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Thread: Building investor %age

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  1. Default  
    #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    540
    *bow*

    Thank you so much for taking your time to help us out. It means a great deal to us.

    After doing some talking, we think they're on the right track of thinking 'Off profit' splits. Meaning anything after our initial investment / first year loan's payment pulled out.

    I think the building is safe. I think you're right, we should shrink down to one nice haunt and have a few addons inside. We were planning on having a photo op with actors / statues and a last ride as well.

    I think it's down to the point we need to retalk things over. The bad thing is, he talks so much about past "ghost" stories with the building and can't stay on topic. A 15 minute business discussion will take us an hour.

    Thanks again.

    Dewayne
     

  2. Default  
    #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    613
    Quote Originally Posted by Frightener View Post
    I think you're right, we should shrink down to one nice haunt
    One nice BIG haunt of 2500ish sq' (based on what's customary and reasonable to your area).

    Quote Originally Posted by Frightener View Post
    and have a few addons inside. We were planning on having a photo op with actors / statues
    Have one or two dedicated models to do the photos in a specifically staged scene, and so on, at the photo kiosk. Charge $1 or $2 for the customer to use their own camera, or $3 to $4 to take the photo and have it go in a nice frame or mat (with your marketing information on it, of course). A local photographer might be able to come in and set it up, and he could get a cut, or however you want to work it. Leave your line actors to work the line, and not get bogged down in the photo kiosk.

    That said, shots with lot actors with people standing in line should be free. That's free marketing. The only time a lot actor should be in the photo kiosk is by special request.

    To that end, consider having your icon characters readily available for the photo kiosk. That's one of the functions of an icon character. More on that later.

    Incidentally, it's vital that your lot actors never break character, especially when taking photos. If you have a non-verbal "Lurch" type character wandering, and he's approached for a photo op, then he can meander into the photo and naturally pose as if it was incidental, but he should never break character - i.e., never stop "lurching" - and pose for the photo. It has to be seamless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frightener View Post
    and a last ride as well.
    "Last ride"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frightener View Post
    I think it's down to the point we need to retalk things over. The bad thing is, he talks so much about past "ghost" stories with the building and can't stay on topic. A 15 minute business discussion will take us an hour.
    Use his verbosity to your advantage.

    All those great ghost stories with the building that he talks about can serve as the basis of your backstory. As a first time haunt, you don't have a history or any past successes to build on, but you do have all those wonderful ghost stories, so use them. If the local paper wants to come out and do a story on you guys (again, more free marketing), things will get real boring real fast if all you have to talk about is how you have a nifty haunt with all sorts of cool props in it. BORING!

    Instead, talk about how your haunt recreates some part of that history, or ties into it in some way. Talk about how the workers, while building the haunt, have heard strange things. Perhaps it was just the foundation settling, or perhaps the wind blowing across the roof, but you never know. Perhaps a local ghost expert or historian for your small town knows a story or two. Papers eat that sort of thing up, and it makes for a much more interesting story than "boy, we just got back from TransWorld, and we have all sorts of new, whizzbang cool stuff!" That kind of comment is usually met with the response of "'Trans' what?"

    Also, if there are any particularly colorful characters from those ghost stories, they could serve as the basis of your icon characters. If you can have up to three, then all the better. Icon characters aren't just lot actors. They serve as your mascots, spokespeople, on camera personalities, and are considerably more charismatic than any managerial type you could put on camera, who invariably comes off as someone's weird or nerdy uncle. "Boy, this is a nifty haunt and we put a lot of swell work into it." Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . .

    Icon characters also make for great graphics for your advertising materials. And if they are suitably enigmatic, you can even have kids wanting their autographs and whatnot, in addition to photos. That's a lot of pop for what essentially is a made up name and an interesting costume.

    Consider: George Lucas built a huge multimedia empire by simply taking all the of the extras in his movies - all dressed in interesting costumes - and giving them a name and an interesting backstory.

    Chris
    Last edited by BrotherMysterio; 03-26-2012 at 10:31 AM.
     

  3. Default  
    #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    First year out n nowheresville Arkansas you have no idea how many people are going to attend. I have exactly the same location type numbers you describe. A few haunts have been right on this highway, a few other events have been on the highway all within a 3 mile area that go such a gathering it was considered unsafe as cars began parking on the highway. The parking lots not thought out. Plus the big attraction is that is isn't really a city although it claims to be.

    The actual numbers for a haunted house have been 7500, 420, 800, 4600, 1600, completely depending on advertising. How long you have been at one location is important too. The same 7500 haunt in the town of 95,000 in the ghetto went from 4,000 to going independent and 7500 to 10,000 to 11,400.

    In the over all picture, your outward appearence is going to be oh, that old lady at that crappy dance hall is at it again I'm not going there. What if you see 400 people. If we are talking 30% total deal, not rent plus 30% then it is on. Just the shear amount of work required in an unknown rural location, I would only do one 2500 SF haunt and the location proved to deserve more than that. It is going to be a little hard to take advice from another town and expect your location is going to do the same thing.

    Now, condemable buildings in the middle of nowhere can be groovy. They should be cheap, it got that way because there is no building inspector. It is creepy and no one can say you are the one that screwed it up.

    But, nothing wrong with setting up a few years and learning all the motions. The ultimate goal is to get into the 75,000 population city into the older industrial areas, hashtag ghetto.

    I can think of another haunt in East Texas, can picture an old dance hall even a mile from them that even has dances every saturday. They started out at 800 and years later climbed to 8,000. Years later. 13 years later they turned a profit on a very large trail and seperate 3500 SF haunt.

    Plus it might only be 7 miles away but in todays brains that is a 14 mile trip at 20 miles per gallon, at $4 a gallon that is $4 to just do a drive through and see if it is a dukes of hazzard haunt, or a grandma haunt or what. Oh hell it isn't worth it, we'll wait until we hear others have gone there. Which turns out to be the next year or 3 years in.


    This is just a reality check. On the other hand any gain what so ever is progress in those types of locations. The trick is to not over spend and thus be dissappointed. Or if you do spend you know it isn't the haunt, it is the advertising or the gas prices or people in Arkansas don't like dancehalls anymore or something but, not the haunt. Try not to put yourself in the situation that if they don't turn out you are screwed. Or do have a paln B to pay loans and such. There is no shame in having to work the other 10 months of the year to pay that loan to get what you really want in the end. That is what business is. Doing what it takes. Maybe the other half of the building is intentionally left open for zombie dance hall events held every month or once every 3 months.


    I have seen former advertising guys that did that for a living every day for a few years hack away and see 7500 right out of the box but, I doubt they could sell a remote location as well as being in a town of heavier population. They grouped with independent film makers for their videos, hacked out web sites and social marketing and quite really got lucky. The market had already been developed for something more and they came with that something more. The market had only been in development for 25 years when they stepped it up. Yet it sounds like they were marketing geniuses and first year saw 7500.


    Everyone has to start somewhere. I probably spent $20,000 in real money and twice that in sweat equity. Never had a loan due date on that much money. Not sure if that would be possible in a small town.


    I'm not really bothered by the 30% deal. They are going to have to deal with the building not being up to standard if that comes up and insure themselves. Plus it is going to be a temporary deal where after 3 years it steps up and moves to the big city.


    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.
     

  4. Default  
    #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    I really need to go to work but, I have seen haunts set up at high dollar locations with populations of 240,000 and see 800 people all season and I have seen some real retards spend 3 years building and get over 4,000 people their first open season.

    So I have been wandering around trying to train my IQ down and wondering, what would a retard do. You have to slow way down. Actually have a haunt. Actually attempt to advertise without spending alot of money any way imaginable you can do yourself. Surround yourself with people that want to see something happen even if it means no money. Just to figure out how things are going to work. Is there some kind of opportunity for them to try things out. Is there some carrot like it could easily be a million dollar business in 10 years and we don't get paid until then?

    Times have always been tough and I routinely came with the haunt, the props and equipment, masks and costumes and all the knowledge and only demanded 20% of the ticket revenue. If you have 70% to do something with a cash flow, you are still in great territory. You are dealing with a business that has to kick ass only one month a year. It does not conform to monthly payment formulas that a year round business would consider. If the money doesn't come from the customers, it comes from you over and over until it works or you break your spine from carrying walls.


    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 Consider your sources 
    #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    Posts
    238
    I quick comment before I offer you my thoughts. I have been lurking around these boards for about 4 years now. I started with the same goal you have and there is a lot of good information here. There are people who lay low on these boards who have really experienced a lot, I mean some really experienced guys who are involved with some of the biggest shows in the nation. They are not the ones answering questions typically. Most of the the new content for newbies is put up by other newbies with no real experience. This is a complex game with many pieces, most of it comes from getting out there and doing it. I throw this out because Greg is one of the few experienced people who try to help even though the same question is asked every couple of months going back a decade. He has been giving advice here for a decade and he was one of a couple people who was able to tell me what the first year was going to look like (even if I didn't like what he said). My point is that there is wisdom here, search the boards and listen when a guy with experience offers up a thought or two. Ignore the guys with a lot to say and little experience to justify it.

    That being said, the big question for me is if your building agreement is for a long term permanent location. If its set up and tear down, then I would guess there are a lot of options for that kind of money. If you don't have to tear down, then it may not be a bad deal. If you hit a home run, then yeah you may over pay, but if you don't then you can better contain your losses. In effect they have the asset and are taking the risk, so with that comes better rewards. That is how the game is played. You really don't know the answer until you are our there doing it. A 2500 - 3000 sf haunt is a great place to start. Manageable for a first time but large enough to be very entertaining if done well. Remember, we are sitting in basically at April 1st. That is really not a lot of time to go from nothing to a show. You would be better served by producing one high quality show and two week ones. Spend the extra time and money on elevating your product and on promotion. Those will serve you over time much better than being able to tell people you have a larger haunt.

    I suppose with my initial comments, I should let you know where I came from although my story is on the boards. I started with nothing. Not a home haunter, really no great interest in the whole gore thing. Got a hold of a 5000 sf building for two seasons, about 18 months, for essentially free. Built the whole thing out of pocket. Did all the graphics, web design, advertising, permits, etc myself. Had a show built in 5 months. Ended up a little in the whole. Improved the show and ran again in 2010. At the end of 2 years I had put a few dollars in our pocket, worked my ass off an went from having nothing to having all the parts and pieces for a 4000 sf haunt completely paid for. So that was my profit. For a variety of personal reasons, we did not run in 2011. I have just signed a three year lease to start the show this year. This time it is a paid for location, but I am going in knowing a base line attendance expectation, not from hoping and guessing, but from experience. I know what can be done in the area, have the local price pressure points are, and what it will take to properly advertize. Additionally, I have a large, enthusiastic labor base to tap. All these pieces that come from experience make this go round entirely different.
    Randy Russom

    www.midstatescare.com
    Mid State Scare - San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria's favorite Haunted House
    2013 - Hmmm, we shall see what gets conjured up
     

  6. Default  
    #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    540
    Yeah, that's 30% total deal. No rent. I carry our insurance for the haunt. Basically it's all my deal, they give us a key, leave us alone (once they get their flea market type items out of the building) and we build. Then they get to run the concession stand and that's all them. Other than that, we just pay them 30%. Our contract we have started, right now says " will pay 30% of total profits for rent on the building..." yada yada.


    Dewayne
     

  7. Default  
    #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    30% is the rent = great opportunity. RWRussom hinted at those resources that need to be cultivated that are worth more than money. A bunch of intrested people that can do things when they have to be done. I have had charities tell me September 15th yeah we are going to do it for the last two weeks in October. With a completely disassembled haunt all screwed together, moved in, set up wired and so on and 17 rooms tricked out in 19 days and on TV the wednesday befor opening. The fire hall guys after a few years got where I would lay out the floor and the whole 3,000 SF triangular grid was completely up in 3 hours.

    I kind of stalk people and find many of these newbies have been doing things secretly for also more than a decade. These forums are kind of a give and take. Many people have not had the opportnity to communicate what they sort of already know and are working it out. Great credit should be given, even if slightly wrong, or different that another's situation, what is being offered is some times genius and they don't know it.

    I kind of grew tired of the forums for a while because so many would not answer any questions. It takes too much energy apparently. It is so easy to just say buy someone's book or you suck. I don't think those are really answers to questions. The other one that takes no thought is don't even think about starting a haunt unless you have $150,000 cash. Yet that is not what they did and if that is what it really took they wouldn't have a haunt today. The people that have followed this advice seem to be in debt for $150,000 they may never see again. It is so much better to build and pay as you go, actually own something outright and know what it can do, matching the number of patrons it serves and not expanding until the customers sort of deserve it. There is no reason to have two haunts until you are backed up too much 300 people deep in line the whole last week. Only then is it good to funnel multiple customers.

    Conversely you want to hold the lines back where there is some amount of waiting so the more monied will buy a speed pass for their group and everyone else experiences some anticipation. That anticipation and que line entertainment is part of the show. I don't recommend it but some of our shows, there were monsters in your car when you got out and ready to leave or chasing 9 little kids around inside a suburban. Chasing kids around the parking lot. So many people get hung up on exact square foot or how to build walls. Or the ever popular crap known as a business plan. There is no business plan, you go to work, you make money. You aren't getting some corporation to fund you product that will be mass produced by some chinese village and has a proprietary something or other.

    Everything you need to know is already common sense and in your head and you just need to do it. Or you can be a fancy pants and pay other people $150,000 to do all of these things. The fancy pants doesn't necessarily know how or why something works, they just paid some guy for something that sounded okay.


    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  
    #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Pennsylvania
    Posts
    534
    My advice and the way I've always done it is to start small (2500+ sq. ft.) and grow from there...
    Don't get in over your head...avoid the temptation of overspending...focus on your show and you'll be much happier!
    It would've been easy for us to go get a big loan and get 10,000 sq. ft. but then see an attendance that doesn't
    meet our expectations and be over our heads in debt.
    Instead we've taken 2 years to negotiate deals that worked for us, reinvested, and this year are buying ourselves a
    location! No more moving around!
    It's around 3500-4000 sq. ft. and a great reward after tearing down/moving every year!
    Best of luck to you!

    Kirk
    DARK DOMAIN HAUNTED HOUSE
    www.darkdomainhauntedhouse.com
     

  9. Default  
    #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    540
    *Update*

    Thought I'd let you wonderful people know. We shredded the contract! The lady wouldn't even speak to us personally, talked through her husband, on the phone. She said we won't give her what she deserves, which was:

    45% off the top, they do concessions, they take care of the tickets and handle all monies and take 45% of our giftshop!! My wife told them to get bent. She didn't even have the nerve to tell us face to face, or even on the phone and had her husband do it. Told them they wasted a month of our time. I bet what happened is her "friend" said "ohh honey you need to get paid more than that" ... they're line always was "We use to get $800 a night for letting folks do a dance". So we told them "good luck making $10,000 with your redneck junk auction. (they have a ton of crap the want to start auctioning off. Badly stained clothes, old broken toys, etc.) Not meaning to sound so rude about it, but it just ticks me off.

    We have a backup location. Will be zoned next month C3, which is what we need and is 6,400 sq ft. 5,500 usable. 90% of all of the rooms are connected with 2 different entry /exits. 150ish parking spots, a huge industry parking lot next to it. However, it's $2,000 a month!

    They agreed to let us pay $1,000 a month, and the rest after our event. The place is big and has a house that needs plumbing and windows (someone broke in and stole the copper plumbing... while the water was on)

    This is about average for a building this size or bigger, but I just don't know if it's feasable to try with owing up to $14k at the end. Or, we could look at paying the $6-7,000 as building costs, but that's not the right way to look at it.

    Opinions? I can throw a link on here if you guys want, so you can see the place. It's up on a real estate site.

    BTW: Here's the listing. If this is against rules, please let me know.

    http://www.trulia.com/property/30730...gould-AR-72450

    Dewayne
    Last edited by Frightener; 04-12-2012 at 03:12 PM.
     

  10. Default  
    #20
    Karl Berger Guest
    I dont know where your located but did you think about using a tent. Im also looking for a location and running into the same issues. I have the capital but the building owners are asking way too much for rent. Its almost like they are trying to recoup money lost when the real state market tanked. Im currently talking to a few business owners and FFC about setting up on there property.
     

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