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Thread: The Ballad of a First Time Haunt...

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  1. Default  
    #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    33
    Quote Originally Posted by BrotherMysterio View Post
    Or six months to do three different haunts at three different locations. LOL! (Right there with ya!)

    Btw, do you have your floor plan worked out yet? Also, did you say "full season" or did you say "special three night event"? I didn't quite catch that.

    C.
    We've planned it for the last two weekends in October and on Halloween night. Again the idea is to start small and build from there.

    I did have most of the floor plan worked out...and then I got a surprise this morning when I got to work. Instead of the 13500+ sq ft space they told us we were getting, we may end up getting a 3200 sq ft space. Needless to say, I'm still fuming about it. And then I got a call from the FM saying he won't be able to meet with me (again) until next week.

    I'm seeing this thing slip through my fingers. It might be best to just cut my losses and start planning for next year.


    TC
     

  2. Default  
    #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    156
    It wont slip through, you're too determined to let it go man.

    3200 ft is awesome. You can do alot with that amount of space with the triangular grid system. And for it being a first year haunt, better to make it smaller and awesome, than possibly too large and not as detailed. Plus weren't you worried about it being "late" to start?

    I've read from numerous places that a first year haunt can be awesome even with only 2400 ft. If it comes to it, starting small may end up being a great thing you were forced into. A committed mind can use the positives of any situation to make something good happen!
     

  3. Default  
    #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    Quote Originally Posted by scottylmt View Post
    It wont slip through, you're too determined to let it go man.

    3200 ft is awesome. You can do alot with that amount of space with the triangular grid system. And for it being a first year haunt, better to make it smaller and awesome, than possibly too large and not as detailed. Plus weren't you worried about it being "late" to start?

    I've read from numerous places that a first year haunt can be awesome even with only 2400 ft. If it comes to it, starting small may end up being a great thing you were forced into. A committed mind can use the positives of any situation to make something good happen!
    Well I'm going to head over to the mall in a few minutes to check out the space. I guess I'm mostly disappointed that the other spot was so perfect for my needs, and that I'm going to have to redo my layout.

    How does the Triangular grid system work? I've seen it mentioned elsewhere, but I can't quite picture it....


    TC
     

  4. Default  
    #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    After visiting the new space, I'm feeling a bit better about it, but it's still going to be a challenge. It's a reverse "L" shaped space, roughly 60' by 68' on the long edges. There are odd bits of achitecture sticking out from the wall in places that could provide for some scare spaces, and two pair of old dressing rooms that certainly can be used for something. The back room is smaller, but still provides a private bathroom for the volunteers, as well as a loft, that, with the removal of certain ceiling panels, could give me a vantage view of the entire space. Also left behind by the old tenants are those little surveilance bubbles in the ceiling. I don't think they left the cameras, but it's a start.

    All in all, I'm sure I can work with it, but it might take a new theme and a total revamp of my plans to do so. We're hoping to get the keys on Wednesday. The mall owners guarantee they won't switch spaces on us again....


    TC
     

  5. Default  
    #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    156
    TC, I've also heard it referred to as 60 something or another. Basically the wall panels are not set up in traditional hallway and room fashion. So in a hallway, a right turn doesn't go 90 right, it angles back more. Then the next left turn angles back. The possibilities are endless.

    Look for the big maze picture in this link...
    http://www.universalworkshop.com/Gla...escription.htm

    That will explain it much better...
     

  6. Default  
    #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    Ah, okay, so it's kind of based on a hex grid then...interesting....


    TC
     

  7. Default  
    #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    613
    Quote Originally Posted by turkeycreaux View Post
    Ah, okay, so it's kind of based on a hex grid then . . . interesting . . . .
    First thing, check your pm. I just sent you a link to two of haunt legend JB Corn's books on haunt building. He get's deep into triangular grid, panel building, theme development, you name it. Also, the books are in the public domain, so you are welcome to use whatever you find for your own haunt. Just don't go calling it "Castle Dragon".

    Second, before you do anything else (as in major decision making), get Allen's Dynamic Haunt Design DVD, and watch it a few times. It will cover a lot of ground in detail that will answer a lot of your questions, and in addition to Allen being a haunt master, and a pro-haunter for some 25 years, it also includes informative interviews with several other pro-haunters who make a good part of their living, if not their entire living, from pro-haunts, and have for many years. You might say they know a thing or two about running a successful pro-haunt. I've already watched it three times, and will be watching it several more times, especially as I design this year's show.

    (While you are waiting for the DVD, read JB's books cover to cover several times, and also get Allen's "Hopps on Haunts". $10 and 150 solid pages of useful material.)

    Third, if you need a basic floorplan to get you started, JB has one in his second book that you can use, tho I can send you a copy of it. It's in triangular grid format, and works well. Of course, that said, it's 3200 sq ft, and that's right where your space rings in at, so something smaller might be in order. You need to have space for all your other elements, such as a backstage area (which you touched on), a Central Corridor, and outer Emergency Egress, wardrobe room, make-up room, utilities, special equipment, and so on. You also need a ticket booth and room for the queue line, plus I assume that your station will want to do live feeds or onsite broadcasts, so you need to factor that in as well.

    Fourth, yes, you'll definitely need to change your theme and start from scratch. To convincingly do a "Night at the Museum" theme with a "Cursed Artifact" macguffin, or even as a subplot, will take a great deal of time, energy, and resources - things you don't have with the rapidly diminishing lead time you're dealing with - to cost effectively source everything you will need. You also don't have the luxury of sourcing an effective backstory, since that can take a while to develop a good one, with that backstory in turn informing all of your other creative decisions. I mean, sure, you can scratch something together, but when you start creating your characters and writing parts for said characters, and then start designing the world in which they will inhabit and need to live and breathe in, suddenly your backstory will face demands you never imagined or considered as you try to design a cohesive haunt concept that your customers will find entertaining.

    Fifth, while I would normally advocate pressing on and being a haunt trooper, this does involve your job, and it's success or failure will reflect on you, and you will have to live with the consequences, both professionally and personally, that the final results produce. Holding off for now and planning for next year might be a good idea. Or perhaps instead of a haunted attraction, you could lead with a zombie walk for charity, which can then proceed a zombie stomp or halloween ball. The "walk-thru" (your haunt in it's infant stages) can be an adjunct to the ball. Of course, the problem there is that someone would have to provide the music . . . if only you guys were sponsored by a, eh, I don't know . . . radio station or something . . . hey, wait a minute!!

    *********

    Now, all that said, if you've completely thrown your hat over the fence on this one, and are committed (or should be, ), then there is a very viable solution here that can get you going, or at least work for now, tho if you do have success this season you can build on it for next year.

    In a word: do a Big Top theme.

    A Big Top theme (Circus, Carnival, Freakshow, Funhouse) offers you many advantages, and would be perfect for a first time haunt.

    To wit:

    1. It doesn't require a backstory, so you don't have to spend any time on that. Now, it's great to have one, and I'm all about backstories, but as opposed to other scenarios, you don't have to do a lot of explaining or exposition for your patrons to get it. Basically, the Circus is cursed, and off you go. Next season you can develop the story further.
    2. It has plenty of built in fears and phobias to it, so you start on solid footing. (Pardon me, did someone say "clowns!"?)
    3. Because it's eclectic, it's flexible, and you can add all sorts of otherwise traditionally non-circus elements, and still make it work. (Pardon me, did someone say "clowns with chainsaws!"?)
    4. It's easy to produce, since circuses work with lots of flat surfaces and temporary construction, such as flat show posters on flat walls, and little need for carving foam brick work.
    5. It's cheap to produce. Big Top themes lend themselves to many cheap and free, but effective, scares. Essentially, no walls = no haunt, so you have a base price of the walls, paint, and basic lighting, so essentially anything just using paint and lighting counts as a free scare in practical terms. Things like Dot Rooms, for instance. Very effective. Also, you can make stencils for detail work on your wall panels which is quick and easy, and can look great. You could even paint alternating wall panels solid circus colors like red, blue, green, and yellow, if you were in a pinch.
    6. It's familiar. Everyone knows what to basically expect, so half of your work is done for you. Clowns? Check. Evil Ringmaster? Check. Were-beast versions of your typical circus animals? Check. Bizarre side-show freaks? Check. People juggling shiny sharp objects? Check. After covering that basic roll-call, everything else is just gravy.
    7. It's timeless and all inclusive. You aren't bound by conventions that other themes are, like not having chainsaws in a medieval castle, or a Chevy showing up in an 1800's cow-town.


    Those are just a few things to get started with. More in a bit.

    And also, whatever you do, don't forget The $4 Fix. That, more than anything else, is what is going to save the day here and have your haunt be a success.

    C.
    Last edited by BrotherMysterio; 07-27-2012 at 09:40 AM. Reason: a splash of color
     

  8. Default  
    #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by BrotherMysterio View Post
    Which Pickle?

    C.
    OHH SHNAPPLE~!

    Yeah, i should've been more clear, I wasn't thinking. Sorry about that. There's another Pickel in the haunt industry that has been / is an advisor and such. He's intelligent but I disagree with his mall statement 100%. He said don't do a haunt in a mall, a mall is for shopping. Man I took so many dates tot he mall.. ok well a few girls but still. EVERYONE in the day it was Mall > Dinner > Movie / Hang> Park. That was it! And kids today STILL want to go to the mall a lot. So that's all I was merely getting at. Sorry for not being clear. Although you can't tell it by the pics, I've been working hard every day for the last week or so. I've been tired.



    Dewayne
    Last edited by Frightener; 07-27-2012 at 09:00 AM.
     

  9. Default  
    #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    540
    Brothermysterio and I have spoken a LOT about doing this very theme. I however, already had lots of stuff to do the theme I chose. What's cool is, my theme is Night Terrors are from a real place. Who's never had a nightmare jump from one scenario to another? lol. I can blast any room in any area if I just show it converse like the foam brick walls fading / mixing into the wood in the warehouse lol. Which is what I'm doing.

    This theme is awesome! It's very VERY easy to do, comparatively, and budget wise even. Like he said, walls, paint, screws and lights. Throw some MP3's with new batteries and powered speakers hooked up to a motion detector and you have automated sound at a particular spot you want.

    Let me give a beginner with a budget tip: You do NOT have to have the fancy tools! I had an OLD miter saw my dad gave me, but I still bought all new fancy tools. Well, we got broken into and sh.t stolen! So I had to go buy tools again.

    You know what though? My $20 corded black and decker drill has been a blessing to me, and? IT GET'S THE DAM JOB DONE! I don't have to have a $120 drill with torque stop and such. Nah.

    The differences in the low amp, low cost circular saw is? SPEED! Just cut your 2x's slower. Or better yet, I only use it to cut the plywood, which I go slow anyways! Use your cheap miter saw to do that.


    Since I've started, I've been hit with cost after cost expectantly. So I've been going back over my plans and figuring out where I could be more frugal at, figuring costs that could be cut. instead of a few hallways that I wanted (a moving wall hallway) I cut that out and another hallway and connected 3 rooms by their walls. I saved $100's by doing this!

    In other words, I think it's filet minion for thought to read the books and listen to C.

    Ok, I'm done. I gotta go buy some lumber :P

    Good Luck.

    Dewayne
     

  10. Default  
    #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    Wow, what a day! Finally able to sit for a moments and read though your comments.

    It's so funny that you brought up the Big Top theme, Brother M, as I was thinking about the same thing last night. There's a section of the space that would lend itself wonderfully to a hall of mirrors. Plus I have a clown character that I used in the last haunt I volunteered for that I was thinking of including in the old theme and would obviously work well with a circus theme.

    I've put together a group of like minded individuals to brainstorm ideas, I call them my "Hauntelligencia". I dropped the idea on them and they are excited about it, already coming up with great ideas.... We're hopefully be meeting at the space next friday for a planning session. I'm going to try to take some pix of the unique features of the space to share with you all.

    Also, another bit of good news, I've got a lead from one of my volunteers that one of the local hardware stores might be willing to donate building materials (including Halloween stuff) for the haunt!

    Thanks again for those books, Brother M! Printing them off now to read between acts tonight at the theatre (I'm in the local production of "Into the Woods", last weekend, thank goodness!) I've been eyeing those videos of Allen's for a while. Trying to convince the bosses to buy them for me. "I need them for work!" LOL!


    TC
     

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