Where Are They Now? – Ten Thirty One Productions: Shark Tank Updates in 2019
Ten Thirty One Productions was started in 2009 by former Clear Channel Communications executive Melissa Carbone, who quickly became known in the Los Angeles area for staging thrilling haunted hayrides each fall. At $30 per ticket, the frightening ride takes visitors through Griffith Park using local actors as ghosts, witches, and scary clowns (as if there are any other kinds). A private wagon holding up to 30 people can be rented at a premium price.
Melissa had developed a robust business model she felt would be ideal for an expansion to New York and beyond, with the ultimate goal of becoming the biggest, most successful Halloween-based entertainment company in the world.
Entering the Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 5 Episode 6
In one of the more elaborate entrances in the history of Shark Tank, Melissa entered accompanied by a ghoulish woman to set the tone of the business. Suddenly a scarecrow came to life, an evil shaman and a chainsaw executioner stormed onto the stage to give the judges a fright, particularly Daymond and Robert, who seemed visibly shaken by the frightening display. Melissa was making efforts to scare the judges into investing in Ten Thirty One Productions.
Melissa offered the Sharks 10 percent of her company in exchange for a whopping $2 million investment in Ten Thirty One, which would potentially be the largest deal on Shark Tank at the time. Kevin questioned how a simply hayride run for just 17 days every year was worth the $20 million valuations. Melissa responded that the venture was generating $1.8 million in revenue each fall and described an expansion beyond the October attraction, such as the Great Horror Campout, where thousands of campers in ten cities along the west coast would participate in an overnight event that included a scary scavenger hunt. “So, it’s basically summer camp from hell,” Kevin said.
The LA Haunted Hay Ride was bringing in $600,000 for the 17-day season, and Melissa expected to double that for the current season. The concept of expanding Ten Thirty One Productions to New York would utilize a densely populated area that was rife with acting talent looking for work of any kind. Mark expressed concerns about high overhead production costs that would be needed to expand to other markets, which would take savvy advertising and promotional skills. Fortunately, Melissa had years of marketing experience as a high ranking executive at Clear Channel.
Mark did not seem convinced and pressed Melissa about details regarding Ten Thirty One’s revenues. The Haunted Hay Ride was projecting over 100,000 unique visitors for the upcoming season. Kevin worked the numbers and was not impressed, determining the after-tax profit for Ten Thirty One would land at around $700,000 each season. He concluded the business was actually worth a mere third of what Melissa was asking. She countered that a number of established Hollywood companies had expressed interest in purchasing Ten Thirty One Productions for a similar price that she laid out. She was also confident in the New York expansion plan being a success that would substantially increase the value of the business. Kevin felt Melissa’s risk analysis of Ten Thirty One Productions’ future was off and backed out.
While Kevin may undoubtedly have been intentionally questioning the company’s value as a negotiating tactic, others on the panel were not confident about Melissa’s valuation of Ten Thirty One either. Robert felt that everything would have to go Melissa’s way to meet her projections, and he dropped out without asking for more equity in the company. Lori raised concerns about how long it would take to recoup an investment in Ten Thirty One Productions. While equity investors can make significant profits when more giant corporations purchase their business, Lori may not have believed this was possible for Melissa and dropped out, too.
Often willing to take advantage of desperate entrepreneurs who enter the Shark Tank, Daymond showed the first real interest in this venture He offered Melissa the $2 million, but for a whopping 40% of the business. Melissa seemed downright defeated, but she hadn’t gotten this far without being a savvy business leader who can think on her feet. She hesitated a bit before countering Daymond with an offer of $2 million and 20% of Ten Thirty One Productions. Before Daymond could even process the offer Mark out-sharked Daymond by accepting the deal that was intended for his fellow judge. Melissa was still in shock when she agreed and shook on the deal.
Mark felt that entertainment options that have people leaving their homes in search of a Halloween-themed thrill would continue to be appealing to a society that needs to break away from their electronic devices.
At $2 million for 20% of the business, Ten Thirty One Productions made the largest deal ever on Shark Tank, leaving Melissa beyond excited to have more money to work with and having Mark to help direct a successful future.
Life After Shark Tank
Ten Thirty One Productions wound up being the best deal Mark had made on the show. Revenues reached $2 million in the year following Melissa’s national television appearance and doubled the following season. Ten Thirty One expanded to New York and began offering Ghost Ship tours and Great Horror Movie Night in California, as well as the summertime Horror Campouts.
Mark helped to facilitate investment from Live Nation, the largest live entertainment company in the world. The cast of scary characters working for Ten Thirty One grew to nearly 1,000 of the most frightening actors working in show business.
In early 2018, Ten Thirty One Productions was sued by a patron who suffered personal injuries when a fog machine landed on her hand at Randall’s Island in New York.
Shannon Morris suffered “permanent” injuries according to the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court. According to a report by Inc, Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group purchased Ten Thirty One Productions. Both Melissa and her former spouse, Alyson Richards, have remained with the company.
Since the purchase by Thirteenth Floor, the Haunted Hayride & Woods debuted in Nashville, and the original Haunted Hayride in LA is still scaring people every fall.
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