Which interviews were you referring to, and what did the remote team shoot when they did the remote at your show?
Which interviews were you referring to, and what did the remote team shoot when they did the remote at your show?
Maybe several years being in business you could consider all of these $4500 and $12,000 purchases as advertising expenses for big animated props. Each one becomes a media event promoting your event and perhaps in parts of the country where population can support these expenses this is what is happening.
The reality of the behind the scenes is you don't have 20 or 30 years of this thing working to pay it out. The mechanics die after a year and te skins all rip to shreads and become brittle in 2 to 3 years and then it becomes botched repairs trying to cover torn and ripped places. So this expendature is just money spent. It does help the economy because someone industrious can go to a haunt and find 30 things that need major repairs, if they have the money to repair them.
It is not the fault of the prop makers it is a one year impact purchase and there is quite a dissapointment factor after that. Usually what happens is the props and many actuators themselves become junk and 6 actuators are harvested from the junk and make 6 other smaller things happen. As a customer you might actually feel sorry for the haunt guy that his Gargoil was once beautiful and commanding and now it's head is seperated from it's body and still goes through the motions and the following year has a patch that looks like a hillbilly vinyl pool repair with moss glued on it.
There is also the plain and simple fact that it gets to be 115 degrees here in August and inside some of these haunts during set up time is like there are laws about locking your dog up in a car. There are simply materials limitations and no one has convinced me for our area it really makes or breaks a show when the population here is not what it mightbe in Virginia.
So like you are bitching about physics and making it sound like people are stupid and it isn't the case. Big animatronic shows are a freaking travesty and you better have $250K oer year to redo it all because it is going to have to be redone not because you want to give the best show for your customers, because it is all destroyed. 90% of the shows don't even make the $250,000 total gross one time and aren't expected to be able to grow to those levels. You can divide that by 5 catagories and that is all you have to work with. Or actually first take $50K off of that and live with it. SO you are also apparently stupid to have a smaller budget or come up with products that serve those smaller budgets.
It isn't even an argument, it is total misunderstanding and not having been around and really concerned or something like that? There is nothing stupid about finding ways to make things for the 90% or making people understand they might be stuck in that lower catagory of income. Instead what has come off perception wise is people think they can set up a bunch of animatronics in an old mall and make a million dollars. Larry keeps sighting some haunts in the middle of nowhere that see serious customer levels but there again, major amounts of land and years into it. Not first year out it was magic. The ones that are becoming impressive are building things that look great and last in their sets.
Still by definition, props and masks and costumes are part of the expendable budget. Every year there is only so much money and so much time to fill so many square feet. So you develop entire reams of knowledge on making things that are inexpensive to make and can be done quickly. It is work. It isn't a shopping spree and a stop to see old freinds at the bar. It's many times like walking into a failed garage and 30 cars are torn apart and you have to make it all work again and no one has any money until after the customers have come through. We are talking real conviction stuff here.
Let me chime in here...
There is some truth to what DA is saying. I know in our case, when the local news and media comes out it is often the animation they want to film. We would be out at 5am with a crew of actors in full costume and they end up filming the scenes with the huge monsters. We have at least a dozen large animated monsters and some are custom for us up until this past season. We also did a feature for an international story from AP and the after walking the reporter through, she was free to film whatever she wanted. She has us take her to all the scenes that had a giant monster in it because to her that was cool and they always look great on camera. Viewers expect to see actors in costumes but they don't expect to see huge animated monsters and that high level of production. Of course actors will still be featured and there are essential, and certain crews will prefer them over props, but from our experience the cameras love the monsters.
As far as building your own vs buying I don't think there is a right or wrong way. If you have the talent and the talent around you to create cool scenes and props that's great. If you need to buy and hire talented people to build it for you that is also great.
Also, Sometimes junk is exactly what a scene a theme calls for, whereas sometimes the scene calls for a giant animated prop as a distraction for a talented actor.
We hear from guests all the time that tell us they watch the youtube videos of transworld and check out the websites of the big vendors and they are familiar with the latest props and they come to our haunts to hopefully see some of them. The general public is much mor aware then they used to be. They see what is being offered and found in other haunts in other markets, and they hope to see it in their local shows as well.
Another point that was brought up what that there are some that are critical to those haunters who have a lot of props and animation. We have far more props and animation than any haunt around us and we've heard and read comments from other haunts that will say "we don't need to rely on animations to be scary" or all they are are props and no actors" etc etc. This is of course jealousy at play, considering we have as many as 60+ actors which is several times more than those same haunts have and we're easily 5 times scarier as we're told.
As a haunter you want to have all the weapons at your disposal, it really is all about balance!
Here I assumed from "Day-One" that my imbalance was the entertainment my patrons came here seeking?
They still keep saying I am crazy!
Who's crazy? Who just paid who to see who's house?"
( I Very seldom take the time and energy to point this out, besides that , it would be rude and even possibly economically damaging to me next season)
Mad customers often return for another look and Revenge!
"We want a discount!"
Here, put on this pirate eye patch, half off admission now!
The original question was about being "business orientated" "and what do you do to get that mindset?"
What does business mean? Google says "1.A person's regular occupation, profession, or trade."
What being business oriented means to me is creating and sustaining profitability. How much you spend doesn't matter so much as how much you get to keep. If you aren't making a profit it can't be your occupation for long. Does it matter how big your prop is? Does it matter who made it? Does it matter how many actors you have? Does it matter how much their masks cost? If you sustain a customer base that is willing to pay, and can do this year after year, and this is your "regular occupation" and you CAN'T be doing it wrong. WTH? ;)
I'm sure Bobby understands the nature of what it is to be business oriented since he is already a successful business man. I think he just wanted to know what mental strategies and best business practices proved befitting of a successful haunt owner or haunt industry vendor. While those considerations and his current profession as a DJ probably share much in common in that both deal with entertaining large numbers of people, I'm sure he would like to know any particulars unique to haunting and the haunt industry.
Based on previous conversations with him, that is what I take his meaning as, tho I'm sure he'd be happy to clarify.
As far as all the hubbub about size of one's props and so on, well that was really just a red herring. It ultimately gets down to what best serves the show, and what best entertains the customer. Tho, that said, I'm sure most shrewd business people would consider it bad business to have a significant majority of one's production budget tied up in expensive props bought at a tradeshow that may not make it into your show in time. That could prove potentially disastrous to a first time haunter with a big bank loan, or group of investors expecting to make a return on investment and a nice, sizable profit.
Incidentally, congrats on a successful first season. Onwards and upwards.
Thank you MrFoos, I appreciate your post. That is EXACTLY what I was trying to get out of this, and since my last post in this thread no one even acknowledged my catch up...lol.
Easy Chris, although I appreciate the kind words, MrFoos was dead on in his posting, don't jump the gun too quickly! Lol. Have a drink and watch a horror flick, soothes the nerves extremely well! Haha
It would make me happy to not read the word PROP anymore in this thread.
Like MrFoos pointed out, I just wanted to know what steps other people have taken in their journey to success, as well as things others have done or learned along the way to make themselves better business people in this industry. That's all. I don't care about who makes what or who bought what prop or what piece makes you all of a sudden professional....that's irrelevant to my original inquiries. I thought that a thread like this could benefit all those who read it. That's all. :)
And, while not you per se, invariably when the subject of making it in the haunt business comes up, someone somewhere says "to go pro, you need big fancy props."
I feel like I'm business oriented. Here are the general steps I took to do my 1st year "pro" haunt. Obviously I could go into great detail into each step but I'll spare you. ;)
Patrick's General Order of Planning:
1. Defined my three year business goal. I then assigned a monetary requirement to reach that goal. (My business goal was a sustainable haunted attraction.)
2. Decided how I could provide a unique entertainment event to reach that goal. (For me it was a haunted trail with a specific theme.)
3. Defined my target customers. (Local college students for me)
4. Estimated where/how I could reach my potential customers.
5. Came up with a sales pitch that would resonate with those people. (My specific theme.)
6. Came up with how to make sure they are satisfied with the ticket purchase. (General scenes and flow of haunt)
7. Setup a budget (staff, props, insurance, location, advertising). This included finding the source of funding. (For me it was credit cards. I know that's a controversial topic here but I don't regret it.)
8. Took all that and wrote it into a Business Plan. (My business plan wasn't for a banker... it was for myself first and for anyone I wanted to share my vision with second, like land owner. Mine was over 16 pages. I had a seperate Design Plan that was about 15.) There are so many details for a first year haunt I can't imagine trying to keep all those details in my head.
9. Sought out and found a location.
10. Customized my theme ideas with the location and budget. (Walking through at night helped)
11. Defined all staffing roles and began recruiting. (Casting calls)
12. Began advertisement campaign.
13. Began construction and purchasing for all scenes and props. (Tried to get bare bones scenes and props up for potential staff visits)
14. Finished the bulk of the work for the scenes.
15. Ran practice nights with staff.
16. Opened to the public.
I think I'll take the same approach my second year. I'll have more validation data to fine tune some of what I had to guess at before.