View Full Version : Quick on the Trigger when you disagree!

RJ Productions
02-02-2008, 05:28 PM
Well I guess the decision was made for me! I have been wavering back on forth on whether or not to rejoin IAHA. I have been a member since day one (1999) even served a term on the Board. As many of you know, if I see things that affect the industry negatively, I make comments. The purpose of those comments are to foster positive attitude changes. We surely can't move forward if we live inan "everything's Honkey Dorey Land!"

On the IAHA message board there were posts about a legal battle between Tim Turner and Ed Allen. Ed had brought up the complaint because it involves an actual court order and a member of the Board. The Board was quick to dismiss it as a personal difference.

I actually read the transcript and felt it had implications to the rest of us in the Industry. So I posted a response. "Happy Fingers" on my part I inadvertantly switched the names! Ed posted the discrepency, so I reposted to apologize and forward a CORRECT version.

Low and behold, I was already REMOVED from the IAHA message Board!!
As I understand, the "grace" period was until Jan. 31st.
I posted at 8pm on Jan. 31st and was already culled from the board!

Yes you might say it is the right of the Board to remove "non-members" and I would agree. The problem here is that we have had people that dropped their membership and were still on the message board posting up to a YEAR after their membership expired!!! They would even post the fact on the boards, some asking if they could finally PLEASE be removed!!

So I guess it is definaitely apparent. If you wish to pay your dues, sit quietly and don't make a fuss you are WELCOME as a member in IAHA!! But God forbid you actually DISAGREE with anything then you are a MARKED MAN!!

Funny thing is I actually had a check made out and would probably have dropped it in the mail! NOT NOW!

Please note there are some VERY DEDICATED individuals involved with the IAHA. They do a fantastic job individually. They deserve the respect and thanks from all of us. Unfortunately for every good person there, we have someone else with their own agenda to counteract them!

I will continued to support this industry and anyone who works for its betterment and of course call issue with anyone detrimental, whether I'm an IAHA member or not.

Maybe it's a Godsent! There really wasn't much usefull information there anyway. If ANYTHING of value is discussed, you will ALWAYS find it on Hauntworld!!

I will post the email under a seperate thread because it does have implications to the rest of the industry.

So here's to saving a hundred bucks and being able to spend more quality time on Hauntworld!!


02-02-2008, 07:36 PM
It is sad when it bcomes "My way or the highway" he// even a city counsel will let you speak your peace, even when their minds are all ready made up. Your right about finding out on Haunt World and it's free.

02-02-2008, 07:55 PM

Technically your ability to post should have ended when your membership did at the end of the year. However, the board granted a "grace period" for people who were late in renewing. There was, however, never a stated date and/or time when the list would be purged.

Barry Schieferstein
IAHA Membership Committee Chair

02-02-2008, 08:06 PM
One more thing for anybody who is interested, the entire IAHA list was purged recently. Even I had to rejoin it. Rich's timing was merely coincidental not a conspiracy.

RJ Productions
02-02-2008, 10:21 PM
If not a personal issue, (at least that's nice to know!) it still should be one considered dumb!
The goal is keep members and hopefully garnish a few new ones.

The whole renew by Dec 31 was a stupid move and I opposed it.
The membership had always renewed at TW. Many did so in person.
Then the push to change to Dec 31.
I understand the purpose, to have everyone already on the rolls before the election at TW. Many want the election to already take place BEFORE TW.
I Totally DISAGREE WITH THAT. You need to SEE the canidates! I also believe the by-laws call for the availibility to nominate AT the meeting. How is that accomplish by mail??

Granted there is always too much happening at TW. So instead of concentrating on the membership drive we switch to 12/31 and then try an do OTHER programs at TW???

Face it, the majority show up at TW, they pay for their dues, pay their magazine subscription...you know one stop shopping. We have pushed the early registration and the result has been a steady decline of membership. People show up at TW and are hesitant to fork out $100 to find out they have already lost 3 months of membership, so then they say I'll wait and sign up in Dec. Things happen and we loose those people. Can you say IMPULSE BUYING?

Yes, the membership has expired, so does your benefits. But the communication benefit was more for the association than the member. Now those people that haven't renewed or forgot have no contact. How do you contact them to let them know of the programs or to keep "friendly reminding" them of their non-status and prompt them to renew?? Mail them or email them. Mailing costs money, direct email maybe but who is now going to email everyone individually???

Inquirying Minds what to know!!

Dan Faupel
02-03-2008, 09:30 AM

Since your "Inquirying Mind what to know", IAHA uses a system called Constant Contact to direct email all of the members when they need to be notified of anything going on within the association. No one needs to individually email everyone...one email goes out to every member. That is the most reliable method of delivering information, not a Yahoo group that most of the members aren't even subscribed to.

Greg Chrise
02-03-2008, 10:30 AM
Okay, we'll read your posts everywhere and discuss them here. Don't look, you promised!

02-03-2008, 02:40 PM
Wow, talk about taking your ball and going home.

02-03-2008, 08:37 PM
Well put Mr. Faupel, it's funny Mr. Strelak says it wasn't personal, then why make the big stink, I expected a correction on his part after barry pointed out the technicality, that's too bad Dan that you won't be around here anymore, I've always enjoyed your post.

Jim Warfield
02-03-2008, 10:19 PM
As you go through alot of life experiences there may be some negative feelings that we just can't ignore from other's actions (or lack of action?) that even though we are assured they are not "personal" they still might feel very much that way. It is a fight not to get bogged down in such things whether they are real or imagined or someplace in between.

02-03-2008, 10:41 PM
Newton's third law comes into play?

Well, drop an apple on my head!

02-04-2008, 12:59 AM
Barry is right the entire IAHA list was purged and for good reason. Probably half of all the members (about 250) to their yahoo group were no longer members, and some had even asked to be removed from that list countless times, but never get removed. I've even seen people say I haven't been a member in two years and have never been removed. As it stands now the list was totally wiped out and then they sent out invites inviting people to resign up. As I predicted there was maybe 50 or people who were really members, or even cared about that list.

I looked up their list and as of right now it stands at 44 members. I don't think that number will ever go higher than a 100 if it can even get that high. I don't mean this as a shot at IAHA as much as just a reality. Most haunt owners are not socialites, and don't want the endless emails back and forth so if you purge the whole group, only the social haunters will sign back up. I think in many ways they hurt their means of communication to those people.

If you look at the IAHA message board no one uses that, no one visits their website, and now not many will use their yahoo group. Dan mentions that they use 'constant contact' to communicate with members.

Another mistake! We use that to a much higher degree than they ever would, we have these things set up as well. We have about 25,000 emails in our system, for various different things from groups on people who've bought tickets from us, to hauntworld haunted house owners, to people who buy blacklight mini golf.

I'll use the blacklight mini golf as an example, because EVERY email address we have was given to us and recently. When you use these systems, you can track how many emails go through, how many are read and how many go straight to SPAM. Well about 70% go to spam because of your email filters, and probably another 20% of those go un-read, which leaves maybe 10% or less actually are read, and an even lower number that click on links you offer.

There are companies now that do nothing but manage your CC manger systems for you because they know a secret or two of increasing those percentages but still its very low.

A few weeks ago Ben Armstrong asks me if I read the latest IAHA newsletter which talked about a banquet and I said no I didn't get a copy. He suggests to me that maybe since I've choosen not to re-join maybe they stopped sending it to you. I said yeah maybe.

A couple days later I was looking through my spam emails trying to find that one or two real emails amoung hundreds of bad ones, and yep there was the IAHA newsletter. Right to spam. Most of the people I know just DELETE their spam folders or never even look at them. So that is NOT a good way to communicate to the entire membership at all. Its one way yes, but nothing you can count on let me tell you.

I was never an IAHA member, then I joined it once they started HURTING the industry, with soap opera type crap on their website, in industry magazines and after all the scandels and whatever else.

I ran for the board and was elected. I then was nominated to run for President, which I accepted and served two terms. After I told the board I would no longer serve as President, and was told that they wanted a different President, Dan himself came to me and said we need you to run for President again. I told him no. I gave my ALL to this group, and I finally got fed up with the fact that this group just doesn't want to be professional.

They want to WASTE the members money on silly sponsorships to dances, waste money on dumb things that don't help the members advance their business.

They just basically did anything they wanted no matter how much reason you offer, or experience you present ... the census they did was a perfect example. They paid fellow board member, $2,500.00 to create this census. I was against that because NO BOARD member should be paid when they volunteer their service.

But that goes on all the time and I really wasn't happy about that. But they create this census that asked questions like how much money did you gross, how much did you net, blah, blah. It asked questions that no reasonable business owner would ask and they spent $2500.00 on this. I told them they should change it and they told me they would do whatever they wanted.

IT FAILED... NEARLY ZERO people filled this thing out, despite all of their pleas for people to do so. So many people from Ben Armstrong, to Randy Bates, and everyone in between told them NO WAY will we fill that out but they still REFUSED to change it. They would not listen to reason.

Its more of a social club, a group of buddies that think they know more than everyone else so if you don't agree with them it doesn't matter they do it anyway. I'm not going to be a part of that.

Personally for me, I'd rather not discuss the subject because as far as I'm concerned its a dead issue. I'm moving on.

Most people I talk to say the same thing... IAHA doesn't help my business and it doesn't. It was just tooooo much work to try and get a board of all kinds of people from an insurance salesman, to a home haunter, to an actor in a haunt, to someone who just works at a vendors company, to people who don't own haunts or vending companies or even a home haunt to see the bigger picture.

Well a REAL group of haunters did see the bigger pictures... a group of haunters got together outside of IAHA and started a group that would pool money to launch national PR, try to get television shows produced, and build awareness for the industry.

Its really amazing what you can do when people think alike, have the same goals, and put their money where their mouth is...

The Today Show, USA Today (twice), National Geographic Channel, Good Mourning America, countless AP stories, and so much more later, the industry is feeling the effects of exposure in your ticket lines, in your ticket booths, and in your bank accounts.

We won't stop!

In fact we have BIGGER PLANS, and we will be asking more and more haunts to get involved and do what it takes to spin our industry to AMERICA!


NO ONE is going to speak for an industry, you have to take the DAMN bull by the horns and do it yourself and that is what we did. We don't need IAHA, and neither does anyone else. However those choices are up to you!

It won't stop me or others from doing the positive things we do. In the end any thing good that happens no matter who does it is all good for the industry.

That is my view. If IAHA can do something good, which so far they haven't shown that they can then good for them. I'll be the first one to thank them.

www.HauntedHouseAssociation.org (http://www.HauntedHouseAssociation.org) is on top of most of the search engines, and is set up to promote the industry in a positve light. All haunts from Hauntworld are promoted on the site, along with all vendors, and we even list Hauntcon Tradeshow. So we're not trying to be lopsided or anything else.

I'm more than happy to ADD any VENDOR, to the site. Just let me know.

As we go forward, those who join IAHA go for it, or save your $100.00 and buy magazine subscriptions, dvds, or seminars at TW. But either way, I've parted ways with them, and whatever they do on their site, good for them. I don't care anymore and would rather just discuss haunted houses with all the people on this website.


02-04-2008, 01:38 AM

Well put with your comments. That is the IAHA attitude. Recently as Rich has pointed out another fellow IAHA member Eddie Allen wanted Tim Turner removed from the IAHA board because Eddie proved in a court of law that Time decieved this industry with false claims. Considering IAHA's code of conduct, clearly points out that a board member could be removed for this type of activity Eddie wanted a response from the board...not one, not two, but almost half the board chimed in on the members list and basically told Eddie they would do nothing. They basically told him to shut up... Ben Armstrong stepped up and pointed out that is not the way to talk to members.

So then an exec board member re-canted their earlier claims that Eddie jump in a lake and said hadn't made a proper complaint so they would do nothing. Well then I pointed out that their President Tim Gavinski, lied to Brainstorm Studios to obtain all of my Darkness artwork, and used my haunted house name 'The Darkness' and promoted himself NATIONALLY, and at one point was posed as one of the national top 13 haunts according to AOL.com on ticketweb.

I had to spend over $5000.00 in legal fees to finally get him to stop using my artwork and name on his website, flyers, and whatever else he was using it on. This guy lied to me, on the phone, he lied to Brainstorm Studios, and told me when I found out about he would stop using it, he even told this to Brainstorm. Me being an idiot thought this was the case, he just put it all back up there and tried to use it again the following year.

Only when faced with a MAJOR lawsuit did he finally STOP using it. I pointed this out to the board, but they didn't do ANYTHING! NOTHING! NOT A THING!

Mr. Ethical is your President. This guy told me FLAT out after I caught him using my haunts name a second year, that he thought I said he could use it and there must be some kind of misunderstanding. I said to him what... dude Brainstorm Studios was on a THREE WAY CALL and they heard you say you would STOP using my artwork and haunt name. So then he says to me... 'ahhhh well we don't think you actually own the name, so unless you can PROVE you own it, I will keep using it...then his wife jumps on the phone and says... fax us over PROOF and we'll stop using the name and stuff'. SO get this... I say to her 'what is your fax number, and she says I won't give it to you, you can figure it out'. So then I told her... the only thing I'm going to figure out is how much to sue you for... I'm done being nice to you theives.

They told my lawfirm MORE than once they would stop using it, only for one deadline after another to pass, and finally they recieved one final ultimatum they stopped using my haunt name, and everything. I felt totally violated.

In fact I had to get my lawfirm after Ticketweb as well to get them to remove this Darkness version they had on there... they quickly acknowledged my rights, and sent a letter apologizing and said they would never again use our name, logos, or anything else without our permission. It wasn't their fault, because someone who is NOW the president of IAHA told them HE was The Darkness.

Here is the really FUNNY PART... the first time we caught him he said he thought because he bought some used haunted house that at one time we owned he could use it. He just kept saying 'this must be a mistunderstanding' and Doug from Brainstorm told him FLAT OUT he LIED to them. He agreed to stop using everything.

The second time I caught him using it he said well again another misunderstanding then turned around and BLAMED THE WHOLE THING on LEONARD PICKEL.

He tells me that LEONARD told him he could have my haunted house name and artwork. I asked him SEVERAL times so show me that you have this in writting and he said he doesn't have it in writting. But he kept blamming Leonard.

I'm like I could care LESS what Leonard told you he doesn't own The Darkness and he doesn't own my artwork, and no matter what you say you LIED to Brainstorm to get my artwork. It was NO ONES falut by Tim and his wife.

He kept telling me ... 'Ah Larry we're just little nobodies here in Wisconsin, so why don't you just let me use it'. He was told countless times NO!

How would you feel if you worked so hard to create something and someone just comes along and TAKES IT without even asking??? Tries to build up their business on the back of your success??? How would you feel?

Well when all of this was brought up to the board they just didn't care.

Tim called me screaming at me, basically he was crying that I exposed this story to the board, and he said he was resigning from the board later that night but he never did because of his buddies on the board who support or do not think that kind of activity should effect him being the leader of an association.

I'll tell you I do not agree!!!


02-05-2008, 01:06 PM
ahhh, why am I on thin ice?

RJ Productions
02-05-2008, 06:39 PM
Sorry, I've been out on jury duty...
Dan, Constant Contact may be a good program but it's a ONE WAY communication. Mybe it can DELIVER information, but more importantly it needs to RECEIVE. Maybe that's part of the IAHA's problem, it needs to be TWO WAY.

Another problem seems to be attitude. Members like myself, Larry, even Ben voice concerns and immediately it is considered nothing more than "bitching" and we are instigators and worst. Sorry my friend , (and I DO consider you a friend) but we only go forward when we question the path!

This country was not founded by people who sat around, patted each other on the back and accepted what ever was placed before them. We need to question every move and make sure it's the right one, otherwise we do nothung but waste time and money.

The IAHA reminds me pf the joke about two guys traveling. As they speed along the driver says "I've got good news and bad news. Bad news is we're LOST. GOOD news is that we're making great time!!!"

Bottom line is if it's not good for the industry...it's NOT GOOD period! It really fustrates me when others don't see the obvious.