TEA News

22 October 2019

TEA NextGen Behind-the-Scenes at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2019 - Brian Tran reports

A Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) behind-the-scenes gathering specifically for TEA NextGen members took place at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2019 on October 16 2019. More than 30 TEA NextGen members attended.

The NextGen Initiative of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) helps students and recent graduates find their way into the themed entertainment/visitor attractions industry and facilitates TEA member companies’ ability to recruit from this fresh talent pool. Learn more here.

Brian Tran

Photo at the top: TEA NextGen members pose in front of the Ghostbusters maze at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2019. Photo for TEA by Brian Tran. 

The following report was provided by Brian Tran

An eager audience of TEA NextGen members gathered to learn about the development and production efforts that breathe life into the annual haunts at Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). Representatives from across the Universal Studios Hollywood Entertainment Department (including - Stephen Siercks, Senior Director, Entertainment Productions, who also sits on the TEA Western North America Division Board) were present to demystify the process, from production management and operations, to art and creative design, props, costume, technical design and construction, as well as audio design. With a sampling of props, costumes, scenic elements, and treats from Voodoo Doughnut laid out across a large conference room, young minds mixed with seasoned veterans, as they shared a common passion for the art of the scare.

After a presentation and Q&A session, attendees split into groups for lights-on tours of some of this year’s most popular mazes. The first stop was the Creepshow maze, showcasing quintessential '80s classic horror, with each room bringing to life scenes from the eponymous horror comic. Following this was a trip through the Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man maze, a reinvigoration of the Universal Monsters franchise, featuring iconic monsters and environments. Lastly, the tour ended at the base of an enormous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the Ghostbusters maze, honoring the cult classic with plenty of mischief and mayhem to spare.

Art Director Jamie Bartkowicz taking a
TEA NextGen group through one of the mazes.
Photo for TEA by Morgane Keesling

Throughout each tour, members of the Universal Studios Hollywood Entertainment Department team accompanied each TEA NextGen group and offered insight into the overall creative and production processes of each maze. Topics discussed ranged from space allotments, IP selection, material selection, prop placement, special effects, actor staging, back-of-house areas, compliance and guest safety. The shared passion for creating compelling and frightening guest experiences was evident, almost as palpable as the palpitating hearts of some of the NextGen members, even with the lights on.

Thank you to Universal Studios Hollywood and our TEA NextGen representatives for helping to create this successful look behind the spooky scenes.


Posted by Christy Nakada



TEA Members please log in to comment

More TEA News

31 December 2019.
Welcome New Members!



31 December 2019.
Happy New Year from TEA! Looking ahead to 2020

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) extends warm wishes for a happy and healthy New Year and a successful new decade. 2020 will have a full calendar of TEA events to serve the membership and the industry. We hope to see you soon.


18 December 2019.
TEA EME Division celebrates the winter season in Utrecht and London (December 2019)

On December 10, the Themed Entertainment Assocation (TEA) Europe and Middle East Division (TEA EME) held its third round of TEA Tuesday gatherings in 2019 …and this time it was seasonal!