ScareCON kicked off with an evening social with the other delegates. This was a great opportunity to catch up with everyone and meet other likeminded people from all parts of the scare industry.
After a late evening, I woke on day two a little blurry eyed though it didn’t take long to perk up. After registration, it was on to the exhibition hall where exhibitors were demonstrating there products and services.
A list of all exhibiters can be found here. Standout exhibitors for me were Mad About Horror displaying a variety of high-quality props and Aardvark FX who had created a whole set showcasing many different effects.
Talks and Seminars
After exploring the exhibition hall it was on to the talks and seminars. This was an opportunity for attraction owners to share tips and experiences that others could learn from. I found these sessions interesting and engaging and can see them being invaluable to those putting on attractions. I’ll now go into a little detail about each talk to give you an idea of what I mean.
Digital Marketing Strategies That Will Unlock Growth For Your Event. Joseph Murray – Farmaphobia
Coming at this for inspiration about spreading the word of Scare Directory it was really interesting to see how social media can be used to let people know about an attraction. Farmaphobia presented simple techniques to improve the way that attractions can use social media. This session was a good introduction to the social side of the internet and how it can be optimised for your own purposes with very little in terms of cost. I especially liked additional little touches like a
We are Family – The Art of Collaborative Working – Madhouse Margate
This talk gave a fascinating insight into Mad House Margate, a family run attraction in Kent. It was a delight to see such a close-knit family so intent on creating a great experience for the guests. They talked in detail about the issues they faced last year, hours before opening. They explained in a candid fashion what happened and how they overcame them. Sharing the experience to help other attractions owners to not fall into the same problems. It was great to hear the story of a small family haunt that through troubles and issues was able to successfully deliver a stunning attraction. A new location needs to be sourced for this year but I hope to be able to visit and experience it for myself sometime in the future.
Breaking Down Immersive: How to Engage Your Audience in Play. Dalton M Dale – Big Dreamer Productions
This presentation was primarily focused on Variant 31 an immersive zombie experience soon to be opening in London. The talk was quite fluid and covered a wealth of information from the simple logistics of an immersive experience through to safety. It was great to see the thought that had gone into this attraction as well as others. The immersive theatre Dalton had previously created was clearly well thought out and the attention to detail was unbelievable. Based on the details discussed it sounds like
Panel Discussion – Changing Trends and an Operator’s Perspective. – Various scream park operators
This talk was exceptionally insightful. The sheer detail attraction operators would go in to was great. It’s clearly a community where everyone helps each other with a friendly bit of competition but overall they all want the industry to do well and look at every attraction being a form of advertising for others spreading the word about the industry. It’s clear from this discussion that more can be done to spread the word of the industry to a much larger audience even though it is growing every year it is still a small industry with what I
The awards started with an explosive entrance from the ‘Spice Girls’ well the ScareTOUR girls if you will. This was a great opener and got everyone laughing. The awards soon kicked off with an introduction by Andy ‘Cookie’ Rawlings the writer of Though The Dead Eye, he set the tone and warmed up the crowd ready for the ceremony.
We were sharing a table with the guys from Walsall Scare Maze who kept us laughing all night as well as winning an award for best Halloween attraction. We were also joined by Faceless Ventures and those I’d met previously at the Cruelty show. You can see the winners and nominations at the ScareCON website.
After the award ceremony, there was a 2 hour set by The Family, a cover band who really got everyone up and dancing all night. The party then continued into the Splash Landings Bar where people were able to continue partying until 5 am. I did not make the 5 am club due to the long drive back home. Maybe next year.
Wednesday came along and the delegates were all able to visit the Alton Towers Dungeon. You can read about what I thought over at the Alton Towers Dungeon Review coming online soon.
I was initially a little apprehensive about going to ScareCON on my own but I needn’t be. Everyone was so welcoming and it was great making new connections and friends.
I’d recommend ScareCON primarily for those in the industry or those with a nerdy curiosity into the workings of this small but lively community.