Where Room Ideas are Born
A common question I get when I share with someone that I own an escape room company is how do you come up with your rooms.
The answer is: collaboratively.
How I Did It THEN
The first room at the Escapery, Destiny, was my baby. I had a strong goal that it be Indiana Jones themed and I had firm beliefs in what was going to be in the room. I built a test version in my basement with some technical assistance from friends. I incorporated the technical input but kept the story and puzzles tightly clutched to my test. It was a mistake I had to make in order to learn.
I had a lot more ego wrapped up in the design of the room and the way the Escapery was to be. I had to prove to everyone that I could do it, all of it, because I was scared of failure and I was coming out of a lifelong lack of self-confidence. I had shit to prove and I would not be dissuaded of that notion.
Destiny was good. I put a lot of thought into it, incorporating the things I had seen done well in other escape rooms, but didn’t get great until I let other people in. It was a strong seedling but I was blocking out the sunlight. The contributions that the rest of the team provided made it a top-tier escape room that to this day is the one we recommend to escape room aficionados.
How We Do It NOW
As we start the process of designing our 5th escape room, the process is completely different from where we started. We have a core team consisting of the management, operations, marketing, creative, project, and maintenance staff. We basically have a ‘pitch’ meeting where anyone who has a concept pitches it to the group. We bounce it around, refine the ideas, change directions, and basically play with the concepts until the room solidifies around one concept.
The things that come out these meetings are like magic, none of us could have come up with them on our own. There is no singular person who is the creative genius painting with a master’s brush and everyone has to be willing to let their ideas lie on the cutting room floor. Its like there is an extra person in the room who is walking around the table whispering inspiration into our ears. None of our ideas would be even 1/10th as good as they would be when they are work-shopped collaboratively with the team.
How YOU Should Do It
Whenever you are working on a creative project, share it with people early and often. Work together if you can, be willing to let every one of your brilliant thoughts go. Our creative meetings are hands down one of the best experiences I’ve had in a work environment. Nothing even comes close. So if you are flying solo, creatively toiling away, and keeping your masterpiece out of the sun: step away and let the light in!