Alan Sands Entertainment


Does a Hypnosis Show need a quiet space to do your show?

Not necessarily, but it greatly improves the quality of the show. do you need quite around you when you watch TV, go to the theater or movies? If you want people to give the show their undivided attention without distractions - then yes, you want there to be no conflicting noise or activity going on.

Is it OK if will have several activities going on at the same time as your show?

Only if you are challenging my abilities. If you were teaching a class, would you want these same activities going on at the same time? If you are having a late night party for high school students and you are paying for a premium service, why would you want other activities going on at the same time?

We are serving dinner during this time, also. Will they need to be finished eating before you start?

Unless people are paying for the entertainment, out of their own pocket, food beats entertainment almost every time. People do not want to look up from their food to watch a show. There are types of entertainment that work during a meal. They are the type of entertainment that does not need your undivided attention including background music and belly dancers.

If you hire an act that is a visual act - magicians, hypnotist, jugglers, puppeteers & ventriloquists; then you want to begin the entertainment after people are done eating. Especially if the show requires volunteers. No one wants to get up from their meal and participate on stage while their food is sitting on a table.

Let’s discuss this in more detail:

Do I need quiet because "...there will be other activities going on at the same time."
I agree to this as much as driving on the wrong side of the interstate, against the traffic.

Hypnosis shows are a LOT of FUN! Sometimes you have to make people sit down and watch them for them to discover they like what they are watching and see it for themselves. If one has never seen a hypnosis show, they are naive and won' know what they missed if you don't make them watch the show. My ex-wife forced me to go and see Wayne Newton once. I would never have gone on my own. I am SO VERY GLAD I went!!!

Can I work while other (noisy) things are going on? Yes. I do county fairs with the Tilt-a-whirl screaming and the livestock auction pointing it's speakers at me across the fairgrounds - but for a party when you have 50-500 people (give-or-take) there are some general guidelines that will (1) make the party most successful and (2) give you the most bang for your limited dollar.

I am going to deviate for a moment. Hypnotists like metaphors. Bare with me:
If you are doing a child's 7th birthday party, the standard formula is:
(1) kids arrive at 1:00 or 2:00 PM. If they arrive earlier, they will not have eaten lunch and they will be hungry. If you do not want to feed them lunch, have the Lovelies arrive at 2:00 PM
(2) Have sugary and salty snacks in bowls, over hardwood or stone floors that are easy to clean for them to snack from in case they are hungry. Finger foods are great, and will fill their little tummies with just enough that they can run and play for the first hour from 2-3 PM. Chips, Cheese Doodles and M&M's. If they are girls, give them cupcake foils to carry the snacks. If they are boys, give them baggies. (Keep the vacuum handy)
(3) At 3 PM, you gather the little Delights together. All the late arrivals are there and you play games, or have an amateur or professional show that you hired - magician, ventriloquist, juggler, clown…
(4) 4:00 - it's time to open the presents following the organized entertainment. the kids are all sitting and attentive and will give the birthday child their celebrity attention.
(5) 4:30 - give them cake and ice cream filled with lots of sugary loveliness
(6) Parents come and take sticky, ‘pumped with sugar’ children home where they will be crazed and animated for 30 minutes, then need a nap and probably won't eat dinner.

NOTE: If the party starts earlier, give the adorable hatchlings Pizza, Chicken Nuggets or Hot Dogs, the universal foods of 7 year olds - easy to serve, and the food will not be placed in the trash. Everyone will be happy.

This formula is created from doing hundreds of children's birthday parties for 15 years, at one time in my life. There are exceptions and there are “no rules that can not be broken” because it is a "PARTY" not a prison or school. Exceptions come into play if parents/adults are present, if there are ethnic considerations (serve ethnic food), it's a slumber party, the host child is diabetic... but you get the idea.

Let me share my experiences doing "late night safe & sober, drug-free, bash, grad night & post prom high school" events. I started doing high school lock-in parties in 1993 and I consistently do 30 of these events a year now. I sell another 30+ hypnotists to additional schools that I am not available to perform for.

Late Night parties also have a formula that seem to work for 90+% of the time. the questions this blob provoked (answered above) not only "DO NOT" fit any formula, but they break rules that make me uncomfortable. Rules that are Sort of like asking your contractor to paint a 3-story house without scaffolding. "Use a Ladder" the client said... "Or use two ladders and make a scaffold..." Yeah. OK...

 Your Seniors are Not adults, but in many ways they are. I could give you a few analogies, but will save those for another blog. Let's stay with the party you are holding and your questions for now:

#1 - HUNGRY PEOPLE offered HOT FOOD wins over everything else. If you serve food, nothing else should be going on.
Exceptions include: {a.} music {b.} belly dancers {c.} strippers {d.} raffles {e.} speakers you 'really do not care' if the people listen to.

If you want people to ignore the performer, presenter or activity you are offering and only want them to pay attention with half-a-mind, have hot food present and expect people to eat at the same time.

#2 - FEATURED EVENTS - I am not sure what you were planning on doing at the same time as the hypnosis show, but I will assume it is games. Carnival games, inflatable games, group games, individual games, casino games ...

When your guests leave this party and talk about it for the next few years, do you think they are going to talk about:

(1) The food
(2) The games
(3) The gifts and prizes they did and didn't win ( quality prizes including: iPods, iPads, computers, bicycles, dorm room refrigerators, microwaves, etc. are the exceptions)
(4) The comedy show that made them laugh so hard, they cried.

Let's discuss formulas that work best (exceptions can be had):

#1 - Using the Hypnosis Show as the first thing of the event, used to gather them quickly into one place before they are shipped off to the off-site event.
I have had a number of schools that have had me perform at the school, in the gym or theater as the first thing of the night. All the kids gather and park, go into the show (after being searched - all wallets, money, beverages, purses, etc must be left in car) and they come in, watch the hypnosis show for 90 minutes, then they are put on busses and shipped off to the event at an off-site location. (Arcades with go-carts, H20 Parks or Bay Cruise Ships, usually). This does work, but is not my favorite formula.

#2 -THE MOST POPULAR FORMULA - done at over 90% of the late night events I have ever done - The Comedy Hypnosis Show is the last activity of the night.
Say the event goes from 9 pm - 5 am, do the hypnosis show at 3-4:30 am, and the only thing that follows is the big raffle and then they gather the raffle items and take them home. The only other thing that should follow the hypnosis show is more food - but keep in mind, very little of that food will get eaten. Few people eat at 4:30 AM. If you do serve food, make it elementary school sized finger foods like donuts cut in half, and tiny 6 oz. boxes of orange juice. if you cook a hot breakfast, make servings really tiny. I have seen enormous portions of french toast, pancakes and sausage thrown away at 5 am.

My final share: No one goes home after 4 am and drinks or does drugs. I see these events pushed to 5 am, 6 am, 7 am ... In my opinion, this is not necessary. You can end at 4 AM, and definitely no later than 5 AM and you will have fulfilled your mission of seeing the kids safe, and you will leave them saying "I had an awesome time." 

>>Will you need a quiet space to do your show?  We will have several activities going on during this time.<<
• I will not compete with other things going on.
• It is not fair to me and it is not fair to the audience.
• It is not fair to the audience that wants to watch the show and not have people running around, making noise, being a distraction.
• It is not fair to the people who want to do everything and you are making them choose whether to watch a featured show or participate with their friends in doing other things.
• It is not the best use of the $$ you will pay me. Let me be a feature, not just 'another thing' happening.

One last metaphor:

I have a daughter. When I do things with her, it does not matter what I want to do. I do what she wants to do because I want to be with her and spend time with her. I miss a lot of live shows at amusement parks because my daughter only wants to ride the rides. I have never seen a live show at Dollywood. I am in the live show business! You have no clue how disappointed I am that this is how it is, but this is how it is....

Don’t make people choose between spending time with friends doing other activities or spending time together watching the show. So many high school students are “followers” not leaders and if they miss the hypnosis show, they will be very disappointed.

You Asked:
>>We are serving dinner during this time also. Will they need to be finished eating before you start?<<


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: 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 - - 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.

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!

I charged $1695 to do the show. Asked for a deposit of $600, which she deposited in my account for me, and - something interesting took place...
I video every show with the purpose of selling the videos to the people in the show, or anyone else who wants to buy a copy. As I came to the 'end of show pitch', I realized (1) I was getting paid by an individual at her private party and I thought to myself 'it's rude to sell something to her friends and family' as well as I knew they all knew each other and sharing, pirating or buying one copy was all the group needed, as well as I knew the client's own family was on stage - it just felt wrong to charge them for DVDs, so I announced, "I will set business cards out and I will post the video on my private Vimeo site. If you email me, I will send you the private URL to see the show." I also added that "if anyone feels embarrassed by the video and you ask me to remove it, I will."
I figured, what a great way to attract more business from this group and - an unexpected result also happened; the client tipped me $405.00. Normally I sell the DVDs for $20 each at the show ($32 on my web site) and I rarely sell 20 DVDs following a show, so the tip more than compensated for any DVDs I might have sold.
It was a rare occurrence, the timing was right. I don't think I will do this all the time, but it certainly worked well this time!
I think I will put a note on the free DVD when I put it on-line stating the Video will only remain up for 1 month, and if they want a copy forever, they can buy a copy from my web site - but the "free on my Vimeo channel" idea is something to discuss. 
If I put it on my web site and there is where they go to find it, it will also drive traffic to my web site. It seems to be a win/win in every way!


Please leave comments here for others to read. Thank you.

Using an iWatch to do musical cues in your hypnosis show

Hold a microphone, hairbrush or a stick in your hand like a microphone. Notice that to look at your watch you must turn your wrist, moving the microphone away from your mouth, to see the watch face. If you wear a headset, this would not apply, but I use a hand-held mic myself.
Touch the watch face with a finger from your other hand. Notice you are not looking anywhere but down at the watch and it takes all your focus away from everything else.
The iWatch has small print; the print is on a watch. If you wear glasses or contact lenses while doing your show, you might be fine, but I do not so I could not read the fine print on the watch to determine what song I was on and the watch is very sensitive, so I found it difficult to get to my sound cues QUICKLY if a song ended or I wanted to change songs or adjust the volume with a moments notice.
The watch takes a bit of handling to get used to. You can use on-screen controls or spin the pin to change songs, and increase and decrease the volume. Learning to spin it one way or the other was confusing to me if I was not looking at the watch screen. Perhaps with more time, I'd get used to knowing these things more instinctually.
I like the watch for other reasons: it tells me when I get messages and emails, vibrates left (2x) and right (3x) when I use Maps as my GPS. If I leave my cell phone in another room when I leave the room or in the car while loading or unloading, and the phone rings, I can answer the phone like Dick Tracy and talk to my watch like a phone. 
When I am not doing a show, playing with the music function was fun! 
I have not played with it for more than a week, so all the pluses have not accumulated yet, but as for it doing my sound cues in the show - It's not going to work for me. Sorry Apple. I love you, and I will always use an iPod for my music, but the watch is not gonna be in the show!
leave comments here so others can see them, please


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.

Personalized Training:


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 Varano on stage October 2014 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.




Alan Sands is not a lawyer and is not a Legal Aid. Anything stated here is only Alan's current personal knowledge. If you have questions, call the USCIS at: (800) 375-5283

This blog only covers the P-1B Entertainment Group Application Process.

Alan Sands does not know anything about any other applications other than P-1B for Entertainment Groups. For all other applications, read the forms listed below or call the USCIS at: (800) 375-5283




Since 1997, Alan Sands Entertainment (ASE) has sponsored a P-1 Work Permit for a number of cream de la crème’ Canadian Entertainers. There are currently (2014) ten acts on this P-1; a six-member acrobatic troupe; three juggling solo and duo acts; six acts are magicians, solo, duo and a troupe of five.

For a list of the Canadian Acts on my current permit and those that have been on my permit in the past, please visit

ASE chooses not to add other acts to the current P-1-B Permit. Please do not ask. Many of these acts have been working together for 17 or more years. All others have been members for over five years. There are no openings in this P-1-B Visa.

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.

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.  →