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Topic: Show Length curiosity
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 18, 2019 11:54AM)
For background to the curiosity - I've just started co-producing a variety show with my wife at a local Elk's lodge. This means occasionally I will end up filling a 10 or 30 minute slot, if we're not able to locate other performers to do so. That got me thinking about what material I'd want to keep ready to go in case that need arises. Which lead me to wondering if I could do a hypnosis demonstration, effectively, within 30 minutes.

That's when I realized I'd never really heard of a half hour hypnosis show. The books I read are often from around the 40's - 60s and it seems like back then a 2 hour show was pretty normal. I've only watched one full hypnosis show live (I generally find them to be awful and leave early), and I don't even remember how long it was. I think it was maybe an hour and a half.

For some performers just the 'pre-talk lecture' and induction take up half an hour.

So I got to wondering - what is the shortest time slot you would be willing to perform hypnosis in?

What is the longest show you'd be willing to do?

Just curious other folks' thoughts/experience.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 18, 2019 01:08PM)
I preface this with the fact that I have structured my show in a certain way. I do it this way because it works best for me. But if your ultimate question is "can" you do a 30 minute hypnosis show? Why let anyone tell you no? Just come up with one!

My preferred show length is 80 minutes or so. In this day and age that is right where attention spans work best for me and the crowd I cater to. Not too long, not too short.

Often I do them in 45 or so. Not easy, but doable and a good show still.

At 80 it is fun because you get a variety of things done and showcased. The routines or skits or demonstrations or whatever anyone wants to call them can showcase different things every time. You can fit in amnesia, hot cold stuff, regression and so forth as well as have some great post hypnotic suggestions.

One reason the show being long helps is story telling. Hypnotists have forgotten they are telling the audience a story. The opening lecture serves the purpose of telling them what is going to happen and how. It should be made to be important. When hypnotists look at the show as nothing but a series if skits it begins to lose prestige and that is the ONLY thing the show has going for it.

In 30 minutes you want them to accept you as an authority. You want to explain what is going to happen that night. You want to get them excited about being a volunteer, and you want to "hypnotize" them enough to do what you want. THEN you want to do entertaining things with them. Sure it "can" be done but I would ask what is gained that you can not accomplish with great magic or mentalism?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jun 18, 2019 02:36PM)
Great topic. I think there are several things at play here, the first one being the difference in a "hypnosis demonstration" and a "hypnosis show."

Yes, you can do a 30-minute segment of hypnosis demonstration(s) without a problem. Typically what you are trying to present and establish in a demonstration of hypnosis is much different than what you are trying to establish and present in a show.

I also think that since you have only seen one live show which sounded poor or flat, you may have a presupposed perception of what a hypnosis show is. For example, and I agree with WitchDocChris, most pretalks are long and boring. To many stage hypnotists, in their minds, the show doesn't start until they have the subjects selected, seated on stage, and the induction begins. I completely disagree with that, to the audience, it starts the minute you take the stage. My pretalk is just as fun, funny, interactive and upbeat as the "routines" (or whatever you prefer to call them) during the peak of the show.

Theatrically, I do not think 30 minutes is enough for a "show" with all of the necessary components, establishing, and the process that I feel should be part of a show. I know cruise ships often wanted a 45-minute show back when they were constantly wanting to book me. That was their norm. That always seemed incredibly rushed to me.

Like Danny, my typical shows are 75-90 minutes. I completely agree with Danny that 80 minutes is the perfect sweet spot. Sure I have done many 2 hour shows, and for me, I can get away with a much longer show because I may have 50-60 to even 75 onstage volunteers at one time in my show, so it can hold an audience for 2 hours if needed. I don't care for it but I have done it many times.

I have never done open mics or lineup variety shows with hypnosis in 30-minute spots for just this reason.

As I talk about in my trainings and materials I firmly believe that the audience must see the process. That simply can't happen to my satisfaction in 30 minutes.

Now for a demonstration of hypnosis, which can be anything from suggestibility tests, waking hypnosis, subconscious influence, rapid inductions, etc. 30 minutes could suffice. (This is where I would prefer to do mentalism or other mental arts-type material)

I'm not really sure with you since I remember you saying you do not do a comedy hypnosis performance, so I would think 30 minutes could work for you depending how what you do and how you execute it.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 18, 2019 07:04PM)
The only real issue with doing a non comedy show in 30 minutes is to build up the relevance and importance of what you are trying to accomplish.

30 minutes, in the middle of a variety show makes this a tough road to take.

See one thing the hypnosis show has going for it in the first place is there is a certain "importance" that goes along with it. The induction actually starts when they see the first poster. When they decide to come see a hypnotist in the first place, THAT is when the induction actually begins. It continues with the "sense of arrival" in to the space the show will take place. Then it goes right up to the point at which they see you for the first time. NONE of these things are possible when you are smashed into the middle of a show that you can't manage to find others to do.

It will make things considerably more difficult to accomplish. Again I am not saying it "can't" be done. Just that it will be difficult is all.

If you do want to try something like this the other consideration is what the other acts are on the show with you. That can make it harder or easier.

I would suggest building to one routine. One either hilarious thing, or one REALLY dramatic thing. Either can work and can be done in 30 minutes pretty easily.

Structure the opening lecture. Most guys have long lectures because they think they HAVE too. You don't really. Especially if you want to concentrate on a couple of REALLY good volunteers. Also HAVE A BACK UP PLAN! Don't leave yourself out hanging. Body magic stuff can be pretty easily passed off as hypnosis.

The experience is WHAT YOU SAY IT IS! So that is your best guide.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 19, 2019 08:20AM)
Part of my motivation for asking was the fact that I believe certain types of performances or demonstrations need enough room/time to 'breath' as it were. To convey the importance of what is happening and allow the proper mood to be set.

The only reason I'm focusing on hypnosis in this thread and not mentalism/bizarre is because this is the hypnosis forums :) If it comes down to me doing the slot, I will probably do something mentalism-related.

Regarding my experience with hypnosis shows - I tend to find comedy hypnosis shows to be very cookie cutter. Everyone seems to do the same routines/skits. Which is a big part of why I don't want to do comedy hypnosis; I doubt I could bring anything new the field either.

I do understand the difference between a show and a demonstration - which is why I specified demonstration. The things I've done thus far generally haven't been a structured thing that I would consider a show - just a demonstration of various hypnotic phenomena and discussions of concepts.

I don't know if anyone else will chime in but I think the 80 minute mark slots right into how I've always felt about such performances. Enough time to establish the premise and authority, get a proper (and hopefully theatrical) induction going, and then do the skits/routines/demonstrations and give them time to build and be understood properly.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jun 19, 2019 09:09AM)
[quote]On Jun 19, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
Regarding my experience with hypnosis shows - I tend to find comedy hypnosis shows to be very cookie cutter. Everyone seems to do the same routines/skits. Which is a big part of why I don't want to do comedy hypnosis; I doubt I could bring anything new the field either.[/quote]

I agree with all you've said, especially that all hypnosis shows today are very cookie cutter and very basic. This is because of the way all of the courses and trainings are these days. It's just the stripped down basics targeted to magicians, DJs, and comedians with the promise of better, higher paid bookings, more legitimacy, and respect. It is all the same rehashed materials that has been used for the last several decades. None of which include how to be an Entertainer! They all use the same pretalk information, the same or very similar inductions, the same longtime overused skits/routines, and a false sense of "this is all you need to make thousands of dollars a performance." Nothing on being unique or creative, nothing on the real business of operating an entertainment hypnosis business, nothing about the production, image, perceptions and expectations, the negatives or downsides that are often incurred, the limiting available markets, and of course all the newbies that have taken these course that now think they are skilled hypnosis entertainers when they are not. Then, of course, this also creates the bottom-feeder, price undercutting approach which is the only way most of these guys and now gals can get any work or return from this "training."

Then, of course, there the UK guys with their "hypnosis with a trance" or "waking hypnosis" or "street/ambush hypnosis" silliness that muddies the waters even more.

So there is good reason for your perceptions.

I too hope others will chime in with their thoughts. The problem is many that many here may be just the type we may be referring to - that took a weekend training, or some "new approach" or are not really true skilled hypnosis performers at all that can offer much more than opinions and theories or defensive perspectives. Worse yet, they may not be hypnotists at all but rather magicians attempting to do fake hypnosis or magic meant to resemble hypnosis.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 19, 2019 11:54AM)
I feel the same way about mentalism and bizre magic shows. All exactly the same style and the same tricks. All way too long drawn out and proving too much.

Then I saw Docc Hilldord and Banachek. It would be silly to judge those shows by the huge percentage of bad performers out there.

You make judgements however you choose but it seems petty clos minded to me.

How many different "effects" are in magic performance anyhow? Think about it and the answer may shock you. Much less mentalism or bizarre magic.

You are right in that most hypnotists are cookie cutter. This is why it is waned in popularity in the past couple decades. Same with magic and mentalism though.

This is why I think you should try to put this together! Don't take no for an answer. Figure it out. Be creative. If nothing else it is a fun creative exercise.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 19, 2019 01:01PM)
I agree - magicians, bizarre magicians, and 'mentalists' are often very cookie cutter as well. I think hypnosis may be specially prone to the cookie cutter-ness though, due to A) that's how they're taught (as previously mentioned), B) they're not likely to get called out on it due to relatively low chance of people seeing more than one hypnotist, and C) they're lazy.

I probably will end up making a half hour show, if not for this explicit purpose than simply because I'm working on changing all my performance style over to more 'real' stuff and hypnosis is definitely a passion of mine. There's a solid chance that being able to offer a short-ish show will open some doors for me around here until the idea of a regular show of this style is normalized.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 19, 2019 01:32PM)
FANTASTIC! I hope it comes together for you.

It might be easier if you are not looking for comedy. They "key" to this idea is obviously in how it is sold as a ticket. IF people are expecting what you bring them then you are way ahead of the curve!!

I think it will be a fun exercise and I think since you are looking for something else you might just find it. If I can help in any way please feel free to PM me and we can chat. The real reason hypnotists are cookie cutter as you say is because there used to be money in it. Not as much any more for most, which is why the field has shrunk considerably.

I mean why change when you are making money?
Message: Posted by: Louis Gordon (Jul 9, 2019 11:33AM)
I have been interested in a shorter hypnosis show for many years. I do know a couple people that actually do 20 minute shows. Nothing is set as a demo in those shows. On the same note of demo I do know others that do what we may call pseudo hypnosis or even just suggestibility tests as the short show but they keep it entertaining. I do no think one of wrong over the other and I know many have their views on such things but you need to do what is right for you and your audiences. I personally like for an actual stage show of 30 minutes or less a shortened pre talk, a rapid induction and running through skits and getting a ton of variety in. You may want to slow the pace a bit and that is great too.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 9, 2019 12:05PM)
Not many wrong answers! Yes.