HauntWorld Home - Forums Home - Live Chat - Find Haunted Houses - Hauntworld Magazine - Haunted House Supplies - America's Best Haunts - Find Vendors
Haunted House News - Haunted Tradeshows - Join Hauntworld Facebook - Hauntworld Twitter - Advertise - Contact Us

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

Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 55
  1. Default  
    #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    hauntlo.jpg


    Here's the basic layout of the space (not to scale) so you all have an idea of what I will be working with. Sizes are approximate. The back door leads to storeroom area that includes a loft and a bathroom. The jagged green lines are 8 ft tall protusions from the wall. They cannot be removed, so I will have to work with them. They are very sturdy though. It is a drop ceiling that is about 12 ft high, the actual ceiling is at least another 6 ft above that, but that's basically unusable space. The entrance leads into the mall itself.


    Still haven't met with the FM yet, hoping to finally do so on Tuesday.

    TC
     

  2. Default  
    #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    Quote Originally Posted by BrotherMysterio View Post

    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.

    Okay, you got me, what's "The $4 Fix"?


    TC
     

  3. Default  
    #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    613
    Quote Originally Posted by turkeycreaux View Post
    Okay, you got me, what's "The $4 Fix"?
    The The $4 Fix is a concept I've been working on for some time.

    I got the idea from screenwriting expert and top-flight spec screenwriter, the late, great Blake Snyder. He talked about the concept in his interestingly (and curiously) titled book on screenwriting, Save the Cat! He explains the The $4 Fix, and his interesting choice of book title, in the Introduction to his book.

    The following is taken from the middle of the Introduction after he had just been commenting on (and lamenting) the common Hollywood practice of rushing a movie thru production and then over-hyping it so that it makes it's budget back in the opening weekend, with no concern for the fact that it might drop some 70% to 80% in revenues the following weekend, and may not have legs after that.

    Incidentally, Blake doesn't blame the money-men for this mentality, and understands the motivation behind it, but astutely points out that if you just follow the rules of good scriptwriting, then this approach is just not necessary.

    He writes . . .

    What bugs me about this trend is that for all the money they're spending on star salaries, special effects, advertising, and marketing - and don't forget all those film prints - it would be better spent, and the movies would be better too, if the filmmakers just paid $4 for some pencils and paper and followed the rules of how to write a good movie!

    Take a hip, slick movie like Lara Croft 2 for example. They spent a fortune on that film. And everyone is still wondering what happened. They can't figure out why they didn't bring in the audience of targeted men. It's not surprising to me. What's wrong with this picture? Where did the filmmakers go awry? To me it's really very simple: I don't like the Lara Croft character. Why would I? She's cold and humorless. And while that's fine in the solitary world of video games and comics, it doesn't make me want to leave my home to go see the movie. The people who produced this film think they can get you to like her by making her "cool." This is what amounts to "character development" in au currant movies: "She drives a cool car." That's someone's idea of how to create a winning hero.

    Well, folks, I don't care about how "cool" it is, this isn't going to work.

    Why?

    Because liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story.

    Which brings us to the title of this book: Save the Cat!

    Save the what?

    I call it the "Save the Cat" scene. They don't put it into movies anymore. And it's basic. It's the scene where we meet the hero and the hero does something - like saving a cat - that defines who he is and makes us, the audience, like him.

    In the thriller Sea of Love, Al Pacino is a cop. Scene One finds him in the middle of a sting operation. Parole violators have been lured by the promise of meeting the N.Y. Yankees, but when they arrive it's Al and his cop buddies waiting to bust them. So Al's "cool." (He's got a cool idea for a sting anyway.) But on his way out he also does something nice. Al spots another lawbreaker, who's brought his son, coming late to the sting. Seeing the Dad with his kid, Al flashes his badge at the man who nods in understanding and exits quick. Al lets this guy off the hook because he has his young son with him. And just so you know Al hasn't gone totally soft, he also gets to say a cool line to the crook: "Catch you later . . ." Well, I don't know about you, but I like Al. I'll go anywhere he takes me now and you know what else? I'll be rooting to see him win. All based on a two second interaction between Al and a Dad with his baseball-fan kid.

    Can you imagine if the makers of Lara Croft 2 spent $4 on a good Save the Cat scene instead of the $2.5 million they spent developing that new latex body suit for Angeline Jolie? They might've done a whole lot better.


    So, think about that. Just $4 worth of pencils and paper, and a bit of ingenuity, creativity, and scriptwriting know-how, and so many movies could be fixed that were meant to be major money makers that just ended up being major money pits.

    For our purposes, that last line could be re-written or reconceptualized as follows: "Can you imagine if the makers of The Haunting of Hell House (or whatever) spent $4 on backstory development, character development, effective icon character development, incorporating pacing and anticipation in their scene layout, scene design and development with actor-focused integration in mind with regard to customer experience, and so on, instead of the $150K they spent on fancy animatronics? They might've done a whole lot better."

    I see the same thing happening with Haunts all the time.

    All these newbies who want to be "pro-haunters" run around like "home-haunters" with a bigger budget, a bigger space, and a bigger shopping list. They write "business plans" while not even knowing what they are talking about. They've never run a business before, or worse, they have, but no business in the world runs anything like a haunt, so having been a plumber or a restauranteur doesn't really get you much insight into running a haunt.

    It's like this difference between home-haunters wanting to go pro, and "dream-haunters", who want to open "the haunt of their dreams!" These are like the yuppie retirees who think that owning their own cafe or B'n'B would be a wonderful, life-affirming endeavor . . . the same people who have never set foot in the kitchen of a professional restaurant, or have done any major amount of entertaining, or even cook much, or really have any passion or concern for the hospitality industry . . . but, they do have a lovely little place picked out and a "well written business plan!"

    "Boy, we'll really impress the bank manager with our swell, well written business plan!"

    And it's made all the worse by all of these commercials for financial services showing retirees leaving the rat-race behind to "chase the dream" by opening their own business, doing something frightfully rustic and romantic.

    And then you have, as Greg put it, all of these kids who are, for whatever reason, unemployable, so they think that opening a pro-haunt will be their salvation. And, besides, "just how hard can it be?"

    Yet, the common denominator between all these different newbie-dream-haunter factions, conspicuous by its absence, its silence almost deafening, is the fact that absolutely none of them have ever actually worked in a professional haunted attraction!! None of them!

    They're all busy, feverishly working on their business plans, but none of them have ever made an animatronic, or a pop-up, or a latex mask, or airbrushed any makeup, or designed a full electrical system for a full haunt, or a sound system, or wired a controller, or any of the other stuff in Allen's videos, or even acted. And as far as the home-haunters go, many of them don't even have "actors." They have their sons and their sons' friends in dorky masks jumping around and spazzing out. That's fine and loads of fun for a home-haunt, but with a pro-haunt you are supposed to take it to the next level.

    (The notable exceptions to this dynamic are those like Pickle, who has actually managed a haunt, and has spent 25 years as a General Contractor.)

    Mind you, I love home-haunters, and I'm very impressed with what a lot of them do, and I've seen many of them give pro-haunters a run for their money as far as production value goes, but, seriously, there is just so much that home-haunters don't know about; stuff that they would never imagine putting into a business plan, or would know to.

    And as Greg asks, "a business plan? Well, who would you show it to?"

    That's why you see all the veterans on the boards laugh when someone says "oh, you need to work on your business plan" or "you need to have a good business plan", or some newbie says "I have never worked at a haunt and never done it and don't know the first thing about it, but I am really coming along on my business plan!"

    WTF!?!

    So, this is all where The $4 Fix comes in. What it means in practical English is to make sure you work out every single aspect of your haunt on paper before you spend a single dime. And that doesn't mean do a "business plan". Quite the polar opposite, it means learn everything you can, get as much hands on experience as possible. Like Allen suggests, actually work in a pro haunt to learn the ropes first if you can manage. Or volunteer in one. Or help a friend with their home-haunt, making it more like a proper walk-thru, if you have to. Don't worry about knowing everything - cuz you won't - but definitely learn every question you need to know how to ask, and try to avoid going from "zero to haunt" within one season, if you can. That's usually where a lot of bad thinking crops up and comes into the picture. (Many guys here are the exception, as evidenced by their insightful posts. They don't know everything, and are definitely newbies, but they know how to ask the right questions.)

    And then once you've done all that, once you know what questions to ask, get as many guys who know what they are doing to help you come up with practical and cost effective solutions on paper to the problems you have.

    Iow, The $4 Fix means solve all of your design and business model issues early in the design stage - on paper, on purpose - before you start blowing big bucks. Then you know you're good.

    Then after that, use another cost-effective Hollywood Secret, used by all the modern masters such as Spielberg and Lucas when it comes to epic productions: pre-viz everything for less than 0.1% of the total film's cost, and save yourself a ton of time and money. Make all of your key design decisions before you spend the big bucks.

    Allen also talks about that concept as well on his Design DVD, demonstrating excellent tools and resources that allow you to do this cost-effectively. Completely design your haunt (after having sketched it out on paper), before you buy a single sheet of plywood or bucket of latex or jug of fog juice.

    More in a bit, but that should give you the basic idea. Btw, I have some thoughts on your space layout.

    C.
    Last edited by BrotherMysterio; 07-28-2012 at 11:40 PM.
     

  4. Default  
    #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    Thanks Brother M, that makes perfect sense!

    Now that my show is over, (made it Into the Woods and out again safely), I can fully concentrate on the haunt. I should have the contract all set by Wednesday and the keys to the space by Friday. *fingers crossed* Still not been able to meet up with the FM (who knew they'd be so busy in such a small town!), hopefully Wednesday on that too.

    My Hauntelligencia is raring to go. One of them is a great artist, and I'm going to have him work on some Circus/Freak Show Posters.

    I worked out a rough draft of a layout today, certain to change still (as I still need to meet with the FM, and I don't have exact measurements of those protusions yet). But as it stands now, I will have 8 rooms to fill, plus some hallways to scare in. I don't have a central corridor, but I do have some exterior ones and interconnecting rooms. The big challenge is those darn pointed projections. Hard to make an outer corridor with them taking up so much space, plus I kind of want to use them for the mirror gag.

    One of the thoughts I had was to combine two of the rooms into a sort of black light, half wall mini maze. What do you folks think of that? Like an 18' by 20' area that's like a Pac-Man stage, only the ghosts are clowns and there's no power pellets to scare them away.



    TC
     

  5. Default  
    #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    156
    Though I am one of the newbies brother is referring to... common sense and reading archives tells me to be careful of mazes because they can affect your throughput, and cause bottleneck points. My fm also has restrictions on dead ends; in Nebraska's case, no more than 8' . Two things to think about
     

  6. Default  
    #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    33
    Quote Originally Posted by scottylmt View Post
    Though I am one of the newbies brother is referring to... common sense and reading archives tells me to be careful of mazes because they can affect your throughput, and cause bottleneck points. My fm also has restrictions on dead ends; in Nebraska's case, no more than 8' . Two things to think about

    I guess maze isn't quite the word I was looking for, as it's not quite that. It's more of a more winding queue line. The walls would only come up about 4 ft, so most can even see across the layout, adding black lights and appropriate paints to cause disorientation. Just working on ways to break up the layout (and maybe save on material costs). Only one way to go with no real dead ends, except maybe for one that leads to one of the Dressing Rooms left from when it was a clothing store, trying to come up with an occupied "stall" gag to break tension....


    TC
     

  7. Default  
    #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    540
    My maze is going to be at the end. Probably about 800 sq ft. Not too huge. Building #3 of my haunt (24'x40') will have a 24 by 10 room or something like that. It'll be the Angel of Death scene giving a speech and telling them to choose a door.

    I'll have dead ends, but won't be huge, I got a small area to work with, but I decided to put an actor in there with the group with NV. If there's a problem (only 12v lighting in the whole building with only speakers inside of it) we'll have a trained personal there. Plus, at least in Arkansas, anything 1,000ft or smaller, the codes are less strict. I talked to my FM and he said "Well, the codes are guildlines, you're not going around them and they're there for a reason. If you have a fire or a problem, a 1,000 sq ft building isn't going to be THAT difficult to get out of." So he believes we'll be safe with what I have.

    The best about me doing my maze at the end is, if it does bottle neck, it's at the end of the haunt. And the actor can push them through if there's a blockage. Maze is a good way to add time to your event, imo, but it has to be thoroughly thought of.

    Your 18'x 20', it will be small, imo, for a pacman maze anyways. I think it'd be fine if it was a dark maze, they go MUUUCH slower in the dark :P. Almost everyone is 5'+, make the walls right at 4' 8" or something, just under eye level of the average height person.
    Something else you can do, if budget allows, is I've seen small footage mazes made with chainlink fencing. They're not hard to paint / coat for smoothness and would be different most likely from what folks have seen. I haven't been to many haunts in the league of The Darkness, but all the smaller haunts (average haunts in average towns) I've only seen that once, and the haunt was no more after that year. You can buy premade gate sections at Lowe's. They're not really cheap, but if you have the budget it'd be great! Plus, you can add an actor on top if you can build a structure that's safe enough and let him terrorize the people in the maze with a nice saw or something.

    Dewayne
     

  8. Default  
    #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Old chain link fencing has no scrap value because of galvanized coatings. So there are all kinds of things being done with fences that are removed and replaced with better. You can get it from fencing people as they would rather give it away than pay to take it into the land fill.


    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 Don't "Think Outside The Box" 
    #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,862
    Use boxes instead, a whole roomfull of them. (Returned items unable to be delivered from outer Space)
    Some of the boxes have real people in them (who need no costumes) they just move their box around.
    Some boxes are filled with deadly creatures from long lost galaxys, or maybe Impalas? (Buick specials?)
    Some boxes are empty but come to life with the yank of a long piece of fishline from another box. Sliding across the floor.)
    Two fishlines shared by two boxes could make the middle , empty box move left and right, or just reset itself to it's starting position.
    Peak holes get hidden in the boxes via black paint numerals or designs.
    A few cardboard boxes have inner liners of plywood so once a monster jumps out from his box, he can stand quickly on the reinforced box to gain a height advantage over mere mortals.(To more effectively threaten them.)
    The Delux model box could be entirely plywood with real hinges, numerous vision ports, internal creature comforts and ball-bearing wheels to allow for quiet pursuits and speed. This plywood box would be covered with cardboard to make it hide with the rest.
    Of co
    If all the boxes were just painted blackurse the numbering system on the boxes would be numerically similair and confusing to also help hide which box just did "what"?
    All of these possibilites run around in my head and sound like a lot of fun to do and to have fun with the patrons, but then immitating what has gone before , Evil Clowns, Hollywood Monsters, ex cetra is pretty well ingrained within many people's concepts of what certain things should "BE"!?
     

  10. Default  
    #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    613
    TC, response forthcoming, but try to post a layout as soon as possible. There's no reason not to have a central corridor and several reasons to have one. They're easier to implement than you might think, and they make everything so much easier.

    For instance, JB could run Castle Dragon on 3 actors on slow nights if he needed. They would just leap-frog thru the central corridor, not from one scene to the next, but one scene to the next one three scenes away, with the other two actors doing the same thing. Throw in a few different masks along the way, and the patrons would swear that they saw a cast of 10 or more actors.

    Not only is this principle handy on slow night, but what happens if only half of your cast shows up. That kind of thing happens. Last year I had that very thing happen to me. I designed the haunt to work with a bare minimum of characters, but more if we could manage, and figured it wasn't really too crucial since we were about to have 10 additional actors show up (a drama teacher and 9 of her students). Well, they never showed, so we only had half of a cast on what was a really crucial gig. Well, fortunately, using the minimalist approach, and actors being able to cover longer stretches of haunt and also being able to switch places, that helped around that issue of a skeleton crew (pun slightly intended).

    If all of your characters are stuck in their respective rooms, and you only have half of your cast show up, then that means there will be rooms without actors in them. That's not entirely a bad thing if that's been worked into your show, but if those rooms depend on an actor being in their, then you basically only have half a haunt . . . but your patrons aren't paying half price. If there's something missing - like half of your cast - your audience will know it, and it will overall feel lacking.

    More later, but you want to afford yourself and your cast and crew maximum flexibility in how you can use your resources, and you always want to make it easier on your cast and crew, and more challenging for your patrons.

    C.
     

Thread Information
Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •