Saturday, January 23, 2016

Juggling the Business and the Art

Some of the research being conducted for "The Last Escape"
Whenever you work on a big project you have to accommodate the ever shifting requirements that will bring it to fruition.  In the case of the puzzle/escape room under development there are several different tracks operating at the same time.  The business planning is essential for many reasons, the most prominent in my own mind is the fact that I should be practicing what I preach.  I am currently teaching two separate courses at the University of Washington Tacoma in entrepreneurship, one as an  undergraduate course and the other as part of a continuing education certificate.  Both use business planning as the infrastructure for building out your company on both an operational and a funding level.  Plus of course it is an incredibly valuable tool for a successful outcome.

So I am working on that.  Finding a venue, creating a proforma, developing marketing materials, organizing and recruiting a team, procuring funding and performing recursive reality checks are all the plates spinning right now in my off time from my day job.  I am really enjoying myself.

Additionally, there is the creative element.  The whole point of this was to produce something fun with theatrical elements.  The balance here is going to be the practical flow of the puzzles that will be challenging, exciting and fun to do as a team, the story that needs to be told over the course of an hour that will have several endings based on how far the teams progress toward the escape, the characters who will inhabit the room from the gamemaster to the limited role playing that can be infused into the customers and how much historical accuracy can be integrated into what is a fictional situation.

I am working on that.  This requires a bit of research and experimentation.

The good news is that I have the complete skeletal structure of the puzzle elements as they lead to locked boxes, strange riddles, brain teasers, hidden rooms and required tasks.  When I write stories I often have it worked out completely in my head.  Once I put it on paper I realize where I have holes to fill and characters to develop.  It is never complete until the third or fourth rewrite (for me).

In this case I have the story down.  However instead of rewriting it I need to run it.  I need to know the realistic time it might take ten people working together to finish each challenge.  It can't be too hard or to easy.

There are also several pieces that will need to be fabricated or procured.  Then there is a set to build.

My next post will talk about the people who are helping me get this done.


1 comment:

Margaret Hoang said...

This sounds awesome! I've heard of escape games before but never been in one. The fact that it's set in the past (late Victorian, early 1900s?) is even better. :)