“How to Hire a Murder Mystery Company”
CLUE 1: Amateur Advice Articles on the Internet
The Internet is full of articles that proclaim “How to hire a Murder Mystery Company” or “How to host a murder mystery dinner”. But, after you waste time skimming through the content of these articles, you soon discover these are shallow articles written by NOVICE amateurs! Of course everyone is entitled to take a shot at giving out free advice, but the inexperience of these “quasi-murder mystery event planners” appears to be a case of the blind-leading-the-blind.
But don’t despair, you just hit pay dirt! This article is written by a full-time murder mystery producer and director who makes a career out of performing thousands of murder mystery dinner shows in front of audiences. Here you will earn valuable secrets that comes only from forty-plus years of producing shows, writing plays, hiring and training actors, and performing murder mystery events. After reading this section, you will be much better equipped to make decisions on the type and quality of show you wish to do and the budget you can afford to pay.
CLUE 2: How to Host a Murder Mystery Dinner
Pick the type of murder mystery show you want to present:
- 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 SHOW WITH TICKETS that is presented by a restaurant, hotel, bed and breakfast, train, boat, or 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.
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 (such as YELP) about these poor quality shows. But even YELP isn’t a reliable resource since mystery companies can create fake or counterfeit reviews to balance out the bad ones.
CLUE 3: Your Budget Will Affect Your Murder Mystery Party
Check out murder mystery companies on Internet web sites like YELP. Bad mystery shows get a one or two star rating out of a possible five. But many murder mystery dinner companies have used clever ways to overcome all their negative ratings on review websites like GroupOn or YELP. Consider this logic: which type of actors are better for a murder mystery play? Is a $40 actor the same quality as a $250 actor?
Full-time actors at the top of their game are earning a full-time living by earnings from TV shows and movies. Their talents have been demonstrated to producers and directors throughout their career. If you want a top quality, successful event, then it makes sense to check the credentials of a murder mystery company. Do they hire full-time actors who earn their living as actors? Has a particular mystery company performed thousands of events during the past 30 to 40 years? Do they present documentation on their website that really backs up their claims? (95% of mystery companies fail this test). Does the company offer HUNDREDS of referral letters and substantial written PR and newspaper articles for public review and scrutiny? (Many companies offer re-typed versions of alleged referral letters. Many of these are bogus. Check to see if they include the contact name, phone numbers or email addresses for each of their referral letters. Check up on a couple of these contacts to see if they are legitimate.)
If you want a good show, then you already understand that qualified and experienced professionals will cost more than cheap amateur imitators.
Actors and Scripts WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR EVENT
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? If so, will your company bosses and co-workers be impressed with YOUR choice? Or, for a private party with friends, relatives and neighbors, will your dinner guests be impressed with your first time production of a murder mystery dinner? For years to come, what will be their memories of your murder mystery party? All dinner guests rate their experience in their own minds. Which of the following words will they think of after attending your dinner: 1) A FLOP, 2) a “so-so” average show, or 3) a SMASH SUCCESS?
CLUE 4: Are Public Murder Mystery Shows Any Good?
Restaurants and hotels cash in on the Mystery dinner fad by selling tickets to dinner shows
Is it easier to just buy tickets on GroupOn or Living Social or some other website? Well consider this point: are restaurant or hotel managers skilled and experienced as theater impresarios and are they trained in the dramatic arts? Do waiters and managers know how to write scripts, audition actors and do they know how to direct a highly entertaining mystery play?
Restaurants that make-up their own “HOMEMADE” mystery play are trying to skimp and save money. They justify their actions by convincing themselves that “anyone can act”. Then, they go about recruiting free or cheap volunteer actors from schools or local community theaters. Sometimes they even pay them – a scant thirty bucks and a free plate of food. But now, unsuspecting customers like you wind up paying $50, $75 or even $90 for tickets to this type of dinner show. The restaurant might even have a good reputation for serving good food. But how will you really feel when you witness an amateur dinner play? You’ll probably feel the same sentiments of YELP critics on the internet that have written their personal experiences with ticketed murder mystery dinner shows in your area. This could be a real eye-opener for you as you read all the negative reviews and ratings!
Use simple logic: Restaurants are in business to make a profit. They sell banquet space, food and service. The mindset of restaurant people is always to cut costs, like picking and choosing food for menus. But this type of simple economics results in amateur plays. The “wannabe actors” they recruit from high schools and colleges, (or maybe a cheaply priced local murder mystery company) never deliver good quality shows. They just don’t have enough experience and/or talent. Food industry managers and Chefs should not pretend to be Dinner Show producers or directors. They 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 5: Beware of National Marketing Websites
Living Social – GroupOn – And several more with 800 Phones
Presently, many charlatans are attempting to cash in on the popularity of Murder Mystery entertainment. 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 6: 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.
Basic Instructions are Missing From Boxed Murder 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?
Compare a boxed murder mystery game to a defective cookbook full of recipes and lists of ingredients. Imagine your frustration if the book doesn’t tell you how to mix the ingredients or how long to cook them, or at what temperature?
This type of cookbook would be useless! Well, 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.
NOTE: You don’t have to take our advice: Go out and buy a box mystery game. Examine it, and then you be the judge: after reading the instructions, do you think you will now be able to throw a great mystery play? If you reach the conclusion of most people, the box game won’t say much about how to run your play, step-by-step. And having completed this experiment, come back to our website and continue reading at this exact point where you left off…..
CLUE 7: Quality Murder Mystery Show vs. Bargain Price?
The above topics discuss all the options you can consider for presenting your own Murder Mystery Dinner. Start by deciding on whether or not you want to get a bargain price or quality show. If you choose to hire a Full Production Murder Mystery Company – using all professional actors from the Movie and Television industry with the best production values and better scripts – then you will get the best value for your money. All that remains for you to do is to shop around for any venue of your choice, and then pick your menu according to your guests food tastes and preferences – as well as the per head cost.
Consider Catering Your Own Food
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.
In summary, do you want restaurant waiters and managers trying to re-create a dramatic acting event? OR would you prefer that they stick with serving food and let YOU hire quality entertainers who will then give your mystery dinner the professional panache it deserves?
CLUE 8: Ebright Entertainment Enterprises
Ebright Entertainment Enterprises operates murder mystery shows under the website name of www.MurderProductions.com. Our 40- year history has logged up a roster of performing over 8,000 events. We have lived through all the changing trends and sluggish economies. Our innovative services helped to set trend in entertainment venues during the past 4 decades. We have helped to elevate the acceptance of Murder Mystery dinner theater shows to the corporate business world. In fact, over 98% of our clients come from Fortune 500 Companies and major corporations from California’s Silicon Valley. We also perform private shows for country clubs, private fundraisers, schools, churches, and associations, Even smaller-scaled parties enjoy our flexible show packages which can be modified to fit smaller, private clients who want a unique form of entertainment for their birthday parties, retirement dinners, going away parties, and various other life celebrations. When giving our track record a discerning overview, 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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