View Full Version : Need Help Brainstorming!

Raycliff Manor
07-19-2011, 05:47 PM
Hi Gang! If any of you are interested in helping me brainstorm, I would really appreciate your assistance. Now that we know we are moving forward with opening the Raycliff Attractions in Joplin this fall, we are working fast and furious on playing catch up! I'm working on taking care of the online ticketing, website updates, media marketing advertising contracts, recruiting and setting up interviews, sponsorship follow up, and the list goes on and on. I've also been working with Lee and a couple of team members on renovations inside Raycliff Manor. Here's the deal... because of the tornado, we weren't able to do a spring or summer event and generate additional revenue. Our renovation budget is extremely tight, just like all our other budgets for the haunt this year. We're trying to come up with ideas that we can implement on mostly sweat equity. We're not in a position to completely change our theme, so the rooms in the front half of the house are still typical of a manor, including a foyer, a living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hall, nursery, library, etc. Can anyone suggest some unique ideas to implement in these rooms that would be effective, while not changing the room to something completely different that wouldn't make sense inside a manor? I realize I'm asking you to somewhat fly blind since you can't see the rooms but I figured it would be worth a shot. We're also having a brainstorming meeting with the Raycliff Fright Team this Sunday and I know the team will have ideas as well. Thanks for any input you can offer!


07-19-2011, 06:27 PM
I'd say just keep in mind all of the fun stuff that you can do just by changing the lighting and audio that you use. Try something different with those.. maybe an different unusual soundtrack or dark-zones or strobing lights where there wasn't before. I think with just minor changes like that, you can completely change the atmosphere.

07-19-2011, 08:24 PM
Changing paint doesn't cost very much (oops paint from HD or Lowes) and can change a scene significantly.
Rearrange furniture and fixtures to redirect traffic flow through the room. That can make a scene feel completely different and doesn't cost anything.
Move a video effect from the middle of the attraction to the front room (I talked to Lee earlier today).

I'm sure there are some other good cheap ideas that I'm just not thinking of right now...but that's my advice.

07-19-2011, 09:51 PM
Simple color or distress changes would be awesome. Find scraps and board up doors or windows on one, dull everything down with some watered down black & green paint and a garden sprayer for some water damage or rotten aged look (if it is already, make it even "worse". Depending on your setup, maybe flip a room "upside down" if you have a ceiling and ability to do that. Maybe make one room look like there was a fire in it or a massacre if you have some extra blood or glossy blood red paint lying around? All simple changes that can likely be done with items you already have in the rooms or elsewhere in the attraction. Also depending on how things are setup with actor/customer vicinity, turn your actual workshop into a workshop room. Nothing wrong with theming your actual workspace then doubling it as attraction space. Dirty/bloody up your real tools, just make sure they cant be grabbed by the actor or customers. I did this at a haunt was with and it worked great. It both extended the workshop area as well as made the haunt a tad longer. Still kept a small closet lockable space for any valuable or extra dangerous tools though, but that was also kept right in the room as part of the scene.

There's a couple ideas, ill keep thinking to see if I come up with any more.

Mike "Pogo" Hach

Raycliff Manor
07-20-2011, 07:38 AM
Thanks everyone! This is exactly the kind of feedback to get me past my huge creative block! I think I have my right brain synapses firing so hard on the business side of things that my left brain went... well, brain dead! LOL

I'm taking all this feedback to our brainstorming meeting this Sunday to share with the team. They will be motivated knowing that others in the industry are helping out! It motivates me too, so thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

There's a synergy that's developing and growing for the Raycliff Team. The recent disaster really had an impact on the lives of many of our team members. Fortunately they are all alive and well, but facing many post-disaster challenges. At this point approximately half of the team may not be participating this year. Those still desiring and able to participate seem to be getting revived and re-energized and it feels like we're about to have an explosion of positive momentum. Lee and I are beginning to feel that we made the right decision in opening the Raycliff Attractions this year. We hope to have a huge positive impact on the community. One of the charities we support each year is heavily involved in providing help and support to families directly impacted by the tornado. This alone makes the risk of opening this year worth it! :)

At any rate, I'm feeling inspired and grateful this morning and I appreciate your help!


P.S. Kip, we've moved the Wall Crawl illusion you developed for us to the front Gallery and it looks awesome there! Now everyone will walk under it as they wait in the Gallery to enter the manor. :)

07-20-2011, 03:13 PM

I pitched this idea to a local theme park that was in a similar situation due to budget cuts. They never used it but came up with some odd other story that doesn't make sense with their current money issues. Anyway, my original idea was this:

Since paranormal research teams and ghost hunters are still pretty popular take the idea to another level. A ghost hunting team has shown up to Raycliff Manor. Their snooping around the estate has angered the spirits. Your customers have been invited to join the team/hunt. When they arrive they see a truck or signs outside with the paranormal research teams logo. Upon entering the house they find abandoned equipment or video, a la Blair Witch. Now they have to escape/survive the awakening of malevolent spirits. Perhaps some of your actors can play members of the team that are seen in glimpses or are being outright tortured.

As most people have said re-dress some of the rooms and move props from one locale to another. Think about how they "borrow" existing pieces of furniture or elements on design shows and re-incorporate it into a different room or area. Also changes in lighting and sound will totally change the look.



07-20-2011, 10:06 PM
As long as your theme makes sense, I don't think that it is necessary to totally re-theme every year. Your basic setting, in your case the manor, and even the characters can remain the same (or at least very similar) and still off your guest a totally new experience. It can even be a plus, as you can go deeper and deeper into your backstory. What you do have to change is the scares and the focal points. Those are the things that people remember and as long as they change significantly, the show will be fine.

Early on in the attraction, you might even take advantage of things not changing to radically. People who went through last year may be expecting a scare from one direction and you can come from a totally different spot and scare the heck out of them.

Anyway, that's the best I can do off the top of my head without knowing more about the manor. On a personal note, I have been away from the forums for a while and it has been a long time since we have chatted Kel, I hope all is going well.


Raycliff Manor
07-21-2011, 06:24 AM
Thanks Lee and Dave! I still say one day a group of haunters from across the country will come together to develop, build and open one amazing haunted attractions. When it happens, I hope I'm a part of it! :D


07-21-2011, 10:27 PM
Hey Kel,
Nice to see your going to open this year. I dont know what ideas I might have but you guys can come up and look around and dig in my storage trailer. You might find a few things you can take back with you to change things up a bit. A little walk thru another manor type haunt might give you some ideas. What do you say? Make the 3 or so hour trip and come visit your brother! Make Mom happy. Tell her I said Hi.
I miss you guys!!!
You have my # but in case you lost it (573)881-7061


Raycliff Manor
07-22-2011, 12:31 PM
Thanks Greg! I'll talk to Lee and see if we can take a break in the next week or so and make a road trip! I know, Mom keeps asking why we don't get together more often! Thanks again and talk to you soon bro!

So, I've received a few emails from people suggesting black out areas with various "textures" hanging down in the path of the patrons and on the walls. I'd love to get input from others as to some creative things you've used in black out areas. I've seen fishing line, pool noodles and carpet patches used before, but I can't think of anything else I've seen. Any ideas/suggestions? Thanks again for all the input!