Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grapple vs. Microsoft

Here's a great article on the great techno war:

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Haunting Profile-Leonard Pickel

Walking the halls of HAuTNcon, can be an incredible haven for networkng. Haunters, professional and home enthusiasts, gather around seminars, the trade shows and the costume ball to share best practices, and ideas.

Very quickly one hears people mention a name consistently.

"As soon as Leonard says it's
"I'll ask Leonard."
"Leonard really worked hard"

Of course they're talking about a well known Haunter, Leonard Pickel. Those surrounding Leonard, speak fondly of him, and seem to wait for his approval on items. For the industry, Leonard is an innovative and creative individual striving to bring professionalism and credibility to a business many see as a hobby.
According to HAuTNcon (2010), Leonard is, "Called the “godfather” of the Haunted Attraction Industry..." His credits include owner of D.O.A. (a Haunted Attraction consultanting firm), co-founder of Haunted Attraction Magazine (the industry's first magazine) and founder of IAHA, International Association of Haunted Attraction. Leonard's push for legitimatizing the industry through IAHA was met with, "heated opposition from some factions of the industry, Leonard was instrumental in establishing and organizing the fledgling association." (HAuTNcon, 2010). This did not persuade him, "In less than one year after IAHA’s non-profit incorporation, the association had an impressive 150 voting members and in the 5 years that followed the membership reached 500." (HAuTNcon, 2010)
Today, using HAuTNcon Leonard continues to push the boundries of the industry, while bringing as many professional and amaetur haunters as possible. This is evident, in his welcoming demeanor, and availability. Leonard was always walking the halls of HAuTNcon. He continues, even publishing articles on his thoughts of the future of Haunting.
For all his work, I bet that his legacy will be foundational. But also breaking barriers to bring first timers (such as me!) into the business. Leonard's welcoming spirit (no pun intended) is a valueable asset in an industry which at times can choatic.

Learn more about Leonard Pickel through his site:

or visit him at the annual HAuTNcon!

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Location:Calle Sequoia,Thousand Oaks,United States

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

HauNTcon Part 2

Orlando, still welcomed many haunted attraction owners and fans at the annual HauNTcon.

Included in the admission, was serveral seminars and entrance to the trade show.

Seminars were organized as:
Business Seminars
Demostration Sessions
Creative Seminars
In the Business Seminars, "A Roundtable for Your Success" was led by Pat Konopelski, of Shocktoberfest. This seminar offered expert advice from industry leaders, Brett Bertolino, Bill Criscione and Timothy Gavinski. A rare an valueable session that offered experienced advice to haunters.
DeAnna Radja of Bante Design LLC presented "Green as the new Orange", one the first looks into the environmental footprint of Haunts. DeAnna's task was not a simple one. With spray paint, wood structures and latex make up, the industry is only beginning to find innovative ways to be Eco-friendly. DeAnna's presentation offered some simple ways reduce a haunt's footprint. Including, using wool carpeting, LED lighting and tips to reuse props.
Dick Terhune of Voice From Hell offered extensive information on marketing, as well a free 1:1 consoluting to participants. This valueable individual coaching was a great add-on to Haunters looking to break into the business.
Demostration and Creative clases included make-up, LEDs, foam creations and video effects.

Several Make-N-Take classes were offered, including flickering candles.

Many of these Make-N-Take sessions were fun, but at times impractical due to the limits of taking some items home, and available tools at the convention area. However, the teachers were innovative and passionate about their ideas!
After many tours, seminars and a hearse rally, many haunters enjoyed their Orlando stay by participating in the 7th Annual Haunted Attraction Magazine Costume Ball, sponsored by Midnight Syndicate.

Walking into this Costume Ball, is surreal to say the least!

Haunters take their costumes seriously! Ranging from stilt walkers, gore, funny and gothic.

By far, the most creative was built on a wheelchair, made to look like a doombuggy from Disney's Haunted Mansion!

The best part of HAuNTcon, was the accessibility of the most successful haunter to the average and entry level haunter. One can expect this event to grow continously as more entrepreneurs enter the industry, and new innovations spark the imagination.

Location:Airport Blvd,Orlando,United States

Saturday, May 1, 2010

HauNTcon Part 1

For many haunters, spring time means convention time! This year, haunters from across the country (and a few international attendees) came down to Florida, to attend HauNTcon 2010.

Accoding to HauNTcon (2010), the event, "is an acronym for the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Conference. A expo and convention “Designed by Haunters, for Haunters” of every age and level of experience. HAuNTcon brings people together who love Haunted Houses and Halloween for a fun filled three days and nights of Haunter Education."
True to their word, you'll find professionals in classes next to non-profit voulenteers. Classes range from multimedia marketing, prop making, business planning and a roundtable of the most successful haunters in America.

When walking the halls of the convention center, the usual aromas of the Halloween season are present, fog juice, make-up and latex. Haunters gather to visit the latest trends of the industry at the popular Trade Show.

Although, you mostly find vendors from the East Coast, many West Coast vendors were present, including professional Hollywood make up artists.
Walking through a Halloween convention in May is bizzare, however there is a definite feeling that this bubbling industry is ready to grow. No longer, a hobby driven holiday, but a growing business opportunity. HauNTcon was concieved by a man who had such a vision, Leonard Pickel. A well known leader in the industry.

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Location:Unnamed Rd,Kissimmee,United States

Friday, March 26, 2010

HAuNTcon Part 3

Arriving home after a good trip is always rewarding. My wife was kind enough to let us celebrate our FIRST wedding anniversary while attending HAuNTcon.
A short while ago, we fondly remembered our trip and some great quotes we heard on the way. It happens when you walk by a conversation, or when you're just caught in the absurdity of the moment. For the record, thr people of Florida are very welcoming and friendly! Here's our favorites:

"I'm here for a funeral..."-passenger asking us why we were traveling to Florida
"You just have to attend our presentation"-first timeshare sales pitch
"It's just two hours and breakfast"-second timeshare sales pitch
"We spiced it up, because our Bloody Mary mix sucks..."-waitress after ordering a Bloody Mary
"The first time I put it in my butt..."-walking by a young girl, with her friends at Clearwater beach

"Now you're going to think I'm wierd..."-fellow Haunter at HAuNTcon.
"At 600 degrees, everyone would be dead!"-fellow Haunter at HAuNTcon.
"Smell the slaughter house..."
fellow Haunter at HAuNTcon.

"Let's call me a miracle..."-Arthur, bartender at Latin Quarter after explaining he was born when his parents were in their sixties.
"I'm not going to tell you what you want to hear, but how it is"-fellow Haunter at HAuNTcon.
"You guys are suckers for punishment"-fellow Haunter at HAuNTcon.
"I got a pig for Christmas"-fellow Haunter at HAuNTcon.
"I didn't mention the presentation...?"-third timeshare sales pitch
"There might be a group of ten coming in..."-a waitress explaining why we could not seat in a particular area...the restaurant was completely empty.
"It's like Beerfest"-Guest at the German area of Epcot.

"Did scientists wear gogo boots in labs?"-Me, during Spaceship Earth 60s scene.
"Don't's not really a graveyard..."-Mother calming her son at Haunted Mansion.

"The pilot said the plane is broken"-Gate attendant at US Airways.
"This is the second time a plane has broken using this airline on my trip"-Woman waiting at the gate.
"This happened twice now on my trip"-Second woman waiting at the gate.
"Yes, you'll need to change flights---wait you don't need to change"-Customer Service Rep on the phone.
"Yes, you need to change---please hold---no you don't need to change"-Customer Service Rep on the phone.
"Yes, you need to change...but we can't do it"-Customer Service Rep on the phone.
"You need more? You guys are ready to go...?"-Shuttle attendant giving the emergency plan...welcome to LAX, to fast to
listen to safety!

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