“How to Hire a Murder Mystery Company”
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 every mom or eight grader is entitled to write a “how to” article giving out their own free advice. BUT….when their articles are compared to event industry veterans’ articles, the contrast between the 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. If you choose to hire a Full Production Murder Mystery Company, you will usually get the best results for your murder mystery dinner show. It is logical to conclude you’ll get a superb result by using all professional actors from the Movie and Television industry, better scripts, PA sound equipment, and tasteful editing of music for dramatic interludes. 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 this logic: which type of actors are better for a murder mystery play?
Is a $40 actor the same quality as a $250 – $400 actor?
Real professional actors work full-time to pay their house mortgages and cost of living expenses. They are compelled to stay at the top of their game as they earn a living from TV shows and movies and other film work. Their talents have been repeatedly demonstrated to producers and directors throughout their career. If you want a top quality, successful event, does it make sense to hire a murder mystery company that employs full-time movie and TV actors? 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 get a one or two star rating out of a possible five. But slick website marketing companies and savvy mystery show companies can use clever computer tricks to fool YELP with fake positive reviews that overpower their frequent negative ratings on YELP, GroupOn, Living Social, Dinner Detective. YELP is clueless when competitors write FAKE reviews against long established companies of high quality. They refuse to investigate the facts and use common sense to withdraw fictitious reviews.
There are much more reliable ways to evaluate a company’s reputation: Does the company you pick to hire back their claims with HUNDREDS of referral and thank you letters from scores of Fortune 500 companies? And hear is a real test: does this same company have a long history of favorable newspaper reviews in the press? Most mystery companies resort to displaying re-typed quotes of alleged excerpts from past customers. Double-check to make sure they include former client’s actual names, phone numbers or email addresses. Check up on 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? 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 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? 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 murder mystery dinner play are trying to skimp and save money. They are driven by profit motives when they believe that “anyone can be an actor”. So, they assume the role of a director and casting agent as they recruit cheap or even FREE volunteer actors from schools or local community theaters. Sometimes they pay a token stipend of thirty bucks along with a free meal. But then unsuspecting customers like you wind up paying $50,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 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: 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.
CLUE 10: Ebright Entertainment Enterprises
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.
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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