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Thread: How small can you go? Any tips for making the most out of less?

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  1. Default How small can you go? Any tips for making the most out of less? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, Fl
    Posts
    9
    This is our 3rd year of our small seasonal commercial haunt in Florida. Being small has been great - we are growing every year and have a great reputation. The only downside is being at the whims of the leasing market.

    Last year we did 3 haunts in the historic downtown. 2 medium, one small maze. We had high hopes that all the spaces would be available this year, but
    we just found out that one of our major spaces from last year is unavailable (long term leases are so much more attractive, and a more permanent tenant). My landlord has a number of smaller spaces next door, but they are in the 800 sq ft range.

    I'm can't think of any way I could use them effectively - thats just too small to be useful, right? I wanted to get some validation before I make any drastic decisions. Any ideas? How small have you guys gone and made it worthwhile?

    Thanks-
    -RJ
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,229
    if the 800sq ft spaces are next to eachother, why not just find a way to connect them, if it's the same building there has to be a way to expand/go into the other spaces for rent...or, see if you can just get a large location big enough for all of your haunts, and do combo tickets, add in food stands, maybe haunted midway games, and have your own little town of terror?
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    For a traditional haunt its to small, but you could do s story telling museum type attraction.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    270
    We are doing a haunt this year in just over 1000 square feet. I think it is possible to go small, and while there are quite a few disadvantages, there are some advantages as well.

    The obvious disadvantage is that you will be quite limited on the number of rooms that you will be able to produce. If people pay $15 to walk through a very small haunt in about two minutes, they are probably going to feel ripped off, even if everything in it is high quality and the scares are awesome. So, you have two options. First, lower your price. Secondly, create a show that requires people to spend some time in each room. A theatrical, story-telling type haunt can easily keep people in each room for several minutes. The problem becomes that to make a successful show, you will probably have to do both. That means not only a lower price per person, but a lower throughput as well.

    On the plus side, it takes less money to build and requires a much lower number of actors each night. It can be done, but only you can determine if you can make the economics of it work.
    Lords of Chaos, LLC
    House of Chaos Haunted Attraction
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, Fl
    Posts
    9
    Showing my ignorance, but I'm not sure I've ever been to a storytelling haunt. Can you describe it to me? Thanks-

    -rj
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    753
    Quote Originally Posted by RJ Latherow View Post
    Showing my ignorance, but I'm not sure I've ever been to a storytelling haunt. Can you describe it to me? Thanks-

    -rj
    Being a Jaycee run haunt, we used to heavily rely upon storytelling. I think storytelling haunts are hit or miss. Prior to my involvement, the haunt remained about 3,000 sq ft but had fewer rooms in which guests stopped in every room for a brief skit that resulted in a scare.

    ex. 3 seasons ago we had a basement scene with graphs/charts all over the wall & tv/computer monitors all over the room. The scene was a guy who tried "reading" evp's and played a brief static video clip on the tv with ghostly sounds in the background. He beckoned the guests closer to the tv to see if they could also see something in the static. A few seconds later a face appeared on the screen accompanied by a scream. Next the TV top flipped open and a ghoul chased everyone out of the room. The guests would move on to the next room where a different scene would be set up.

    Knowing what I know about the haunt industry, the more popular our show got, the less throughput we were able to achieve so I slowly hacked away at the storytelling element. While we're still in the same building, I've converted the show to being strictly a walkthrough by breaking rooms down into more rooms. I say storytelling is a hit or miss because we had a regular customer complain about the lack of room to room customer interaction we had in the past, claiming we were just looking for numbers and a profit. Seeing as we're non-profit I'm not sure where he was going with that, but now our show is way more detailed and provides a more traditional haunt walkthrough.
    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

    http://twitter.com/hallofhorrors

    http://cwchallofhorrors.blogspot.com

    http://www.youtube.com/hallofhorrors

    http://www.myspace.com/cwcjc_hallofhorrors
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    270
    I think of a theatrical/storytelling haunt as each room being an act in a small play. Each act can be as long as you want, throughput not withstanding. I actually really enjoy doing this kind of haunt. The problem, as freak 'n' stein alluded to, is that this severely affects the number of people that you can put through. If, for example, you keep people in a room for five minutes, that limits you to no more than 12 groups per hour. So, while this type of haunt can be less expensive to produce, the level of income is limited as well.
    Lords of Chaos, LLC
    House of Chaos Haunted Attraction
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    369
    I like a well thought out skit to start a haunt... it gives you the opportunity to adjust the customer's eyes to the lighting and allows you to set the mood as well as spinning your backstory into the haunt. It also can work as a good traffic control, stalling groups as needed to accomodate a slower moving group ahead or shortened on busy nights to keep the traffic moving.

    That being said, it really has to be done correctly or it can come off as lame. That room should be highly decorated and downright flawless as the customer's eyes tend to wander around the room, trying to anticipate where the scare will be coming from. The actors in the room need to have rehearsed the skit in front of groups of fellow haunters so any problems can be seen and dealt with beforehand. But if it's well done, the skit can be awesome!
     

  9. Default  
    #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    753
    Quote Originally Posted by hauntedkimmy View Post
    I like a well thought out skit to start a haunt... it gives you the opportunity to adjust the customer's eyes to the lighting and allows you to set the mood as well as spinning your backstory into the haunt. It also can work as a good traffic control, stalling groups as needed to accomodate a slower moving group ahead or shortened on busy nights to keep the traffic moving.

    That being said, it really has to be done correctly or it can come off as lame. That room should be highly decorated and downright flawless as the customer's eyes tend to wander around the room, trying to anticipate where the scare will be coming from. The actors in the room need to have rehearsed the skit in front of groups of fellow haunters so any problems can be seen and dealt with beforehand. But if it's well done, the skit can be awesome!

    *Standing Ovation*....

    KIMMY HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

    This is the type of story telling we have dwindled our show down to. If guests haven't read our backstory online or absorbed it in the queue, they still have a chance to get engulfed in the first room. This year we are doing a seance for our voodoo manor. I'm pretty excited.
    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

    http://twitter.com/hallofhorrors

    http://cwchallofhorrors.blogspot.com

    http://www.youtube.com/hallofhorrors

    http://www.myspace.com/cwcjc_hallofhorrors
     

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