Our Director of Operations, Crystal, is leaving us for sunny California (and who can blame her right now.) She sat down with Creative Director Scott Simmons and Director of Sales and Marketing Katie "Dudders" to reflect on her last 9 years with ScareHouse, the 2016 season, and why we call her our "Dream Killer".
ScareHouse has been around since 1999 and really blew up in 2007 when they moved to Etna. Crystal joined the team in 2008 so she has seen the haunt grow into the major production it is today. Crystal began her career as an actor before becoming the Haunt Manager of Rampage, House Manager, and finally Director of Operations. She actually wasn't very happy with her first acting role at ScareHouse, but fell in love with scaring people. She started out part-time working multiple jobs then was lucky enough to turn working at a haunted house into her day job.
Scott explains that many of ScareHouse's original sets and props were from a bowling alley that thought they could easily make money if they opened a haunted house. The first sets were built around those scenes. Screamatorium and Hall of Nightmares were more of vibe and not a story. This eventually grew into the current format of three haunts: the first one is old school and suspenseful, the second is experimental, and the third is action packed.
Crystal explains that the advice she gives her actors is from her own experience. She also lists her haunted house pet peeves.
Scott and Crystal dive into the former Rampage haunt. The team utilized props they already had to create a steam-punk, cyber-goth haunt. This was ScareHouse's first high concept, theme park level haunt. The indepth storyline and characters were not having the expected effect on their customers so they had to make changes after the first weekend.
Scott, Crystal, and Dudders discuss the haunt builders workout. Crystal talks about the only celebrity guest that made her jump and the importance of her fannypack.
The team is constantly looking for ways to optimize their processes. They discuss the importance of outside influences and experiences. So much goes into building a successful haunted house beyond just putting together something scary including budgeting and multiyear planning.
They discuss how important it is to work into your role. Crystal and Dudders use their job experiences beyond working in a haunted attraction to help them in the industry. Ask yourself what you bring to the table.
What word best describes the 2016 season? We're going to steal Crystal's word, "rollercoaster".
Scott, Crystal, and Dudders discuss what it takes to work on the team including the right balance of snark and respect. It is also important to always have a "dream killer". The person that has the data to explain why something will or will not work.
And of course the podcast ends with Hamilton references.
We'll miss you so much, Crystal!
The ScareHouse podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Spreaker ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!
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