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Thread: Business people?

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  1. Default  
    #31
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    I'm sorry for your confusion but there are quite a range of people that are indeed capable of making things that actually are at Transworld that this year will be about 5 booths 3 isles over from Gore Galore and all of these people do infact make products that sell, are traded locally and they do marketing and running their business successfully quite nicely. They do act and can do it all because of passion. It is indeed possible to do every aspect of haunting and owning a haunted house. You are on the same token that being successful means you somehow lack in some of these skills and have to buy things. I sure hope and so does Gore Galore there are a lot of unskilled clients out there.

    Part of the attraction of this business is the fact that you can do all of theses things. It still simply comes down to paying someone $2500 plus shipping or more for a certain product or building yourself one of similar quality yourself. Even big names like Larry K. announced he is going to be reentering making animatronics. Of course not all of the things made are as professional or as pretty as Gore Galore makes. I also don't think Gore Galores products give off that store bought look that a customer might say these guys are making lots of money and we should too. Or they are making too much money and I'm not going to give them anymore. Now if you have room after room of things the customers can only imagine as being tremendously expensive it can be a turn off. There should be a balance. There are also lots of used props out there that need repaired and reskinned. There are other brilliant ways of doing things without $500,000 to open up.

    Pretty much the topics being discussed are about starting up from scatch and trying to go full time in the very first years. Your impression of mom and pop looks just because you made it yourself is not what many of these places looks like. Not what many people here are capable of. Actually it is getting harder and harder to find anything in a dumpster worth anything. You have to think outside the dumpster and get seconds in mass quantity before they hit the dumpsters. Just being very specific on what raw materials you can fashion something out of.

    Still, you can be doing things like making everything Allen Hopps shows you how to do on Utoob and then there are so many things he makes that he isn't going to show you because they are pro products that do end up at Transworld and other booths and Utoob videos about that would possibly be creating the competition a little too easy.

    If you want to twist things around, the ones that do not make it are not the makers, it is the people that want to own a business for the sake of owning a business. It is like that in any field. People compete because they can get $10,000 worth of equipment and supplies all the time and then discover it is lots of actual work they hadn't planned on. Sure you just hire managers for all of that. And there in lies a clue that people reveal about themselves. People decided to start a haunt and to me it feels like they have only been to one haunt instead of went to 100 to see what it is about.

    None of the conversations on these forums get beyond borrowing money it seems. No one gets into what it takes to buy raw materials and products at wholesale and rather all you do get is what sounds and acts like fitting out a haunt with items another 100 haunts have in their videos. Or on the upper scale everyone mentions being inspired with the things Disney has added to their parks and attractions for years but, once you have seen a trillion dollars worth of stuff, do you go evey year or do you just say you have seen that, even though you might not have internalized very much at all. Haunts that used the Disney levels of detail declined in numbers too.

    I'm suggesting elaborate props in moderation, great actors that do not break character, building a suspension of belief and as much detail as the near the dumpster finds you can manage to locate. All in the name of low over head. Low overhead doesn't mean it is crap or the quality of some old guy's bird houses being sold out of the back of a pickup at the gas station. You can make your own things and if it looks retarded, maybe you SHOULD go to transworld. A lot of people go into this because they saw something they could do. Not because they imagined being a money manager and a book keeper. Ultimately you have to do that too and be good at it. It takes time. Perhap a life time of trying and improving and complementing your haunt with things others have made. It is also like how many bands first record sucks because all 12 songs sound the same. A haunt can be drab because it isn't a mix of many elements.

    It can be over the top retarded or just plain retarded and needs to be somewhere in the middle. And many need to be given credit for being able to hands on do these things. The only business oriented that pop up have no idea what people can do, do regularly and actually pay too much to lots of middle men for some props.

    You have to get out there and see what people are actually making. It may involve that odd furniture piece found in a dumpster but, one way or another it comes down to either time or money invested even if you have all the skill sets. Which way is most productive for different kinds of people isn't how they think, it is whether they can find the market for their products or haunted event. And even then, yes you can make high quality things and do your own marketing and do your own book keeping. That is what being a successful business owner kind of entails.

    If you are making lots of retarded things you won't make it. If you spend $500,000 your first year it might not work.

    Another thing that might be confusing is that there are many that are constant start up people and get things going with little money and they do evolve as customer money comes in. You have done your job and got them started and moved on. They find more local talent that is actually talented, I'm not set on bad mouthing an major products but, it is a financial concern to do so. Especially with the internet and vidoes and even the media sugesting you just buy this stuff and have yourself a haunted house, the more original and diversified the better. Quite frankly there are a lot of successful haunts that haven't come up out of crap mode and still manage to spend all their money trying to make things. Or buying high dollar production equipment and making only 50 things that is just as equally inefficient. Things that drag out being a success.


    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  
    #32
    Interesting point.

    The goal should always be to create the best possible show based on your assets - Time, money, and talent. Take making masks for an example, Latex or Silicone -Sometimes making your own stuff is hubris - just because you have the basic skills make a mask will it be better than the best you can afford? Is a basic product you create really the best use of your time? Do you really have the artistic ability to make a better mask than you can buy? Unless a do it yourself project is based on true lack of funds, or a creative desire to make it yourself just to develop your skills is it going to get the best result for your customer?

    You are the producer and you want the best you can get. Does the director of a major horror movie make his own monster? No he gets the best effects company he can beg - or afford to do it so that he can concentrate on his job - directing the movie.

    Making your own things can be a fun thing to do, but sometimes you need to step back, look at what you made, and really ask yourself if working with an artist or buying from a vendor will get you a better result.

    The customer doesn't see the journey they just see the result. And if you do not do the best you can with the money, time and talent you have available, then the result may not be as good as it can be.

    Thanks!
    Ben Armstrong
    NETHERWORLD HAUNTED HOUSE
    www.Fearworld.com
    www.NetherworldNetwork.com
     

  3. Default  
    #33
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    Seriously, how many people who own a haunt can make really cool things themselves? Few and far between. I for one would not buy a ticket to a haunt that was homemade and scavenged. We USED to be an industry of dumpster divers, that was 20,30 years ago now we actually have vendors and artists and tradeshows when back then we didn't.

    Now I'm not against making some things because it is fun and a source of pride. But a haunt that's a do it yourself haunt almost always comes off as low budget and cheesy.


    DA
     

  4. Default  
    #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkangel View Post
    Seriously, how many people who own a haunt can make really cool things themselves? Few and far between. I for one would not buy a ticket to a haunt that was homemade and scavenged. We USED to be an industry of dumpster divers, that was 20,30 years ago now we actually have vendors and artists and tradeshows when back then we didn't.

    Now I'm not against making some things because it is fun and a source of pride. But a haunt that's a do it yourself haunt almost always comes off as low budget and cheesy.


    DA
    Well, again, I would ask, how do you approach things at your show, and what did you do this last season? If you give us real world examples of how you approached these issues, it would definitely shed light on your point.

    As far as how many people who own a haunt can make really cool things themselves, well, Allen would be one. Any number of his compatriots here in DFW would be more.

    C.
     

  5. Default  
    #35
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    I am not speaking as a haunt owner but more as a guest who spends money going to haunts that makes it worth it for me. To me it's more worth it going to a haunt that has all the cool things you see at Transworld right in their shows and to see the creativity on how they tie it all together.

    As far as Allen yes he is talented and makes many things but none of the stuff I've seen are on the level as Scarefactory, or Distortions or Gore Galore and masks not close to that of CFX. I think Allen does a great job and has great videos on youtube showing home Haunters and small budget haunts how to build things on a tight budget. He is multi talented but its just not at the level the big vendors are on and that's ok but you can't be an expert on everything it's impossible.


    DA
    Last edited by Darkangel; 12-04-2012 at 06:00 PM.
     

  6. Default  
    #36
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    Even living in Texas and not being from here originally, I have always said Texas was 20 years behind the rest of the country and maybe that is a comfortable thing to be. Who's high end prop appeals to you as a customer is kind of subjective. I sat here and tried to count how many haunts I am really in contact with and I came up with 14. Then in trying to address your question, all of them make something. One makes costumes, another had a lighting company and makes their own electronic programing circuits, another is a heavy scenic design contractor, 3 make masks and costumes and props, maybe 2 of them there should be an intervention to stop making things.

    For the most part I'm kind of impressed. Many do buy all the props you mentioned, name brand items in addition to making things. Have you personally begun collecting $600 masks? DO you have props in the rec room that cost $2800 just because you believe they are cool? What, you haven't spent that kind of money ever and demand everyone else does for you? I'm just feeling some kind of math formula that if you see x amount of people for so much money each how many of these high dollar things do you get to have and destroy completely every year? And who's money is this now and what kind of party are we having? I kind of need to know.

    This making things has become a cultural thing, not just a cost issue. Many of the haunted people have been around haunts in different capacities for more than 25 years. It isn't lack of skill that many chose to make things that just work and aren't spectacular. And what you don't see is how many people completely devote their off time learning to making things at each of these haunts. It is more of a life style and for 14 different haunts and more to be able to wander into each others shop and see what is happening, I think is kind of rare. Or to all gather and share is rarer still. There is an entire culture and as an owner you become aware of other payoffs beyond money the event made. You have taken individuals and let them play with set design, possibly make a product that is Transworld worthy and You just don't see how actors come up to you at the end of the season and thank you for making something so memorable in their lives. Many that previously had no opportunities were given a reason to live.

    What you find attractive is subjective. In directing people to which haunt they should see and perhaps rank them for best experience, my top pick was one that hasn't been around for ever and has a core group of people that consider their location home to a degree most weekends. They don't have a single thing from Transworld, are located in what feels like a remote location even though there are apartment complexes over the next hill. The acting is great, the characters are almost all signature characters. It puts a smile on your face.

    Everyone here originally had Verdun Manor and Thrillvania as a creepy standard and it has all the props of the day and high level Death Studios masks and so much more. People in the haunt community either worked there, even before anyone imagined it would be something one day. Still no one went off and copied it. Times changed, other products became available. But that high degree of things were made there kind of fashioned everyone that does haunting as almost a religious experience of you can do this.

    So in this troup of freinds, there are former advertising people, people that have worked all year round haunts, the original kids from Verdun Manor, the original kids from Castle Dragon, pro sound recording people, former lighting companies, real artists, real sculpters, real industrial tech people, real engineers, robitics people, real event oriented people. Business start up and take over people, scenic design contractors and so on. Quite a blend of Phd level teachers in many current fields. All different ages, all different limitations.

    I'm pretty sure there are similar hubs of like minded people cooperating in the Mid West, in California, around St.Louis, In Florida and a couple points in between. All the conventions that are operating and going to operate are an extention of that. Yet, no one person can be all things, and no one haunt cannot be the end all of everything. You really can't cut someone down for rallying serious levels of participation and appreciation in thousands of people's lives. That's what it is. I have spent some time questioning what you might consider product quality and so you just listed Distortions, Scarefactory and Gore Galore to name a few. Should everyone do exactly as they do or they aren't the shit? When many times something 1/6th the cost or 1/25th the cost is just right and is going to be in the dark anyhow? In a real haunt it is creepier to be kind of sketchy and that is entirely different that how cool something looks under the florescent lights at Transworld. I'm tired of going through haunts and some animatronic doesn't work and is just static forward like that is part of the show. And these kind of things just happen because very few machines can take 80,000 cycles and work flawlessly. So you added the entire dynamic of having 2 of everything just to make it all keep working.

    I'm not jealous either, I spent 8 years working in material testing research facilities. Making test apparatus is pretty much building robots. I can do that if I saw it really fit. Maybe it is my exposure to machines that has me biased but all I see is something that breaks, is scary only because it might fall on you when it springs into action. Having a lot of them is like having 20 rooms per haunt and every room has the same drop panel scare.

    So maybe what I'm seeing is you don't need one Mentor when you can have 80 mentors. The same situation can be had anywhere in the country for those willing to wander around where they are located.

    If you want to see everything Transworld has to offer worked into some creative scene, You are going to have to travel to see the Darkness and Netherworld. There probably isn't one coming to a neighborhood near you unless you build it. Not every haunt aspires to be like them. Not every market can support their level of investment.


    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.
     

  7. Default  
    #37
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    Wow!!

    Okay, so I've been following this on my phone (it's the week before finals and any free second I had I was reading up on here, or doing work for clients for my other business, so I apologize for not being overly vocal in this thread lately!)

    Sitting back at my desk and re-reading all of what was said in this entire post, there are a few key things I really took away from EVERYONE'S input, and I'm going to attempt to find an even middle ground in the conglomeration of opinions and thoughts expressed.

    I, ofcourse, had my own opinions and beliefs before posting this thread, but like any ignorant know it all, I know that I want to become less and less ignorant as time progresses, and I think it's fair to say that from what people have posted here is that there really needs to be a true BALANCE in every road you take to success in this industry.

    When you try to open up, you shouldn't just spend lots of money and open up a haunt, or any business for that matter, you should get involved in other peoples businesses in some way shape or form, and try to learn through a bit of hard knocks about how the business is run, and find ways to work in your own personal ideas and "improvements" when you make the jump to opening up YOUR business.

    There is NOT a defined way to do anything in this business, (which I subconsciously knew, but I was praying to be wrong haha), yes we have been around as an industry for a long time and in many different forms, but the vast array of things in which one can do make things all that much harder, since there are really so many options.

    Some of the only definite things you need to have include:

    -Basic Business Skills: setting a budget for yourself, being realistic in what you plan to do, and have a backup plan in case everything falls to shit, and above all, realize it takes time in order to make any real money.

    -C&C: Craftsmanship and Creativity: You have to be able to know what you want, and how to make that happen, be it a prop you need an artist/vendor to make for you, or something you can plan out in some way, shape, or form, and do yourself.

    -People Skills: Often overlooked, but so many people in this industry FAIL HARD because they don't know how to handle situations not only with customers, but with other employees. If you can't communicate and convey yourself properly, you stand little chance of succeeding in whatever your goal may be.

    -Passion!: This is the most COMMON thing people in our industry have, and it is very important to have, but is a death trap if you don't have it. All of the big name people, although successful and consistently pulling in a six figure (sometimes more) sales total at the end of the month couldn't do it if they didn't have passion!! The passion to be the best! The passion to make money! Or the passion to WORK HARD! This is really an industry that thrives on an individuals passion to be the best they can be, if you don't have motivation, you cannot and will not do well in this industry. If you are a suit and tie, ultra conservative, proper, and afraid to get your hands dirty to put together a good haunt, you need to get back to walstreet or your cubicle and pray you don't get laid off when your company tanks and loses it's entire stock value.


    That was just a summary of what I've gathered and am really taking to heart in this conversation, feel free to let me know if I missed something or am totally off, I can take it! :P haha

    Going back to more opinions, when it comes to talking about "professional" this or that, or "expensive prop", and it's infliction's on a customers reaction in your haunt. WHO CARES?!? When I go through a haunt, all I want is to be scared. If I can get scared by a tin can, hats off to you, and if I see a giant puppet head try to eat me, you bet your ass I will GLADLY appreciate the work it took for ANY vendor to have made it! Sometimes it's the ratty, distraught, and TRASH props that come from a dumpster, a yard sale, or outta your ass that just make for a good scene, and a good scare! I would not be able to take a customer seriously if they complained about having an "expensive" look...really?! Is that a REAL complaint? Or is that some punk just being a punk??? It was either scary and did it's job or it wasn't your kind of haunt, but there's no way any customer goes through and tries assessing the dollar value of your attraction when you have too much good stuff! I would expect a complaint if they felt the attraction was not up to par, or sloppy with no real direction or scare factor, but too many high end props?? Let's be real. That's just one haunter being a little envious of another haunters pockets. But in the end, as long as you had a good time and could appreciate the time and effort someone put into their attraction, then who cares what money was spent to make it the way it was, it's all about the experience when you're going through.

    That's all I have to say, and I'd like to ask just ONE thing of ANYONE who is posting after me, do NOT compare one vendor to another in a negative light. It's one thing to say Gore Galore makes the craziest and most epic giant heads around, and it's another to say that XYZ's work isn't as up to par as ZYX's. No matter the intention, it isn't polite and can be taken as disrespectful, even if not meant to be, so please try to refrain from saying things about another person's work that can be perceived as disrespectful. And I am NOT finger pointing or trying to be smug about anything, I wouldn't want to be told anything I did wasn't as good as someone elses, it's just not nice, all I ask is that we continue to play nice on here
     

  8. Default  
    #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkangel View Post
    I am not speaking as a haunt owner but more as a guest who spends money going to haunts that makes it worth it for me. To me it's more worth it going to a haunt that has all the cool things you see at Transworld right in their shows and to see the creativity on how they tie it all together.

    As far as Allen yes he is talented and makes many things but none of the stuff I've seen are on the level as Scarefactory, or Distortions or Gore Galore and masks not close to that of CFX. I think Allen does a great job and has great videos on youtube showing home Haunters and small budget haunts how to build things on a tight budget. He is multi talented but its just not at the level the big vendors are on and that's ok but you can't be an expert on everything it's impossible.
    But, again, I ask, how do you approach things at your show? That would probably yield the greatest insight.

    As far as the companies you listed, I know of the work of all four companies you mentioned and while a goodly amount of their stuff is absolutely excellent, I've also seen examples of things which could have been done far more effectively at a mere fraction of the cost, and also I'm inclined to believe that a lot of this push towards "cool, high end, quality vendor stuff" is really more about the big bells and whistles stuff (like latex pulls that look like they came from Stan Winston or Rick Baker), and not, for instance, some of Gore Galore's excellent sound effects, or Fright Props excellent controllers or components for building pneumatics? Why is it always about big latex widgets that make noise and wiggle, and costs a witload of money?

    As far as ScareFactory goes, I love their stuff. Absolutely love it. Coolest stuff ever. Until it starts to move, wiggle, and make silly noises. And then that's the point where you start wondering what else you could have spent that extra $10K on instead, vs. just $1K on a cool static prop (which, more often than not, could be made for about $100). I know people who can put together a great haunt for $10K in cost of materials. That's a second attraction to your even right there.

    Case in point: a friend and I went to a major pro haunt. One of the biggest in the state. They had a $14K animatronic in one room (one of the big ones you mentioned), and a $7/hr stilt walker in the next. At $7 an hour, 4 hours a night, for a 25 day run, that's $700 for that character for the season. It would take 20 seasons (years) to amortize the cost of the $14K animatronic (iow, break even), vs. that spot being filled by an actor on stilts, as the next scene was. Three years later, she still talks about the stilt walker. She never even noticed the animatronic. (And this animatronic is an industry favorite! Go figure.) Me, I thought the animatronic looked kinda neat, thinking, "gee, someone did a good job of making a goofy looking animatronic out of some blocks of styrofoam and rigging it like a flying crank ghost or marionette. That must have been, like, a few hundred bucks? Neat!" If I had had any awareness that the thing wasn't a homemade haunt prop for a few hundred bucks, but rather an "industry standard costing $14K", I would have been appalled.

    C.
     

  9. Default Junk 
    #39
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    One of the best haunted houses in my state[colorado] is made of alot of junk. The haunts ''boiler style'' room is entirely made of broken water heaters, old house heaters, old pipes and a hole bunch of throw away stuff he probably got from a demolition company. He also has totaled out vehicles that he got at the junk yard for nothing[maybe even haunt tickets because they are messed]! He even has static home made prop bodies that hang up and he has water with food coloring running down them like blood. He uses old fencing for some of his outdoor scenes and the fence is all weather rotted so it looks creepy. He uses old toilets ,sinks,cabinets,furniture and other odds and ends for his sets[some of the old weather beaten thrown out stuff looks like it belongs in an apocalyptic zombie, old beat up house scene for the best effect. This haunted house had maybe three pneumatic props and they make BIG money. It matters on how you use the junk and how dark your haunt is to make the throw away items the best stuff you have ever scene. He even has this room once you first walk in that has old computer monitors and old key boards and stuff that make it look like a control room. He has one old screen in the room that shows a video on the zombie break out that is going on in the city then after it is done an actor pops out and lets you in and that room looked awesome.
     

  10. Default  
    #40
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    The junk has its place for sure but when it's time for an interview they don't film junk and actors they film your Impaler.

    DA
     

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