Interview with Melissa Meyer on the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

As we approach the Halloween season, the team here at Horribly Hooched is always on the look out for exciting new and interesting attractions. Following our epic adventures at the Great Horror Campout, we were ecstatic to find that Ten Thirty One Productions was also behind the intense Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.

Melissa Meyer, COO of Ten Thirty One Productions, was kind enough to talk to us and answer a few questions regarding the Hayride. Check it out, and rest assured that Horribly Hooched will be doing a follow up review of the event itself soon!

Bacchus: First off, for the record who are we speaking with?

Melissa Meyer: Melissa Meyer COO of Ten Thirty One Productions

B: And what is your involvement with the Haunted Hay Ride?

MM: I am a part of the creative team helping to imagine new and innovative concepts.  I also have a heavy hand in the Special FX, Props, Make up, and Wardrobe departments as well as all Choreographic elements.  Then, it’s all about execution, I figure out the most cost effective and timely manner to fabricate our vision.   Once the show is on its feet I’m onsite everyday ensuring all operations run smoothly.

B: What inspired the Hay Ride?

MM: The original idea came from our CEO Melissa Carbone who is from the east coast and a huge fan of Hayrides.  Every Halloween in California she waited for someone to open a hayride.   She eventually got tired of waiting and just made it happen!

B: It’s a new thing, but such a massive production – how many people are involved in setting it up and how long does it take?

MM: We start concept engineering as early as December.  TTO has a full time staff of 8.  It then takes a small army to execute every moving piece.  We start fabrication early summer.  But, our greatest challenge is that we only have 11 days on site to build the show before gates open.  This process can utilize up to 100 people

B: Where do you pull the inspiration for the creatures and your locations from?

MM: From everywhere!  Life is fascinatingly creepy.  Each year we develop a theme that helps inspire and focus our creativity. This year, Echoes From the Rift, you will see creatures of apocalyptic proportions, Greek mythology, and an homage to all things from hell.

B: Its clear you have amazing insight into fear itself – what is the creation process like when coming up with attractions and themes?  

MM: Fear is quite subjective so we try to pull from very universal and tangible concepts that are relatable.  Then it’s about moving it from familiar to strange, or larger than life, or finding a cutting edge way to express those themes.  For example changing the experience from being a spectator sport to an interactive in your lap experience.  Or taking choreographic and acrobatic elements and utilizing them in a new light with horror.

B: Whats the auditioning process like? Any hope for our readers to join the monstrous ranks?

MM: The audition process is one of my favorite elements of the whole picture.  We see hundreds and hundreds of talented actors.  Though, in order to stand out our most successful candidates are those that truly love and understand the horror genre.

B: Any hints or tips for surviving the hay ride with unsoiled drawers?

MM: Bring an extra pair.

B: Given the success, are there any plans for expansion in the future?

Oh yes!  We have a list of projects just waiting to unleash into the world.

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A huge thank you to Melissa Meyer, of Ten Thirty One Productions, for taking this time to chat with us. Check out a gallery of some pictures from last years experience, to give you a sense of what you can expect this year!!


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