Rory Scherer was a bored office drone working for a software company in Canada. “You know the movie ‘Office Space’?” he asked. “That was me.” These days however, Scherer is the proud, (if exhausted) writer, producer, project manager and publicist of “Mystery at Mansfield Manor,” a live-action, choose-your-own-adventure, murder mystery game available online. Here he tells us how he made it happen.
“I decided to make a choose-you’re your-own-adventure-style movie, and because this was going to be a new product I went back to school to get my MBA and learn how to make a business plan. My last semester I asked a professor if instead of taking a regular class I could write a business plan for an interactive movie.”
“I approached this project more from the business side as opposed to the artistic side, so I wrote the screenplay in a couple weeks because I just wanted to get it done.”
“I started shopping the idea around to toy companies and entertainment companies and they all said, ‘Sounds great. Show us a prototype.’ And then I realized with just a little more money than I would spend on a prototype I could put a complete production online.”
“Once I decided to do it on my own I got a small business loan and incorporated myself, hired a production company, had a casting call, and scouted locations. We filmed over 150 pages in five days and the whole video cost about $50,000 Canadian.”
“Most of our traffic now is just word of mouth. I’ve been contacting the media myself, getting articles written, linking with other mystery sites (mystery fans are very loyal fans). I’m still looking for an investor to help with traditional online marketing, like banner ads, because I don’t have the budget for it. I don’t have any more money to spend on publicity so that’s why I’m doing it myself.”
Mystery at Mansfield Manor launched in July and received 7,000 unique visitors in October.
Photo by Mystery at Mansfield Manor.