2015 Howl-O-Scream

Login or Register to Hide This Ad

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
8,477
21,457
113
Arlington, VA
The houses really look as if they could be fantastic.  That said, BGW is going to have to be very smart about staffing this year.  Zachary and I were discussing this and I think he agrees with me?

I believe the park needs to focus their resources on these houses.  They need to train and fully staff all seven.  That probably means drastically cutting the scare actors on the paths.  And I am honestly not sure that would be a bad thing.

Instead of creating massive, complicated Terror-tories or Scare Zones, I think they should just attempt to create a dark and creepy atmosphere with very few actors.  Honestly, simply turning down the lights, pumping in some fog, and playing creepy music would be enough to give the park the right feel overall.  Guests lose the sense of danger that they feel exiting the houses, when confronted by loud noises and bright lights (or at least I do).  Simply maintaining a level of anxiety from house to house, letting the level of fear accumulate and grow, could be much more effective than creating new "scares" on the path.

Adding a just few scare actors to the paths could heighten the tension, as well, because they would be much more random and unpredictable.  Not knowing when it is safe to relax could create a more cohesive experience.

Anyway, these are just my random thoughts about how BGW could take the great ideas they appear to be pursuing and implement them most effectively.
 

Joe

#RIPVolcano
Feb 12, 2011
4,861
13,399
113
Near Richmond
BuschDominion.com
Great job Zachary!

And I really like that idea, Nicole. At first I thought you were suggesting removing actors from the pathways altogether, which I found disagreeable, as that would ruin the tension altogether, not heighten it. But reading on, I saw that you suggested placing just a few scare actors sporadically, and that's a brilliant idea.

I remember years and years ago when actors in dark gillie suits would contort themselves to the bushes and vines of places like the Wild Reserve and Heatherdowns and startle guests out of nowhere. There wasn't more than a small handful of actors, but you never knew when one when pop out and startle you. This knowledge that nowhere was safe created that awesome "look back over your shoulder" feel that fuels the tension of the event.

Just one or two actors in every hamlet or so (or maybe just roaming actors?) would be all it would take to round out the scares. This would bring staffing costs to a minimum while maximizing scares, so the staff could be utilized more effectively elsewhere (read: houses).

Great thinking. I tip my hat to you, madam.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
8,477
21,457
113
Arlington, VA
Joe: You are right. I was sort of thinking out loud, so my post was not very well structured. I think I fixed the problem a bit, so it will not be as confusing or possibly misleading.

Also, thanks!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Luke and Joe

MAZ

Jan 30, 2014
2,495
4,959
113
Richmond
I completely agree. The anticipation of somebody jumping out to scare me, is elevated with less frequency. Sometimes the thought of something happening is scarier than the action of it. Could be a nail biter! We'll see.
 

netdvn

Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
1,771
2,832
113
in the rear
dvn225.deviantart.com
One or two actors in each village won't really work all too well. Everyone will just think the event is short staffed. Getting a scare out of them would be difficult, especially on busy nights. Even three-four is spreading it out a little thin. Unless the park places actors in strategic spots like the 2012 event, you're gonna need more actors to make each scare zone work.

Even then I think the current scare zone setup is fine the way it is. Ripper Row and pirates were pretty much the only problem areas I could think of.
 

Joe

#RIPVolcano
Feb 12, 2011
4,861
13,399
113
Near Richmond
BuschDominion.com
netdvn said:
Unless the park places actors in strategic spots like the 2012 event, you're gonna need more actors to make each scare zone work.
Why couldn't they place actors in strategic spots like in 2012?

Also, I understood Nicole's idea as suggesting removing the scare zones altogether and simply having a few actors scattered throughout the park, without the promise of any solid area concentrating on scares.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
8,477
21,457
113
Arlington, VA
Exactly. The reality seems to be that it is simply not possible to fully staff all of the houses and scare zones. In my opinion, while the paths can still be scary without a lot of theming and actors, the haunted mazes cannot. The houses were noticeably understaffed last year, ultimately ruining several of them for many of us.

This year there will be an additional house and three will be entirely new. There is no way that I can see to staff seven houses, while simultaneously maintaining good scare zones.

Honestly, a dark, creepy walkway with the threat of actors startling or stalking you can be scarier than a massive terror-tory. You always look over your shoulder, wondering if that bush is really just a plant, or if someone is lurking around the next bend. The right music can really set people like me on edge, as well.

Both BGW and KD have done this to great effect in the past, and honestly, I think it is a better use of their limited resources.
 
Feb 9, 2013
4,653
6,473
113
Nicole said:
You always look over your shoulder, wondering if that bush is really just a plant, or if someone is lurking around the next bend.
If the actors were disguised as plants, it wouldn't be very scary for me. I'd be able to tell the difference, and I am always observing the shrubbery, none of them would be able to hide from me. :p
 
Mar 15, 2015
195
550
93
because taking away scare zones back in 2011 wasn't bad enough or the roaming hordes werent the biggest failure in scares

park needs to suck it up and just hire the people they need instead of holding back on hiring - better to over staff anyways
 
  • Like
Reactions: John
Aug 25, 2012
1,460
1,580
113
I'm not an expert on this, it's just my thought, but with the current financial trouble that the park has been going through the past several years due to lack of good management on the entertainment side primarily, I don't think that the park could afford to over staff. They are selective on who they pick, and it may be easier to staff people without the nitpickiness of Scott to overrule everyone, but the money is always a problem. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Joe

#RIPVolcano
Feb 12, 2011
4,861
13,399
113
Near Richmond
BuschDominion.com
bgbackdoor said:
because taking away scare zones back in 2011 wasn't bad enough or the roaming hordes werent the biggest failure in scares

park needs to suck it up and just hire the people they need instead of holding back on hiring - better to over staff anyways
For me, the hordes were a flop because all of the actors traveled as a group, which made them even easier to miss. This also got rid of the omnipresent, tense feeling of not knowing where a scare may be lurking. Not to mention how all the hordes were dressed as crappy looking clown things.

Also, wasn't 2011 the year tons of scare zones were added? Grin and Scare It, Stitchin' Time, Unleashed, etc.

Finally, overstaffing doesn't seem like a wise option for a park that is struggling financially.
 
Aug 15, 2013
34
59
18
Hampton
bgbackdoor said:
because taking away scare zones back in 2011 wasn't bad enough or the roaming hordes werent the biggest failure in scares

park needs to suck it up and just hire the people they need instead of holding back on hiring - better to over staff anyways
Agreed. The only problem is the difference in what *needs* to happen and what is actually possible, though.

Last year Bitten had the most positions filled since the first couple years of its opening, just imagine what it could do if it had ALL of its positions filled.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zachary
Mar 15, 2015
195
550
93
2011 was the scare is everywhere a failed attempt at getting rid of scare zones but still having actors on the paths, it was one of the worst years
 
Sep 1, 2013
92
220
33
Great article and I just have to say I'm SO excited for Howl-o-Scream this year.

That being said, I'm nervous about seven houses. That's a lot to take on and I guess I just wish we could aim for somewhere in the middle of two years in a row of the exact same line-up and three new ones in a year.

Just to add a different perspective though, I strongly disagree with the idea of downplaying the Terror-tories. Now this is 100% personal opinion but to me what makes the event the most fun is the atmosphere throughout the park. I don't want or need to feel like there's potential to be scared at any moment, which it sounds like puts me in the minority to here. I enjoy a generally well decorated and immersive park more than I do actually being frightened.

I think part of the reason I feel the way I do is because I can and do go many times a year, so I end up spending a lot more time just wandering around and taking in the park than I do at either houses or shows- I'm sure I'd feel differently if I just came for one weekend a year.
 

MAZ

Jan 30, 2014
2,495
4,959
113
Richmond
As long as their heads are attached Luke! I can totally understand that Mosthappy. You are certainly not the only one who enjoys that type of atmosphere. BG has obviously been trying to satisfy both ends of the spectrum on this subject lately. I am not one of the 'enjoy the sights' people though. I want to be on the brink of a heart attack. I want fog so thick that it is impossible for the actors to fail. I want zombies to follow me out of a maze for fifty yards in the rain and then growl in my ear. It's why I prefer Haunt. But I always want BG to be better and I have high hopes this year.
 

netdvn

Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
1,771
2,832
113
in the rear
dvn225.deviantart.com
Mini scare zones would work provided there's enough of them scattered around the park and each group is a little different from the previous one so that they don't get too stale.

The 2012 zones were just broken off from the main hoards so most of the actors were the same zombie clown guys from the two main hoards.

This would be a perfect opportunity to bring back the ghosts, werewolves, and sliders around the park.
 
Login or Register to Hide This Ad