Queue control and The Scare Forward Technique

 

 

 


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Have you ever been going through a haunted house and bumped into the crowd in front of you? Is it because they have stopped short because of a group in front of them? Haunted houses are dark and, well.. scary. The scared walk slowly and with trepidation and the brave tend to linger a bit longer to take in the scene. Both have the potential of jamming up the flow. This can mess up the timing of the actors, the resetting of scenes, and take people out of the moment when they run into the group in front of them. Although this cannot always be avoided, there are certain measures that can be employed to decrease the chances of such a problem happening.

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1) limit the number of people going in at one time: People like to go in groups because they came with their friends. They will try to convince you that a group of 6 or 8 will be just fine. This is simply not the case. Large groups are too big to observe any scene in a simple ‘startle scare’ haunted house. No matter what happens, someone is missing a key element of the scene and the gag will be lost to them. If this happens enough times, then they will come out of the haunt being bored. They will then tell all their friends what a waste of time it was. You do not want this happening. Try to have a MAXIMUM OF FIVE, but i would seriously break a group that large into two and three.

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2) Odd number groups are better: Some people come in groups, some in couples, and still others rock it solo. If you can stage it, try to send odd number groups into the attraction. The odd man out prevents the ‘coupling’ dynamic from happening and makes people fell less safe. Other than that, I don’t know why. It just works.

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3) Wait for the third scream: Once your attraction has establish a tempo, you will be able to guess where people are in the attraction based on the screams. Have your queue attendant listen for the group they just sent in. You should be able to establish how far they need to be in the haunt before sending the next group.

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4) Line entertainment: Hopefully you will have a problem with the line being TOO LONG to get into your attraction. Be prepared for this with line entertainment. You ticket taker should be in costume and be able to talk and improvise with the crowd. You should also have costumed line lurkers stalking the crowd. If the crowd in entertained in the queue, they will take that in as part of the overall experience and improve the reputation of the haunt.

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Once inside the haunt…

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So… now people are actually going through the attraction and things can still bottleneck at this point. People can be scared to the point of be frozen in place or they can run through the haunt in fear for their lives. This is going to happen no matter what you do. Here are a few tips to help this situation.

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1) Scare Forward: When a group of 3 walks by, wait for the first one to pass, and come after the second one as they pass so they jump forward and the third will rush forward to be with the group. It is that simple. Going to early will make the who group stop, or worse, back up.

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2) Chicken exits: Your characters are NEVER to break character. However they can alert someone behind the scenes that you have a person who is not capable of going forward anymore. This can be done with code names for the patrons, which i will cover in another article next month. Simply yell “CATATONIC COPRSE” in a sentence and the behind the scenes man will come running to help them get out of one of the emergency exits. This is a last resort. most people will nut up and continue, but for a Chunker or Whizzer, this may not be the case.

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Remember that people are coming there to have a good time. If there are too many people freaking out in a bad way, then tweak it or tone it down. save it for the after 10pm crowd.

 

 

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