What you Need to know to get your Tiktok up and running
Josh Sumsion from Dead City Haunted House comes on to discuss the process behind their TikTok videos, some of which are going viral.
Dead City Haunted House’s Christmas Krampus Event
“This year was our second year doing our Krampus night. We look at it as basically an entire overlay of the whole show. So, similar to what Disneyland would do with the Haunted Mansion, every single set gets lights, every single set gets decorations, all the characters are completely overhauled there’s. None of the masks are used from the main season, none of the cautions are used from the main season. All the soundtracks are swapped, all of the scents are completely different. It’s just a completely different show from entry to exit.”
And What COVID Safety Precautions Did You Institute for the Event?
“We installed bridges above the show. We installed UVC air filtration systems. All of our backstage interaction happened completely out of the building. Nightly fog sanitation went through. All the regular surfaces were cleaned. It’s just everything you could do and then some.”
About the TikTok Videos
“For our Krampus show we wanted to really make sure that we were highlighting these characters and trying to advertise it as much as possible. We originally started with these two ice elves and we recorded just a couple of fun skits with them. With our regular commercial shoot that we did. We allotted about 50 to 75% of the time. We normally would’ve spent getting more shots to just doing these TilTpK videos. Those started to really bite, and it was a surprise. So, we went back that weekend immediately and re filmed a new character, the Jack Frost, Mr. Freeze, he’s got a million different names. We went, filmed him, and almost 80% of the time with him was spent doing Tiktoks. It was a complete shift from how we’ve ever done anything in the past because our entire focus on building the content and generating the assets was now for these vertical mobile videos.”
“It takes time to go through and really get an idea what you want to do for all your videos. It’s not just something you’re going to just turn the app on and just have success with. Not only do we film them once, but we filmed them at least twice in different locations because, in our minds, we were like, “okay, well, this sound might work with this character, but it might not work with this background.” After the first couple of videos, all of a sudden it was like, okay, 15,000 followers. Okay. 20,000 followers. I was like, “Whoa.” Then it’s barely been four weeks and we’ve gained about 60,000 followers.”
Does TikTok Success Translate Into Ticket Sales?
“I didn’t really understand how powerful it was going to be until the event happened. All of a sudden there’s people from Vegas showing up in line saying that they saw this crazy blue monster demon dancing around on their TikTok and they want to see him, they at least want to get a photo with him. I wish we had a better way to track exactly who came in specifically through TikTok, but it was at least one group every 10 minutes or so would mention that they were here to see Jack Frost/Mr. Freeze/The TikTok star. You keep hearing from people around you to like, “Oh, I saw you guys on TikTok with the one guy.” And it’s just, it’s surreal. You got to keep posting things even after the success happens, and that’s where I feel like a lot of people like kind of tunnel vision themselves. Once they get that major hit, they’re like, “if every video I post after that, it’s not going to be the same. Then I can’t use the app anymore.” I mean, I’m content if we never see the kind of turnout in numbers we’ve seen with this video, because if anything, it’s been a learning experience and a teaching experience for everybody else, but it’s given us the audience to finally get recognized and to be pushed to the next level, to where we have really struggled before.”
What Is Your Process for Making TikTok Videos for the Haunted House?
“We had an exact idea of the shots we were going to do for the main commercial promo and all the regular marketing photos and everything like that. So, we had all of that planned out and ready to go. On top of that, we had a good couple audio bites or favorited sounds that we could use for new skits and new little TikTok videos. The actors actually came with ideas themselves, which is really fun. So, to have success like this, you definitely need a good team, and we had awesome, awesome actors. You can go into it having a good idea of what you’re going to do, but always be open and prepared for the last minute ideas, because some of those are going to be your best ones.”
How Did You Choose Which TikTok Videos To Post?
“So, when you go through and you make your videos I guess in TikTok you save them as a draft before you would go in and post them. We just went in with both shoots and banked up the drafts. So, we made sure we had 20+ different videos to go ahead and post. Some of them, it just didn’t work they’ll probably never see the light of day. I don’t know. We’ll see maybe. It’s difficult because there was ones I wanted to hold off, and then they just felt right to post right away. Then there’s ones that I’d never thought would have been the successful ones, and they were the biggest hits. It’s impossible to tell what’s going to go viral or not. I think where people kind of kick themselves in the face or kick themselves wherever for, is that they can’t figure that out. They want to have it understood and ready to go. They want to be able to be the constant viral success. Unless you have like millions and millions of followers, you’re not going to be able to get that with every video. So, you got to make as much content as you can, with the hopes that at least one will bite. It’s almost like, I guess if you’re going to compare it to anything compared to going fishing, like you’re going to sit in the boat for hours you’re probably going to maybe catch one thing, but I mean, that’s not going to discourage you from keep going out and fishing the next time, and if it does, you shouldn’t be fishing.”
How Do You Stay on Brand With the Content That You're Creating?
There’s a line, between just doing whatever is trending and kind of trying to copy anything and then also making sure that it’s still related to your business, which is a haunted attraction. So how do you find that line?
“You find it with the characters you’re using. In this case where we were at with our Jack Frost character, we were able to make him really fun in the personality. He was naturally creepy to where you put this almost sweet persona behind him, so he’s playful, but he’s in pain. So to stay on brand with everything, we just wanted to show that he’s the experience of the Krampus night, for lack of better words, he’s the creepy but the fun. So the Krampus night is the creepy of the haunted house, but you’re going to get the fun enjoyment of the Christmas. So, he represented that event perfectly. Staying on brand with him for this type of thing, it was really easy because there’s certain videos that you could easily just go out and try to replicate, but they’re not necessarily going to work for that character. I guess that kind of ties into what I mentioned, that there are videos that aren’t going ot see the light of day because there are several drafts we did that just don’t tie to the characters sadly. We didn’t know that while we were shooting them, but as he started to grow online, and as we started to do more of these videos, and people kind of took the personality they wanted from him, there’s probably two different videos that just wouldn’t be on brand with what he is now, if that’s kind of what you’re asking.”