CLUE 1: Mystery Dinner Advice on the Net
The Internet is full of articles that proclaim “How to hire a murder mystery show” or “How to host a murder mystery dinner”. But, after you waste time skimming through these short opinion articles, you’ll soon discover all the shallow and simplistic methods written by rank amateurs! Of course anyone is entitled to write a “how to” article giving out free advice. BUT….when articles about planning and hiring a murder mystery chow are written, the contrast between amateurs and pros is self-evident.
CLUE 2: How to Host a Murder Mystery Dinner
Decide which type of mystery show is best for you:
- LIVE TROUPE OF ACTORS that are mobile and will come and perform for your corporate murder mystery dinner, private dinner, restaurant, hotel, company location, work campus, or private residence.
- PUBLIC SHOWS WITH TICKETS Presented by a restaurant, hotel, bed and breakfast, train, boat, or any type of public forum where tickets are sold – such as a non-profit fundraiser in a rental hall.
- BOX MYSTERY GAME purchased from the Internet or from a store as a “do-it-yourself” $20 -$40 murder mystery box of color printed cards describing various characters. There is not much attention given to the most important aspect of a fun mystery party, such as some type of public speaker or actor to lead the investigation.
CLUE 3: Quality Murder Mystery Show vs. Cheesy & Corny?
Start by deciding on whether or not you want to get a bargain price or quality show. Quality depends entirely on the skill of the actors, a clever, refreshing story line, and top quality PA production equipment with wireless mics and theme music. A Full Production Murder Mystery Company, will provide the PA/sound equipment, along with tasteful background music during cocktail hour prior to dinner. And music is an important part of the show’s dramatics as well. We play several dramatic interludes throughout the play.
A FULL PRODUCTION company like Ebright Entertainment Enterprises provides everything to present a great show. All that’s left for you to do is to rent a venue (restaurant – hotel – banquet room) of your choice, then pick your menu items that will suit your guests food tastes.
Consider this logic: which type of actors are better for a murder mystery play?
Is a $40 actor the same quality as a $1,000 actor at a 2-3 hour mystery dinner?
Any murder mystery company that has performed thousands of events during the past 30 to 40 years should be able to back up their claims with EVIDENCE and PROOF on their website! (97% of mystery companies fail this test).
CLUE 4: YELP is NOT Reliable!
Check out murder mystery companies on Internet web sites like YELP. Bad mystery shows that rated low star ratings soon retaliated by using devious methods to fool YELP and other rating sites. They are able to post fake “5-Star” reviews that help take the sting out of all their negative ratings on YELP, GroupOn, Living Social, Dinner Detective. YELP is clueless at detecting even the most obvious FAKE reviews written by competitors against long established companies of high quality. They refuse to use common investigative forensics or logic to flush out the imposters. Instead, they always avoid criticisms of their rating methods and hide behind the bogus explanation of “it’s all controlled by the programming language of computer algorithms”.
How to Rate a Murder Mystery Company
- HUNDREDS of referral and thank you letters from Fortune 500 companies
- Review all the favorable newspaper articles and reviews this company has received over the past 20 to 30 years. (Don’t be fooled by fictitious short quotes by alleged past customers).
- Double-check reference letters for client’s actual company names, individual management titles and names, phone numbers and/or email addresses.
- Call, email or text at least three of these contacts (randomly selected) to see if they are legitimate.
CLUE 5: A Mediocre or Smashing Show?
Do you want to impress your audience with a positive, professional performance that is a higher caliber of acting and entertainment? Or, in the interest of saving money, are you tempted to take a wild chance on a cheap alternative? Which of the three results below will your mystery dinner guests rate your mystery dinner event as:
1) A FLOP?
2) A “so-so” average show?
3) A SMASH SUCCESS?
CLUE 6: Beware of Ticketed Murder Mystery Dinners
Restaurants and hotels cash in on the Mystery dinner fad by selling tickets to dinner shows. It probably sounds easier to just buy tickets on GroupOn or Living Social, Dinner Detective or any other website. BUT….consider this point: Are restaurant or hotel managers skilled and experienced as theater impresarios and are they trained in the dramatic arts? None! Do waiters and managers know how to write scripts, audition actors and do they know how to direct a highly entertaining mystery play? Of course not!
Restaurants that make-up their own murder mystery dinner play are simply trying to skimp to save money. They think “anyone can act in a mystery play”. Next, they appoint themselves as director and casting agent. Then they recruit cheap or FREE volunteer actors from schools and local community theaters. Sometimes they pay a token stipend of thirty to fifty bucks to each actor, and sometimes they throw in a free meal. And this is what you’ll get for the price of your $50 to $80 ticket.
Use simple logic: Restaurants are in business to make a profit. They sell banquet space, food and service. The mindset of restaurants is always the bottom line profits or losses. Food industry managers and Chefs should stick with their strong suit, i.e. providing good tasting food and excellent dinner service. In business there is a famous motto: “Do only one thing and do it well!”
CLUE 7: Beware of National Marketing Websites
Presently, many charlatans are attempting to cash in on the popularity of Murder Mystery entertainment. These companies include slick marketing websites like Living Social, GroupOn, the Dinner Detective and many more. (These companies usually provide an “800” phone number since they only reside in one city in the U.S. )
Negative news spreads fast when disappointed murder mystery customers see a cheesy show. Sometimes these customers are tourists visiting town and they get duped by the fancy advertising from a restaurant. So they wind up buying tickets with eager anticipation of a suspenseful experience. They mistakenly assume their ticket price of $50, $75, or $99 will automatically be good quality entertainment. But sadly, the murder mystery genre has accumulated a vast army of mystery “imposters”. Often times, disappointed customers post negative reviews on the Internet. The plethora of internet marketing companies have cleverly disguised themselves to look like a local acting troupe from your own area or city. But their 800 toll numbers are a dead giveaway that they are not from your city or even the same state! Generic marketing agencies have sprung up all over the internet in recent years. They proclaim to be the “Largest” or “Best” Murder Mystery company available.
But in reality, these are only slick website designers that put up an impressive front. They are actually just the middleman between paying clients and a generic group of cheap, local actors. Prospective clients are shown expensive quality demo videos featuring quality actors for a special “one day shoot”. But none of the actors you see on that demo video will be the cast of actors you will actually see at your own event! Just be forewarned that well-financed internet marketing companies are always often using the old “Bait and switch” sales technique. And in the end, they will hire less quality amateur actors just to make a good profit. These are the shows you will see with low ratings on YELP or Group-On reviews.
CLUE 8: Murder Mystery Games Sold in Boxes or “Kits”
Can you throw a great murder mystery party for the investment of $30 or $40 bucks on an internet kit in a box? The intelligent answer to that question is “NO”. Most of those fly-by-night internet mystery game companies don’t have any first-hand experience producing top quality live mystery plays in front of audiences. It’s basically a couple of people who just whip together some zany character names, cartoonish type plots, and then turn their character description cards over to a graphics artist to design attractive box covers and small cardboard cards that list character traits for each suspect with a silly name. Nowhere is there any instruction about how to facilitate the play, step by step, moment by moment. Box kits don’t give any direction on how all the characters should inter-relate with each other, when they should talk, or who should talk first or last – or even who should be the referee to prevent chaos from making the play a total flop.
Crucial Instructions are Missing From Boxed Mystery Games!
Buying a Mystery Game in a box does not instruct you on HOW TO ACT, or HOW TO DIRECT the action of a murder mystery play. What SHOULD YOU AVOID to prevent a murder mystery flop?
This type of cookbook would be useless! Anyone who buys a boxed murder mystery game is going to be disappointed when they learn how poor and incomplete their “boxed” instructions are.
Another negative with boxed mystery games is when they use a pair of dice – like in a “Clue” game. Remember: a pair of dice is a game of chance, not intelligence. This is why the game of Clue can be played by less sophisticated people, such as grade school children. It does not rely upon intelligence but rather on how lucky your dice throws are. How boring is that? Your intellect is not stimulated or challenged. Only the luckiest dice throw wins the game.
Boxed mystery games are a GAME and not a PLAY! They lack all the main ingredients of what makes for a good solid play. A successful murder mystery play takes a clever (and original) script, solid character roles, and a long established reputation of thousands of successful LIVE shows.
EXPERIMENT: Go out and buy a box mystery game. Examine it, and then you be the judge: Does this game make you feel confident you can run a smooth murder mystery play? If you are like most people, you will have several lingering questions about how to run your play.
CLUE 9: Catering your own food for mystery dinner guests
If you are on a tighter budget, consider catering your own food and using a rental hall some place. We have done shows at apartment complexes that have a clubhouse, or a warehouse that has a large room that can be decorated to look like a grand mansion. Hotel banquet rooms are always more expensive (except for the smaller “extended stay” versions of the Hilton or Marriott chain). Next is restaurants with banquet rooms that are separate from the main dining business, and finally, any hall or rental space you use that can be filled with tables, chairs and food – either catered or a Pot Luck where everyone brings food. Example: Lasagne or spaghetti and meatballs with salads and hot garlic bread and butter in baskets makes a great menu for our “Gatsby Murder” play due to the Italian connections in the script.
CLUE 10: Buy OUR award winning scripts that are proven winners!
If you have a group of at least 4 or more extroverted people who are fame for performing a role in a mystery dinner show, then all you need is a strong script with VERY THOROUGH directions on how to present a polished play.
For years, playwright Scott Ebright has been monitoring the type and quality of scripts available for sale on the internet and has always reached the same conclusion:
Murder Scripts are a dime a dozen all across the internet. Who would you rather buy a script from? A producer and playwright who has operated the highest paid and most successful murder mystery show in the U.S.? Or would you rather take a chance with far less experienced scripts that were written by frustrated, wanna-be writers who have never had a 20 year run of successful performances?
From small to larger mystery dinner parties, our flexible show packages which can be modified to fit a wide range of tastes and interests due to my copy written script formats. Our scripts have withstood the scrutiny of hundreds of thousands of audience members, and with all the demands our corporate entertainment buyers, we had to appeal to the most stringent tastes and expectations in the world. For this reason, it can truly be said that our company has “Been there and done that”.
Our positive reputation is based on one fact: No other live theater shows can out-perform our professional actors who earn their living doing Movies and Television. Our audiences always get a nice surprise at the end of our shows when the actors they take their final bow and introduce themselves using their REAL voice and name. Often times, they’ll briefly mention some of their latest movie or TV projects. Your guests will enjoy hearing this since it underscores the caliber of actors they just witnessed performing. It’s a great way to leave everyone with a positive memory about the whole event.
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