HAuNTcon is a traveling Haunted House Convention that chooses a new city each year so that you have a chance to attend and so that new Haunted Attractions can be explored. With it’s Haunt Tours, Educational Tracks, and Networking possibilities; HAuNTcon is a valuable resource for any level of Haunter.
In this podcast episode, we chat with HAuNTcon Speakers Scott Swenson (Scott Swenson Creative Dev.) and Todd Patton (Fear Connection) about their personal experiences at HAuNTcon conventions in the past and how HAuNTcon is a different show than many other haunt conventions.
Plus, we deep dive into creative ideas around Scare Acting, Haunt Marketing, and Local Haunt Competition.
HAuNTcon 2017: Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow & Convention (website)
Where: In Nashville, Tennessee on January 26th through January 30th, 2017. At the Sheraton Music City Hotel and Conference Center.
Haunt Tours: Haunted Hell, Nashville Nightmare, Slaughter House, The Haunted Hospital, Raven’s Cross Haunted Village, Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park, Devil’s Dungeon, Clarksville Zombie Hunters.
Educational Tracks: Actor Training, Haunt Business, Creative, Escape Rooms, and Live Demonstrations
Other Events: Costume Ball, Garage Sale, Trade Show, Networking
Haunted Attraction Tips Inside this Podcast:
Why local Haunted Attraction competition is a good thing for your business.
What benefits can be gained from attending Haunt Conventions and Shows.
Marketing ideas for your Haunted House or Halloween Event.
More about our guests:
Scott Swenson: Writer/Director/Producer at Scott Swenson Creative Development LLC
Todd Patton: Director/Designer/Manager at Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern & Fear Connection
If you can’t make it to HAuNTcon, search your area for local gatherings and meet-ups. There may be a local Haunter Group in your area. There may also be another Haunt Convention near by. Just get out of your Haunt, go take some educational classes to improve your Haunted Attraction, and meet other like-minded individuals like yourself. We’re sure you’ll find something great. We always have a great time at each convention we attend.
Keeping the sound contained in the rooms of your Haunt is a challenge. But with one simple material and a few tweaks to your layout, you can almost soundproof your haunt by absorbing lots of the noise. We say ‘almost’ because it’s impossible to seal in all the sound but you can reduce noise overflow between areas. Listen to this podcast episode to learn more.
We all want our customers and attendees to experience an immersive environment when they walk through the mazes and rooms in our attractions and haunted houses but getting the atmospheres from blending together is a skill. We either use one soundtrack through the entire haunt and use smaller noises within each room or we try to create unique sounds for each area without blending the noises.
Ken Webster, from Sinful Audio (a sound design studio for haunts), explains that with a few simple design principles you can improve the sound experience in each of your rooms. And not spend much money doing it.
Here are 5 things you can try to help soundproof your Haunt:
Position your speakers up high and pointed down toward the center of your area. This helps shoot the noise to the center away from your exits.
Design your haunted attraction with angled walls. 90 degree angle walls are the worst for sound bouncing off of them. If possible, design walls or just one wall at an angle to deflect sound.
Hang pictures and add furniture. The more soft objects to absorb the sound the better.
Create sound absorbing panels with a fireproof insulation like Roxul or other sound deadening materials.
Add solid ceilings where possible. Without blocking sprinkler systems and still staying code compliant.
Roxul Panels built by Ken to help soundproof any room.
Creating Low Frequencies that you can feel.
You can also use audio in your attraction that is such a low frequency that it can be felt and give your customers an eerie experience that they won’t forget. This is called “Infrasound”: which is sometimes categorized as low-frequency sound or signals that are lower than 20Hz in frequency. This also means that it is below the standard threshold of human hearing which is 20Hz – 20kHz. Read Ken’s article on Infrasound here.
Experiment with different layouts with your rooms and areas. Set up your speakers, add furniture and sound panels, and test. Reposition walls if you need to. Set up your speakers a different way. Add more soundproofing panels. Maybe just turn down the volume while leaving the sound still effective.
We’re pretty sure your attendees will still have a great show.
Leonard Pickel, considered by many as the ‘Godfather of the Haunt Industry’, fills this one hour interview with behind-the-scenes information about his Haunted Attraction Conventions and a few ways to make your Haunted House successful just by tweaking a few things that many Haunters are doing wrong.
Chicago Frights is a great opportunity for haunters to pick up last second training, ideas and products before the Halloween season kicks in. Chicago Frights includes networking opportunities such as a huge costume party Saturday night, top-notch educational seminars, hands-on workshops and training sessions focusing on the operational needs of haunters, like set dressing, lighting, makeup and actor training. Plus, a dealer and vendor room to buy or sell those fright products before October.
Chicago Frights takes place July 29th to July 31st at the Georgios Quality Inn and Suites Convention Center in Orland Park, Illinois.
The three Spotlight tours for HAuNTcon 20127 include Haunted Hell Nashville on Thursday night January 26th, Nashville Nightmare Saturday January 28th and Slaughterhouse January 29th.
Education and trade show Friday January 27 through Sunday January 29th, with the all day advanced education on Monday January 30th. As always, all seminars are included in the price of the conference and there are over 50 hours of creative, business, demo and workshop sessions to choose from over the 3 days of haunter education. (Workshops require a materials fee and there is an up charge for the Monday all day advanced sessions.
Haunted Attraction Design Tips from Leonard Pickel:
Design your rooms with your actors in mind. What is the scare?
Design from the Inside Out. What is the function of the room?
Shorten the patron’s sight line to keep them guessing.
When using a back story, stay with the time period and design around that story.
Attend Haunt Shows to network and share design ideas.
We made it to EPISODE 100! Thanks for being a loyal listener! In this podcast episode, we discuss the Haunt Journal, the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show 2016, and our anniversary of four years as podcasts hosts here at HaunTopic Radio.
The Haunt Journal:
We interview Philip Hernandez from the Haunted Attractions Network & Haunt Journal about how his free monthly digital Haunted Attraction magazine provides value to Haunters from beginners to experts. Including new phone apps, a new website, more podcasts, and the purchase of Haunt Nation Magazine. In Issue #5, Philip includes the article he wrote about my Haunted House the Dead Factory and what went wrong and what went right in my 2015 haunt season. A must read! Philip is lifting up the haunted attraction industry through all types of media..and it’s all FREE. Learn more at HauntJournal.com
Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show:
We also interview Jennifer Braverman from the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show on whats new at the trade show in 2016. More vendors, a larger haunt trade show floor, escape room training, and a few more rooms opened up if you need one! Transworld is the industry’s largest trade show for Halloween & Haunted Attractions. Learn more at HAAShow.com
The Night Keep (Heretica):
We play some more tunes from The Night Keep and include Scene 3 of his dark story of Heretica. Daniel’s cryptic tunes will definitely get you in the mood to scare. Learn more at NightKeep.bandcamp.com
Thank you for hanging out with us for 100 episodes and we look forward to the next 100!
Using video for your Haunted House or Haunted Attraction is a priority with today’s electronic devices and social media channels. ‘Coming Soon’ trailers, Hi-Definition Videos for your marketing, and Documentary-style on location videos are popular with today’s top haunted attractions. Your customers want to see pictures and video of your attraction before they go. They want social proof that your show is the best one to spend money at. Having an updated professional looking website to put everything together is still a requirement.
We interview Chris Conlon from Venom VFX, a visual effects & prop controller company, about how to capture the best moments in your show and create a custom video for you to show off your Haunt. Venom VFX can make custom HD video trailers, television commercials, introduction videos, video documentaries, websites, logos, prop controllers, and much more. We also discuss Scare Acting, Ways To Improve Your Haunt, and some secret information on McKamey Manor!
If you are reading this before May 31, 2015…USE CODE ‘MHC’ TO GET 15% OFF at VenomVFX.COM
We also include a list of a few Haunt conventions/shows coming up, Me & Darryl discuss a few horror stories from the past, we play some twisted tunes from Sam Haynes new CD “The Incredible Dark Carnival”, and drop some more gory nuggets throughout the podcast.
So if you’re in need for a short introduction high definition video for your Haunt, a custom logo/website, or a prop controller….give Venom VFX a try.
But the real question…….Are you using video in your Haunt Marketing???