View Full Version : Zombie Paintball?
03-18-2013, 09:24 PM
Honestly, without the people who sell the systems chiming in, is Zombie Paintball a fad, or here to stay? I find a hard time justifying the tens of thousands spent on a system for a small haunt to barely break even let alone make a "killing" pardon the pun.
I find the whole thing to appear to be a fad, and just like vampires and lycans were big in the early to late 2000's, zombies will be around until the next big thing hits, and spending 20 thousand dollars on a kit or a trailer seems to be a rip to me, no?
Also, does anyone have issues with their actors staying to actually work for the paintball setup? For every 100 actors I've seen, maybe 10 are worth their weight, and even less I'm sure would be willing to take (even a low pressure) paintball hundreds of times every wagon load?
03-18-2013, 09:39 PM
If you do zombies do it this year then sell the fad is going to drop off soon. Once the mainstream gets into something it soon becomes not cool anymore and after World War Z runs through on top of the Walking Dead fandom it's at the tipping point. But of course you could shoot anything not just zombies so keep that in mind.
03-18-2013, 09:46 PM
DW, I agree about it's adaptability, but then we lead into actors. As well as this economy? If, say, we sold a 75 paintball trip for 10 bucks, think anyone would bite? This economy sucks, and I've even skipped seeing movies and in the last few years only go to two haunts for learning instead of 10 hour road trips to visit other haunts...
Idk, just seems like a big deal for haunts doing 40k people, but a smaller haunt wouldn't benefit as much as it would by investing into more lighting, sound, animatronics and startle animations, etc?
Thanks for your post! :)
03-18-2013, 09:51 PM
I would say to do like you said invest in making your show the best it can be by improving the lighting, sounds, decor and better actors. Besides, I would think it would be challenging to keep actors willing to get shot at all night.
03-18-2013, 11:28 PM
I did monster paintball in 2003-2004 at a small to medium sized show. We were in virgin territory then so we made a ton of mistakes and had logistical issues. Armor was a big issue for us.
I thing Greg and his crew have solved many of the issues that I encountered years ago. If you have the money to market it, there is nothing bigger right now than guns- that is the wave to be ridden as opposed to Zombies. That is my two cents.
03-19-2013, 04:06 AM
Sue said you may have had issues with keeping actors as well...?
I understand that guns are a big thing right now, it's just that for Greg's system at $30,000 for two trailers I'd need 2000 people paying 15 a head to break even. In today's economy, will people (in my area) pay that for only 75 balls and 8-10 minutes of shooting? Idk. I suppose this is a crapshoot.... And at what expense for advertising? Greg does 23 Lamar billboards in a 75 mile radius, so obviously he has the funding to promote, but my budget I'm working with is very tight for adverts. It almost seems counter productive to spend that much money on a system that I can't even promote effectively, no?
03-19-2013, 04:10 AM
And as always, thanks for responses to this point.
03-19-2013, 04:38 AM
I know a farm up here that did it and they were sold out for the season after 2 weeks. They were running it Day and night..Day time had targets, nighttime had the real zombies. Said they had Grandmothers, Moms, Dads, Teenagers and Young kids lining up just to shoot some paintballs.
03-19-2013, 05:36 AM
Yes, but how much did they advertise? This is my point, you could have the best haunted house in the planet, and if you don't advertise it all goes by the wayside.
03-19-2013, 05:37 AM
Tater I'm more looking for the people who can give me numbers, stats, how much they advertised, etc rather than "one up here sold out"
03-19-2013, 05:41 AM
What was the name of the farm? Contact info? I'd love to speak with them to ask directly :)
03-19-2013, 02:14 PM
I would urge you not to buy as it sounds you already have a bias. Yes, its expensive. Having done it I think it would cost more to do the R&D yourself to get it done to that level of correctness. Also because you are talking about Guns and moving vehicles I see it as an insurance and liability asset to buy from a seperate company. The renfaire I work for cant build a playground because they cant insure it, but if they purchase one they can because their is a liability sponge.
I had a high actor turnover because we made a few poor choices reguarding the guns and the armor- the learning curve was high- part of what you are paying for is the learning curve you are skipping by buying from a vendor.
I respect your choice and fully understand it- if you cant afford to market any attraction then you shouldnt invest to much in it.
03-19-2013, 02:24 PM
Well said Allen. I'm not biased, simply looking for the negative to both sides in order to protect the people (and attraction) that I am helping to make the decision.
I appreciate the feedback, and hope to hear from others who may have had a great experience with the setup.
I understand from an insurance aspect it makes logical sense, but I also understand that investing that much money into an attraction that may not get the proper and adequate publicity may make it a wasted investment for the folks I am helping out.
03-19-2013, 02:38 PM
You may try hooking up with another haunt that may want to do it but does not want to put out the money for it. If you shared their advertising and they got a cut this would reduce your exposure for losses your first year. They would have a second atraction and you would be on the hook for less marketing. Just an idea I have been kicking around. Whe have a corn maze around the corner and have been talking with them about the same thing. They have 5000 people go to the corn maze a year and if I can get some of their customer to do paint ball too that is a good start, on the flip side I would be driving more traffic to them too. The only thing I will say is make sure you have your marketing covered.
03-20-2013, 01:10 AM
Let me answer a few things and throw out a few comments...
1) Is this a stand alone attraction ... NO!!!!! Its not scary, so that alone makes it not a stand alone, its more or less like a gimmick type of attractions which we used as a marketing tool/gimmick. There are several paintball fields in our area that did the same thing and this was the only thing they marketed and I think they might have done about 4 or 5000 people. So as a stand alone I don't think it works.
2) Is it safe? Good question!!! I think I learned more about what to do and not to do by doing it and simply using a lot of common sense to make adjustments. Let me say I learned a lot! You can not really run this type of attraction when its warm because the actors will die of heat exhaustion. You have to give them so much protection and trust me it still isn't enough that when its warm they get over heated. We took every single safety precaution and every night we operated it I was worried something would happen but nothing did. The only issue we had was with actors not wanting to wear their protection and some getting bruises or some passing out due to heat. When the temp was cold or cool it wasn't really a problem.
3) Is it effective? This is or was the most expensive attraction I've EVER operated it swallowed money. From all the staff it takes to load trailers, paintballs, fix guns, fill up tanks, to checking on actors or actors in general and oh gas for tractors, tractor drivers, and paintballs and more paintballs, and more protection and more this it never ended. It was expensive. Not to mention the cost of getting into the business to begin with was astronomical.
Did it get people talking yes it did but we didn't do any more attendance with it and some people came out just for it and others thought it was dumb. It was about 50/50.
4) Does it belong? Another good question... its one of those things where does 3D haunted houses belong? Are they really scary are 3D haunted houses as scary as a dark haunt and the answer is no. But when you are a scream park all kinds of attractions fit and work. Hayrides seems to be the stable of any good scream park no matter the theme and they seem to bring crowds because its a ride. So yes they belong in the mix only... meaning they belong in the mix of things to consider just as you would consider all sorts of different attractions. Would I choose a zombie paint ball over a regular hayride and the answer is FLAT OUT NO! Does that mean I would not consider the paintball hayride no I wouldn't say that either.
I think in the end yes its a FAD nothing more... there is nothing long term to the idea because after your customers understand its not that scary, its not even half as cool as playing paintball itself it will rub off. The expense of doing itself will force you to abandon ship eventually but the upside is real simple.
It can give you a temporary boost for your marketing efforts and it could prove to be a boost to help your business in the short term but not by any means the long term.
In short I would say its not for everyone but for some it could be just what the doctor ordered.
I have bounced back and forth on do I do it again or not... I'm considering selling everything I'm considering doing it again I don't know. What I do know is this I won't do it again after this coming year if I even do it this year because of the following factors...
1) It makes me nervous with paintballs flying all over the place
2) It was brutal on the actors and if we do it again this year it will be with NO ACTORS AT ALL
3) The cost is enormous to operate.
4) Lastly yes its a gimmick and there is very little to no long term staying power to it... its much like 3D haunts in the early days everyone jumped on then jumped off. It wasn't until honestly I showed the industry that 3D can be a long term attraction if you put a lot of effort into it. I think the same for the hayride paintball concept... if you go all out with it and I mean balls to the wall maybe you can make something really special that holds up but just as with 3D most won't and it will lose its luster.
I will only say this is a side attraction and probably best as an upcharged attraction so that the people who want to do it pay for it. Lastly its not really something you can run 50,000 people through without an ARMY of people... it will cripple your attraction unless you up sell so maybe only half of your crowd does the attraction.
I hope this helps.
03-20-2013, 06:46 AM
Larry, thanks for the input as well.
My biggest question and/or comment is if it's such a great thing, why isn't everyone doing it? You see very sporadic placement, and very few posting about how amazing the results are. Maybe those who are having great results don't want the word to get out? Maybe it's that big of a cash cow that they don't want competition getting on board? Exclusivity? Who knows, I just know that many seem iffy on the subject, and that to me seems like it isn't worth it's weight in gold.
03-20-2013, 07:33 AM
We have not done the paintball hayride here yet - we did consider it for down the road. Last year we did a "Zombie Paintball Booth" - We sold 10 shots for $5.00 and it went great.....well let me rephrase that - It went great when the people running it made it exciting and really were into it and sold it for the people watching.
We used light armor for our actor - you don't need heavy bulky armor to stop the impact of a paintball, we used light plastic biking armor - it gives a hard surface for the paint to break on and isn't heavy or hot to wear. We didn't have any injuries at all during the whole month and the actor took a minimum of 700-1000 hits a night.
The reaction we had was great people loved shooting the zombie. The reason I am hesitant to do the hayride is because I live in Northern Michigan, last year the temps dropped down to 33 degrees a few nights - anyone who has played paintball in cold weather knows it cause most paint to become brittle which in turn end up will a lot of paint breaking in the barrels. The paint needs to be cleaned from the barrel right away or you just end up with more and more paint breaking and an upset customer.
I think the hayride is something you really need to sell to make work - Make it exciting, make it action filled, make it feel like a movie experience.
03-20-2013, 07:42 AM
A paint booth is a great idea to Segway between seasons of no hayride and hayride. Gauge interest by the response to a paint booth...!!!
03-20-2013, 07:47 AM
Evernight have you thought of doing Zombie Paintball during the Cherry Festival, it may get a good draw that weekend with the tourist up there. I know down here they do paintball and laser tag birthday parties and they do well. Does anybody run part of their atraction in the off season for events, and is it worth opening.
03-20-2013, 10:35 AM
We have tried several times to get something into the Cherry Festival to help advertise our haunt - What a lot of people don't realize is unless you "fit" in the with the Cherry Festivals ideals of what the want then you have no chance at all of being included. We managed to get into the parade only 1 times....after that the "Committee" decided we weren't a good fit, mind you we had no gore, didn't scare people - we just had some costume actors walking in front of our hearse with a banner.
The paintball booth is a way to gauge interest for sure....hell maybe even ask people that participate what they would think of a interactive hayride.
One idea we are playing with is a paintball "Walkthrough" - Alot of people immediately see this as dangerous but let me explain why it would not be. Last year a new paintball was introduced, it was an new take on the old spring loaded paintball guns. The new "Splatmaster" series are all spring loaded and shoot a smaller caliber paintball that has a thinner shell. They offer shotguns that hold ten rounds, and they have hand guns with I believe 8 round clips.
The spring loaded guns were created to bring younger children into the sport of paintball - They are accurate to about 20ft or so and do not hurt at all, I personally tested one at 3 feet away on bare skin - felt like someone flicked me - my daughter who is 13 took a shot from one at about 8 feet away with no pad and said it didn't hurt at all. I think these would be an awesome idea to do a "Zombie" live action walkthrough, you would need minimum padding and it creates a scenario that allows you to still scare the hell out of your customers in a "Haunt" setting and still let them take on the zombies.
03-20-2013, 12:54 PM
We considered doing away with the paintball hayride because honestly its too expensive to operate and it takes a toll on the staff... but Travel Channel filmed it last year so that makes it hard for us to do away with it. Our plan B was to set up a zombie paintball booth just as you explained. People have been doing this for years and years especially on board walks. We even did this out at Creepyworld ourselves about 6 years ago. It went over okay... but we thought maybe we would do away with the hayride aspect and just do a shooting gallery set up and get the same results per marketing. We haven't figured it out yet... we will within a week or so. If we decide not to do the paintball hayride I will be selling everything I have including tractors, three stage air compressor everything.
Its a tough call for us because we got filmed on Travel Channel last year... that makes it tough for us!
We had our own trailers to start with then we hired Greg to modify them and he did a really good job but the issue is cost to operate and the concerns for the actors. That is the major concern for us. So long term we won't be doing it ... this I can say without a doubt.
03-20-2013, 03:30 PM
I'm sure Greg does an amazing job, and I know that the concept is killer, but you re-affirmed my suspicions. Cost to operate, time to operate, and toll on employees is rough. And my client is an almost exclusively volunteer based haunt, so expecting people to strap on pads for 4 hours a night for little pay is asking a lot, even for those who act because of their passion, not the paycheck....
03-20-2013, 03:35 PM
I use the term client loosely, simply someone I am helping out for the season with some ideas and such.
03-20-2013, 03:57 PM
I'm merely giving my honest evaluation not trying to sway anyone pro or con... I think with anyone there are pros and their are cons. Its just that simple. I think this concept has a LOT of cons and it has some pros as well because it is different so it fits right into a screampark but even then the cons are really something you must weigh heavy.
As for Greg he did a great job and did everything he said he would do first class all the way! The issue isn't him its is this the right thing for you to add to your attraction. That is the question.
03-20-2013, 04:24 PM
Larry I agree, and appreciate the honest and detailed feedback!!! I am always a skeptic of the "fads" just like I'm not even a fan of walking dead. I don't just like something because its famous or popular. So, as Allen said, I believe my mind is made up, it's my friends who I am concerned for. This is a big chunk of change for a possible return.
03-20-2013, 04:27 PM
All hayrides are expensive to operate. If you are doing a hayride, it might as well be zombie. over a regular hayride the costs are not that different if you carge appropriately.
03-20-2013, 05:10 PM
Not quite. With these folks, we're talking a completely separate setup. Different trail, different layout, different employees, and different costs. The single hayride, attractions, etc would remain unaltered and still functional. This isn't in lieu of, it's in addition to the other attractions.
03-20-2013, 05:35 PM
Ah ha, adding it as opposed to revamping then yes. I expect it to take about 30-40 to operate a hayride. adding that many more would stress almost any actor pool.
03-20-2013, 06:01 PM
Allen, you're very close regarding numbers of actors, lucky guess ;)
We have seen that it would take approximately 5-7 scenes, and 2-3 actors per scene. Around an 8-10 minute run per wagon load of 10... Does that sound about right? In your experience, more? Less?
Also, where were you buying your paint from? A bulk supplier? I am assuming that like regular paintball they are also only good for a certain amount of months (shelf life for shape holding, coloring, etc) and that after such a date they begin to lose their shape, etc. (Even when storing in a cool, dry place and turning the box every two weeks when I was playing in the amateur league, they would lose their shape quite often, which obviously then created jams in the barrel)
This has been so informative, at anytime just throw in the towel, and I'll stop asking questions! lol
03-20-2013, 07:28 PM
I would like to chime in here since it is my product being discussed here.
First of all nightmare in the other post you asked for input on our trailers. I gave you my phone number in that thread so I could give you names and numbers of some of my clients. I never heard from you.
The reason your not getting much feedback is because the majority of my clients are corn mazes and do not frequent Hauntworld.
Allen did a great job trying to explain his experiences with his own attraction. There have been great improvements in these attractions over the years.
When Larry asked me to modify his trailers so he could do a Zombie Paintball attraction I turned him down. I told him I was very nervous about the closeness of his actors and the safety of his customers and did not feel comfortable doing it at Creepyworld.
He assured me he would do everything possible to make sure no one would be hurt. He kept his promise and did everything in his power to make sure the attraction would be safe for everyone.
There were several issues we noticed and here they are....
1) The attraction was previously used for a hayride and the scenes were built VERY close to the trailers which didnt give the actors enough distance so the impact was harder than normal. We discussed rebuilding the attraction but time restraints and funds did not allow an updated space. That was my main concern.
2) The attraction was tight and zigzagged back and forth. We recommend a circular pattern with shooting on the outside to eliminate the possibility of cross fire.
Larry purchased netting and did a great job of installing it to make sure his customers were safe from the possibilities of cross fire. This showed me how serious he was about safety. I was impressed with this.
3) Creepyworld puts several thousand customers through their doors and throughput was a concern. I went down to Creepyworld on opening night to make sure Zombie safari was running smoothly and to help his crew work out the bugs and answer any questions they may have had.
4) I would like to add that costumes were an issue at that time but that has been rectified. We offer custom made costumes by Allen Hopps and Travis Nichols. I wanted to have more than one costume designer because I wanted to give my customers options on costumes as well as trailers. They have done an AWESOME job providing costumes for my clients and I applaude them for their outstanding results. THANK YOU GENTLEMEN!!!!
5) The only dissapointing thing at Creepyworld was the use of standard paintballs instead of our custom paintalls made exclusively for our attractions. I discussed this with Larry several times but never could persuade him to use the better balls. He went with the cheaper ball instead of our translucent liquid balls.
Regular paintballs will leave a nasty residue and smell on your actors, props and scenes. Our custom balls evaporate and the next day when you go out to your attraction you wont see the regular paint all over your scenes.
Larry said he would rather pay someone to power wash off the scenes every weekend and save the cost of the custom balls. That was his choice but I have noticed a higher turn over rate of actors in the attractions that choose to use the inferior balls.
Our first year we operated our Zombie Safari Paintball Attraction we used the regular paint and the residue from those balls still remains. It was a hard lesson to learn and all of our costumes from that year were destroyed so we threw them away.
It is very important to use the proper balls. They are made to break easier on your actors which is important when getting shot several thousand times a night.
6) You questioned our turn over rate. We have had an awesome core group of actors for our attraction since we offered paintball. Yes we do pay our actors. Our turn over is minimal and most of our clients report the same thing. The night I was at Creepyworld I tried to explain to Larry's actors that they needed to be padded up well. They informed me they were "paintballers" and they would not need all of the padding Larry provided for them.
This sounded very familiar because I have heard this time and time again from the "professionals" in paintball.
Let me say this, There is a difference between getting shot several times in a tournement and getting shot several thousand times in one evening.
7) You asked about return on investment. Larry spent above and beyond to insure his customers and actors would be safe. In the space he had to work with it was a necessity and I applaude him for doing such a great job insuring their safety BUT usually it is not necessary to go to those extremes.
We sold over 40 trailers across the country last year and all of our clients did very well.
We had a round table discussion during Transworld for all of our clients to meet and discuss what worked what didnt and what ideas they had to improve our product. Its our goal to continually improve our product line to make the best products in the paintball trailer industry.
We changed our slogan to " QUALITY WITHOUT COMPROMIZE" I intend to stand by this slogan!
If you were at TW I hope you took a look at our Dominator Double decker trailer we had on display. The craftsmanship and quality in our products are second to none. I may be tooting my own horn here but we make an outstanding product!
Now, I realize I have been writing a novel, lol but I take this business very seriously. I dont consider it a "fad" and neither do my clients. Its a business just like any other. The best part about it is your customers get to shoot a gun. It doesnt have to be at zombies. We shoot targets also. Dont think you have to just shoot zombies. We have scarecrow, clown and zombie costumes available and next year we have more custom costumes coming out. THANK YOU ALLEN HOPPS! lol
I understand this is not some $2500 prop. It is an investment and an interactive attraction to get your customers excited about something new. Its not intended to scare your customers which allows you to change your demographic to a different age 3-93. It's a family attraction that draws the family fun seakers out to something they normally wouldnt go to because they have young children.
So, if you still have questions about my product just give me a call and I will be glad to talk to you or give you the number of a client to help you see the benefits of our
03-20-2013, 07:56 PM
Greg, while the information was welcomed, you have too many variables to say that this is for everyone. At a haunt doing 40k people a year, with paid actors, and marketing budget of 10-15k or MORE, this setup is perfect. For a haunt just starting out with, say, 3500 people a season, and a marketing budget of 2300 dollars, can you HONESTLY tell me that when I buy your setup I will get my money's worth?
I'm not questioning you, your setups, or your workmanship. I'm sure, that as a professional in this industry, you take this very seriously, and my doubts aren't in YOU or your PRODUCTS. They are simply in the fact that just as I wouldn't recommend a 2500 dollar animatronic to a new haunt that can't nail the fundamentals of acting, scenery lighting, and sound design, I can't recommend a 30k setup to a haunted attraction that is still learning the ropes and growing towards bringing in big numbers.
I would assume that you should tell your clients that without marketing they may as well burn the money that it would take to purchase a trailer setup from you, agreed? Selling a setup and promising great numbers is the same as Unit 70 selling a Yogoth and promising great attendance at their attraction. It doesn't work like that.
I was looking for input from folks regarding the ENTIRE methodology of a paintball setup, not just your piece of it. I've read the reviews, I've listened with both ears intently as a passerby, and I know that your setup is great.
Please don't be offended, however, if I wanted to see the results of buying your setup compared with how much was spent on advertising compared to a haunt that simply bought the setup, did nothing special, had minimal attendance prior, and numbers STILL took off, could you provide that?
You have 23 full size billboard within a 75 mile radius, have a phenomenal paintball plug and play, and have nailed the science. Obviously your numbers are through the roof. And while I don't doubt that you are committed to excellence and quality, will you sell a setup to anyone that wants one, even if it means a possible financial disaster?
I think it should be emphasized that this setup, with proper marketing, advertising, and promotions, as well as good PR could really help any attraction to diversify and open themselves to new customers. Of this I am sure.
I simply want to protect my people's best interest by helping them to realize that while your setup is the best, it means nothing if the world (or at least their area) knows nothing about them.
Thanks for your post, and I hope you understand my viewpoint. I simply don't want a hasty decision to mean a fiscal disaster for the people who may be interested in your setup.
03-20-2013, 08:00 PM
I wasn't turning your offer of a phone call down. I am far too busy for the next few weeks to sit down and have a lengthy 30-45 minute conversation. I can be doing other things while typing these responses, not so much when I'm on the phone. (Don't want you to listen to me use the restroom! Lol)
However, if after my people decide to go with your setup, I will call, and would love to pick your brain a bit, if that's alright?
Thanks so much!
03-20-2013, 08:09 PM
Couple more things...
I told Greg that before it was all said and done I would know more about how to run one of these things than anyone and I feel I'm right. I have a very unique situation as Greg pointed out and the biggest difference between what I was doing and what Greg does is that I don't have some massive field and can separate the rest of my attraction from the hayride.
HOnestly what Greg does did not work for my situation I had to learn on the fly what to do or not to do... I learned many things which I shared with Greg. Originally Greg said to buy safety costumes from one company and those turned out to be a total disaster, I ended up buying masks from Allen 'House of Boo' and those are GREAT! Additionally we learned as we went along what actually was safer for the actors than what wasn't. The stuff we originally bought wasn't NOT GOOD... that was wasted money. The stuff we ended up doing which we created on our own was 10 times better and should have done that from the word go.
No matter how you slice it the stuff is HOT and over heats the actors and no matter how much padding you put on they get bruised and hot or both.
However we did learn what worked best.
Additionally the biggest difference between my show and Gregs is let everyone through my hayride where as Gregg upcharged his so fewer of the overall customers took the ride. I had to give rides to 5000 people in ONE NIGHT... I doubt ANYONE in the country did that. It was NOT EASY it was stressful and a near nightmare.
If you are NOT doing many people then I could see how it would be much more manageable... I think that is the main point here. Are you trying to do one like I did it well then its a total nightmare if you are doing it as some upcharged thing then its a whole other.
I also learned many things about keeping these safe... for example which I shared with Gregg the trailers need shut off valves so that if something goes wrong it would cut the air to the guns in a second. I also learned you could run the air pressure at half what was suggested this made the trailers go longer on a tank.
As for paintballs NO WAY IN HELL was I going to buy those balls that were suggested they were DOUBLE the cost... the balls I bought did the job and I got them for half the money. See that is the thing here... if you are going to give rides to 30 to 40 thousand people then you could spend up to $200,000 operating this thing or more.
Allen I totally don't agree with you sorry bud... a regular hayride is better than this and I don't think this should replace a regular hayride ever. There is nothing that is going to compare to a headless horseman style hayride to shooting paintballs. Sorry!
This is a novelty type of attractions where you set it up and charge for it separate and that is if you have room for it... but to put 40 or 50k people through it HOLY COW its hard.
We are strongly considering doing it again but we are thinking of breaking it off from the main attraction and up charging like Gregg does and hoping about 25% less people go on the ride this would make it more manageable.
I also did other things different ... I purchased a two stage compressor so I could fill up my tanks all night long and if I hadn't done this I wouldn't have survived. I would strongly suggest to anyone who did this to buy one its a MUST HAVE! They cost about $17,000.00 for everything.
The long and short is I had this done like you wouldn't believe but it was stressful and hard to operate... our attraction was as safe as you could make it. Every single thing I could do to make it safe for my staff and customers was done and it was expensive.
Many of the things I did could have been avoided if I was taking people out in the middle of a field somewhere far far away from my regular customers. So if you have a situations like that you could do it much cheaper.
Let me just say that everything depends on what kind of set up you have whether its going to be cheap or expensive.
If anyone does get this set up call me and I'd be happy to tell you what I learned because I learned in the most extreme conditions tight quarters and over 5000 riders in one night. I think I got it! LOL
In closing I think Greg work is really nice and I think if you have the right situation you could make some money with this but I would ONLY do this as a up charged attraction like Gregg is doing... I also would NOT replaced a traditional hayride with it either.
And lastly I would say and I strongly encourage you to use animated targets not live actors.
03-20-2013, 08:20 PM
Keegan I think the term "you need to learn to walk before you run" is fitting for the subject of Zombie Safari for you right now. You guys may not be ready to take the financial steps to do this, I would suggest putting more money towards your marketingof the haunt first and grow your customer base. When you get a bigger customer base the expense of a Zombie Safari will be a little easier decision for you. I will say that your marketing dollars seem light and you should be looking at spending $2-$3 per customer to achieve a good growth rate for the next 2 years. Unless you have deep pockets I don't think you are ready for a big commitment like this, you just don't have the customer base or marketing in place. Good luck
03-20-2013, 08:43 PM
If you stopped by our booth at TW you noticed we are now offering our own line of animations we designed just for our attractions. They run off of 110v or 12v so you dont have to run air or electric in the field. We sold a bunch of these and look forward to increasing our product line in the near future.
Basically, we noticed a need for animations. Our customers needed something to lighten the load on their actors and these are the key. We realized if it moves they shoot at it so we went to work on the DCmations line. Its a great alternative to actors or an added bonus to them.
I agree with Larry, he had a very unique attraction to work with and he did the best with what he had. However it would have been easier to operate had it been designed for our attractions instead of a hayride.
Keegan, I dont know what kind of megga haunt you think I am running but we dont do 40-50k. We are in a small city with 100k people tucked in the middle of Missouri between the monster haunts of St. Louis and Kansas City. We do around 20k patrons. Our advertizing budget is much more than I would like to pay but the billboards I get for $350 ea. per month. I like the billboards. Its one of my favorite advertizing tools besides our facebook and website.
I'm not going to say that your going to be rolling on a bed full of money if you buy my trailers. I was simply stating my clients are very pleased with the results they got from purchasing our attractions.
This is still a relatively new product on the market. We started offering them to the public last year. Transworld was our first show and we did very well.
Its simple, I give you the names of some of my clients and you call them and ask their opinion. One of my clients started from scratch last year building a haunt, Zombie Safari, corn maze, pumpkin patch, spiderwebb, plus much more. He said our attraction was his most popular event. I'm not trying to sell you trailers. They sell themselves. You either want them or you dont. We have clients with attendance numbers from 5000 to 70000. so I cant tell you what will work for you and what wont.
Its a risk just like a haunted attraction. Everyone in this business knows the risks of any attraction but I will say changing some lighting and a few props isnt goin to get you the bang you need to increase your attendance in a major way.
If you want the contact info you know how to get it. 573-881-7061
03-20-2013, 08:53 PM
Black plastic and foam props changed over to animations, diverse lighting, sound, better actors, advertising, and promotions will increase numbers. It's proven. Telling me otherwise is insulting to not only myself but anyone that does design work, haunt redesigns, layouts, etc.
I appreciate the information, but again, even at 375 a piece not to mention install and tear down, you're looking at a budget of almost 10 grand in billboards alone. We aren't there yet. 20k is BEYOND a respectable number, and eventually I would like us to be there, but lets face it : I've been to your haunt. It was great before you added the paintball stuff. I understand that there is a risk, but wouldn't it be smarter to make sure we are advertised out and already great on all of our other attractions before dumping money into another attraction?
Mom always taught me... Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. All told I'm looking at $35,000-38,000 for the trailers, scenes, and start up paint, promotional materials, etc. Can you imagine what that could do for the other attractions without a paintball setup? Priorities are key.
You don't buy a BMW if you can't afford the gas, just as you don't buy a 35,000 setup without the means to advertise and promote out the wazoo, agreed?
03-20-2013, 09:00 PM
Side note, honest question, no bullshit, real man to real man, prior to paintball, what were your numbers? Honestly? I want a truthful answer. If you went 5k-20k in 2 years I'd be blown away, but I doubt that is the case.
You established yourself, had a great thing, probably 10-15k, came up with this concept, ran with it, and now are 25-40% greater in sales....?
Lets just say that your haunted attractions (two of them I went through at the time, one was a tent, one wasnt) still were (in 09) better than some of these other haunts I am referring to.....
03-20-2013, 09:01 PM
Question, not trying to be rude but if they dont have the funds to advertize more than $2300 where are they getting the funding for a set of trailers? Its an investment in the attraction but if they are using black plastic for walls because they cant afford plywood then I'm not sure what this thread is all about other than trying to trash my product.
03-20-2013, 09:16 PM
This is my last comment on this thread. Our Zombie Paintball Attraction was an upcharge for our guests. 90% of our customers did ALL of our attractions. We saw an increase in sales to families and young people that normally dont go to haunted houses. Once they were on the property they wanted to experience all of our attractions.
Getting people on your property is your main goal. Entertaining them while they are there is the best way to get them coming back.
We saw an increase in t-shirt sales, hoodie sales, concession sales all because we offered our customers many things to purchase while on our property.
If your not upselling merchandise and other attractions while they are there your missing out on a perfect opportunity to make more money.
03-20-2013, 09:19 PM
Keegan if you think that this will make or break your haunt you have the wrong idea about how to run a business. You need to have a good base before you go into expanding in other directions. This won't make your haunt but if you are not ready to handle all the aspects of adding this it will break your haunt. Like I said earlier this may be something to put on the back burner till you have the base in place to support it. Don't stretch your self to thin and let things get out of control, stay focus on your core business untill you are ready to take the next step. It is ok to dream about the future and plan as long as you don't loose site of the path to success.
03-20-2013, 09:21 PM
Again, you're taking this the wrong way. Sorry that you're so sensitive to me being a realist and looking for the pros and cons.
If I said ONE time that your product is trash feel free to quote it. I'll give you 100 dollars for every time I said that your trailers are junk, your service is crappy, and your products aren't quality. Hell I'll give you an additional 100 for every time I said that your haunted house sucked too.
Try again. I'm wanting real numbers, facts, and statistics Greg. That isn't too much to ask.
However, you summed it up just right. As I said 12 posts ago, if we don't have the budget for advertising, we certainly should not be spending the money on a quality system like yours.
Again, idk why people get so defensive when I was nothing but respectful, inquisitive, and honest.
Thanks for the insight, sorry your feelings got hurt.
Feelings aside, if/when funding is readily available, I will be giving you a call to setup delivery.
03-20-2013, 09:24 PM
Austin well said. This post is being followed by the owners, and I want them to see that without a great skeleton we can't branch out into uncharted territory. I really do appreciate everyone's input. I'm sorry if feelings are getting hurt, I simply want the facts, information, and statistics to back up any claim.
Just as I don't buy a washing machine until I know everything about it, any aspect of an investment into a haunted attraction is in the same boat.
Thanks again everyone!
03-20-2013, 09:35 PM
My feelings are not hurt. I take this business VERY seriously and have offered to put you in contact with the owners of this product. Instead you chat away with ONE of my clients instead of getting a broad view of the experiences of the other owners.
I have attractions closer to the numbers you are reffering to.
Its not my feeling that are hurt. Several times I have asked you to call me so I can give you the information you requested from the horses mouth so to speak.
I appreciate your comments about my haunts and thank you for your kind words. I just dont understand all the questions when all the answers are just a phone call away. Again, 573-881-7061 lol
03-20-2013, 09:39 PM
Because its 1140, and my family is in bed. I'm just browsing the Internet.
Additionally, I prefer written posts because I then have a visual reference down the road, and then it isn't "he said she said" and such Greg.
Surely you can appreciate that.
Additionally, for your feelings not being hurt, a few posts ago you claimed that I was trashing your products?
03-20-2013, 09:43 PM
Well, I guess thats it then. many of my customers dont use this forum so without a phone call you wont get the info your requesting. I only know 2 clients that use these forums and you already talked to one of them. lol
Night Sir I'm off to bed.
03-20-2013, 09:48 PM
Keegan you will find true numbers are hard to come by on a public forum in our industry. If you want information like that you need to start a private dialog via the phone. The guys that do big numbers tend to under state how many customers they have and the guys doing lower inflat thier numbers. That may have something to do with this being largely a cash business. I know I have been looking into buying trailers and I looked up people that owned them on the Internet and called them. All of them were happy with the response they got from thier customers. Then I talked to Greg and he gave me a few more, but I never called them. I figure my way was at least a blind test and not some one close to Greg. All I can say is I have done some business with Greg and will say that a hand shake is good enough for me when dealing with him. He has alway done what he has said and I have only heard good things from other people who have delt with him. So my best advice is in a few weeks when you have time pick up the phone and talk to him on what he thinks you need to be ready for his product. He won't sell you something that won't fit your need. Good luck and stay the course.
03-21-2013, 01:02 AM
I have to agree with Gregg and simply in general ... this should be an up charged attraction. Its very unique as I stated that 3D haunts are unique I think one of the problems is simply that if you do a 3D and its just a 3D its not very good. I think with the zombie hayride if you just rest on that its like ahhh been there done that. I think like I said we've proven without any shadow of a doubt that a 3D haunted house can be awesome year and year out...
You guys come through our haunt and everyone says the same thing every year that they loved the 3D haunted house... why? We keep investing and we keep trying to reinvent... and I think 3D haunts are novelty attractions and should never be a solo haunt. However I think if you put the same amount of time and care into them they can be more than just a man Mr. Wayne ... LOL
I think our 3D haunted house has created an identity for itself and never once in 5 years have I ever considered taking it out for something else, while I see haunt after haunt take out their 3D or change the theme. I think I've proven that its better to invest, reinvent, and improve! Are you tired of our 3D haunt or do haunt owners look forward to seeing it?
I think with a paintball hayride we have the same issue ... its a novelty attraction. Are they scary NO NOT AT ALL... but could they be? Yes if we are willing to invent in over the top FX that take it to the next level. Are they more than simply shooting some actors out in the open... not really. So the point here is yes its a novelty attraction, and without some sort of re imagination or investment to make it seem more than just a man Mr Wayne I think it will wear off and your customers will be like been there done that.
I think you have to be totally committed to it for the long haul, ready to start the first year with the novelty and let that sell it, then move to the next level year by year by year... I personally don't envision it being an actor attraction but rather big monsters, things happening over your head, around every corner, great set design, more like a interactive targeting dark ride at Disneyland.
This will cost a lot of money a ton actually... but then I think you'd have something that would be a highlight reel attraction. How committed are you?
How committed am I to that end? I don't know because it would be something that would cost a ton but in the end might be worth it... these are all things you must ponder, consider, and think through. Its what I'm doing now... I see the potential and I also see the skyrocket cost of operating it.
I think if you stay with it you must go all out to create a dark ride type of attraction just with paintballs. Its a builder not a one trick pony because you won't get your investment back the first year I don't think.
Sky is the limit ... let me continue to think about this!
03-21-2013, 05:41 AM
Austin, Larry, Greg, Allen, etc: thanks.
In short, I appreciate the information.
I believe strongly that anything you set your mind to will become a success with dedication, time, effort, and money. Half-assing anything will not get you anywhere in this industry, and if anything people will go out of their way to avoid your attraction or event if it is half-assed.
I am taking away from this a few major points, please correct me if I misunderstood anything:
1) Upselling is key. Allowing the customer to get in the gate for one price, seeing the paintball attraction, and selling that attraction at an additional price is effective and works?
2) Advertising is crucial. Building or buying any event or attraction without the public knowing it exists is detrimental. We need to, if buying this paintball setup, market to all ages, increase advertising budget, and not let our other attractions slump while focussing on the new event. WOM (word of mouth) is the biggest advantage or disadvantage once our customers leave our event.
3) Protect our actors. Typical paintball padding will not suffice. We need to work to not only protect our actors but also give them financial or additional compensation for being shot at multiple times per night.
4) Buy quality paint. Typical balls are too heavy duty even at lower pressures than Greg's custom balls that are softer, and have more of a water base ensuring a clean look after every night.
5) Not alone. The attraction is not a stand-alone event. It must be marketing and sold in addition to the regular attractions.
One last question: Greg do these trailers come with a sound system to play music?
Thanks all for your help, I appreciate it immensely.
The black plastic thing was a metaphor, not to be taken literally. My objective was to imply that to do a brand new attraction without ensuring the others are up to par is a waste, and this paintball setup is designed to ENHANCE my customers experience, not be the ONLY good experience.
03-21-2013, 01:12 PM
I went to a zombie paintball in Maryland last year at a charity haunt. It was ok, the tractor was great but the guys loading were very unorganized and dropping paint balls on the ground while handling them looking discombobulated and the actors were just standing around. While this is no fault to the tractor manufacturer, not sure if Greg made it or not but the event itself was lacking more than anything. I did enjoy shooting the zombies and I must admit my daugher and I were actively looking for weak spots in their suits, just for fun lol Mainly because they stood there instead of really moving around.
I can see where costs would really add up and it wasn't close to being scary but it was unique and fun.
03-21-2013, 11:30 PM
If you are not organized you will sink faster than the Titanic. I don't understand what all the arguing is for it should be nothing more than a discussion about pros and cons. We can have a pro / con debate about animations or actors, make up or masks, hayride or a trail and the list goes on.
They don't have to get personal or anything. Paintball hayrides are flat out NOT stand alone events, they will fail. Paintball hayrides I think are add on attractions with an upcharge and even then you will spend a couple years getting your money back. Its the most expensive thing I've ever done, and I'm not sure if I regret it or not. It boils down to how committed you are to something...
But I think the best suited for these events are attractions with LOTS AND LOTS OF ROOM and Gregg for example has just that lots of room and I bet he has a lot less difficulties than we do. Its different and I think if you put enough money into it and I mean a lot of money into it you could make something super cool... I put tons of money into starting but now I'm seeing it will takes tons more than that to make it long term successful.
I think it can be very successful if you do everything 110% just like with my example of a 3D haunt... but in the end Gregg has it right you need lots of space to make it work best and it should be upcharged.
I did not upcharge and I don't have lots of space so I don't think I'm the perfect example.
03-21-2013, 11:36 PM
FYI... I think we are going to do it again however this time around it will be an UP CHARGE and TWO we will feature NO ACTORS!
I would NEVER do this again with ACTORS its just not safe! I'm ordering 20 fiberglass zombies from Unit 70, and we'll build animations for them here in our shop. So we'll have 20 pop out targets for people to shoot at, and the attraction will cost an upcharge of $5.00 more making the highest ticket $30.00
We are hoping this cuts down about 25% of the attendance to the paintball hayride.
03-22-2013, 08:52 AM
Larry has a very unique setup and in his case it was very expensive to run because of all the added safety features he had to install because his attraction was not built for paintball purposes. However, our clients were able to construct their attractions with much lower costs because they were not confined to a minimum square footage.
I have designed attractions where minimum space would work well and your que line is actually a large majority of your actors.
Its hard to explain but it works well. Before anyone asks, NO your que line is not getting shot with paintballs "technically" lol.
The biggest problem was Larry's attraction was already built so thats what he had to work with.
Anyway, I understand the questions about expense and Larry's view point but I also want people to understand that Larry's attraction was very difficult to operate. He did a GREAT job with a small space and again I applaude him for that.
His concerns for his actors are justified in his attraction. Its just not safe to be that close.
When we did a demonstration during Transworld at Creepyworld last year my actors were nervous about being that close to the trailers and so was I. They did a great job and found out it wasnt as bad as it looked but were glad to be back home in our own containment center where the distance was ok.
These paintball attractions are designed to be an upcharge and an added revenue for haunts and corn mazes and they do increase attendance. If you have any questions give me a call. 573-881-7061
Zombie Protection Services L.L.C.
03-23-2013, 10:13 AM
Couple things... I think its an expensive attraction to operate no matter what type of set up you have. The cost to buy the wagons, get tractors, get the system, all the staff that is required, paintballs, any added safety measures, no its more expense all around the board no matter what size of facilty you have. That is without question.
As for safety no matter how close or far away you are doesn't matter shooting projectiles at people is always going to create issues... no actor can go out there without gear on and you can't pad yourself head to toe inch by inch because they'll suffocate! The heat in the armor we provided which was basically head to toe which I wouldn't suggest ANYONE go out there without causes over heating issues with the actors. On cold nights it helps but when its warm good luck keeping people going at it. Almost impossible.
We had to provide tons of water, tons of guys to check on people, constant monitoring because we did not want anyone getting hurt.
All I did all year was investigate and continued to buy more and more different kinds of protection. I think by the end of the season we had it the best it could be... the biggest thing of all and this is no slight on Gregg but he told us you had to run the guns at like 800 pounds otherwise the guns would not work, well we ran them as low as 400 which is half and they still worked great. The only issue was on occasion some guns would get backed up then we'd run some water through them and back in business. My suggestion is to run them at 400 to 500 and save the air.
So overall I'm merely sharing what I learned and would be happy to help ANYONE who is doing this with my suggestions feel free to call me 314 504 3970. I can help you figure out how to run this at the highest capacity.
In short and let me be honest here... Gregg's work is really incredible he does everything he says he's going to do and then some. NO one has all the answers from the person who is building these trailers to the person who did the first zombie paintball hayride. Everyone has a different situation, everyone has different attendance, to anything and everything between so our experiences will all teach us different lessons.
I want anyone doing paintball hayrides to be safe, and do it right! I think Gregg has a lot of insight on doing just that but just remember every situation is different!
My main tips are as follows:
1) Use animated targets
2) Dont' buy expensive paint balls there is no need for it
3) Add a shut off valve to every trailer just in case you must shut down the system
4) Experiment with air pressures go with whatever the lowest setting you can get away with because it takes time to change air tanks
5) Make your guests wear safety goggles we did a persons eyes are they single most fragile thing to injure
6) buy a two stage air compressor this comes in very handy
7) I agree with gregg these should be up charged events so do a budget and charge according
8) if you decide to do this... stick with it for the long haul make it more than just a zombie paintball because otherwise the novelty will wear off fast
In closing I think you can get some great marketing benefits to this attraction and especially if you are committed to making it more than just rolling around in the woods and shooting targets. You could make money with this but I think it will take a couple years so control costs because they can spiral out of control quickly.
Lastly I would make sure that you purchase these systems from someone who understand the safety elements involved and talk to people who've done them so you can learn all the ins and outs so you can be the most successful out of the hole.
03-25-2013, 05:11 AM
Thanks again everyone for the insight, now we just have to wait to see what they prefer: High investment possible return, medium investment low-medium return.
I appreciate the feedback and information from all!
04-05-2013, 03:54 AM
Just an update here... we are going forward with our zombie paintball but we are taking everything we learned last year and adding it to 2013. We are doing several things different see below:
1) The entire attraction will be ACTOR FREE!
2) We will make the attraction 110% DARK this way cool sets, detail or any of that won't be needed. The paintballs tear up everything so by going totally dark we won't have to do much work to the hayride itself. The tractor will trigger lights and animations to be lit up so you can fire away. Sound and lights will activate only when we want it to revealing zombies to fire at.
3) We will build 24 animated targets from hoards of zombies to shoot at to pop up zombies everywhere. We have some awesome idea's on how to trigger the animations and what type to build.
4) The attraction will be an UPCHARGED attraction... in other words you have to pay extra to ride the hayride. This will cut down on how many people ride the attraction which is very important. We are hoping to cut down the amount of people who ride by 50% then the hayride will become more manageable.
Overall I think the amount of dollars spent to operate the attraction will decrease plus the stress on everyone will lower as well. I still am not sure if you can make money or not because the cost of operation is still VERY high but we'll see what if anything this changes. I know for a fact that we'll sell everything after 2013 and do something different. We'll sell it because we like to mix up everything every couple of years, so if anyone wants to put dibs on it now let me know.
04-07-2013, 07:40 PM
Where are you purchasing your animated targets from?
04-08-2013, 12:34 PM
We are making them ourselves. We have three guys who build animations one guy use to work for Disney Land fixing animations at Pirates of the Caribbean. Actually he came up with a super clever way of triggering the animations. Unit 70 will make the bodies for us out of fiberglass.
04-09-2013, 06:12 PM
We also sell animated targets as well as the Zombie Paintball trailers. They range in price from $400-450 depending on the type you are looking for. We sell 5 different animated characters. They run on 110V or 12VDC. If you need more info give me a call 573 881 7061.
Zombie Protection Services L.L.C.
04-15-2013, 01:20 AM
The information on how to actually trigger the animations from the hayride would actually be very much appreciated. We are doing our own this year, but cant figure out a great way to trigger the animations. IR sensors dont work well with the wind and brush moving around. IT would really help us out. Thanks Larry. Good information on the paintball!
04-18-2013, 01:44 PM
Bumping this. I dont want it to get lost. I could really use a response to this. Thanks very much.
04-18-2013, 05:13 PM
My uneducated guess would be a radio transmitter setup. It's the only thing to guarantee contact with the lighting or animations. Much like Bluetooth, some transmitter/receivers only work within. 30-40 feet of each other, to prevent cross garbled signals before or after they come to a scene.
I would love to hear what you come up with though. A solution would translate to audio timing possibilities as well!!
04-18-2013, 05:31 PM
There are a lot of options, really.
You could use drive over sensors. There are several versions. Some lay on the ground and you drive over a tube which sets the trigger off. Others are like a heavy duty step pad. Still others mount in the road. You can search around for drive-thru sensors and find these fairly easily.
You could use optical beam break sensors that can tell when the hayride is passing because it breaks the line of sight between the emitter and receiver.
You could use some sort of Bluetooth, GPS, IR, etc. signal, but I think that's a bit overkill.
It's really just your preference and your budget...
04-18-2013, 06:01 PM
Kip I appreciate it! Do you recommend a drive over sensor or optical beam break sensor? I mean a company that makes them that you like? I appreciate it. And loved your new products at Transworld by the way. Thanks!
04-18-2013, 10:47 PM
I own 2 of Gregs Trailers. we have a haunt and this was a 2nd attraction and we sold it as a combo ticket. $13 each or $20 for both. 90% of people bought the combo ticket only a few came just for the paintball and some came just for the haunt. We have a small space and had lots of the same issues. We had no were the same numbers as larry.....I could not Imagine the HELL it was with that many people per night. We put a sound system on the trailers with hard rock music. People seemed to like it very well. it was also good for the actors they could hear them coming. We added lights to the scenes as the trailer lights were good but we wanted the zombies to be very well seen. We found out that a tractor could not go fast enough so we used trucks to pull the trailers. our trailers were for the most part very close to the actors. And yes we too found that you could turn the pressure down from the 800psi. We used bigger tanks and had more volume so we could go as low as 250-300psi. Even with that our costumes were busting up every night. We tried EVERYTHING we could think of at the time. As the season ended we took time and made some really Great padding that REALLY WORKS!!!! and the good thing is you can put any kind of clothing over it each year to change it up. it was hard to keep actors mostly because of being alone in the dark cold wet and kinda board....I know? but yeah I worked more than a few nights and it was boring. as a haunt actor you get a kick out of peoples reactions to being scared, but this you have on a helmet thats hard to see out of and hear so you get no reactions at all just a guy comes by every 20-30 mins saying hey man are you ok do you need anything? I agree that the custom balls are well worth the extra they cost. The guns had an issue but was fixed and didnt have any other probs. Every night you needed to clean them out. we sold 75 paintballs for each ticket. the hoppers hold 150 so I did hear people say thats a rip off that you only get 1/2 a hopper of paintballs but our tickets were only $10 and for $5 more they could buy 75 more paintballs. MOST EVERYONE bought another 75 paintballs. I found it was hard to advertise because its so new, people thought they would get shot too. But that comes with anything new. we increased our ticket sales , about what any haunt would increase each year....But with a second show we doubled our money. as a small town haunt we didnt break even on the cost of the paintball setup, but intend to this season and make a bit of profit. as in any business a big investment like this you dont expect to brake even for the first few years. This is not a quick buck. To me this is a way to show our fan base that we will do whatever it takes to keep them entertained even if it takes a while to make money at it. 2012 was a Very Hard season....THANK GOD the haunt went smooth. Even with the learning curve and costume issues No one was hurt customers loved shooting zombies. Fad or not there is NOTHING out there that can compare to this ride. We will be doing this again this year. Larry or anyone I would not recommend doing a Entire Actor free paintball ride. I had people ask all season if it was real people they were shooting at. Thats just my 2 cents. My customers loved it and have had more people ask about the paintball than the haunt so far this year.
04-18-2013, 11:00 PM
I will NEVER AGAIN put actors into this situation too many things can go wrong when actors or people in general are being shoot at. We had no injuries and I'm grateful for it...but no way would I suggest anyone do that! Too much risk involved there. We bought paint ball masks from one group and the eyes got shot out... just imagine that injury.
Even with better masks the paint got all over their face... the heat was the worst of all! The actors just flat out over heat and that alone was not worth it. You are NUTS for putting actors into that environment ... you are simply asking for something bad to happen!
I'm going to build all animated targets and run the whole entire attraction in pitch black so targets will activate with lights... I'm not taking any chances. No Way.
In 2014 I'm going to tear down the hayride totally ... everything in the trash and build a real hayride a traditional one from scratch.
PS: Speaking of Greg I'll be in Columbia MO all weekend.
04-19-2013, 10:39 AM
We are losing our outdoor location next season so it makes no sense for us to invest in an attraction that we are only going to get one season out of and possibly lose money on. So we are going doing this a bit differently. First, we are doing this Larry's way. NO ACTORS. We are going to automate the whole thing, but we are going to name it in such a way that lets the people know that this is what they can expect. I remember when the MIB alien attack ride came out at MGM or Universal or wherever it was, and it was awesome. No actors, just automated targets to shoot at. It can be just as fun. But we are not using the high powered paintball guns. We will be using the Splatmaster spring loaded toy paintball guns. Been testing them and they work great. They are inexpensive so we are buying a lot of them so that we have extras in case a few break. The balls are also half the size of regular paintballs, so there is less mess, but the effect is still nice. And they are biodegradable and wash away with water. So the danger is less of an issue there for us, and the expense is now just in the automation. But when we lose our outdoor location, all that automation is coming with us to our indoor location so nothing is wasted. Frankly, filling it with actors is a complete waste for us. Plus, we are only upcharging an additional $5 per ticket. We feel that we should be able to get close to 100% of our customers to buy the combo ticket at this price, which will guarantee us a nice outcome. The individual ticket prices are just not worth it compared to the combo. That's the plan anyway. Now its just working out the automations. We are outside, so these needs to be protected. And we get a TON of wind up here they have to be secured as well. Whatever goes up has to come down. We cant leave anything up unfortunately. So it makes set up a bit challenging.
04-23-2013, 07:47 AM
To answer the triggering option. Bill from Dark tec effects sells a GPS system that can be programmed for triggering sound and effects while the trailer is moving. It has an accuracy of within 2 feet from what he told me. It is a new system on the market. I havent tried it personally but plan on looking into it more closely for this season. Check with him and he can put you in the right direction for this product. He seems to be pretty knowledgable on it.
I hope this helps.
Zombie Safari Paintball
04-23-2013, 08:04 AM
I buy a lot of sensors and whatnot from a great company called Automation Direct. Here are a couple thru-beam sensors I like...
The first one supports a distance between the emitter and receiver of 20 to 30 meters. If you need a long sensing distance this is a great option. The second one has a sensing distance of about 3 meters if you don't need the 20 to 30 meters. They're great sensors and Automation Direct is a great company to work with.
I've never used the drive over style sensors so I can't recommend one of them.
05-05-2013, 04:19 PM
Greg the GPS system is 900 per wagon. It sounds very interesting, but 4500 bucks for simple music control and an addition 900 per scene for Dmx controlling is way out of our price range.
05-05-2013, 10:20 PM
I assume your talking about the information I provided and your mistaken. You do not need a DMX playback for each scene. You need one (most likely) for your whole attraction.
So your pricing is slightly off but we really did not go into details about putting together a system for you.
05-06-2013, 04:48 AM
So for a hayride that is 2-3 miles long, one DMX unit will suffice? Having been very involved and familiar with Dmx lighting and setups throughout my career as a DJ with intelligent lighting, I'd have to say probably not. Not to mention each of our scenes are run my generators. That's how far apart everything is.
05-06-2013, 04:49 AM
05-06-2013, 05:08 AM
And even, lets say, I COULD use one unit per every 4 scenes (have over 20) I'm still out 4500 for scene control and an additional 3600 for 4 wagons to run.
That's way out of my price range. I think looking at trigger beams like a few others here are looking to do, along with 140 dollar scene controllers per scene is much more practical.
05-06-2013, 09:20 AM
Once again, we never went over details of your particular attraction. You emailed me and asked questions about GPS and if it can control lighting, audio, and props. I explained it could, but you never explained anything about how your hayride would be setup. I encourage you to do your homework and if pressure or beam sensors is the way to go for you then great. However, please do not knock something just because you view it as expensive.
I have installed over 165 lights in an attraction using only one DMX playback device. Once you add in wireless DMX anything is possible. I am not encouraging you to use this system, as you have already explained it is too expensive for you, but I ask others who might be interested to contact me regarding your individual setup. Thank You.
05-06-2013, 09:29 AM
Wow you guys are all the same. I didn't KNOCK anything. This thread is mostly about my particular situation, therefore I stated that it wasn't financially feasible for MY situation.
Jeebus people need to lighten up.
05-06-2013, 09:32 AM
If you didn't, then I apologize.
05-06-2013, 10:47 AM
Go back and read!!!^^^^^
See anything about me KNOCKING anything?! No!!! Just stating that it is way too expensive for a hayride that is in it's infancy and financially can not afford a 5-10k setup just for automated lights and sound. If you offered an audio only option for much cheaper without the necessity for GPS, that'd be awesome.
But you don't. I understand that r and d takes a LOT of time money and effort, but a smaller farm just starting out can't afford those prices.
Perhaps design something that relies on radio frequencies at each scene. Something that can be moved and the module will automatically recognize that when it is sensing a certain RF it will automatically play the track until out of range. Much like the EZpass systems work.
Until then, great idea, wonderful execution, but far too expensive for us.
05-09-2013, 12:21 PM
i am the attraction operations manager for a large scale scream park in the mid west. we recently purchased the equipment to operate a zombie paint ball attraction in our park. in my opinion, YES zombies and zombie paintball is a trend/fad. however, if you don't keep up with the trends and fads you will more than likely lose your customer base in a long term aspect. if you choose to not follow the fads , your customers might see you as the "same old haunt ". during the season last year, i had a chance to poll a lot of people to see what their thoughts were on the whole paintball thing. the overwhelming response was that they LOVED IT!!!! 90% or better thought it was great. that being said, there are some people that are just simply NOT SATISFIED. These people only had a short list of complaints #1 not enough paint balls and #2 wasnt long enough. in my opinion, that means that they enjoyed it but wanted more. the only other complaints stemmed from the general issue of equipment failure and for this we simply cleaned their gun, filled their hoppers and sent them on another trip. problem solved!!!!
there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind when you are planning for an attraction like this. actors are a major concern obviously. however, you dont need to be a great actor to simply meander around acting like the walking dead. most do that anyway. again, there is the equipment issue. you need to make sure that the actors are thoroughly protected and are well hydrated. over buy on equipment and have a cooler of water for them waiting. again problem solved. the one actor issue that you will probably never solve, and let me know if you do and how you did it, was getting actors to realize that they are going to be shot at. it should be self explanatory, however common sense is not so common anymore. more problems to contend with are weather and equipment performance. ensuring that customers arent waiting for an hour trying to get on your new attraction. loading and unloading trailers and keeping down time to a minimum. repairing and cleaning sets and props more so than usual due to the high impact from the paintballs(and most guns should be calibrated to fire at 250-300 psi and that is FAST and painful at point blank range) and so on and so forth.
in summation...if you can keep your actors happy, keep them in their scenes for every trailer to shoot at, keep the customers flowing at a decent rate, having a qualified person to maintain the equipment before/during/after hours, keep customers happy(most of them at least), put up with bad weather and anything else that you could/couldnt possibly think of. and trust me, all of these things will happen at the same time and will test your sanity. if you are able to make it through the first year, the second season you operate this part of your attraction, i believe that you will be profitable and have a good reputation for being a destination for the halloween season.
good luck and let me know how you do
10-26-2013, 07:55 AM
Paintball UPDATE... as promised I would offer one.
Several issues to cover...
1) We did this in our market last year and this year everyone from Six Flags to you name it opened some sort of paintball hayride. So it got watered down big time... I think what we are seeing and its not just paintball hayrides, its in general everyone is looking for some marketing hook be it argggg naked haunted house to some sort of extreme thing like what Zombie LA thing is doing putting bags over peoples heads or whatever. Zombie paintball when introduced in your market can create some buzz for your attraction but expect to see many copy cats which basically ruin that buzz overnight. Now its like ahhh yeah okay.
2) Last year we did actor driven paintball... the actors overheated and it was hard to keep them 110% safe from getting hit here and there. So this year we put a whole bunch of zombies out there to shoot at and about 24 animated zombies. I got fiberglass zombies from BO and made animated targets. People didn't seem to care either way I've heard no complaints like where is the live guys... there are some issues with running animated targets such as getting paintball juice on the pistons or controls or blowing out a sense but overall this is a better plan of attack and its cheaper.
3) This year we are running our zombie paintball hayride as a $5.00 up charge... this has really helped because NOW only about 1/3 the people do it so we are making some money yes, but its not slowing down our operation like it did last year. Running every single person through the hayride nearly killed our business ability to put people through the place and turn over parking spaces. This year we can run the attraction with one to two tractors piece of cake... much better this way.
Last year I would say we spent over 100,000 to operate the hayride and this year it will be less than 20k.
SO what is the FINAL results here...
Well I would say a zombie paintball especially if NO ONE ELSE IS DOING IT will increase your business at least the first year. It created a huge buzz last year... this year not so much. People still ask about it but not like last year. I would say if you have the ability to up charge for it, and can do it without actors, you could make some money on it and build some POSITIVE PR for your overall event. But the major boost really comes in year ONE so make YEAR ONE really count.
The does and don't ...
DO: Use animations - buy the air compressor to fill up your own tanks - buy extra guns for when they go out - make sure someone rides with these people at all times - maximize the PR benefit to the fullest in YEAR ONE! - make all the guest wear face shields to protect their eyes just in case. Make lots of cool videos showing people having a blast - use nets between anywhere that hayride wagons might cross.
DON'T: use live actors not worth the risk - make it part of your overall attractions make it an up-charge - don't sell it as something its not because that only increases complaints - ever forget someone could get shoot with a paintball so make sure to keep this event safe.
So this year for us SUCCESS with the lessons we learned from last year to this year...
I doubt we are doing it again a hayride not just paintball... going to build some different attractions there. So mine will be for sale. And I must say Greg built mine to 110% perfection ... he's the go to guy on these for sure! He's first class all the way!
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