The collapsing bridge sounds intereseting. Why can't you do fog again?
I own a DJ company here in Connecticut, and I run into people who want fog ALL of time but are afraid of setting the smoke alarms off, or who have hall management who don't allow fog for that reason.
Theres two things to check on, is your fire system smoke detection or heat detection? If it's a heat detection system it has those little glass vials near the sprinklers with a red liquid in it, if that liquid gets too hot it breaks the glass and sets off the sprinkler, in that case, fog won't be an issue because it's theatrical fog not fire smoke.
Secondly, if you want low lying fog, use this, http://www.froggysfog.com/category/1...or-ground-fog/ It will not rise and set off the detectors, just chill it for a low lying effect and it will dissipate before it rises, it's made a lot of brides happy! Look into it and play around with a few different set up BEFORE you open, that way it isn't a big deal if you set anything off, just let the FD know that you're testing and not to show if anything goes off.
And with the plantation, you may have a serious issue. When you use the terms "plantation" and "former forced workers" in the same sentence or paragraph, the first thing that comes to people's minds are "black slaves". So, is the idea of the plantation theme that former black slaves, or the ghosts of former black slaves, are going to take over the plantation and kill everyone? I think if people think or assume that you are pitching black slaves as the villains then that could present some very serious issues. Obviously you're not suggesting that, but even tho, you might find yourself having to explain that.
The problem I'm seeing is that these themes seem to lack clarity. I'm not really sure what they are supposed to be. A good theme can be summed up in 10 words or less; ideally 7 words or less. The cognitive term is "7±2". Our short term memory can only hold onto 7 chunks of information, plus or minus 2. That's the reason why phone number are only 7 digits long. Easier to remember and recall. In some parts of the country, like here in DFW, we need to enter the area code, but we tend to think of that as just another chunk, rather than individual digits. Iow, we think of it as "(972)" rather than "9, 7, 2". Some people even abbreviate it as "9)" to make it easier.
Hollywood applies this same principle all the time with the working titles of movies and their accompanying loglines (a brief summary of a film, providing a synopsis of the plot, and an emotional hook to stimulate interest). Very often the title of the movie and the logline is all you have to sell a movie before a single dime is spent (of what may be 100s' of millions of dollars spent). Very often a movie pitch will be nothing more than giving the movie title, the logline, and maybe answering a question or two, or mentioning an A-Lister to consider for the lead role, and that's it. Five minutes to sell your multi-million dollar movie with a few lines of info. And those ideas then need to penetrate into the ranks as the would-be producer you pitched to relates the idea to others and sees if there is financial interest. It's obviously a much more involved process, but you get the idea.
Likewise, your haunt's theme needs to have that kind of clarity. What is the logline for your haunt? As an example, there is an excellent haunt down here in DFW called "Zombie Manor". The idea is that a southern plantation owner back in the day had taken advantage of one of the slave girls, whose mother just so happened to be a voodoo priestess, and was none too happy about it. In retaliation, she cursed the entire plantation, turning everyone into zombies. It's a brilliant idea, and I've never seen it done before, and that simple sentence tells you everything you need to know. The title and logline could easily be "Zombie Manor: Voodoo Priestess Curses Plantation", or something along those lines. Now, that's a logline that pops, and a haunt I wanna go see!
Also, again, there's nothing really scary about disgruntled workers and kids with parent issues, unless you are indeed talking about postal workers or the Menendez brothers. Remember, you are competing with zombies, psycho-clowns, vampires, werewolves, creatures from outer-space, and I'm not even talking about haunts. I'm talking about the cinema on any given Saturday night, with shorter lines, cheaper tickets, really great concessions, guaranteed fun, and no stupid teenagers in masks spazzing out (unless you count a Star Wars or Star Trek premiere . . . and yes, I fall into both camps, sans dorky mask).
You are also competing against a lot of great halloween parties with lots of beer and chicks in slutty outfits. That seems to be a staple of adult halloween costuming these days, particularly at Spirit and other seasonal halloween superstores: "Sexy *cough*slutty*cough* [random occupation or character]". Sexy nurse, sexy maid, sexy witch, sexy vampire, and so on.
Factor in other FEC's and amusement parks doing a special Halloween promotion, and that's your non-haunt competition. Add to that whatever popular haunts are around you within driving distance, and you can see how it stacks up.
So, that said, you don't want to be in the least bit maudlin or insipid in your theme choice. You want it to pop, you want people to get it right away, you want the concept to get into their heads like a thought virus, and you want them to become patrons, and being your best street-team, telling all their friends and family about your haunt.
Also, one of the best mnemonic devices, which helps promote awareness, is to connect a certain thought to another thought that someone already has, so that they can relate to it more easily. That's why themes work around popular archetypes that people can readily relate to, and also why you see these themes or motifs pop up in movies all the time. Themes such as Hospitals, Asylums, Circuses, Alien Invasions, Zombie Apocalypses, Victorian Mansions, Serial Killers, and Were-Beasts (which unfortunately may be going the way of Vampires as a theme). These themes serve as memes which people can readily relate to.
So, referencing the logline example above, for the first haunt, you might do a "Welcome To The Family" theme, which is basically what "Psycho", "House of 1000 Corpses", "The Devil's Rejects", and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" all fall under. In fact, here's an original idea which I don't think I've ever seen done before which ties in beautifully with WTTF and what you said you were thinking about doing.
The family of this manor (mansion, hotel, truck-stop, bed 'n' breakfast, etc.) are really big on family "inheritance" and "heritage" and "keeping it within the family", and it's the custom of this family that each generation of children, in order to "keep it within the family" and "keep the family strong", cannibalizes their parents when their parents reach a certain age. That's why the parents were never found. They were served up to their children to pass on the life essence to the next generation. Also, because they keep it within the family, you can also incorporate inbreeding. If you want to add a crazy cult religion to the equation, all the better. Make it some pagan religion that no one's ever heard of, or their own homespun cult that doesn't involve anything Judea-Christian. In fact, you could even add some Cthulhu cult type stuff, which gradually develops as you near the end. You don't have to go paranormal with it, or incorporate demons. Just the fact that this crazy family believes it is enough.
"Psycho, Inbred, Cannibalistic, Cthulhu-Cult Family Runs Truck-Stop/Bed-'n'-Breakfast." How's that for a logline?
Btw, even if you can work out the fog, still keep the misters and water effects. Clever idea and I don't often see it being done. Worth experimenting with if you can get it right.
Last edited by BrotherMysterio; 06-29-2012 at 06:03 AM.
Thanks for that info. We are going to look into the smokes. I'm hopefully meeting with the FM & alarm company in about a week. I did speak to someone @ Froggy's & he said that it is possible that certain alarm systems can be triggered by his products...just depends, he said. We're taking your suggestion & going to experiment. Thanks again for the advice.
Thanks for the input...I appreciate the thought you put into your reply. I can see your point more clearly now. I'm going to discuss in greater detail with my partner & the guy working on the back stories. Your "dead" on (pun intended) that I wasn't referring to the "old slave days", I guess more along the lines of "swamp people". Either way I get you point on the 7 +/- 2.
Something we have to sort out. I should just get you to write our themes lol, you have some creative ideas. Now you have me thinking about changing the manor to a truck stop...that's a great idea! C , I'm more of a hands on fabricator, design/idea guy...this "theme thing" is all new to me...actually writing the story line. Appreciate your invaluable input. If you come up with anything regarding our plantation/swamp attraction, please let me know...I can easily adapt. Thanks again.
Go ahead and use the basic logline I outlined; use a manor with a small truck-stop in front of it, like Bates Manor with the Motel in front. Here you have two choices. First, you can use the truck-stop out in front as part of the queue line to add all sorts of atmosphere and then the high impact stuff happens inside the manor, which might also double as a bed 'n' breakfast, which gives you all sorts of opportunities to show previous guests who checked in but never checked out. If you have the space, then that would be the route that I would take (no pun intended). Btw, in front of the truck-stop, you can put up a sign for Route 66, with someone having sprayed an extra "6" on the sign (or smeared it in blood).
If the truck-stop in front isn't practical, your second choice is having the patrons enter from the back of the manor, and the truck-stop would still be in "front" but would, in essence, be one of the backrooms or sets of the haunt. Grand plantation style houses, while not a proper plantation like you want your second haunt to be, pretty much look the same, either front or back, so you'll still have the same basic facade which will still give you an impressive visual.
In fact, going with the the truck stop in front, you can actually snake the queue line thru the truck-stop. The inside diner doesn't have to be too big; just a lunch counter and maybe 2-3 three seats and a booth. Lots of opportunity to develop backstory, with newspapers lying about, missing signs posted in the windows, flyers for "family barbeques" with "mama's secret recipe", one or two TV's with newsreels like you were mentioning, one at either end with moderate volume so they don't compete with each other, and so on.
Now, as far as the logline itself, consider the ease with which you can implement each of the elements.
"Psycho, Inbred, Cannibalistic, Cthulhu-Cult Family Runs Truck-Stop/Bed-'n'-Breakfast."
- Psycho: in the backstory and in the acting. Iow, free.
- Inbred: in the backstory, acting, and perhaps some freaky make-up. Character faces and maybe some basic make-up should be enough. No fancy airbrush jobs or latex needed. Free and low cost.
- Cannibalistic: backstory, acting, and set-design. Free and low cost, depending on creativity in design and sourcing materials. Allen would be a good person to talk to about this. Use his human pelts.
- Cthulhu-Cult: a little added extra paint in the set design to make cryptic symbols. Free.
- Truck-Stop/Bed-'n'-Breakfast: see above.
Once you have those basics sorted out, the rest is easy.
Last edited by BrotherMysterio; 06-03-2012 at 02:34 AM.
That's some great stuff...appreciate it. I think we might have enough room in our queue line area to build out a truck stop set! I'm still not certain on the whole plantation deal? My original thoughts were to bring the people thru the plantation (2-3 rooms) out thru the rear porch & the remainder of the haunt to be in swampy areas (& various outside scenes). Maybe I should forego the plantation theme since it may look to similar to the "Manor"? Maybe a facade mimicking a series of old cabins (can't recall that movies name?) than they would exit the cabin (interior scenes) into the bog swamp. Yeah, I think I'm liking that. Than maybe use your idea about "keeping it in the family" (similar to that movie...again?) for the story line. Maybe do the whole Truck Stop/Manor facade with a back story of the dead (zombie) staff now running it? Am I getting any closer? lol
How about the truck stop facade, the bee hived waitresses and all that are the cover facade for a burial mound or ancient temple with some ancient evil really being fed off of the passers by. It might be a massive undertaking to make a swamp but there could be a really evil, tremendously collosally evil mister turtle pool where the ancient virus came from and made them all officially evil. Before that they were happy people thinking about a chariot stop baking bread and stuff. Now 2,000 years later they are still at it with a bad attitude and pie that isn't really fresh.
For 2,000 years of victims there are all kinds of things from history they had to hide behind the truck stop. The circus came through town, they ate them. A parade came through town, they ate them. The military was dispatched to quarantine the area, they ate them. It turned out someone used bath salts in the turtle pool.
But since you have entered the forbidden area of antiquities, you can either bid on something or you must die. And since they haven't exactly had cable for the last 2,000 years, they have all kinds of carnival games to determine how you will die. Spin the wheel, throw the bag of sand, toss the hoop, put a roman coin into the plate from 10 feet. Occasionally you come up on a game and the last players were declared losers and drug off screaming.
You can expand on that, I have been sick for a few days.
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