1 - How it Started
The following is an
excerpt from Joe Dean's story on the main Quest Experiences website:
Over the past 20 years, probably the single most challenging question
I get is "What do you do for a living?" Although I've gotten
better over the years at explaining my adventures verbally, it's so much
easier to just show them (which isn't usually an immediate option.) For
some, seeing an evolutionary progression is helpful
and this introduction
is dedicated to that effort.
Thirty two years ago (at the time of this writing), at the age of nine,
I began to take a serious interest in treasure hunts. I chose to use the
word serious here because it was at this time that I began to spend exorbitant
amounts of time thinking about different ways to create clues. I was an
insecurely quiet, straight A student who was struggling to find a challenging
mental activity that would occupy my time in between assignments in elementary
school. I began to think of different ways to mix up words and pictures.
I became more fascinated by maps and directions. My teachers were just
content that I was sitting quietly.
Once I saw the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark that following year, though,
I was inspired like never before. The first scene would forever be burnished
on my mind and imagination. I dreamed of excavating tombs and temples,
of writing in dead languages and losing myself in history. The next several
years were spent attempting to recreate the excitement and thrill I felt
watching an archaeologist translate a foreign language on a tattered map
as he searched for lost treasure.
At the age of 12, my then six-year-old brother was old enough to be a
guinea pig for me and my adventures. I enjoyed creating the hunts and
he enjoyed going on them. It was a terrific arrangement. Now, I began
introducing makeshift booby traps to my hunts. I began experimenting with
different ways to treat paper to make it look old and worn. Most importantly,
it was at this time that I began introducing storylines to my hunts (more
about this later
In high school I was finally able to break out of my shell and became
extremely involved in student government. Now I finally had the opportunity
to try out my hunts on groups of people rather than just my brother, that
is. In my sophomore year, I first heard about murder mystery dinners and
became quickly intrigued with the entire format. I used all the tricks
I developed during my years of designing treasure hunts to host original
Murder Mystery evenings for several different groups of people. It was
during these years I realized the incredible potential of adding live
characters to my hunts.
By the time I had graduated from high school, I had set up well over 100
treasure hunts along with several Murder Mystery events.
College itself consumed most of my time but I still found some to put
on an elaborate hunt or two a year (at least one a year for my brother
). While earning my Bachelor of Arts in Art History, I took
several courses of interest (that eventually advanced my hunt designs)
such as Japanese and ancient Greek, several archaeology courses, theater
production, and studio art. Throughout college, I received phone calls
from past participants (or friends of past participants) of my hunts and
Murder Mystery dinners; all asking for help with their dinner parties
or organization events. These calls gave birth to Quest Experiences, the
company my younger brother and I launched in the summer of 1995.
Through Quest Experiences, we renamed our treasure hunts Quests in an
attempt to express the level of sophistication we were offering. By this
time, we were casting actors for roles, working with a costume designer,
and purchasing props like fog machines and stage scenery. Most of our
clientele were companies looking for something different for their annual
BBQ's and Christmas parties, and boy, did they get it!
Simply put, designing these Quests is my passion.
My hope is that you will see the endless possibilities for creating bigger-than-life
adventures for your friends, family, fellow church members, and social
organizations. I've included examples from past Quests I've designed and
facilitated. At the end of this mini-course you'll also see an opportunity
to receive a free sample Quest scenario. I've found the best way to describe
what a Quest is to SHOW you one. Let it be a catalyst for your own ideas
as you are creating.
Continue the course with Class
2: Where Do You Begin