Boo!  We love Halloween; here are some ways creative innovators are celebrating it.

  • VR and the Ultimate Question October 29, 2017

    Visitors to Scare LA Halloween convention line up outside the Flatline Experience ambulance

    What does it feel like, to die?

    Through virtual reality, Julian McCrea’s Flatline Experience offers some answers to that question.

    Julian is the founder and CEO of London-based Portal Entertainment.  He and his crew spent sixteen years creating his six-part virtual reality series, Flatline Experience.

    Then, they premiered it in August, 2017 at ScareLA.   But this was no “buy-a-ticket-and-go-into-the-theatre” show.

    Attendees were strapped into an ambulance.  A virtual-reality headset went into place.

    And then…

    Well, telling you what’s next would be a “spoiler”.  And we don’t do that.

    Suffice it to say, Flatline Experience garnered rave reviews in Southern California.  Currently, it’s available for several VR headsets.  And currently, New York’s VR World features the seven-minute show “Flatline Emergency Room”, which takes you through a seven-minute near-death experience.

    AND…that’s just the beginning.  The 2017 Flatline Experience is the first of a six-part series, according to their website.  You can sign up for updates on their new episodes here.

    Julian talked about his earlier experiences creating Immersion GO, a platform that allows VR providers to create content that reacts to audience members’ facial expressions, as well as the story of creating and premiering Flatline Experience.  He also shared recommendations for anyone who might like to know more about creating virtual reality!

    On this edition of Over Coffee®, you’ll hear:
    • How Julian first became involved in creating immersive entertainment experiences;
    • The story behind the creation of the Immersion GO platform (which allows content creators to produce programming that responds to audience members’ facial expressions!);
    • How The Flatline Experience came about (Julian researched and developed the project for sixteen years!);
    • What Julian discovered, while researching the stories of subjects who had had near-death experiences;
    • Why Julian made the creative choices Scare LA attendees experienced during the launch of Flatline Experience in August;
    • Why Julian chose to create immersive entertainment for his audiences;
    • The biggest creative challenges he faced, in creating the Flatline Experience;
    • Several resources Julian recommended, for anyone interested in creating virtual reality;
  • The Red X: “Augmenting” the Haunt Experience October 8, 2017
    Todd Larsen with Red X: The Torn poster

    (Photograph courtesy of Todd Larsen, and used with permission.)

    The Red X, the world’s first augmented-reality immersive-theatre haunt, is back with something new for Halloween 2017.

    And Immersion X Productions founder and creator Todd Larsen is already innovating beyond this latest show.  He’s come up with an app that enables you to use AR in your own Halloween haunts!

    Todd, who premiered his immersive augmented-reality show in 2015, is now scaring everyone with The Red X:The Torn.  This is the third installment of the story of ill-fated painter Emily Robeson.

    But, if you haven’t already experienced The Red X, don’t expect to just walk in on the designated date and be scared.  Todd and his crew have designed the experience to start from the moment you buy your ticket, according to Immersion X Production’s website.   And “Emily” is no traditional ghost.  She could even be called “tech-savvy”!

    And, just wait till you hear Todd’s plans to bring his augmented-reality series into your home in 2018.  Hint: Emily may take up residence with you!

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    •     How Todd’s background in theatre led to his current work;
    •     What he learned from meeting Vincent Price;
    •     How Todd’s experience as a performer with Cirque du Soleil helped him grow creatively;
    •     How “The Red X” came about;
    •     The story of Emily, in “The Red X”;
    •     What visitors will experience, when they come for the latest installment: “The Red X: The Torn”;
    •     The ways in which Emily is an “interactive ghost”;
    •     The real-life story on which Emily is based;
    •     What’s involved, for Todd as an entrepreneur, in creating a his interactive AR haunt experience;
    •     The ways he’ll be continuing “The Red X’ as entertainment AFTER Halloween;
    •     A resource available to you (inexpensively!), to incorporate AR into YOUR haunts;
    •     A new idea that will bring “The Red X” series into your home, like a live multi-player video game, in 2018!
  • His Creativity is Going to Haunt You September 18, 2017
    Haunt pioneer Leonard Pickel in the dark with scary light highlights

    (Photograph courtesy of Jeanne Escher, and used with permission.)

    “Godfather of Haunting” Leonard Pickel knows exactly what will make you jump.

    He’s been creating haunted attractions–and leaving patrons screaming with fear and delight–since his college days.

    In the process, he’s revolutionized the haunt industry.

    Leonard, who has a background in architecture, is the owner and designer of Hauntrepreneurs Themed Attraction Design and Consulting. which he founded in 1987.  Through Hauntrepreneurs, he uses his professional background in architecture to design new haunted attractions, consult with haunt owners and come up with workable business plans to make a haunt profitable.

    His career has included starting Haunted Attraction Magazine, which he edited for fifteen years.  He also owned and operated the largest haunted-house manufacturing company of its day, in the late 1980s.

    And in 2004, he began sharing his expertise, through eerie education.

    That’s the year Leonard founded “HAuNTcon”.  “HAuNTcon”, an acronym for “the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Conference”, is the nation’s first haunted-attraction trade show and conference.    The show offers three days of tours of haunted attractions, educational seminars and “make and take” sessions for haunt creatives.   (The next “HAuNTcon” happens in January, 2018 in New Orleans.)

    Leonard shared the story of his career, offered some insights on what makes a haunt work (and what doesn’t), and discussed the changes and trends he’s seeing in the haunt industry.

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Leonard first became interested in creating haunted attractions;
    • The ways  haunt technology has evolved, since he began designing haunted houses;
    • Resources he recommends, for anyone designing a haunted house;
    • The business considerations involved in running a haunted attraction for profit;
    • What makes a good haunted attraction;
    • Whether anyone’s managed to scare Leonard (who tours haunted attractions worldwide)!
    • The techniques behind a good haunted-attraction scare;
    • The trends Leonard’s seeing, for the haunt industry of the future;
    • His thoughts on augmented reality and virtual reality for haunts;
    • Some of the subtleties that make a haunted attraction work well.


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