New Summer Halloween Fun And Conversation With Rick West, Creative Director Of “Midsummer Scream”

Towards my fellow readers on my blog who stay up to date on the latest news and information about themed entertainment but, this article piece is going to be a bit different from what I normally cover about for my blog. If your like me who loves the season and spirit of Halloween and a love for theme parks then I cannot wait to share this information with you guys! If your fan of Disney, Universal, Knott’s Berry Farm, or whatever theme park or haunted attractions you frequently attend too towards the most, a brand new summer Halloween convention is happening at the Long Beach Convention Center July 30th-31st called “Midsummer Scream”.

I had the opportunity and pleasure in emailing one of the creators and staff who made this convention possible with Creative Director, Rick West who is also the owner and founder of ThemeParkAdventure.com that works in the themed entertainment industry. If you guys want a long day of summer indoor Halloween fun then you definitely need to check this out! From show vendors, live entertainment, industry and creative panels, workshops, that there is so much more that this convention is going to be offering that weekend in Long Beach, California. So with that being said here is what “Midsummer Scream” is going to be about in a interview format with questions I asked Creative Director, Rick West about it.

 

SA: What was the inspiration and how did you come up with the name for “Midsummer Scream”?

RW: Midsummer Scream is obviously a play on the famous Shakespeare work, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s something that came to me as I rolled ideas around in my head for our new Halloween show, and it just stuck, you know? I shortened it so that it rolls easily off the tongue, and the rest of the team fell in love with it immediately. It’s informative, as well; Midsummer Scream tells you it’s something scary and when it is. The perfect shorthand for conveying what our event is in two words!

 

SA: Since your departure and stepping down from the former and popular Halloween convention, of “Scare LA” will this convention be any different or remain the same as “Scare LA”?

RW: 3/4 of the core team stepped down from ScareLA and a huge number of extended team members and volunteers have followed suit. We had an amazing run producing three years of ScareLA shows, and will always be very proud of what we accomplished. Midsummer Scream will feature a lot of the same components and participants, plus new and exciting elements that we’ve wanted to do; in some cases, for years. Our new brand and identity also frees us from the playing field of being simply “LA”-based, which is something that occurred to us after settling on the name for our new show. It’s new, it’s refreshing and it’s exciting for all of us. We’re ready to kick ass and give this community the show it deserves this summer!

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(The former crew of “Scare LA” who are talking and assembling ideas for the brand new convention of  “Midsummer Scream” shown in this photo via Midsummer Scream’s Twitter)

SA: What do you think fans or anyone involved in Halloween/Horror community can expect and be excited for “Midsummer Scream”?

RW: The fans can expect and be excited about a weekend of world-class panel presentations, a massive show floor, a huge Hall of Shadows – which will be a dark scare zone and numerous haunted attraction previews and experiences, the industry’s top makeup effects artists in action, tons of cosplay and Halloween fans dressing up, a screening room, and a great Saturday night party which we’re going to announce more details about very shortly. It’s all going down at the Long Beach Convention Center in a footprint twice as large as anything we’ve ever put on before as a team – more than 100,000 square feet of Halloween, haunt and horror goodness for the whole family! I mean that; we’re even hosting a kid’s area that is safe and youngster-friendly.

SA: What panels or announcements are you anticipated or can look forward towards the most?

RW: We have recently announced that Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Queen Mary and Six Flags Magic Mountain are lined up to wow fans with fantastic presentations and major reveals for the upcoming Halloween season. Those particular presentations always are standing room-only, as the fans love those individual events; these companies are a cornerstone of what we love presenting at Midsummer Scream. Additionally, Disney fans should be completely pumped about Walt Disney Imagineering’s presentation, The History of Illusioneering. WDI’s involvement in Midsummer Scream is really exciting for me personally, as it’s something I have been working on behind the scenes with Imagineer Daniel Joseph since last summer; to see it come to fruition is truly great. More details about that particular presentation are coming soon; Disney fans are in for a huge treat!

Our massive scare zone, which we’ve named Hall of Shadows is also something that people are getting really stoked about, as they should be. Our show floor is over 90,000 square feet; Hall of Shadows takes up roughly a quarter of that space. This is where the lights will be out, fog will be flowing and Midsummer Scream guests can experience a theme park-style scare zone, created by Larry Bones of Bone Yard Effects, as well as terrifying haunted attraction previews and experiences. There’s a lot happening all at once in Hall of Shadows as well as everywhere else throughout the venue.

SA: How many members in your team are involved, that made “Midsummer Scream” possible?

RW: Midsummer Scream’s core team consists of David Markland, our Executive Director; Gary Baker, Executive Producer; Johanna Atilano, Producer; Claire Dunlap, Associate Producer; and I’m the event’s Creative Director. Of course, we have an extended team that is also working incredibly hard to put this event on. Usually, something of this scale takes at least a year to plan and execute; we have had since the end of March, which gives us just about four months to bring this all together. When the doors open the morning of July 30, we will also have an army of Midsummer Scream volunteers that are our front-line team members in place to ensure the show runs smoothly all weekend. It’s daunting and exhilarating; what we have accomplished in such a short time is nothing but staggering; it freaks me out, if I stop long enough to think about it!

SA: Is there any special promotions or anything provided for this upcoming summer convention?

RW: We’ve run special discount promos for Midsummer Scream since tickets went on sale in April. Currently, they’re 50% off, and will remain that way until Friday, May 13th. After that, prices will go up. If your readers are interested, now is the time to buy! Of course, for those who procrastinate – I am guilty of that all the time – we will sell tickets at the door as well. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult, so that’s a great value as well.

(Apologies for my readers that I didn’t promote this earlier for this discount for saving some money!)

SA: Why does the Halloween/Horror Community means so much towards you in your profession and also with “Midsummer Scream”?

RW: I founded Theme Park Adventure over 21 years ago here in Southern California. I’ve always had a deep love for Halloween and horror in general. Even as a small child, I was obsessed with haunted houses and scary movies. Haunted attractions and theme park events such as Knott’s Scary Farm have always been near and dear to my heart, and that’s manifested in a huge way through TPA. Creating a large-scale event for fans, haunters, artisans and everyone else is something that I find extremely gratifying. We are all very proud to be part of the community here in Southern California, and plan to continue developing bigger and better events each summer for a long time to come.

As a professional within the themed entertainment industry, I take particular interest in what’s going on in the haunted attraction world, because it’s a major part of it; $7.5 billion industry is what we’re hearing these days. Very often, haunters come up with incredibly innovative effects and gags that we can look at and perhaps incorporate in some form or another in theme park attractions or other themed experiences. Plus, as a designer, I know the incredible effort that goes into creating haunted attractions, whether they are stand-alone productions or even home haunts. It never ceases to amaze me, the extent that people go to create haunted attractions, and I get to double-dip in all the spooky goodness as a fan as well as an industry professional; it’s the best of both worlds!

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( Source: Image © Midsummer Scream)

SA: How many different vendors will be at this first year’s of this convention?

RW: At this point, we are still taking applications for vendors and exhibitors; that number is a moving target on a daily basis. I can say with great pride that our entire show floor will be packed with booths, and then some. It’s going to take people a full weekend to see Midsummer Scream; even then, we program it so you won’t see everything. That’s a good problem to have!

SA: Will this convention be for all ages even, small children too?

RW: While the nature of Midsummer Scream skews toward teens and adults, we absolutely welcome children; there will even be a small kid’s area on the show floor that we’re planning to keep the little ones happy, busy and away from roaming monsters and other more intense aspects of the event. Of course, if little ones are not afraid, they are more than welcome to join older fans in the other areas of the show, including Hall of Shadows. We cannot stress enough though – if you have a child that isn’t feeling it, the worst thing you can possibly do is force them into the darkness or toward people dressed up; let kids go at their own pace and become fans on their own terms. That is the only way to raise future Halloween and haunt fans.

SA: Final Thoughts?

RW: Getting up to speed with Midsummer Scream has been one of the most daunting and at the same time, extremely rewarding experiences of my life. The team we have – I couldn’t be more proud and excited about them. Everything has come together so nicely, that it simply reinforces the idea that we have moved forward with the heartfelt intention of serving this community.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

If this doesn’t excite you guys then your defiantly going be missing out for one awesome and exciting weekend at this brand new convention at the Long Beach Convention Center! Also joining the “Midsummer Scream” line up is the recently announced Winchester Mystery House of a 60 minute presentation and never before seen footage of the famous San Jose house, Museum of Paranormal History with different vendors, experts, authors and more! Also to top off the fun is the Oingo Boingo (excluding Danny Elfman) Dance Party for Noche de los Muertos Bash for a live concert and a costume contest too!

Tickets are available to be purchased on sale over at midsummerscream.org and stay up to date on “Midsummer Scream’s social media pages over on there Twitter Facebook and Instagram. If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, message me on any of there social media accounts.

I would like to personally thank Rick West and his direct quotes and taking his time for this interview to provide information for this brand new and spooky fun Halloween event happening next month in July.

Rick West is the Founder/Editor-In-Chief of ThemeParkAdventure.com and works full time professionally as a show writer at Rethink! Leisure & Entertainment in Burbank, California. He has been the Creative Director of “Midsummer Scream” since the end of March, when him and rest of the crew created the show. You can contact him at rick@midsummer.org for any questions or more information regarding the convention.

For anyone attending “Midsummer Scream” don’t be a foolish mortal because spooks can be ready at anytime to materialize!

-SkywalkingAdventure.com

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