View Full Version : Careers in the horror industry?

05-18-2008, 07:57 PM
Hey everyone. I'm new to the community and thought I would check here for suggestions and advice on a possible career change. At the moment, I'm working in corporate America at a fortune 500 company doing website marketing and management. It's a great company and I've been with them for 8 hears now (I'm 28.) There's just one problem... I'm sick of my job. From day one, I knew this wasn't where I should be working... but its a paycheck and it helps me get by. As I get closer to the decade mark at the company, I'm getting to the point where I just cant do it anymore. I have difficulty even getting out of bed in the morning. I desperately need a change.

I've alway been a big horror and Halloween fan. I love the movies, I love the costumes, I love everything about it! Some of the best memories I have with my job are the past two Halloweens where I built an actual haunted house in one of our conference rooms.The one I did in 2006 was tiny, but what I did in 2007 was big (I have the video on youtube for anyone interested). It made me realize just how much I don't belong in corporate America.

This is where I'm asking for help. I live outside of NYC, NY and I'm somewhat stranded from the hot industry areas. I just don't know how I can make a career our of my love for this genre. I'm betting some of the people on these forums are either in the field or know a lot about it. I'm open to any suggestions you might have. I considered opening a haunted house in the area but real estate is so expensive that I could never afford it - and its too seasonal. I need a year long job.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated!


05-18-2008, 09:00 PM
Well, i do have some advice for you. First off, the film industry is rough to make a living in.....unless you have some ninja talent that is high demand. You living near NYC.....you can find plenty of sets to work on. Alot of horror comes out of your state bro.

My suggestion......stay employed with your current job, and bust your ass on the side to learn a industry trade. Its going to take 80 percent of your time off away, but if you truley want to work in horror......you'll make the sacrifice.

I walk this same path Joe......I am a US Marine and have been for the last 17 years. I have always wanted to work in the horror biz.....so i made a decision back in 2003 to find me a skill. Editing and directing horror interested me the most, so i dug deep in the books on my off time and on deployments.

I thought that making short horror movies would be an inexpensive way to practice.........then i decided to see if i can pay off the equipment i have bought by making haunted attraction commercials. I was amazed at the response I received and within a year and a half......my equipment was free and clear. Elswarro Productions was born.....

Now i'm working toward a new goal. i want to direct a feature length horror film by 2010. Its a very attainable goal and i will not rest until my B-horror flick is on the bottom shelf of hollywood video. ha ha!

So, the moral of the story is.....dont quit your day job......but dont quit your dream either. If you really want to work in horror....you'll make it happen one way or another. I'll see ya there one day bro.....

- Jason

05-18-2008, 09:05 PM
I opened my first haunt 11 years ago. I felt the same way you have described in your post. You have to start somewhere. For me it was a flea market. Find a location, make a deal. If this is something you enjoy, you can make it work. Do it because you enjoy it, do not go into it for the money. Eventually, money will come, if you stick with it.

05-18-2008, 09:57 PM
elswarro and haunterx - Thanks for the motivating advice and suggestions!

My primary area of interest in in props and haunts.

PROPS: By no means am I any kind of artist, so I'm not sure if making props is for me, but I'm interested in maybe stocking and selling them, or perhaps starting a company to make them where I would run the business but not necessarily do the actual designs. I love these things and I cant get enough of them. I feel like I should be working with them in some capacity.

HAUNTS: I suspect this will come with time but it's not feasible at the moment due to the cost of real estate in the area. The little things I've done at work are impressive considering the size of the room, but it was not at all a professional level (Check them out here: http://www.youtube.com/user/joeyd1013)

haunterx - Can you give me more detail on the setup you did with the flea market? How did you setup a haunt in that type of location? I have a pending deal with a local church that might let me use their crypt this Halloween but it's far from confirmed right now...

05-18-2008, 10:06 PM
Welcome! I am going to make this short and to the point! Follow your heart, love and passion. Everything else will fall in place! It wont be a short road but at the end of your journey you will find that it was all worth it. Good Luck Man and if you ever need advice or just someone to take to give me a call 256-710-0515 Shane Graystone Manor

05-18-2008, 10:30 PM
Back then, we chose the flea market for its' location. Located on a major highway, it seemed like the right location. It was a flea market by day, a haunted attraction by night. We dug a swamp in one of the court yards, built pre-fab walls for a dungeon, created a cemetary, and so on. The point is, you have to start somewhere. Eleven years later, we have a permanent location. Build a foundation, and add to it each year. We have over $100,000.00 worth of props today, but that is eleven years worth. Don't go deep into debt your first year, start slowly, and build it each year. You know what your customer's like, build it little by little, and they will come.

Jim Warfield
05-18-2008, 11:42 PM
Joe, I began here 20 years ago and I got more than a year long job, I got a "Job" that wakes me up in the morning to begin fixing cleaning building until supper time, then at 7pm I'm open for house tours. Sometimes nobody shows up, then I'm on the computer or doing other household chores that always need doing.
When people do show up I provide a tour with the haunted history , usually told with humor(the history is all true and scares some people without the humor)
A tour lasts for usually 90 minutes.
I have done 98% of the physical work on this house and property. People sometimes marvel at all the hard work I have done here, I love it! It is really quite a balance of working alone, working entertaining groups of all kinds of people in all kinds of styles dependent upon who is in the group.
The physical stimulation is balanced with the mental stimulation of the customers.
Of course what I have to do during a tour has me covering almost the full half a mile of travel encompassing several levels, that's why a secret fireman's pole comes in real handy for my inner-house travels!
I takes a real love or desire to keep your tired body functioning during those long, long hours. It is not for "everybody".
The pursuit of a sense of accomplishment should be much stronger than simply chasing a buck, the bucks will be hard fought and sometimes..skimpy.

05-20-2008, 08:35 AM
I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone for their responses on this forum! In addition all of the replies on the thread, my private messages have been building from people that are offering guidance and support.

I have to head to a doctors visit at the moment, but I'll be responding to everyone when I return.

What a great welcoming to the forum and the industry!


07-15-2008, 03:20 PM
Hi Everyone - I'm back!

It's been a while since I initially started this thread so I wanted to provide an update:

- I launched my website which I'm using to showcase my past work. I would love feedback from you guys since you've been so supportive!

FRIGHT ROOM - www.frightroom.com (http://www.frightroom.com)

- I sent my proposal for this years haunt to the senior management at my job and I'm waiting to hear if they approve it. If so, I'll be doing a haunt twice as big this year and it'll be on their dollar! I'll be looking for good deals on electric props (no air)

- Those of you in the Westchester, NY area might be familiar with the Rye Playland amusement park. Well I'm in talks with them to be a monster in their yearly haunted house, AND to maybe assist with building the set.

I'm very excited about these recent update and I cant wait to hear everyone's thoughts. I'm still open for any opportunities you guys might have, so please keep me in mind!

Oh, and I listed the Haunt World site on 2 of the pages in my site!