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Thread: your first year

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  1. Default  
    #61
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    If everything is prepped and you have enough help, you can set up and detail 3,000 SF in 14 to 20 days and have it all out in 3 days. Less square feet, less time. All the panels are built and go together on a tape on the floor pattern. You spend a week playing with props, cob webs and electical runs. In 20 day time frame you can actually include building and painting panels.

    If this is a charity deal, you can have help from community service where as minor offenders are working for you for free instead of cleaning litter off the roads or doing gardening at the city park. The weather lends to these people having to do community service and not having community service opportunitites to do. The next level up I really don't like is prisoners and gang bosses I have seen at some charities. Generally this would be loading or unloading semi trucks whereas the community service people are usually good people that have been put on notice and really enjoy decorating and building projects.

    This is all such a quantity of work that you may be numb during the real operation of the show and have to rely on all the actors and staff quite heavily. It isn't necessarily a bad thing to empower all these people to do everything. It just becomes a personal dissapointment that you can't do more. You have to wrap your brain around what it is that you have enough energy to do.

    This seems like a short time frame but it is quite adequate for an in and out charity event. If pressed you could be set up in a week but somehow mentally people want everything as good as possible on opening night. Really pressing the set up might be get things up for opening night and detail further during the week for the following weekend(s).


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  2. Default  
    #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    356
    You are talking full time 8 - 10 hours a day right? That seems like not enough time for the work. I am planning 3,500 sq feet, I have been building for a couple of months, and I am not sure I am going to make that.
     

  3. Default  
    #63
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Hartford CT
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    If no one has mentioned it, find a copy of Kelly Allen's (Raycliff Manor on the HW board) So You Want to be a Haunt Entrepreneur. I hear that's the best place to really start, especially with creating a business plan...

    http://www.hauntbook.com/entrepreneur.html
    I bought the book, it has alot of useful info. Most banks want you to put up 20% too.
     

  4. Default  
    #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    In the charity world it might only be 5 hour nights but you have 6 to 10 people building two to three people per wall panel, on put up the walls night there might be 9 people actually doing things 3 groups of 3 people holding bolting or screwing and fetching panels. Sometimes there might be more per group grabbing more walls and feeding more supplies than humanly possible and figuring out where the wall they have goes.

    All the walls can be there ready to go or some might still be being made as they might be the last ones to go up or are fashioned to be for a special place.

    All that and it usually is just me and someone else moving props out one night and the walls the next night. If you realy want to be crude you can drop a haunt to the floor with two people in 5 hours and have it all moved by trailers in one 5 hour deal.

    By yourself is a 5 year deal. Anyone can put up a wall but then it takes a day or two for someone knowledgeable to install the over head bracing and make sure there are proper fastners everywhere.

    One of my tricks is that everything is painted but might not be assembled until a list of 20 free people have to do something. Or you hire people and they screw you over anyhow on the quality of how it is assembled. I think we were doing a stack of a dozen walls all screwed together with 3 people in an hour and a half. I think it did take a few years of mindless painting not knowing what it would be used for. We decided it stored a lot smaller as stacks of colorized wood and sheeting.

    You can be clever and the walls are there ready to set up and built as other events go on and they are simply behind the curtain or under the drop cloths ready to spring into action. When you move in to set up the big props show up and as the overhead beams go in the detailing with small props and machines is going on.

    WE use half a dozen shopping carts to assist set up crews with tools and hold screws higher than the floor and the same carts with out the little plywood top self we have becomes reverse prop shopping. Even touch up painting is done with a shopping cart going though the walk tru methodically. Child labor can be used to paint things 2 foot off the ground and below.

    We ended up having a haunt but, my origional intention was to have wall panels that we would detail and sell or refurbish and sell. We do spray on brick, tile and textures for a living around pools and patios. We can make cement caves and large facade decor. We found a charity that needed a haunt and it took the second year for them to realize it required srious effort from them. Nothing is magic. Once they got into it the second year we had about 80% of a 3,000 SF haunt up in one night in about 4 heavy hours. If I did it myself it might have taken 100 to 200 hours just to put the walls up.

    The haunt that ended up with one of ours as a second attraction couldn't believe how quick it went up for them compared to their normal way of building. The little technique of having lots of people and the layout already taped on the floor makes it a big game to see what it really looks like and motivates people to build the big puzzle.

    I have some tricks to disassemble it by myself. One of the laboratory shelving units is heavy enough to drag around and have behind the wall so when it is free it just rests against it. Thats the nice way and they are easier to grab and carry if they never get laid down or stacked. Not everywhere has walls that you can lean 4,000 to 8,000 pounds against. The only time they are down is on edge in a smaller trailer and even in a semi they stand up 8 foot tall jammed from one side to the other. If it is in a rented metal storage building they may be 4 foot tall on edge but it is shaky how many are pushing on the beams of the storage unit so flat is okay but the painted surfaces tend to stick together. If you can throw in different coveing materials and details besided paint they are buffered from sticking together.

    Rather than putting in the hours and putting in 8 and 10 hours where you have worked yourself silly to the point of hurting yourself, go for 3 to 4 hour olympic events with lots of helpers. If people are going to be there for 10 hours they will pace themselves and only really do 3 hours worth of work so be done with it and only pay the 3 or 4 hours. They can pace themselves on their couch at home.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  5. Default  
    #65
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    I missed adding the point that my day business crew does not work on rain days but, if there is haunt work this fills in thier income a bit. If charity helpers miss the mark I will go in for an hour or two with real help and pay for it despite it being for charity. It is no different than any other job as even a charity deal demands a certain percentage of the ticket price to cover storage, maintenance and general labor. These days it is no different than any sucky commercial job that you work your butt off for two weeks and chase your money for 6 weeks after that. Setting up a haunt is just one more job on our list of jobs to do at the same time we do some other job. Rain or high humidity days means go to the haunt. Within a certain budget of knowing what the attendance will actually be.

    If not the day crew there is a second group that can be called in. There are a bunch of people that need money these days even if it is only partial days. Running the day business even has a secret back up crew to finish jobs on time if the group that thinks they are the only crew and can some how screw me by not performing or showing up. Surprise! You don't work here anymore, the job still got done on time, I just called in people they don't even know that have years of skills doing the same work. I have a lot of people who are younger and operating their own business and there are always slow times for any business in the early fall. Some hit it big in spring, some at Christmas time, every business has a season and to have a few of those seasons you have to have different businesses to work for in their appropriate season. Just like if you wanted to invest in the stock market, you figure out what the seasonal demand of some business is and when they need money and when they make money. Of course when they begin to devaluate thier inventory at the end of their particular season, it is time for you to sell. If you don't sell, you never got any money and it isn't for real.

    A big selling factor for people helping is they get paid in November and it is money they otherwise might not save for Christmas or some other thing they want to buy. Or the ever popular child support or parole officer payment in a time of the year that is otherwise slow for even other small business minded people. Still you try to do everything with volunteers unless that isn't working at the last minute. Years and years of doing means people know what to do and can be left to do it. Not just warm bodies but a recognition of skills demonstrated over years.
    Last edited by Greg Chrise; 05-16-2011 at 11:24 PM. Reason: today is brought to you by the letter J


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  6. Default  
    #66
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Hartford CT
    Posts
    763
    What do u pay to disassemble?
     

  7. Default  
    #67
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Everyone I have goes for $10 to 12.50 per hour plus some of them need lunch provided. Of course these might seem high or low depending where you are tuning in from. Now that gas to get here is so high and people are spread out some distances I have also thrown in another $10 for gas to get here. If the people are not used to being self employed and need their taxes taken care of they will make $8 to $9 through a temporary service and still cost $12 to $13.50 per hour.

    Somehow I did something ahead of time to earn this money so if someone is going to cost $60 to $100 a day I need to see something done besides they successfully consumed their lunch.

    The tear down is very important to not trash things and get your assets out of some place and back into protective custody. When dealing with a charity be prepared that they will want to "store" things for you. Sure that's helping out. So plan on them paying you enough money as if they bought all that stuff from you or be sure to get it all out before they think it is all up for grabs or some kind of souvenier they earned. Many of the costumes will disappear and it costs more to track them down that they are worth after a season of abuse. Plan all of these expenses like you are a party rental store. The chairs and tables all come back but, the center pieces and table clothes are gone.

    Have things bolted to other things too hard to take away without a crew, have lots of big props that can't be carried by hand, things built into trailer sized modules. Big things already trash and scrap that no one would want. That makes them haunted. Alas this style of operating requires serious help when everyone else has decided they have had enough of their halloween season.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  8. Default  
    #68
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Some handy ideas:

    Instead of having $30 per wall panel collect junk refrigerators and put them into a maze pattern with some open with body parts, others someone might pop out of or something might, after the season they can be stored in an non disclosed location or taken the scrap yard for cash. No one wants to help themselves to them. The only investment is the gas it took to pick them all up and take them away. They get abused and are unsightly and take up lots of storage space. They can be kept outside but eventually it is time for scrap price money in January. $9.75 per hundred pounds seasonally. The bigger formula is you got paid to see junk that is turned in for the money it took to get them, no storage fees off season. Lots of space decorated and unique, no cost of lumber, paint, fire retardant, scenic design elements and labor. I haven't done it yet but imagine how memorable and what word of mouth 1,000 SF refrigerator maze would bring. Some I have lightened up by taking out the compressors, cutting access holes occasionally to get in from behind.

    Build lots of crude wood coffins. Not focusing too much on pretty as they will get beat up anyhow. They become the crates that are stackable that all the small props and lights go into. They in the haunt can be all over the place or actually a maze like display saving even more walls being needed. Same goes for barrels and drums. Get away from just walls.

    One helpful bit about not using animatronix and relying on actors and puppets is that there are no tools or air compressors to steal. If you do use tools they go home every day.

    Even something like a cave can be moved with a roll on tow truck in bite sized sections. Try to steal that!

    Any devices you use, sound equipment, controllers, fog machines are built into something that no one can get into.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  9. Default  
    #69
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Henrietta NY
    Posts
    139
    Hey everyone!! here is an update!!! We will be opening October 7th. only Fridays and Saturdays for 4 weekends!! we will be a charity Haunt. but that is ok, its a small start but its a start. about 3000 square feet of haunt. that is planned. come visit our website. www.nightstalkermanor.com.
    Thanks to everyone for the advice. some were right it doesn't take big loans or even big money to get started. just the will and hard work... thanks everyone!!!
    The Tallman is coming... so be very afraid!
    http://www.hauntedvoid.com
     

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