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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » You are getting sleepy...very sleepy... » » What makes a hypnosis show? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

WitchDocChris
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I know this might come across as a stupid question, but I can't get it out of my head.

What defines a "hypnosis show"?

Is it simply that hypnosis is the ubiquitous method of entertainment? Meaning - the show is 100% based on hypnosis.

Is it hypnosis being the main method of entertainment? Meaning - The show includes things that are not hypnosis, but 60% or more is hypnosis?

Is it that the theme of the show is hypnosis and it includes genuine hypnosis? Meaning - less than, say, 30% of the show is actual, genuine hypnosis, but the whole show is themed around hypnosis.

Does it require comedy?

This is why I'm stuck on the question -

I don't like the vast majority of "comedy hypnosis" shows I've seen. No disrespect to those performers, it's just not my thing. I don't want to do a "comedy hypnosis show" but I really do want to develop a show that is based around hypnosis.

But marketing gets tricky. This isn't the tricky business section so I don't necessarily want to delve into that aspect - but at what point should one market the show as "a hypnosis show"? Or what other term should be used if one doesn't intend to do a comedy show?

Personally, and I don't know if this is the common mentality, if I hear "hypnosis show" I automatically assume it's a comedy hypnosis show. I feel like most people have more or less combined those terms in their mind and thus, advertising a "hypnosis show" would make the audience assume they are going to see a "comedy hypnosis show". Which could mean that you have an audience that is expecting one thing, and possibly receiving something totally different.

But perhaps I'm over thinking? It wouldn't be the first time.

Thoughts?
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Mindpro
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Wow, great question. This is the type of question is what this forum was created for. I think to truly understand a "hypnosis show" you have to first look at several key elements. Then look at appeal and expectations.

A show should be interesting, engaging, and entertaining. A hypnosis show usually is progressive so it must not only be engaging but must build to hold the audience for the duration - while being entertaining. Of all the different types of theatrical premises and emotional connect, comedy seems to be not only the most popular, but the most expected. In reality, there are three elements that can become present. 1. amazement, connection and engagement, 2. anticipation, and the third (possible one) is 3. skepticism. These are present in every hypnosis show.

Comedy is the most universal and mass-appealing, especially with hypnosis as after the initial uncertainty or skepticism, a good hypnosis show should transfer that into amazement and believability. Remember, most people have not experienced a live hypnosis show. Like mentalism, that gives us a great latitude to work with, and the opportunity to make it a seriously connecting experience - through entertainment.

First and foremost a hypnosis show must be entertaining. Most aren't. The reason most aren't is actually quite simple - most hypnnotists are not entertainers. They are not entertainers FIRST! A good hypnosis show must be entertaining first, then showcase the hypnosis second. Most hypnotists performing are not entertainers, they are executors of hypnosis. Any or most of the "entertainment" factor comes from their hypnosis, not them. They are relying on the hypnosis to carry them and the show. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see everywhere.

I believe this comes from the wrong focus. Today hypnosis is targeted and marketed to disc jockeys, magicians, jugglers, etc. The emphasis is on learning very basic hypnosis. None of these books, courses or materials spend any time of becoming an entertainer first, and then how to entertain with hypnosis. The way almost all training work is this is hypnosis, now just think of some funny skits or routines once they are in hypnosis. This is why we see so many terrible hypnosos shows. These beginners/students can't come up with any skits or routines on their own, no one has shown them how to write or create comedy, so they resort to the longtime standards, which leads to most doing the same type of show with the same or very similar content.

The learning process is all wrong. Yet, every stage hypnotists believes they are an entertainer. Could they perform and do a great show and hold the crowd without the use of hypnosis? That is the sign of true entertainer. I put my students to this test often for them to have a better understanding and to demonstrate my point.

I have my own beliefs of how stage hypnosis should be taught and presented which I won't share here as it is what I use in my training of students and clients, but it uses a true entertainment approach.

It should be an entertaining performance that uses and showcases hypnosis. The entertainment should not come from the hypnosis but rather the entertainer. Hypnosis is just the means or discipline.

(*Btw, this same question should be asked in the Penny/Mentalism section, lol)

Much of a hypnosis show featuring the hypnosis itself is really just a demonstration of those in the responsive hypnosis state. It is a showcase. This is why I feel a true hypnosis showcase is also educational as most see it fo rthe first time and begin to see the possibilities of hypnosis.

Like any theatrical performance, there should be an intro or opening, witness to the process of hypnosis, a progressive entertainment journey with varying tempos, pace, emotions and dramatics, and then it should end with a large, strong, and impactful finale or closing, with many of the dynamics and theatrics throughout and along the way.

This is why I fail to see how a hypnosis show (full-length 75-90 minutes) could work well without the most universal and enjoyable element of comedy. Yes, the amazement occurs throughout but after the initial wave it levels out and something additional needs to assist in carrying the show.

Like all live entertainment, you must decide are you creating the show you want and prefer then trying to find clients to book it and audiences to attend, or are you creating a mass-appeal show or a show for a specific market that will make the business side and marketing more targeted and direct?

I do business for commercial success and profitability, so I prefer to appeal to the masses, or the widest possible audience and business prospects, wich is another reason why comedy is the preferred format.

Also, as you said, most expect it to be a fun and engaging performance, so why change that or make it deeper, darker or something else? You can, but you're limiting the marketability and prospectabiity of your efforts.

I don't think you are overthinking it, but perhaps struggling because of the not caring for the comedy aspect. remember, comedy is subjective. On top of that most hypnotists aren't funny or can't write comedy. So there is a middle ground (which I think is much better for beginners) which is focus on just being lite and humourous. This is much easier to do than comedy (or comedy that isn't funny, or comedy that bombs) and when combined with amazement, when presented in a fun, entertaining way, can still be a solid hypnosis show.
Dannydoyle
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The answer is not one you want to hear. Seriously you shy away from it.

But it comes to what the audience who shows up is expecting. You in some way need to meet that expectation. I don't care if it is magic, singing, dancing or hypnosis. The expectation of the audience must be met.

Since you come at this from the unique point of view that it doesn't matter if you do shows or not, or how much money you make doing shows, I am having trouble seeing your issue. You don't really need to do the shows to make money so if not many people show up and pay who cares? I know you want to separate the issue but it is inexorably stuck together. Fact is when you market to an audience what you are doing is setting the expectation for the show. I know you said this is not Tricky Business and you are right about that. BUT fact is IF you need an audience to show up the way you set the expectation is going to decide what their expectation actually is.

You seem so stuck on what you don't want, and what others do that you don't enjoy, that you are having trouble seeing what you want to be. In no way should you ever try to be something you don't want to be. If you don't want to do a comedy hypnosis show then you should not do one for any reason. Be yourself. But yourself might not be marketable so there is a trade off.

As for the over reaching question about what a "marketable" hypnosis show actually is or how you define one that is easy. Your show should not be defined by you being a "hypnotist" or "magician". Rather it needs to be defined by being YOU! Yes this is the answer. VERY few people hire or come see me to see a "hypnotist". I have people who hire me for me. PERIOD. This is the way to do things in my view. Yes I wind up with some people who just want to see a hypnotist. But in general terms I am talking about here. Your show (If you want to have anyone show up.) must appeal to a large swath of the public. However you go about doing this is up to you.

I happen to AGREE 100% that most shows bore me to tears. Heck it is like watching the same thing over and over again. The problem is many fold. To start with most do not start out wanting to be hypnotists. SO many come from being magicians or mentalists. For a while it was a bad joke where a guy would be a failed magician, then become a failed mentalist and then a failed hypnotist. It was a progression and the common denominator was that they were bad performers. The medium made no difference it was simply that they were never taught how to perform.

I have never seen your show, and have no idea what qualifies you to perform or what your background actually is. I will recommend that you take the art of performance very seriously and find ways to be taught how to do so. Not magic books and for SURE not books on hypnosis. Get a solid performance background. Learn drama, comedy and everything about how to perform. If you can hold an audience for the show, what the show is does not matter. You can define it yourself.

One interesting point I might make is that if you want to break the rules or redefine something, it is a good thing to get acquainted with them in the first place. I mean if you don't know why the rules exist then how can you know what to break and why? Learning performance will help this tremendously.

A "hypnosis" show does in no way require comedy. BUT what do you replace it with? See the thing with a hypnosis show that is odd is that the "hypnosis" part (Whatever that really is anyhow.) is the LEAST important part of the show! It is absolutely meaningless. The process of hypnosis is quite boring and not really a lot of fun to watch. If you are not going to do comedy what do you replace it with? How long a show do you want to base around "hypnosis" exactly? Because it becomes pretty self indulgent and boring very quickly. The comedy takes the edge off this and helps move the show along. If you want to remove the comedy you need to have a viable replacement. I have seen some shows that have attempted to do so with different levels of success. It is possible to do, but you need a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish when you set out.

Don't get stuck on the question. The question is meaningless. Not being a jerk, but it shouldn't matter to you at all. No the show does NOT have to employ comedy. Just accept it and get to doing what you want to get done. Don't let it get inside your head.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WitchDocChris
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I appreciate the responses - Not sure if anyone else will chime in but I hope they do.

To address a couple quick points - I have just under 20 years experience performing, with more or less a steadily increasing level of seriousness about it. I've written and performed in several shows, a couple of which have gotten minor accolades from various festivals. 'Genres' include fire, circus, seance, magic, mentalism, story telling, haunted houses, side show, and one bit part in a low budget horror movie that I've never seen Smile

Currently I co-produce a quarterly Vaudeville-esque variety show with my wife, and I'm developing relationships with local venues to get repeat gigs where I don't have to travel as much as I used to. I am fortunate to have hooked in with a new local group of folks who are very interested in developing the local alternative arts scene and that's providing many new opportunities.

While most of my education is self-directed I do make sure I work with people who know more than I do as often as possible and keep a group of friends around who have no trouble telling me what's wrong with my performances and how to fix it. I would classify myself as "decent and improving" in regards to performance skill.

So - my curiosity here is literally the tipping point between "show that includes hypnosis" and "hypnosis show". I know it seems like I get hung up on questions but this is all "back stage" stuff. I like to understand things. I pick them apart and examine them minutely. But that doesn't stop me from working on the shows - it just allows me to approach the work at different angles as I learn more and more.

You are both absolutely right in the purpose that comedy serves. I hadn't thought about it in those terms before so that's very helpful. Unfortunately I don't yet know what could replace the "comedy" aspect to serve that purpose at this time. At least, not for a full length show. Perhaps more motivation to work on that 30 minute show we discussed in that thread a while ago.

I will say I probably phrased the statement poorly in my first post. I understand that shows need texture and humor is part of that. I'm trying to find a way to do a show that isn't the cookie-cutter "Comedy Hypnosis Bingo" style show that seems to be so common for hypnotists. To date I've only heard of one show that was hypnosis, and wasn't comedy. But I only have a very vague description of it from someone who stumbled onto it while in NYC. According to this individual it was more of a trance exploration of death, possibly a seance. He wasn't sure exactly what the point of it was as he had never heard of it before he saw the poster on the door and he didn't entirely get it. I have no real information about it, other than it apparently existed.

Another thought -

The standard "hypnosis show" has a committee of folks on stage to be the subjects. Is that a required element? For example, having a variety of demonstrations planned, but rotating through audience volunteers rather than taking a single group at the beginning. It would definitely have a different pacing and structure than the contemporary hypnosis show - and perhaps it would be a train wreck - but would that still be a hypnosis show?

Is the structure a necessary component? Lecture/Pre-talk, call volunteers, induction/weeding of poor subjects, skits, finale. That's extremely simplified but I hope you get the idea I mean.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dannydoyle
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Look no further than Kreskin for your answer. The structure is not essential.

I know the show you are referring to. It was done by a very good friend of mine. Hypnosis was only a segment of that show, not much more. People were in the room for the "theme" and he used hypnosis to explore that theme in part of that show. Nobody was in the room because of hypnosis.

Which is exactly the point I am trying to make.

With all due respect I am not sure you know what I mean about performing experience, and education. I mean when you are "self directed" as such often you direct yourself to your own opinion. I am saying that once you learn why and such about performance all these questions become mute. You know how to proceed. Keeping friends around you to give you their opinion is great, but are you in a large enough performing community that those friends are qualified to help you? Performance science is MUCH tougher than most think. You have 20 years part time performing experience is what your resume' boils down to.

The problem is that most experience like this comes from the stage itself and being on it. Travel is a big part of it. You want to eliminate the part of gaining experience. You want to short cut it and still get the experience. It is just not possible. Unless and until you do the things that is necessary to actually gain experience all this stuff will simply be academic to you. We can learn only so much by reading on google and watching YouTube. You can read all you want to about Jiu-Jitsu and have all the book knowledge you want. At some point unless you get on the mat, and do it with lots and lots of different opponents you will never gain any practical experience. You can only be so hung up on back stage things. They are simply an academic exercise until you get out and do it and do it a lot. It is sort of the 10,000 hour rule that Malcom Gladwell put forth. Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. The more time you spend fooling yourself thinking that reading about it is practicing is less time you have to get to success. (He is using the word "practice" to denote "doing". Not rehearsal or time in front of a mirror. In our case practicing is being in front of an audience. Only one way to do that and it is in front of an audience, without whom theater is theory.)
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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I have some additional thoughts too but I'll hold off as I too would be interested in hearing others chime in as well.
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
I mean when you are "self directed" as such often you direct yourself to your own opinion. I am saying that once you learn why and such about performance all these questions become mute. You know how to proceed. Keeping friends around you to give you their opinion is great, but are you in a large enough performing community that those friends are qualified to help you?


The people I'm referring to are acting coaches, directors, well experienced performers, and/or otherwise knowledgeable about theater, stage craft, and performance. Way above my league, to be honest, but I am very thankful for their guidance. I am not egotistical, I seek advice constantly to identify and correct my weaknesses.

Further - I am not trying to 'cut corners' - I am working within my means.

Neither of those points are relevant to the question at hand, though. Unless you feel that having a coach, or that traveling, are essential components of what makes a hypnosis show, this is just a diversion.

Quote:
Look no further than Kreskin for your answer. The structure is not essential.


I've never seen Kreskin perform. I was under the impression that hypnosis effects are only a portion of his show. Would you classify his show as "a hypnosis show"? Genuine question.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Dannydoyle
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No I wouldn't call his show a hypnosis show. Which is exactly my point. The show you are talking about was also not a hypnosis show.

And yes I believe having a coach or director and traveling and everything I mentioned which you choose to gloss over because it didn't fit your own belief system is essential to what you want to accomplish.

So many have come here over the years saying in one form or another exactly what you are. They seek the answer they want instead of the answer they need. They don't have the experience to know the difference.

Nothing I've said was a diversion. It simply is not what you want to hear. So as such no need for me to continue. I wish you the best. The world needs great shows to go see. I hope yours becomes one of them.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
mindpunisher
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One of the things I would disagree with is that the "hypnosis" part is boring to watch. It depends on how you present it. If presented properly people do gasp and it will be one of the most memorable parts of the show. People have and are still fascinated with the process if presented well.A lot of hypnotists miss this opportunity.If you perform good quality shows your name will become the brand then people will want to come see you but until you start producing "amazing" shows people will come to see a "hypnotist". My personal preference is to see a good hypnosis show that elicits real comedy that can't be written from the genius creativity of those on stage. I absolutely hate hypnotists that talk to much and try and be the show. For me it has always been nurturing the interactions and responses from the audience. All skits really depend upon the same limited emotional responses and verbal responses from those on stage. Unfortunately most hypnotists don't get this and just get volunteers to act out skits without pulling the real gold from the subjects. I have had many simple skits go on for 10 mins or more because of the responses from individuals and grow into something unique and very funny by teasing it out. This is something you can not write and in my view every show should be part creation on the spot. That's where the best comedy is when it works.

I have seen shows that center around past life regression as the second half of a comedy hypnosis show. They can be pretty dramatic and interesting

These are just my opinions and preferences nothing is carved in stone.
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