View Full Version : --Transworld Seminars-- 2011 Please comment with critiques on seminars you attended.

03-15-2011, 12:55 AM
Hope everyone got back safely from St. Louis.

I attended 9 seminars this year and had a few suggests everyone will agree with. These points deal with equipment, titles, and presenters. I also will tell you the ones I found most interesting and why.

First and most important, everyone giving a seminar must be equip with a projector set up provided by either the trade-show itself or the seminar's presenter. A lot of the classes dealt with detail oriented subjects such as make-up, faux painting and detail other scenic aspects of your haunt so the lack or a projector made for a huge downgrade in quality. I list this point first because regardless of your class or organization you must have the proper gear and back-end tech ready to present your information, this goes for microphones too.

While the seminars were described on the HAA site, the class names differ too much from the descriptions. Case in point, "Air Brush Make-up for Haunted Attractions" I really liked this class, I love seeing demos and processes. The problem here is that anyone just seeing the title might think that the class is about how to best utilize airbrush make-up in your attraction. In reality the description was "three live demos", why not have the title, "Airbrush Demonstrations by: *Blane Quam" or "Q and A Airbrushing Demo"

A second example of this title confusion, "How to Bring your Giant Costumes and Puppet Characters to Life!", your first thoughts would be, "techniques on puppeteering." The reality is that the class was more focused on how you can utilize your costume in the haunt, out of the haunt, and outside of a haunting environment (i.e. promotional events)

The other main tool that would be helpful for next year's seminars would be a rating system, something that the presenters set to let you know who would learn the most from that particular lecture. Say for example: 1-3 class levels
Level 1: Home haunters and first year houses
Level 2: Established names looking for learn more and grow
Level 3: Advanced classes in marketing, through-put, and managing large staffs for haunts that process 5,000-10,000 customers a night (busiest nights)

Every seminar has the potential of being a hour long commercial for a product. Product info sessions would not be an issue if they were free, but these class go for $40-$60. Any presenter that uses the time to hock their product should not be allowed to charge for the seminar.

With that stated, here were my favorite seminars/moments:

"How to Bring your Giant Costumes and Puppet Characters to Life!"
The best part of this class was seeing Kevin put on the costume and show the true range of motion. Everyone clapped when he bent over at a 90 degree angle with the Wraith on and effortlessly corrected. Just seeing one person put it on without help and take it off was impressive, letting the product do the talking is the best way to go with sessions like these.

"Face and Body Painting"
This session had the most practical tips and tricks out or all the air brushing classes, the only problem being that the demos were not projected and that made it hard for people in the back to get a good look at the process. The presenter didn't spend much time talking about the make-up he was sponsored by, rather he let the make-up speak for itself.

"Air Brush Make-up for Haunted Attractions"
This seminar had the projector and slide show set up, but the real benefit was that the presenter, Blane Quam, a 13th Gate make-up artist. It's nice knowing that the presenter is from a haunt looking to share techniques rather than a company trying to sell you their product.

"Over the Top Costuming! What you need to know!"
This session was my favorite because it met all my expectations. Even if your haunted house already has costuming down, Ben provides strong views and philosophies most haunters aren't willing to share with other houses.

Seeing how these seminar's execution can be improved has my own wheels turning as I begin to dig into work back at home. I hope to see better classes and better titles so people know exactly what to expect. Remember presenters, technology is there to help, use the microphones and projectors. Help push the industry forward, sharing ideas leads to bigger better ones that come back to you.



03-15-2011, 03:25 AM
Good points. I know for one, I was given the name of my seminar and had to figure out for myself what I was to talk about. Another thing that you might not be aware of is that this is the first year (so I was told) that the presenters were not paid by TW to give the seminars. We donated our time - which is probably why the presenters were heavily mentioning their products.

I had a really fun time doing mine and look forward to doing it again next year (even though my day was changed (or I had a lapse in memory) and had to run over and give my seminar without any preparation.. doh!). If you sat through mine I hope you walked away with more knowledge than you arrived with!


Gore Galore
03-15-2011, 03:51 AM
Thank you so much for the feedback on my seminar.
I would be interested in developing a more appropriate title.
That title was chosen way before the seminar was truly hashed out.
So that is your explanation for why it may have not quite fit.
What do you think would have been a more fitting title that would be very concise and appropriate.
It is the first seminar I have given at the transworld show. I have done tons of demos but never just a seminar other than in Kansas City.
I sincerely hope it was worth your investment, and would be honored in anyones feedback concerning the seminar I presented.

Allen H
03-15-2011, 05:42 AM
I agree there needs to be levels, but I disagree with your system of rank.

"The other main tool that would be helpful for next year's seminars would be a rating system, something that the presenters set to let you know who would learn the most from that particular lecture. Say for example: 1-3 class levels
Level 1: Home haunters and first year houses
Level 2: Established names looking for learn more and grow
Level 3: Advanced classes in marketing, through-put, and managing large staffs for haunts that process 5,000-10,000 customers a night (busiest nights)"

I dont think being a home haunter or having an established name is exclusive to needing a high level class, I simply think that "advanced" would work. I really wanted an Advanced airbrush class, an advanced set decorationg class, and advanced lighting class, and advanced sound design class. It would be great if the desciption had the requirements in it for example.
Advanced airbrush make up- Attendee must already have an understanding of and be proficient in the use of a double action airbrush. Best for Attractions that already use air brush Make-up.

Advanced sound design- Atendee must have an understanding and a solid base knowledge of speakers and amplifiers. Acess to and knowledge of Audacity sound program very helpful.

I simply think advanced would do it. Being a home haunter dosent mean you are a beginner, nor does being a first year house. Lots of first year houses have established roots in other shows so dont need the base level knowledge.
Allen H

03-15-2011, 08:45 AM
Fright Props- I attended yours too, I basically got update with my co-worker that already handles the systems, very helpful, your actual catalog alone is outstanding as not only a product listing, but filled with tons of graphs and technical info to help the consumer figure out what to buy.

Gore Galore, it may be hard to pull off, (in terms of bringing enough product) but it would be cool to do a hands on puppetry class where the group divides into smaller units and get to work with the large costumes, the neck biters, and the lurks and trade off learning quick tips on how to scare and work the talking and movement. Kevin, your costumes really do speak for themselves though, they have the best look and wear, from my "test drive" on the show floor I could easily see wearing one all night. When simply putting on your own product garners an applause you know you're golden.

Allen, In terms of a rank that was the first idea off the top of my head, but I definitely think it would help us decide what seminars to take, having an "advanced" title would be so helpful.


Another cool idea might be to have scheduled meet up and open discussions one meet-up for each area of the haunt.

They could be scheduled semi-formally with topics of discussion everyone can participate in. Say for example: An actor manager meet-up, A make-up artist meet-up, and a Tech-lead meet-up, Costume manager, etc.

At each of these semi formal meet up you discuss open topics and get to network with others that do the exact same thing you do at your haunt and get to trade info on philosophies and what you've tried and not tried.

My last edit, who took the Faux Painting? How was that one?

03-15-2011, 05:47 PM
I believe I went to three seminars while I was in St. Louis, and I was able to walk away from all three with something new.
1 - how to scare the shit out of everyone - Allen, you made this seminar a ton of fun, and this opened up my eyes to new ideas within the scares we already have. Also, it was a great reminder that you don't need to spend millions to get a really good scare. Thanks, it was fun!
2 - Carving Cathedrals - Although you can't do a tremendous amount of educating about foam carving in a one hour seminar, I think that they gave an excellent seminar with the time they had. They started with the basic techniques for beginners, all while accepting questions and comments throughout the seminar for people who have had experience. This seminar motivated us to plan new foam projects this year
3 - Branding your event - social media - I was expecting to get a beginner's class in how to use facebook, and was totally surprised with the direction of the seminar. The speaker, john, went into depth about filming promotional videos for your haunt, and using those to market your haunt through social networking. The video he used as an example was on his site statesville.org. He had good energy and motivated me to start working on those videos we've been talking about filming the last few years.