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Haunted Attraction Idea
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:09 pm    Post subject: Haunted Attraction Idea Reply with quote

We haven't talked much about designing attractions here lately. So, I'm going to throw out a basic idea that I've been kicking around for a long time. I'm leaving out quite a few details. I wanted to see what other people are thinking.

This talks about the start of the attraction. I'm leaving out the actual storyline. Read on fellow designers...

----
Haunting

Guests enter the queue and snake through a large room. In groups, they are ushered into a single hallway that goes around a corner. The corner is critical so that other waiting guests cannot see that the hallway changes for each group. The appearance is that the hallway leads to a single room. There are no other doors or cues to judge distance. What is going on? The far wall slides to reveal a different door for each group. This allows us to have multiple paths through the structure, pushing more individuals through.

The first room they enter will be a small waiting room. There is a large fireplace on the side wall. A clock sits on the mantel and begins to strike twelve. The clock breaks in the middle. Guests are then ushered into the next hallway. What is going on? Not much in this room. There will be an identical room at the end of the attraction where the clock will resume striking twelve, as the guests leave. The idea is that the whole experience takes place at the stroke of midnight.

Guests are ushered into a room with a large mirror on the far wall. That area is roped off. There is an empty chair facing the mirror. After closing the door, a voice is heard coming from near the chair. This voice will be the groupís guide. Partway through, the lights should flicker. A loud crashing boom is heard, shaking the room. The lights go out completely. The chair starts to take on a greenish glow as the voice continues. The chair should give off a creaking sound as if a weight is being applied. Guests can see the chairís reflection in the mirror. In addition, an individual will be sitting in the reflection. Our guide temporarily has a face while he continues his tale. At the end of his speech, another boom is heard and felt as the lights come back on. The guests are ushered back out through the only door, into an obviously different hallway (different colors, textures). What is going on? The room is on a track. The first crash masks the start of the motion. The second masks the end. The ghost effect is performed using fiber optics in the chair. The mirror is not complete. It can be seen through, with dim enough lighting. The other sideís lighting will be brightened so the light can leak through. An actor / animatronic will be sitting in the alternate chair to complete the illusion.

By having multiple paths, we can customize for different experiences. Mainly, we can offer differences such as G, PG, and R rated versions. Depending on the actual attraction footprint, we might be able to offer alternate storylines as well, not just various censored or edited editions of the same story. As in, instead of two copies of each edition (requiring six paths), we can have four stories at three editions each. Some scenes can be used for different stories or editions. It comes down to space and timing.

I want at least this initial part to be a walking experience. We can move this into a sit down ride at some point. I do not want the experience as in the Haunted Mansion where you leave the line, get separated into small groups, and then get introduced back into a line. Instead, once the groups are formed, you remain with that group until the end. And, you only interact with that group.
----

I'll check back on Monday to follow up
-Martin
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admin
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff Martin. I'll chew on it for a while and then respond later!

Remember that submissions like yours are subject to our terms of use, but I also understand that this is all in good fun!

Nate
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey martin, youve got some interesting ideas going there...is this something you plan on building or just an idea youre tossing around for feedback? I have quite a bit of experience in the haunt industry including owning my own for 7 years, so if you have any specific questions ill do my best to help you out. Take care!
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been hoping that at some time (most likely far in the future) I would get the chance to actually build it. Will I get that chance? Probably not with my current salary, job, and wondiferous bills (new house = howtheheckdoIraisethatkindofmoney). So, let's just treat this like a mental exercise. I wanted to get everyone in the spirit, so to speak.

I've been tossing the idea around for quite a long time. It's been well over ten years on this particular one. I think haunted houses have been on my mind for most of life. I remember drawing them when I was a kid. Saturday afternoon horror movies can do that. So can that first visit to the Haunted Mansion. I love the arhitecture.

I think that with the little that I've actually written, the attraction would still cost quite a bit. It might need to be a permanant structure to maintain the mechanical aspects.

In any case, spook your mind.
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds fun - a lot of good ideas. There is great repeatability in the different rooms, making people want to go back for more. I could see it as a great addition to the Haunted Mansion, or an alternate attraction anywhere else.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll respond to this piecemeal as I have time: Here's a comment on your "stopping time effect:

You wrote: >>What is going on? Not much in this room. There will be an identical room at the end of the attraction where the clock will resume striking twelve, as the guests leave. The idea is that the whole experience takes place at the stroke of midnight. <<

To accomplish a storyline effect where time stops, you could do a few things without having to create two separate rooms: You could always have a clock with both hands spinning wildly.... then have them begin to slow down more and more along with some que'd effect or spoken dialog that makes note that "Time is slowing down" and until the hands have finally stopped on 12 midnight. The audience will 'get' that time has stopped at that point once the clock's hands stop moving.

Another way to accomplish this is simply do what they do at EPCOT's Spaceship Earth Attraction: As you board the moving walkway at the attraction entrance, a narrator announces that you are 'Traveling backwards in time at the speed of the moving walkway.' The further you move forward, the further back in time you go. Just simply announcing something as fact is an interesting way to accomplish some things and to advance the story. That's right about the time where a guest will suspend disbelief.

Nate
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking of using people to usher folks through. At the start, during "normal" time, the people would be wearing crisp, new uniforms. A different set of staff would be in the stopped time zones. Their uniforms would be worn and possibly tattered. Their faces would also be a bit ghoulish (not much).

As an effect, I'm thinking the usher herds you all in the room, announces that they will be right back, goes through the second door. The time stop happens. That's when a second usher comes back for you through that second door. It would work better if the two actors were similar in build. This same exchange would take place again at the end (ghoul ushers you in, normal person lets out, apologizing for the delay but to bid you a good day).
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin -

I have given this some thought, and I believe you're focusing too much on the mechanics of the attraction and not enough on the story or scenes. Ideally, every attraction will have adequate capacity to handle all of the guests. You don't yet know what your capacity requirements are so it could be that a single run will work fine? I mention this because it's only when you realize that there is not enough capacity that you start getting creative in creating a complete second run (two attractions instead of one at double the cost!) or start pulsing guests through different areas. Creating alternate doorways for second guests may be done... but remember that the wall may never need to move. Once the guests are sufficiently grouped, it may be enough for a greeter to say, "Go to that door" and then later "Go to that door", alternating between groups. If they are visually separated then the wall never needs to move because the latter group will assume they're going to the same place.

I think the point is that you start with a single run so that all of the experience can be had by everyone. Think about it: Would you rather have 4 variations of a single attraction, or let everyone experience one attraction that was four times longer? If all the paths are the same, it's a no-brainer. Keep them together if you can and give them 4 times the experience.

Nate
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
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Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with coming up with a single experience first. And, that is what I will focus on, a single script.

The reason that I focused on the multiple paths is dealing with throughput. I read the book put out by Disney on the Haunted Mansion (form the Magic Kingdom to the Movies). In there, they discussed having the attraction being a walkthrough. Management kept shooting it down because they needed to get a high volume of individuals through.

There was a reason for the moving wall at the beginning. If I have a hall with multiple doorways, the guest will make the assumption that there are multiple paths. I was going for a very subtle uneasy feeling. If I see groups of fifteen or twenty people walking into a hallway, and there's only one door, I have to assume that each group went through that door. Where in the heck could they go if I pulse a group in every 30 seconds? It gets unnerving if you realize that it is impossible to be in a room for longer than that and not run into other groups. You start to think back and can only remember there ever being one possible path.

I will try to write up the storyline that I have bumping in the dark corners of my mind. I want to keep introducing subtle psychological hints of unease throughout the attraction. I think that it would make the finale more thrilling. I've been to haunted houses that are real let downs. The scenes are completely unrelated, or make absolutely no sense. Many times, the finale happens to be walking outside and asking yourself, "that's it?" Most of them were local to me (Michigan, USA).

Again, I really do appreciate the feedback. I don't get much constructive comments from friends and family.

-Martin
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Holly
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nate, such good thoughts! I'm glad you have a few spare moments to come and share your ideas... I'm sure you've had a lot on your plate...

--------------------------------------------------------------
I got hammered for quite a while in set design classes for thinking about mechanics first. You can really hamper a design if you get into the mechanics too early rather than tightening down the ideas, emotions and story that needs to be conveyed. For example, I might think I need a door in the set... It may be that I really am just looking for a way for characters to enter.. a "portal"... In that case, the characters could enter from an alley, a window, a fire escape, from between two trees, etc. But perhaps, because of the script, it would really make sense for them to slam a door at a specific moment... well.. in that case, I need a door.

Another reason for not thinking of the mechanics too early on is that, if you are a designer, there are all sorts of engineers and specialists, and sometimes they can come up with a brilliant solution that no one else knew was possible. Take for example, the Soarin' ride. How can you have people in suspended roller coaster seats so that they feel like they are flying, and still get the capacity needed... on a roller-coaster, the people in front of you occlude your view of things... so you could only have 1 row of seats on Soarin' right? They hammered out the experience they wanted first, and then someone looked at problem and came up with a solution no one had seen before...

It may not be that you even need a sliding wall... There are a lot of doors that guests in theme parks ignore because they assume they can't go through them... so maybe the doors just have to appear "unusable"... or use a pocket door (a door that slides into the wall). That way, when they round the corner, they just see an open doorframe (as the door is already slide into the wall), and they think that must be where everyone goes in... if the other door looks like a regular old hinged one, they will never assume that it slides into the wall as well, leaving an open doorframe... The door can look completely different from the inside than it did from the outside, and people would tend to also assume that both sides of the door look the same...

For each problem, there are many solutions... I have learned to catch myself when I get too caught up in solving the problems before their time has come...
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Holly
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So...what is the story? Who are/were the people who haunt this attraction? What sort of building/home is this?
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:54 am    Post subject: The back story Reply with quote

History

The year was 1839 when Barnabus Owler was killed in a freak incident. Some say that it was his witchcraft past catching up to him. The townsfolk said that there were always strange goings on up at the old Owler mansion. There were always carriages bringing strangers in at all times of the day and night. No one ever saw a guest leave. The staff werenít allowed in the cellar, which is where the guests seemed to always wander.

Until the one night that the dark stranger came. Barney greeted him heartily in front of the hearth. They had drinks and conversation well past the time that the servants were allowed to roam the grounds. It was the next morning that they found old Barney still sitting in there, clutching his mug. He looked at peace, except that his eyes were missing. The dark man was at the door, with a devilish grin on his face. His comment to the staff was, ďdonít fret, your Master is still here, looking after you.Ē

Barnabus didnít leave any heirs. And, his will clearly stated that no one shall ever be covered by his protection in his house upon his death. The mansion was sold many times. But, no one ever seemed to stay long. Most left, saying they felt like they were watched in their most intimate moments. Those were the lucky ones. Those that perished in there always had an expression on their mortal faces as if they had seen the devil himself.

Things seemed to come in 24 year cycles. On the 24th anniversary of Barnabusí death, the townspeople always found someone dead inside the house, with their eyes missing.

24 years ago, something most strange had happened. In addition to the odd dead body, they found a message scrawled in blood on the floor of the hearthroom. Six days of work, one day of fun. The locals do not want to go in the house on this next death day. They fear that Barnabus, or his unholy Master, will be released.

The Present Time

Yesterday marked the end of the last 24 year cycle. The house has been abandoned for the last 24 years. Strangely, the house remains quiet, no corpse to be seen. Maybe the message was misinterpreted. Some enterprising fool has decided to give guided tours through the house. Enter if you have the spirit.

---

That's my back story so far. Visitors will get to meet the guests that never left as well as old Barnabus and the dark stranger himself as they take a tour of the estate.

-Martin
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
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Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you plan on having actors in the attraction? Something like the knight in the Haunted Mansion could be cool, but there would have to be some strict rules on cast/guest interaction. Also, how well would the guests know the story before going through? Would the host tell them the whole story, or would they be expected to pick it up as they go through?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, that's a good start for a back story. Now to create the Guest Experience Narrative. Here's what show writer Adam Berger says about the subject:

1.) High Concept - This is the basic idea, the show premise, boiled down to the fewest number of words possible. A "1-liner," if you will. If you can get the basic thrust of the story/attraction across in one short line, then chances are you have a strong concept. For example, here's the high concept I came up with for The Saint Michael Mystery, an attraction ITEC created in Prague, Czech Republic: "An unsettling walking tour through the tortured imagination of the Czech writer Franz Kafka."

2.) Conceptual Overview - A slightly longer description of the attraction, boiled down to a single paragraph. Expanding slightly on the high concept, you try to get across some idea of what the attraction is ABOUT in fairly general terms (but not necessarily WHAT HAPPENS). It can contain some reference to methodology, but few, if any, specifics. Again, an example from The St. Michael Mystery: "Guests embark on an impressive walking tour that takes them through a series of atmospheric set pieces inspired by the life and stories of Franz Kafka. Such 'Kafkaesque' themes as alienation, bureaucratic neglect, and existential angst are brought to life in a sequence of environments enhanced by disconcerting special effects, eerie lighting, and evocative music and sound effects."

3.) Guest Experience Outline - Just like the outlines you used to compose for school term papers. Basically, a list of everything that the audience will see, hear, touch, taste, smell, whatever, from beginning to end. The big emphasis here is the major story points and how you will get them across. But it's just a framework, very skeletal, with few if any details. The goal here is to establish and verify the STRUCTURE of the guest experience in a manner that allows everyone involved to see the big picture before you move on to the next stage.

4.) Guest Experience - Once you have an approved outline, you can start fleshing it out as a complete Guest Experience, "connecting the dots" of the major points. This is a lot like a motion picture "treatment." In essence, it's a description of the attraction from the point of view of the guest, describing everything he or she experiences. Written in present tense to give it a sense of immediacy. (From the outline, you can write a sketchier version of the guest experience before you tackle the full guest experience, if that helps.)

5.) Script Outline - Not every attraction requires an actual script. Some attractions have no dialogue. In others, say a roller coaster for instance, the only script might be for the load spiel, or maybe a short pre-show video. A few attractions, on the other hand, are ALL spiel (a few years ago I wrote about half an hour's worth of new recorded narration for the scenic railway that circles Stone Mountain Park, near Atlanta, Georgia; it was an existing ride, so my narration script essentially became the entire show.) If there are several key points to be made in the script, you might as well compose a script outline to help you get it all straight and assure that you don't miss any important items.

6.) Show Script - Okay, NOW it's time to write the actual script. How much goes into that script beyond narration, dialogue, music cues, audio effects cues, and special effects cues will depend on the project. Yes, sometimes you will be asked to include text ("display copy") to go onto specific props, signage, and scenic elements (I was once hired to compose fake "headlines" for dozens of newspapers as part of a newsstand set). Other times, such tasks will fall to the art director or some other member of the design team. So it really depends on the client and the project.
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wokcreative



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good, thought out backstory
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
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Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DancinBelle,

I think that if the ride will use any kind of gore, almost a guarantee in modern haunted house attractions, I would need live actors. Gory scenes really only work when you're up close and personal. Robotics can't quite fool people in some intimate settings, as far as I can tell.

Parts of the backstory could be disseminated in the advertising compaign. I hear the commercials on the radio for many of the bigger local attractions. I'd like to tell the full story in the initial queue area. Maybe have period newspaper articles.

The host might tell some parts of the story. I think this could be just before the climax. You know, give the audience the last few pieces of the puzzle before the big monster jumps out at them.

In my mind, I'm thinking of a combination walkthrough, sit down ride. Psychological tension works best if you're walking. For instance, that thing chasing you down a hallway is much more frightening than being rolled down a hallway. In the first case, you really don't know if the thing will catch up or not. In a ride, you know (at some level) that you can't ever be caught. But, a ride mechanism does make some things more exciting. A walkthrough roller coaster just doesn't do anything for me.

-Martin
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nate,

Thanks for the pointers. I really do appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to help this hobbyist out :) I'm going to think on the six items you listed.

My day job doesn't let me use my creativity nearly enough. Designing and writing software is fun and does require a lot of creative thought. There are more of the mechanical type of actions involved. I guess I'm more engineering oriented. Not worrying about implementation details at this stage is hard for me.

I'll post what I come up with for each of the narrative stages.

-Martin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please do. There are definitely a lot of people who would love to chew on your idea. There are a lot more lurkers on this board than posters... so you never know who might decide to chime in.

If you're lurking...here's your queue: Chime in! We want your opinion.

Nate
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:24 pm    Post subject: High Concept Reply with quote

Ok. One line, high level sales pitch.

A walking tour / thrill ride through both the mortal and spirit worlds, centered on a central deceased figure's attempt to live again.

As always, all feedback is welcome.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Conceptual Overview Reply with quote

It is hard to take the idea and shrink down the things that have been floating around in my head for so long. Here's my stab at it...

An attraction combination walking tour and thrill ride where the guests are placed into the middle of a ghost story. They will experience the many emotions associated with being haunted and chased by malevolent spirits: fear, tension, pity, unease, and finally relief and redemption.

Feel free to jump in Smile
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DancinBelle



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why will the guests feel pity?
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Barnabus. I'm thinking that eventually he will do or say something that makes people feel sorry for him. Kind of like you end up having this feeling for the bad, evil monster in the scary movies. It definitely won't be a big part of it.
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DancinBelle



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it could be pretty big. It would definitely make it different to not have a clear-cut villain, maybe throw people off. Would you somehow help him at the end?
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osmo_r



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thinking about how the back story could be told further.

Perhaps the queue area is set up like a proper historical tourist attraction with pamphlets on the tour of the house and the history, articles, photos etc. Maybe tour guides could give short history talks while the audience are waiting? Similar to something you'd see at any other historical mansion/house.

Another idea could be news reports playing on a TV about the house etc?

As for the 'pity' idea, as DancinBelle suggested, perhaps the story isn't completely about scaring the audience but maybe by the end there's some way to help Barnabus/the dark stranger get over the fact that he has to kill someone every 24 years.

Just to confirm some ambiguity that I'm getting from the story.

Did the dark stranger 'steal' Barnabus' identity/soul through his eyes and hence every 24 years returns to the house to steal more identities/souls leaving behind a body?

OR

Did the dark stranger simply kill Barnabus but leave behind his 'spirit' to watch over the house and hence it's Barnabus' spirit that kills people every 24 years?

Hope that made sense.

Very Happy
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Holly
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject: Pity... Reply with quote

Pity is an interesting idea, and I think one that is not often explored (especially in theme parks... it is hard to bring more subtle emotions into the mix). Pity is what made the books Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera so popular. They are not monsters by choice... ...Pity also played heavily in Spiderman 2 -- the movie had great pathos because Dr. Octavius didn't set out to be a villian... he wanted to be good, but was taken over and victim to his creation. I think even more subtle "classic" movies like "A Streetcar Names Desire" could be said to center around pity as well. Pity can be powerful... especially, I think, if you give the "monster" a real choice: to stay as they are, or make a great sacrifice in order to break the cycle of their fate... because then we pity that they were forced to make a choice, but we are touched by their strength and courage to sacrifice so much and overcome their fate... The ending becomes bittersweet...

I look forward to seeing how your characters develop and what you can tell us about them...
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:55 am    Post subject: More on the back story Reply with quote

My original thinking is the bodies found every 24 years are the missing houseguests. He has to release one every 24 years in order to keep his own identity.

The dark stranger is the Devil. The detail about the eyes that they are the holder of identity. Hence, the devil currently owns the key to Barnabus getting his mortal life back.

Every seven "bodies", the devil makes a bargain (kind of like a discount at WalMart; sorry, stupid humor attempt not getting into the final ride). I haven't quite figured out what the bargain will be. It will be the choice, though. Either Barnabus gets to be mortal for one more lifetime, or he has to do something really bad. Perhaps, sacrifice the entire group of guests.

(Finale spoiler idea: Barnabus chooses to not be mortal again. The devil smashes a pair of eyes on the table and says "payment in full.")
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DancinBelle



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could some of these scenes be done in 3-d? Or would they be live actors? The Curse of DarKastle uses 3-D very well, I kept my eyes half-shut the whole time.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:21 pm    Post subject: Actors vs. 3-D Reply with quote

I don't know if 3-D videos would work or not. I am tempted to use them as backdrops (can the videos be backlit, or must they use forward projection like in standard theaters?) for scenes that need to have a lot of depth. Nothing beats something that is tangible and close, though.

Let's come back to that when we start coming up with all the scenes.
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DancinBelle



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, what are the basic scenes? Obviously, you'll have an opening, a middle, a climax, and a finale. How much emphasis will be put in each part? Will the introduction take a long time, or will it be a drawn-out middle, or a huge finale? Where is the focus?
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wokcreative



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The videos could be rear projected, with projectors surprising close behind them now. Much could be done with this kind of technology, and depending on costs of the production, could save money and be updated or changed (seasonal, different storyline...) or improved on as technology changes.
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wokcreative



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Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And yes, get the basic storyline down first. Figure out the progression, how much to reveal and when, how to get the guests involved in the story. Sometimes it helps to figure out a definite ending (and how big it will be) to have a goal to work toward, and help to see how you should be telling the story as you go along. Then break it down into those basic scenes, how much time to spend on each, and what is absolutely necessary to telling the story (and even how much they will be figuring out on their own, by filling in the blanks).
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:15 pm    Post subject: Next steps... Reply with quote

Ok. Everyone has had time to digest things. Are there any points that anyone feels need to be addressed in the high concept or conceptual overview? If not, I'll start working on the guest experience outline.

I think the outline may be where we start to see a lot of interesting ideas. Hopefully, I don't take it down a path that loses the audience.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few thoughts:

* There are two ways to group guests in a walk through haunted attraction. You can make a "conga line", that is, no break in the guest flow. This is the most efficient way to move guest through an attraction. The only problem with this is that if a "scare" is to come from a part of a room, only the first person in line gets the scare. Often the scare needs to reset and person 2,3,4 misses the experience. The second way to do it is a "pulsed" attraction, which is what you are proposing. Guests are placed in groups who then experience the attraction together. The Haunted Mansion's stretch rooms accommodate about 90 people at once. Smaller attractions can probably group numbers in 4-5 or 8-10. So I just want to make that point clear: You're talking about a "pulsed" attraction.

* The next step for you it to create the guest experience narrative. Generally this is where you break things down into scenes. Describe everything you will see, hear, smell and experience in the scene. As well, each "Show Scene" should be titled. The progression is linear:

Scene 1: The shop (description)
Scene 2: The mill (description)
Scene 3: The warehouse
Scene 4: The office .... etc...

This is a written form of the attraction.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might mention that sometimes each scene doesn't need to be so concrete in terms of a location. Each scene doesn't need to be "A shop", "An Office", "A parlour", etc... Sometimes it is enough to describe each scene in terms of the effect. It could be:

1) A pitch black room
2) Strobe effect room
3) Wet room
4) Maze of Corn

I think you should think loosely when breaking these things down into scenes.

Nate
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Holly
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a question (referring to the overall story): Does Barnabus have a solid reason for *wanting* to live? I know for me, after outliving everyone and having people live in fear, I would give up... Is he living for love? retribution? Why hasn't he ended the killing?

I think for me, that is the last hole in the backstory...
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, he was into that witchcraft. His sorcery was only giving him the appearance of being youthful. He actually lived a normal lifetime. The Devil gave him the offer of a second life on Barnabus' deathbed. All he had to do was this one little thing (trade stolen souls over time).

Remember, Barnabus already sold his soul (by practicing witchcraft). He knew that he was going to be tormented for eternity after his death. Trading away some stolen trinkets (he felt that other lives were worthless, mere baubles to play with) for something more valuable (his own self). In most stories, people don't fully realize what they are doing when making bargains and dealing with the Devil (usually) until it's too late.

I'm thinking that this will influence his decision to release the guests at the end. The Devil tells him to "take them for me, so that they will be mine to play with, like you." Barnabus can realize that he doesn't need to do anything. It won't make his own suffering ease.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick question: Why the name Barnabus? Barnabas (variation on the same name) means "Son of Encouragement". It's sort of like naming the bad guy Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.... not exactly names for a villian. Has any thought been put into his name?
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DancinBelle



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A confrontation with the Devil could be an interesting scene. Maybe you could have big fireballs, really have the guests feel the "heat of hell" and their doom. It would definitely be dramatic!
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icandrawem2



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nate brings up a good point when mentioning conga line vs timed groups in the attraction. You run into a big debate when trying to decide which is best for your attraction. If you are anticipating very high volumes, then obviously the conga line is the only way to go, you cant stay open all night, the actors would be totally exhausted. Otherwise, for low numbers, sending them in groups will suffice. If you can stage people like some attractions do, then it helps. for example say your first scene contains dialogue and it lasts for 1 minute or so....you know you cant conga line people thru this if this dialogue is crucial to convey the story to the guests. One way of getting around this is to build 2 identical rooms to improve the throughput, just as Nate mentioned the Haunted Mansion stretching room, and i could name numerous other attractions that utilize this. you really have to think how you design your show based on how you want to move your guests thru. The seasonal attraction i work at just did a little over 3000 people this past saturday night, and its getting really difficult to keep up the show quality and push all the people thru in 4-5 hours...we are thinking about redesigning certain elements so that we can move to a continuous flow for future seasons, like they do at HHN, and nate im sure you are very familiar with that.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nate,

The character's name wasn't important. It sounded older than the time he was supposed to be alive. I was actually thinking of Barney, at the time. Then, I saw "Barn" and had to use "Owl" in his last name.

Belle,

Great idea. That one is getting added in there at the end.

Ice,

I had the multiple paths thought in there. Right now, I'm ignoring it to focus on the story (I'm listening, Nate; story and creativity first, logicistics second). And, let me just say, 1000 people per hour? Wow! That must be one awesome attraction you got there. I wish I had the Travel Channel just to see what you've done.
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icandrawem2



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well we cant quite do a thousand per hour as it is now, we are maxed at about 500-600, and thats still fast. im sure it will be on the website eventually so you can see it. i will post an article sometime about the attraction in more detail. im really looking forward to the operations tour at HHN in a few weeks to see how they do the numbers.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1000 per hour is definitely possible. For example, if you do the math on the Dueling Dragons coaster (UIOA) or Mantu (Busch Gardens Tampa) the THRC is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 per hour.

Haunted Mansion can do about 1200 even with only one stretch room operating. Granted, there is no ride system in a walk through attraction... but it can definitely be done. Capacity is all a matter of staging. If you have wide hallways and big rooms, you can push more people through. If you have a larger preshow (in a pulsed show) then you can always increase capacity.

The thing with Haunted Houses is that you have to position your scares so that they don't stop the flow of traffic. If you scare from the front, everything stops because who wants to get closer to that "thing". But if you hit them from the side or back it actually makes the line move faster because it scares people into moving into the next show scene.
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icandrawem2



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

exactly! I know that 1000 per hour is possible, it just demands a different type of show where everyone is scared from behind to "push" and to where you cant see around the corner thus ruining the next surprise. i personally favor walking thru in groups rather than one line, but when the attraction gets that popular, what else can you do? one thing we have implemented is selling timed reservation tickets, so like 1000 people dont all arrive at the same time...well except for those who are buying gen admission. anyways im rambling and this is way off the subject of this thread, but its def something to think about.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>> i personally favor walking thru in groups rather than one line, but when the attraction gets that popular, what else can you do?<<

You just have to change your thinking a bit. Instead of having a free flowing conga line, you pulse the attraction: Doors open, you let X number of people in. Doors close. Show happens.

Then in the next set of doors open, group steps into scene #2. Doors close, lights go out, show happens. Doors open, group steps into scene #3.

You can control your THRC by how many people you let into each show. Make sense? It's a different way of thinking. Logistically it's more sophisticated but it has been done. You probably just need one operations person (actor?) to accompany each groups of guests. Or if you have a higher budget with show control, the show control can open and close doors automatically.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might add that a pulsed attraction is also a much better way of telling a story because everyone experiences the same show at the same time.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
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Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Corkscrew Hill at Busch Gardens isa pulsed attraction. You wind through a long line, then get counted off into groups to get your classes. Then you go into room one, watch a show, then get moved into the second show, and there are two rooms that can show this. Then after the second show you get on the actual ride. It's a very good use of puling.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:22 pm    Post subject: Rough outline Reply with quote

Alrighty then, the holiday has passed (and, yes, the other big commercial success story is charging at us). I've been kept quite busy at home and work and haven't had as much time to devote to this as I'd like.

I'll try to post individual scenes, even though I don't have a full ride done. I'll throw my ideas out there. You (meaning some those of you that have read this thread 4000 times) should start including ideas of your own, too.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Scene: hearth room #1 Reply with quote

(note: some of these scenes are a rehash of the earliest posts)

Guests are led by a servant into a room with a large fireplace and mantel in it. There is a door at the far end. The fireplace has logs on it, ready to light. It is roped off to keep guests away from it. There is a clock on the mantel.

After all guests have entered, the servant tells them that he needs to check on something and will return in a moment. He then leaves the room.

The clock hands start spinning madly (thanks for the idea, Nate), chiming and making other sounds of being broken. The fireplace erupts in flame.

A ghoul servant enters from the opposite door and beckons everyone to follow.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:38 pm    Post subject: Scene: storage closet Reply with quote

Guests are led into a room that has a large, freestanding mirror on the far wall. There is a general amount of clutter around as this is a storage room. There is also an old dusty chair with a mug on the armrest facing the mirror. The far end cannot be reached (perhaps roped off, or discarded pieces of fencing are resting against objects, blocking the path). A chandelier is above.

As the ghoul servant closes the door, the lights dim. A male voice is heard, coming from the general vicinity of the chair. He welcomes everyone to his resting place and hopes the guests will enjoy their time here. He gives out a maniacal laugh. In the middle, there is a loud boom, the lights flicker and go very dim while the whole room shakes.

Now, we can see a green glow coming from the mirror. The owner of the voice is a ghost sitting in the reflection of the chair, one hand holding the mug. He continues speaking.

"You must stay with my appointed guides at all times. If you do not, I will not be responsible for what my Master will do. Do not ask questions of the guides. They are very limited in their speech. Oh, and do try to keep your spirits up. You will need them."

More laughter. Another boom and shake. The ghost is gone.

The ghoul servant directs everyone back out of the closet, into an obviously different place.
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MartinJ



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:50 pm    Post subject: Scene: music room Reply with quote

The guests are led into the music room. There is a variety of old musical instruments: a harp, piano, violins, and chimes; all covered in dust and webs. There are paintings on the wall of people that appear to be quite old.

The voice calls attention to a particular one by darkening the room, while leaving the one painting illuminated.

"See how I was in my mortal days. I haven't changed much. Just lost a few bits here and there." The eyes fade from the painting, leaving black voids. The smile stretches a bit, looking more sinister. His hair line recedes and turns gray.

"See? Much more dignified, I think. Of course, you can't see me right now. You will, though. You will."

The voice moves over to the piano.

"I do enjoy the piano. It really tickles my bones."

As keys are pressed, guests can hear crushing sounds coming from inside. A leg bone falls out from underneath and starts sliding towards the guests.

"I see you're not much of a fan of my music. Too bad. We could've made sweet melodies, you and I. You look like you would sing soprano for me.

"I bid you to follow my servant. He will introduce you to some of my playthings."

The servant opens a door and motions the guests to go through.
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