Alan Sands Entertainment

 

I have two aspiring stage hypnotists traveling with me for the next two weeks in North Carolina, Dan Anders and Brian Varano. I am finding their experiences and career goals a bit diverse. I am attempting to guild both these individuals where they want to go, not make them into Mini-Me's.

 

Hypnosis shows are different than any other medium of entertainment. Comedy Stage Hypnosis shows are not like music - either bands or DJ's, dance troupes or dances, singers or any form of vaudeville, variety, novelty or specialty act - but Hypnosis shows can have elements like all of them at times - especially if the performer is good.

There are exceptions to all rules, always - however generalities can be made.

I have lost my dream. Not that I had one to loss, you see. It is more like I feel like I have Alzheimer's. I am not sure what the dream was. Can you loss something if you are not sure what it was? If I loss my keys, I know "I had keys and now they are gone." At the moment, I am not sure if I have a dream? Maybe I need more coffee, then I'll remember what I was planning on dreaming of doing. I have a list of "stuff" to do, but none are dreams.

I have a personal assistant. I have not had a personal assistant for many years, but recently a good friend of mine, in the same business as me, began using a part-time personal assistant and the young lady has a business degree so I decided, I too needed her to come and work for me. Let me share here, I did not ask to see her business administration degree she achieved after attending a four-year college, but I must assume she has one because she told me she does.

Her name is Yegenya Chityan and she was born in Eastern Europe

County fair entranceAs I travel around the nation, I pass many fairs when they are closed. I seem to notice if the entrances appear inviting all year round or if the fair looks abandoned. This is especially important if you are trying to attract off-season events.  →

Bathrooms comparedThis is my 25th year performing at fairs. I have heard many presenters at conventions and listened to a lot of vendors, service suppliers and patrons at fairgrounds. One of their most frequent comments are about bathrooms. While entertainment, animals, attractions, games, food, and vendors are really important to an attendee’s experience at an event, the basic needs of comfort and convenience must not be overlooked.  →

Parking lot sign: 'Epic Parking'When guests arrive at your event, one method of creating an atmosphere of excitement is to make sure your patrons hear music. The moment I hear music, I feel like I am at the fair. This is why I highly recommend providing background music or entertainment before attendees even enter the festival.  →

I have been wanting to hire an assistant for 20 years, so it must have been kismet when I got a call from my good friend and fellow performer, Paul Nathan, a few weeks ago.

"Alan, I've got this girl you need to meet. She is working part time for Frank Olivier right now, and she's looking for more hours. She's got an MBA and she's way smarter than she seems."

I invited Yevgenya to a Grad Night show and she worked the video camera for me. After talking a while I learned that she is not only smart and organized, but I felt confident she could do what I need with my business - something I have not had around for a long time. I knew we'd get along famously.

Yevgenya has been assisting Frank Olivier, a brilliant comedy juggler since last year. She recently spent a month with Frank and Paul in Seattle as the box office manager and volunteer coordinator for their show, Twisted Cabaret.

Paul, Yev and Frank

Now, Yevgenya will be assisting me with my latest endeavors as well, keeping me organized and focused, and productive! You will meet her at the IAFE and WFA conventions and meet her on the phone and internet.

In case you're wondering about her name, Yevgenya is Ukrainian-born, but spent most of her life in Providence, RI. She's as American as M&Ms. Lucky for myself, Frank and Paul, she decided to move to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue her dream of providing administrative assistance to 3 middle-aged variety artists. I hope the day never comes when the 3 of us need to fight over whose files she gets to organize first.

I got an idea! I know--it doesn't happen often! A few years ago, I realized there is one perfect fair that I do year after year where I can train another hypnotist: the Robeson County Fair in Lumberton, NC.

Instead of teaching someone the basics, however, I decided I would share my knowledge for free with an up and coming hypnotist--someone who has already done training with someone else, or has done a dozen or more shows and needs a place to get some experience outside of a classroom.

I remember when I first began doing hypnosis shows, it was difficult to find an audience. In my first few years, I only did 5-10 shows a year; that is not a lot of practice in front of a live audience--something a new stage hypnotist desperately needs.

Fairs are a great place to teach someone how to be a better stage hypnotist because they get to repeat the same show multiple times a day. I have been performing at The Robeson County Fair for 12 years and know that it lends itself to the flexibility I need to teach someone, do them justice and not hurt my shows by allowing the student to be on stage with me.

With the Pitt County Fair in Greenville, North Carolina immediately before the Robeson County Fair, I'll have 13 days in a row to give someone a lot of attention. And with daytimes free, we can do classroom-style work such as watching/critiquing videos of the shows the night before and working on scripting.

Between September 30th and October 12th I will be bringing two up and coming hypnotists with me on the road to mentor and give them my insights and guidance as they hone their skills at making people bark like roosters and milk ducks for their new career.

I have picked one person so far: 39-year old Dennis Clause, a.k.a. Andrew Bear Claws, from Sanborn, NY. Andrew has already performed about 20 shows. Once he has polished up his act, Andrew hopes to tap into the Indian Casino market through his Native American heritage. He tells me there are 450 Indian Casinos and 85% of them need to buy Native American Services first, when they are available. I am excited to be working with him. I think he is a perfect candidate, and I am excited to be able to make a new lifetime friend of him.

I have four other people who have asked if I would consider them, but I have not chosen any of them yet. I’ll keep you posted once I can share more.

Canadian maple leaf

It is March 2013, and I return to Canada to perform for a fundraising show in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, about 2 hours outside Saskatoon. Kindersley has a population of just under 5,000 and is a mineral rich farming community, like so many others in this region.

Over the last 25 years of my career, I have performed for a lot of fairs and expositions, including the Calgary Stampede, Saskatoon Prairielands Exhibition, Medicine Hat Exhibition, Royal Manitoba Winter Exhibition in Brandon, private parties for the military, and others.

In December 2011, I did not apply for a tax exemption before doing a show for a military squadron. This was my mistake and I knew better. Regaredless, it cost me $225.00, which the government withheld from my check and submitted to Revenue Canada (the equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service in the USA). The only way I was going to get that money back was to file a Canadian tax return. I didn’t bother.

Before working in Canada, U.S. citizens must apply for tax exemption. If they do not, it is mandated that the Canadian host retain 15% of gross payment and send it to Revenue Canada. To apply for tax exemption, there are a number of steps to take. It is not complicated, but it must be done at least 3-4 weeks before the event date to give Revenue Canada sufficent time to respond.

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