
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    69
    Son of sam...you need to relax and realize when people are trying to help you. Brother Mysterio took time out of his life to give you viable information and the only thing you focused in on was misinterpreting what he was saying. No one is on here to try to bring you down. So take a step back, breathe and learn how to take advise from what people say. It doesn't mean you have to do what people say, but at least hear people out and try not to be confrontational. Being confrontational is certainly not the best way to make friends.

    Just my 1/2 a cent....(adjusted for inflation)
     

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