Alan Sands Entertainment


This is my first blog in my new blog site - Thursday, October 6th, 2011. Kind of excited about the potential of this for search engines finding me. It is suggested that I blog here instead of on Facebook or Twitter or on an outside blog site so the copy draws spiders to my web site. We will have to see how that goes.

This week I'm performing in Lumberton, North Carolina, at the Robeson County Fair. I believe this is the 10th year I have worked at this fair. I did the fair for a few years, then took a few years off, and have returned now for a few more years.

I recently received an email from a student asking the following:

Hello. I'm doing a term report on hypnosis. I was wondering if you could give me some information on it. Some topics I have to cover are: Procedure, the hypnotic state, and hypnosis today. If you could help me out that would be great!!! Thanks. *a hypnotic fan* :) ...


CeaCea and the SandMan perform
their Two-Person Comedy Hypnosis Show

at the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai, U.A.E. in 2000

CeaCea and Alan were invited to perform three Comedy Hypnosis shows a day for 10 days at the Dubai Shopping Festival in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) in March 2000. The shows were a total disaster! It was a very educational trip, however. ...

What is Hypnosis?

HYPNOSIS is a "sleep-like" state that can be used to help a subject experience forgotten or suppressed memories, to create hallucinations, or to heighten a person's suggestibility. The hypnotic state is NOT sleep, however, and the word does NOT mean "sleep," except in Greek.

In Greek, "HYPNOS" means "sleep." Hypnos is also the Greek mythological god of sleep.

If Hypnosis is not a sleep state, what is it?

To be under hypnosis means to be placed in a state resembling sleep, which is most similar to that of sleepwalking. The sleepwalking state is called "somnambulism." Hypnosis resembles normal sleep, but is different from normal sleep as evidenced by the subject's pulse rate and respiration. ...

The Four Principal Tenets of Professional Conduct

1. Hypnosis is a powerful tool for both self-exploration and self-revelation. It is not a toy, and should be left in the hands of experienced trained professionals. When used with skill and compassion it can become a wonderful collective experience that achieves the level of both a group entertainment and a personal catharsis. Participants in the Alan Sands Hypnosis Show leave feeling refreshed and clear headed; with an enthusiasm for life, self-confidence,and high self-esteem. ...

I am primarily a stage hypnotist. Mostly I do a comedy stage hypnosis show; however, I am clinically trained, I have a number of certifications in clinical hypnotherapy, and I am also continuing my education in Gestalt Therapy.

In January 2005, I received an email from a television script writer and we carried on a dialogue for two days. This was a dialogue on clinical hypnosis and he wanted to make sure his script was believable. You may find this interesting ...

Contract Renegotiation

Okay, somebody has to break a contract. Sometimes there is no ill-will when this happens. However, if one party is uncomfortable, then in most cases, a compromise can be made.

The Fair’s Fault

Funds are cuts, contracts get lost or misplaced, new managers are hired and unanticipated problems arise. Fairs sometimes need to eliminate services.

Sometimes a smaller or shorter contract with the entertainment can be renegotiated. This is usually much preferred by the ARTIST rather than loss of the entire contract.

The Artist’s Fault

Artist is offered more money or a long-term contract that is important to their career (e.g. a casino, movie or TV offer), in most cases an equal or superior replacement can be found, even if it costs the ARTIST money to replace himself — the financial gain of the new contract is usually enough to compensate the artist for this cost.

Artist Cancels with Agency Involved

If an ARTIST cancels on an AGENT, that AGENT is entitled to a full commission from the canceling ARTIST regardless of whether the AGENT makes his commission when the contract is renegotiated. After all, the AGENT has already fulfilled his part of the agreement.



Compromise Suggestions


Agreements can sometimes be made to bring an ARTIST back in a future year. If the VENUE needs to cancel and reschedule, sometimes a partial payment can be made, or a new contract can be agreed upon for more compensation.

If the ARTIST cancels, a guarantee that the artist will keep their price the same or will work for less can be agreed upon for a new contract.

Be Creative

When trying to find a compromise, clearly reiterate what both parties need or want. Sometimes the needs are easier to meet than you might suspect.

Find an Arbitrator

A third unassociated party will probably be far more creative about thinking of solutions because they are not personally involved.

When is a Contract a Contract?

At what point does a contract become an obligation by the parties involved?

I have 3 ways of recording the stages of an inquiry for my services:

  • Light Pencil
  • Dark Pencil
  • Pen & Ink


Light Pencil

A simple phone call, email, fax or other inquiry as to price, availability and what services are provided are considerd “light pencil” requests. Any lightly penciled-in inquiry is not an obligation upon any party; rather, it is simply an inquiry, as when a person walks into a store and asks about the price or availability of anything in the store.

Dark Pencil

This inquiry is serious and I keep this client informed as to the progression of my tour, or if I have another inquiry for the same dates for which this client might want the right of first acceptance.

Dark Pencil notes or inquiries can still be erased, but this is a more concrete place in the negotiation process, while still not a firm obligation. Dark Pencil is a broad gray area between a simple inquiry and a request for a formal contract.

Pen & Ink

This is the third definition I use. “Pen & Ink” means that a contract has been formally requested. This means to me that once a contract is requested, a deal is 99% agreed upon and both parties should sign the contract and fulfill the requirements of the contract.

Of course, all contracts are negotiable and may go back-and-forth a few times as changes are made. An addendum can be attached to any contract by either party. An addendum explains and translates the laws unique to state, county, agency, etc., which must be explained in detail.

An addendum attached by an Service Provider may define why something in the contract can not be fulfilled (i.e., a request for employee compensation insurance when an independent contractor is a sole proprietor or uses family members only).

When a contract is executed there should never be surprises.

Service Providers

All items that can or will cost the purchaser money need to be discussed in detail before the contract is written. Entertainers need to be clear and up-front regarding: lodging, meals, transportation supplements or costs, sound equipment, lighting and stage requirements, actual payment, and how and when payment should be made.


Clarification must be made regarding mandated state withholdings, or items a purchaser knows he cannot fulfill as part of any obligation. For example, Wyoming State Fair does not provide hotel rooms, while both North and South Carolina have a state income tax withholding from all independent contractors not incorporated or holding a business license in NC or SC. Requests for insurance, a timeline of how long it will take to sign and return an agreement by either party, etc; these requirements must be made part of the contract.


Before a contract is requested, either a light or dark penciled inquiry or agreement represents no obligation by either party to fulfill any side of an agreement. A definitive “Please send me a contract” needs to be requested and confirmed either by email, fax, phone call, in person, text message, or some other clear communication.

It is a good and proper procedure for either party to reiterate all conditions agreed upon in writing before the contract is fully executed. This can eliminate undue rewriting of the contract and make all agreed upon conditions part of the contract, thereby eliminating the need for an addendum.

Surprises or changes in an agreement by either party at any time need to be discussed unless undue delays in the full execution of the contract are the goal.

If there are ever conditions that cannot be met by both parties, quick and timely communication is polite and necessary to eliminate bad feelings and ill-fated rumors which harm reputations and create ill will.

Contract Horror Story #2

FAIR MANAGER: (Standing at IAFE booth in December) “Send me a contract for that act.”

AGENT: “You want me to send you a contract? It’s a done deal for ten days?”

FAIR MANAGER: “Yes. Send me a contract.”

AGENT: (Assuming the contract is a done deal, he mails a contract for artist’s services for a 10-day fair in December).

AGENT: (in February) Calls Fair to ask for contract back. Leaves message and gets no reply.

AGENT: (calls back again in March. Doesn't want to be rude, so awaits to hear reply; leaves another message): “Hi. Awaiting the return of that contract for ARTIST. Please let me know when I can receive it.”

AGENT: (leaves another message two weeks later) “Still have not heard from you. I have left two messages. Please let me know when I will get the contract back and if everything is okay.”

AGENT: (It is now late April, going into May. He begins leaving messages every day since he has not heard back from Fair Manager): “I need to know if everything is okay. I have reserved this ARTIST's time and I feel responsible for him getting the work. Please, call me back.”

FAIR MANAGER: (Finally calls back in the middle of May) “Sorry, can't use the act.”

Result: The artist lost the contract, the agent didn’t get paid for all his work, and it was much to late in the game to fill the dates. In this case, the Fair Manager was at fault, not having communicated clearly at all. The end result is very bitter feelings, a lost contract, and the artist is financially strapped.

No matter what you THINK the other party is doing, NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.

In this case, the agent believed that if the Fair Manager asked for a contract, the event was happening (“a done deal”). Respect Agents and Artists. If a fair asks for a contract, both the AGENT and ARTIST assume the event is happening. Please do not let this happen.


Contract Horror Story #3

This is the worst story, because the artist was already on the road, about 1,500 miles from home, when the manager unexpectedly broke the contract with the artist.

At IAFE, an artist is approached by a Fair Manager and the Fair Manager proposes that if he can get 5 fairs in a southern state to all agree to hire this act, will he break his price and come in for $XXX.00.

The artist agrees, and about 30 days are contracted at 5 fairs. The contract is written simply, “If the following 5 fairs agree to use Artist, Artist will perform for all 5 fairs, for all 30 days, at $XXX.00 per day.”

The artist travels and performs at the first 3 fairs. At the third fair he meets the manager from the fifth fair who informs him that she is breaking the contract if he works in the next (fourth) fair because it is too close to her fair.

Upon careful examination of the contract, one fair location is found to be listed incorrectly, as being much further away.

The artist doesn’t know what to do. He has agreed to do 5 fairs for a much lower price if he gets all these dates, and now he finds himself in a very awkward position. Does he skip out on the fourth fair and sit for over a week not working and lose four days of this one contract? Or, does he do these four days at this next fair, then lose the last fair that is now backing out on him?

Artist decides it is not the fourth fair’s fault, so he goes and plays this four day fair. He then proceeds to the fifth fair, parks on the fairgrounds and is awakened late at night by police and the Manager and rudely escorted off the fairgrounds.

In this case, the fault was that of everyone who signed this six-person agreement. Not one of them caught the error of the one fair listed incorrectly on the contract, and the artist had to eat it again, while also getting rudely escorted off a fairgrounds by police!

If you have horror stories of your own, let me know what they were. I’d love to publish them so people know. The more we are educated, the better decisions we can make in the future.