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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.


Dan is from Georgia. He is a retired professional psychologist and a semi-retired teacher. He has used hypnotherapy extensively in his clinical practice for six years. He has done a handfull of shows for small corporate parties with success, but is attempting to grow as a stage performer mostly for the pleasure he gets from performing. I'd give Dan, after his first day, an animal totem of an elephant. He is wise and moves with pre-mediated thoughts - though he lets his good intuition guild him. Very happy in himself, has a solid relationship with his wife and is comfortable and healthy in mind and body. He is not a large man but his personality and demeanor is that of an elephant at first assessment. To describe what he looks like if he went missing, I would describe him to police as the illegitimate love child of Robin Williams and Bob Newhart. I will call him Dr. Dan.

Brian has been a free-lance entertainer (magician), and worked a mirad of small jobs for restaurant chains and misc. other jobs. He is much younger and highly ambitious. He does get along with others well, and is very social. He had done a limited amount of hypnosis but has trained with Justin Tranz in Las Vegas for four days, has studied Alex Williams Smith's materials extensively and studied other books and has done some hypnosis with friends and family. He has all the makings of a hypnotist - bad relationships, if necessary he can live hand-to-mouth, has strong, liberal opinions and will go out on a limb to support anyone he likes. He is very loyal to anyone that does not do him wrong. He is not arrogant - though one might think so briefly at first because he asks questions and is not intimidated to do what it takes to get what he wants when he wants it - but he has an emense heart. He moves swiftly and when I firt met him he really wanted to run with the ball - I'd make his initial animal totem a young, hyper Labrador Retriever.

BTW, my animal Totem is an Airdale. Curly hair, don't mind saying hello to everyone when tied to a pole in front of a store and I am generally happy. When shit goes bad, I figure tomorrow will be a much better day.

The three of us are spending seven days at the Pitt County Fair in Greenville, NC together Sept. 30th-Oct. 6th, 2013. On the first day of the fair, we went to the fairgrounds around 3:45 PM and discovered the sound company the fair had hired had not arrived to set up a PA for the opening ceremony on the stage I was performing on. I had to ingore my new friends and quickly set up my PA so the fair could begin as scheduled.

Day One - September 30th, 2013 - Greenville, NC @ The Pitt County Fair

Stage Hypnosis Mentorship with Alan Sands - The SandMan

The fair opened and there was an opening cerimony on my stage at 5:00 PM, a local professional magician, Gary Shelton, did a show at 6:00 PM, and there was a talent contest from 7-8:40 PM, I did only one show at 9:00 PM. The sound company did appear about 6:00 PM and we determined he should run sound using my PA for the talent contest. That was a bad idea.

The sound company had a terrible microphone that was cracking and popping they were giving to the talent show contestants. After attempting to get rid of the popping a variety of different ways, I finally figured out by trial and error it was the microphone. I had a good SM58 with me, so we solved that problem.

Next, the sound companies CD player wouldn't play the contenstant's CDs. He eventually got out his MacBook Pro and played the CDs from there.

All these problems were an amazing lesson in not having less than par sound equipment or you will have poor sound and problems.

The first show I performed at 9:00 PM and it went well. Out of about nine volunteers, four remained under and on stage the entire show and three adults were very animated. One younger man was the first to go under and he remained in the show till the end but he seemed to go in and out of trance. He'd participate most of the time, but if suggestions were not to his liking he did not follow along and would awake for short spells. I am guessing he was also about 16 years old and the two women on stage were about 50 years old. He did not like them leaning against him and this would wake him, too.


Let me regress for a momnet. My degree was in Analog Audio-Video Broadcasting. While we were waiting for me to perform, I went over some of the things I like about my digital HD camera (Canon 10X), and I discussed the advantages to cameras that take mini DV tapes (like a camera Brian brought). I discussed the technical aspects of what makes a good broadcast quality camera better than a consumer camera and the advantage to a good tripod. We discussed my Sennheiser camera mic I connect to the camera to improve my sound on the camera's recordings. I'll discuss the camera and the camera mic more on this blog later.


Day Two - October 1st, 2013 - Stage Hypnosis Mentorship Training with Alan Sands

We went to the fairgrounds at 3:00 PM. We set-up the sound system at a more leisurly pace and I talked extensively about portable sound systems and microphones . I have three wireless mics I carry and I have two wired mics, three powered speakers and a mixer. Like every industry, sound has a vocabulary and we need to learn what everything is called so we can communicate clearly to sound people when we appear on their stages and use their equipment. XLR, 1/4", 1/8", Hi-Z, Low-Z, three-pin, impedence, limiters, compressors, frequencies, active vs. passive speakers, amps, volts, watts, Hertz, hum, rumble, popping, feedback, trim, volume, gain, power, equalization, monitors vs. mains, pre-amps... etc. We discussed how to use a microphone properly, how to position the mic near the face but not leaning agains the chin.

We walked around the fairgrounds and looked at multiple sound systems. We ran into two people talking on mics near each other. The man was leaning the mic on his chin and the girl was using the mic correctly and the sound difference was easy to detect. The man's mic was distorting while the girl's mic was not. There were multiple sound systems on the fair grounds and we were able to look at the different PAs and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. It was great to have so many PAs to look at, and be able to show them how the systems perform well, or poorly. the Pig Races had two home stereo speakers and a Radio Shack mixer and mic. The sound was so pitiful, the Mitchell Marionettes loaned them a 150 watt Fender System, but it was not a whole lot better but still did not do the job well out on a fairgrounds. The other free-acts stage had two QSC 1,000 watt speakers and a sub-woofer and sounded clean and awesome. My sound system I have here has two 400 watt powered (active) speakers and a Peavey 350 (200 watts) speaker as a monitor and it does the job nicely with no problems.

We examined a receiver and very large speaker that was much to big for talking because the base woofer would distort the talking voice. Over the next few days at the fair, other acts would come and perform on the community stage I was performing on - singers and bands - and we would look at the mixers, receivers, amps, speakers and we'd compare to each each of the other sound systems and listen to how each one sounded. It has been an excellent opportunity to teach them a crash corse in sound with so many small PA's available to look at and hear.

Dan has asked if he can set up the sound system without my help to see if he can do it, and I don't think I will have a problem with that :-) So, on Wednesday we will go to the fair early enough to give the men enough time to do just that.

Day 3, 4 and 5 - October 2, 3 & 4, 2013 - Stage Hypnosis Mentor Training with Alan Sands

I have only been able to do one show a day because of time allotments to community acts and the magician that is working on the same stage as me. This has been fine with me, but has limited the number of shows my mentees have been able to see. I am not worried about this because they are with me a total of 13 days and I can't imagine they will ever feel they didn't see enough of my show by the end of these two weeks.

Brian is gung-ho on doing a show, so I made sure he could get up on stage and do one. I gathered a crowd for him and he started with less than 30 people in the audience. He only got three volunteers on stage and only one of them went under. he ended his show early and discovered that I make it look easy - but I was very happy with his performance. He really did do excellent for it being his very first time on stage.  

Brian did a second show two days later. His improvement was exponentially better. He did a full set of his rehursed material from beginning to end and had three subjects stay on stage the whole show.

Dan and Brian are seeing the inner workings of doing multiple shows in a row and the routine of setting up a sound system and tearing it down each night, setting up video equipment along with duplicating equipment, doing the Back of the Room Sales and I am really glad this is working much better, or as well as I anticipated.

We met in Dan's hotel room (his hotel room at the Marriott Residence Inn is much larger and more comfortable than my room that is paid for by the fair) on day three, four and five. We are looking at other demo DVDs of other hypnotists. I have a large collection of recordings of other stage hypnotists. In some cases we have their entire show including the induction. The shows are in all types of venues from casinos, high schools, colleges, fairs, festivals, comedy clubs and corporate parties. We discuss the good, the bad and the ugly.

Dan and Brian have both stood-up in the hotel room and recited their pre-raps, the part of the show one does when they first enter the stage and talk to the audience. We are discussing the use of music before the show, and during the show and multiple ways of playing music during the show. It would be nice to collect different systems for playing music during the show to illustrate the different options available.

I brought my entire library of stage and clinical hypnosis books, but it is now day six and we have not looked at them more than to glance at the covers. I had planned on helping them write the five parts of the show for themselves, but they both seem to be more advanced than that.

Both Students have the (1) Pre-Rap down and memorized (2) I have not seen or heard Dr. Dan's induction yet but Brian likes to use Justin Tranz's methods as this is what he has memorized and that is what he is practicing. (3) Dan is really annalizing my show and how I tell stories and make my routines flow together with a beginning, middle and end - I don't do any short examples of hypnotic phenomenon, so he is thinking a lot of how he will attack his show differently in the future. Brian is doing great. Brian was able to do three shows the first week. The second show was awesome. He wanted to change things but I encouraged him to stay with exactly the same routine so he gets more comfortable with what he knows before changing things around.

the last day of the fair was a wash. There were to many other acts on the stage, so again - I had time to do one show, and there was not enough audience to do a hypnosis show, so I pulled out my magic act and did it for the audience. By the time the magic act was finished I had enough people to do a hypnosis show, but did not think it through so I ended then and there, whereas i shoudl have gone right into a hypnosis show immediately.


Week Two - October 7-12, 2013 - Lumberton, NC @ the Robeson County Fair

Week two we moved to Lumberton, NC for the Robeson County Fair. Monday we spent driving and moving into our new hotels. We then went to the fair, set up the sound and video equipment and are ready for the first night.

Dan has family matters and decides he needs to leave us, so after doing two shows Monday night, on Tuesday, Dr. Dan shows Alan the script he has written out and Alan and Dan brainstorm creative ways of delivering the script, added a few more stories and some other branches to the tree, as I likes to call it. We discuss music, and I shows him how Garage Band works for editing purposes. Dr. Dan works with a windows machine, so he will have to find his own editing programs for his music similar to Garage Band to lengthen, shorten, cut and alter his music.

Before Dr. Dan leaves Brian and myself to head home, he does a most noble thing and gives his pre-paid hotel room for the week to Brian, who was staying at a cheaper hotel up the highway. Up till now, he has been most generous paying for dinners amd drinks when we have gone out at night after shows, but this gesture is overwhelming.

The fair is closed due to rain on Tuesday night, so we have a forced, but much needed night off. Brian and I go to the movies.