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Psychology of Booking a Murder Mystery

When booking a murder mystery or dinner theater show for your event, it's important to make sure that the entertainment measures up to the occasion.  Does the performance fit the size of your audience?  The size of the room?  The mood of the evening?  The expectations of the guests?  In this article, we will focus on these questions and what, somewhat uncanny, psychological factors contribute to a successful event.

characters at murder mystery booking
murder mystery booking

So what do we mean by "Psychological" exactly?  Well in short, we are evaluating how the preconceived notions and expectations the guests (What is in their minds) compares with what they will actually experience at the event.   Since you can't put all of your guests into an MRI and scan their brains, we have a few tips to use instead.

Most everyone has heard the old maxim to “under promise and over deliver” and this cannot be more correct. Because everything is relative, context can drastically influence how entertainment is perceived.  For example, you could have the best solo singer in the world, yet if the customers thought or expected to see a quartet, they will react negatively to the entertainment, at least initially.  Mainly, we are speaking of expectations of SIZE and SCALE and not about anticipation of theme such as a jazz band doe a country audience. So let us dive in a bit further...

booking psychology for murder mystery
psychology murder mystery

In terms of scale, many people have a distorted concept of what a dinner theater or murder mystery show actually looks like, especially if they have never seen one.  A way to demonstrate this is to use the “big screen TV” analogy.  If you wandered into a person’s living room and they had a 90 inch LCD big screen television on their wall.  You would say “Wow, look how BIG that is.  However, if you entered a movie theater and on walking in noticed that instead of a movie screen you saw that same 90 inch TV, you would feel cheated.  It is all relative.  Understanding that this exists, it is imperative when predicting what your guests are likely to be imaging before coming to your important shin dig.  Luckily, there are some straight forward indicators to guide you.

The size of the audience

If your guests KNOW that there will be 250 people at your show, they will EXPECT it to be a larger production. (With lighting, microphones, a set, etc.)  Conversely, if they KNOW that there will only be 30 people, they will EXPECT it to be of a smaller magnitude.

Ticket Prices

For clients who are hiring a Murder Mystery for a fundraiser or any event sold to the public--

One of the most important indicators is the price.  People often use price as a “rule of thumb” to judge quality, especially when few other facts are available.  If your charging $15, people will assume that it is a smaller and less expensive entertainer then if the price was $120 a ticket.  By this you can see the dangers posed to your event by overcharging for what will be seen as a shoddy entertainment in comparison.

Size of the room

Once one of your guests walks into your room they often make some very quick snap judgments about what the event will be like—even if it’s not true!  If you’re presenting your event in a beautiful banquet room with a 500 person seating, high ceilings, elegant chandeliers,  and marble statues—performing a 2 man show for 30 people will be quite underwhelming. It will seem out of place and undermine general psychology of the audience. Put that same show in a small restaurant for the same 30 guests and they will applaud the shows “intimacy” and charm!  Choose the right venue.

Prestige of the event

People will also make assumptions about entertainment based on the perceived prestige of a given occasion.  You would expect something different from a “Beef and Beer” fundraiser then you would a client appreciation event for a national finance company.  This is because the quality of the show directly reflects on the perceived status of the organization.  For this reason it is best to err on the side of quality for these types of events. Give them more and you can't go wrong....go in the other direction and dangers abound!

reading the mind of a murder mystery
lie detector hat

After all is said and done, if you as an event coordinator can anticipate and predict what the guests will have in their mind, you will be able to fulfill that in the room.  To accommodate this, the Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company features three different and simple packages to choose from.  The Deluxe, the Standard, and the Budget.  Each of these choices allow you to select the appropriate size and scale show and ensure that it lines up with your estimation of their expectations perfectly!



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