I have Light Pencil, Dark Pencil and Pen & Ink way of recording when people contact me for Gigs.
A Light Pencil means they inquired, but that is all it was - It was a casual inquiry as to whether I am available, prices and other questions. Sometimes they fill out my form found on line here: http://alansands.com/contact. No one is promising anything to anyone else. It was just a friendly inquiry.
Dark Pencil is a more serious inquiry. It means you have asked I keep you informed of my availability because you are seriously considering me, or one of my acts for this event. Some call this a “First Right of Refusal” Again, there is no obligation on either parties side, but I have made notes and will talk to you again. I also ask that if you decide to say, “NO” you give me the courtesy of letting me know, just like you’d like me to tell you if I can no longer wait for a reply and am taking another gig that date.
Pen & Ink - Means you have requested a contract. To make me Pen and Ink something, you have to fill out my form on line - http://alansands.com/agreement - and then I will get you an agreement. I will ask for a deposit. We are "Good-to-go" as long as negative energy in the universe does not interfere.
My Cancellation Policy:
Even if you send me a deposit, even if you sign my contract, I know “shit happens.” When shit happens and nothing can be done about it, I do not hold people responsible.
As long as a non-refundable plane ticket or rental car has not been purchased, as long as the performer has not gotten in their car and driven to the event, as long as another event has not been passed on to accommodate your event, I will allow someone to cancel a signed contract and I will refund any refundable / not spent portion of a deposit.
I do not wish to treat people the way airlines, insurance companies and leasing companies treat my daughter and me. Yes, it costs me money - but my disappointment is easier to stomach than your being pissed off at me. Life is short. I do not want people remembering me in negative ways over money. There are so many other creative ways I can piss you off and I am an artist, not a business man :-)
I also expect you will allow me to get you another performer of equal or better value for the same price to perform the same services if I need to get out of the agreement for any reason, whether it be a career opportunity or more money, less travel to make the same money, or any other reason that is reasonable.
I believe in Win/Win relationships.
- Category: Educational
(1) Stuffing - is stupid. If you don't have to have stuffing, don't bother. It's dead bread. Stovetop stuffing is even stupider. It tastes nasty - like cardboard - and it only tastes eatable if you put a lot of gravy on it. Please don't bother.
(2) Squash - when is the last time you had squash? Yes, the Pilgrims ate squash probably, but they didn't like squash. They ate it because it was all they had at the time. Some really skinny, wild turkey and squash. We now have potatoes, lots of different types of potatoes - Thank you South America for your potatoes. For tradition sake, get a squash and use it as a center piece, but do not cook it. If you do cook it and serve it to your guests, be sure you have flushable baby wipes in the bathroom.
(3) Cranberry Sauce - do not make your own homemade cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is now available in the can, and it tastes really good. The home made stuff you make tastes nasty and bitter. Let the professionals make the cranberry sauce.
(4) Potatoes - make lots of potatoes. Make Sweet potatoes, make yams - if you make both, put a marshmallow on top of one so you can tell the difference, otherwise you will forget which one is which. Make mashed potatoes, make potatoes with cheese on them or baked potatoes. People like all potatoes, and make lots. Left over potatoes last and taste just as good as the first time around. Powdered potatoes ARE potatoes, and don't let people lie to you and tell you they are not. Make extra gravy for the white potatoes.
(5) Turkey - Turkey is good. Keep that tradition. Make one or buy one or steal one. All turkeys are good and they taste good frozen, fresh, cooked then frozen. Make two turkeys and share the fucking turkey with your guests. Let them take home some turkey goodness.
(6) Pumpkin Pie - If you don't have pumpkin pie, don't bother having Thanksgiving. Some people think Thanksgiving is about family, about being thankful for a good harvest, or about eating turkey. These are all urban myths. Lies told to you by people trying to sell their turkeys and religions and family values to you. Thanksgiving is about Pumpkin Pie. Don't forget the whipped cream. The stuff in the can is the best. The stuff in the tub isn't cream, it's a whipped topping. Probably made from the center of Oreo Cookies or something. Just buy the cans. If you have extra whipped cream, you can do whip cream shots at night when no one sees you put the can in your mouth and shoot it.
(7) Fruit Cake. Give everyone a fruit cake. Make sure it is in a pretty tin that is non-denominational and not holiday specific. They can use it at the naughty Santa Give-away. They may laugh at you now, but they will thank you at X-mas when they need a gift for the company holiday gift exchange.
last of all - I will remind you again: don't forget the flushable baby wipes in the bathroom. You'll thank me on Friday.
- Category: Babble
I had coffee with a friend this evening. She wants a man to support her. She wants two homes - one in the city, one on the beach where her family can gather for holidays. she wants money so she can travel and she wants to be around people who dress well.
I have other ambitions. I'm 55 years old and have no intentions of spending the best part of my life working my ass off so I can worry about paying taxes.
I love the mountains with trees and babbling rivers. I want to play in a wood shop, do stained glass, bend and sculpt metal, do ceramics. I get so much satisfaction when I build nice things with my hands.
I want to go to the theater and watch comedians, jugglers, magicians, puppeteers. I want to watch and write a One-man show and watch Broadway shows. I want to eat sushi, make sushi and drink Scotch every night. I travel a lot for my current work and will be in Billings, MT; Iowa; Bismarck, ND;, Salt lake City, UT; L.A., CA; Las Vegas, NV - I bet I am forgetting a few more places - I will be in all these places between now and January 9th.
Last year I collected coffee mugs in every state and province I worked in - not visited, mind you, but actually worked in and I had 20 of them.
This year I drove X-country and back, Drove to North Dakota and Back, Drobe to Montana - then Idaho and back. I went to England and attended the Glastonbury Festival and I spent eight days at Burning Man.
I have a very good bed and warm blankets and I live in a home where the refrigerator is full. My car is a great, fully loaded, full-sized, SUV and runs great, too.
I don't live in the mountains, in a forest, near a creek but that is because I have not found a mountain with a forrest and a creek as close to an International airport, and I do currently work - but I love what I do. I also love having access to so much theater and 'like minded people.'
Let me regress for a moment. My friends are dying around me and my friends are losing their family members to cancer or unknown causes in some cases. This year a friend of mine lost his daughter when her husband shot and killed her and her girlfriend in a domestic argument. My friend is now raising his three grand children in Western Montana. Another friend was disabled for months with a bad pancreas. Another friend was hit by a truck last year. She is recovering bravely after she was given a 5% chance of survival.
I know many people with addictions. I lost a fairly close friend recently to alcohol. He was only 53 years old. We can say he died from obesity and sleep apnea - but it was the alcohol. I have known my share of addicts: drugs, shopping, Jesus, food, sex, porn, gambling, video gaming - but I have come to the deduction the two biggest addictions are POWER (why else would Donald Trump try to be president?) and MONEY.
It reminds me of a story:
A banker is on vacation in a small coastal village. He goes to the pier to go fishing and small boat with a fisherman docks. Inside the small boat are several large tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, “only a little while." The banker then asked, "why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?" The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s needs. His family eats one fish and he sells the others. The Banker then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my friends. I have a full and busy life.”
The banker scoffed, “I have an MBA. I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the City and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the Banker replied, “15–20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the fisherman.
The Banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich!”
“What then?” Asked the fisherman.
The banker said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends.”
- Category: Babble
I did a private party last night for a wealthy woman in the Omaha region. She owns a ranch with really large metal barns (the $250,000 type) and she sponsors and puts on a Halloween party for friends, church members and family. She catered the event and paid her handyman to build a haunted house that rivals any I have ever seen, anywhere!
Please leave comments here for others to read. Thank you.
- Category: Educational
Using an iWatch to do musical cues in your hypnosis show
- Category: Educational
Some people have an option - some do not
There are performers out there, like me, who do not have an option.
We either perform - or we die.
Since I am 3-1/2 years old, I have been on stage. Doing solo work since I am 12, making money since I am 17, and never have had a job since I am 19 - I am now 54.
I honestly know little else. And when I am not on stage (or producing) I am depressed. It is not severe depression, but it is depression.
My sister deals with it too. She is an entertainer as well.
Why do entertainers, sports figures, politicians all have so many addictions? Shopping to the point of bankruptcy, religion, alcohol, drugs, over eating, multiple marriages, sex addiction, money addiction ... because we are trying to get HIGH. And we can't get the same high from anything else the same way we can get the HIGH from being on stage.
Everything else is temporary. The stage is our passion - and that is why George Burns and Sinatra were on tour till the day they died. And that is what killed Michael Jackson, Elvis and Marilyn - trying to maintain sanity between the highs of the stage and performing. The natural adrenaline - there is no better high. Why do politicians remain in office and fight to remain in office? Some thing it is power, and you are right - but really it is the "HIGH!"
Pursuit of the next gig will also help me - but it is an attempt to stay high. Find the fix, Get the Drug, have an audience that laughs, applauds and gives you their undivided attention for 60-90 or more minutes.
Do you want to get high with me? Come on stage with me. Better yet, do your solo - a song, a dance, a monologue, a routine - do an entire show. Let's get high together.
I go to other people's shows and I want to do the sound, work the video camera, be back stage - not in the front row ... I want to breath the show. Feel it, taste it, touch it. A show has a soul. Let me breath it's soul.
I live in a house - my sister's house. She is married to a performer and she is a performer and her five children are all performers - and why? Because it is in our blood. It is highly contagious, too.
We eat - drink - breath - sleep - discuss over dinner - discuss from the minute we awake - and we awake to answer the phone because ... it might be a gig. PLEASE - Get me HIGH!
Obsessed by it - we write about it - gig proposals or books or articles or blogs. We do all types of shows and we want to be around our own types - others who know the feeling, understand the addiction, support us - feel our pain.
We live together in Vegas, NY, SF, LA - because we support each other's addiction.
I went to dinner with Mitchel Barrett tonight and two other friends. Mitchel became quickly debilitated at one point and put out of business in less than a week. He talked about how he can't remember his last show ... and he wants to do a "last show" - Why? It is a passion. To run through a field with a favorite pet, to make love once more with the lover you remember best, to hike a mountain and camp in the wilderness with someone who you had the time of your life with - and to feel that applause, laughter and attention - to know you mastered that ...to remember your last show ...
Want to get high with me? I will turn you on to the most addicting drug in the world, and you make it inside of yourself - it is called adrenaline. Only Artists and presenters have the addiction. Politicians, Sports figures, Artists, Musicians, Performers - we all have a stage, an audience - the sound of the crowd... and it gets us very high. Very high. I will turn down anything to get on stage. It's better than sex!
No, really ...
Let me turn you on ...
- Category: Rants
This article is written for Hypnotists that carry a mixer with them. It will teach some basic attributes of a better mixer over a cheaper, smaller mixer with less buttons, knobs, dials and switches.
When you know how to use all the buttons, knobs and switches on a sound console the flexibility it give you is sometimes subtle but for a fickle ear or for optimizing what you are working with it does make a difference.
Metaphor: I don't know any professional photographers that use an automatic camera. They want to be able to set a white balance, set the F Stop (the speed of the shutter) and aperture (how big the lens opens to allow more or less light in) themselves. It is similar with sound. I can hear the difference and it drives me nuts when the sound is not tuned correctly, if there are no dynamics and worst of all is the sound is distorting.
- Category: Educational
I was 12 years old when we moved to the Catskill Mountains in New York State. From the age of 12, until I left New York at age 17 and moved to San Mateo, California, my father and I lived as roommates. There was a co-existence that we shared for all my teen years rather than a father/son relationship. We played board games together and my father was one of my best friends. I was not very focusing on school. I did not study or do my homework so my father had the idea that if I moved in with my older and wiser sister, Robin in California, perhaps I'd finish high school. My sister agreed, and I was on a plane flying to California ten days later.
Thrust into a new existence in California, I found my world was very different very quickly. I went from being a pothead, trailer park resident in the mountains surrounded by endless forests and streams and my world had been up till now been working in Catskill hotels doing just about everything one could imagine, to now suddenly living in a major metropolitan area where I knew no one. I went from a high school of less than 1000 students to a high school with over 3,000 students. I left a place where I took a bus to school 20 miles each way where I stood in the wind and snow each morning to arriving in a tropical land where I could walk to school, there was mass transit and a much more diverse school with drama classes, wood and metal shops, apparently gay teachers and a security guard walking the halls.
California was exciting and dynamic and so expanding. I had never before found myself drinking champaign on New Years Eve in a sunk-in living room in Hillsborough, or taking bay cruises and hanging out with friends who had cars their parents leased for them and credit cards their parents gave them. It was a whole new world I had never experienced before.
- Category: Babble
His hands were so cramped up, they were not in a natural state. He wasn't old or handicapped. He was British, that was his only handicap. It was over developed muscles and an ability to hold things in his palms so no one knew they were there - he was respected as one of the greatest manipulators of his generation, and when videos were first bring produced, his was the very first one made before anyone less.
Derrick Dingle was his name. When I met him he was already a legend in his early 30's. He lectured and performed for magicians all over the world, showing them tricks of the trade, his creations, his routines and skills that few would ever take the time to learn.
It wasn't simply his skill at one or two methods, but his skill with so many different types of items including cards, coins, silks, ropes, cigarettes, matches, lighters, and gimmick things one doesn't always see. He was a force.
I had met many of the top magicians of this generation. Privileged to see them, hang out with them, be invite to meals with them. My father was one of them, revered as a great mind and creator of many things they all performed regularly and the pioneer of many tricks that still live on today as the great classics of magic and balloon art. We would be invited to hospitality rooms at all the magic conventions and my father would do for them and others would do for my father.
I remember my father would tell a story of how once a woman was impressed by the muscle of my father's right thumb, over developed from finger-flicking for so many years. I saw my father's hands every day, and they didn't appear to be over developed in any way - not like a body builder or weight lifter is BIG in the arms and shoulders and chest. However, this image of muscles in the hands was always in my mind after hearing the story so many times. when I met Derrick Dingle and i was the volunteer who touched his hands to see if there was anything hidden in his palm down hands. I felt nothing there. he then proceeded to do magic on a skill level I had never witnessed that close before.
- Category: Babble
In Sept - Oct 2013, I worked with two students for two weeks. Dr. Dan Anders and Brian Verrano in Greenville, NC and Lumberton, NC
In June 2014, I worked with Michael Mayo in Merced, CA.
In October 2014, I worked with Vanessa Lindgren, Jeff harpring nad Martin Baratz in Lumberton, NC.
Brian had never done a show, but had memorized Justin Tranz’s routine after training with Justin, and he was able to get on stage five times, record a demo video he now uses and he was very successful at getting his feet wet and pulling off some successful shows. He also purchased sound equipment for his act with great confidence as well as downloaded Show Cues, bought the iJet remote and worked with the application and his remote to do his music cues.
Dan Anders worked diligently on writing his script, and bought a good, small sound system after he left. He has done a dozen or two shows before coming, and has since then done another half dozen shows - including one I got for him that paid him $1,200, and he seems to let me know how each show went and what he learned from our time together. (Brian Varano on left, Dan Anders on right)
In June 2014, I worked with, Michael Mayo, for five days. Michael had previously done about 20 shows, and we were able to work on some opening material, strengthen his middle act - making it run smoother so it was not so choppy - and we polish his closing so that when the show ended, the audience felt like there was some finality to the show. He also got to get on stage four times and do shows and we videotaped his shows so he will now be able to create a good demo for himself.
Every student I work with has specific, individual needs. Each student was very different than the previous student. All of them were “working it” but needed some pointers and attention to the details to make them become tighter.
- Category: Educational