Cris Johnson here...Whew! The last ten days have been INTENSE and FUN! I haven't had to absorb this much information in such a short amount of time in decades!
(Before I get to that, let me plug that the March issue of my FREE ezine "Cause & Effects" is going to be a whopper!! Sign up for free by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Getting back to my last 10 days of intense learning...of course, many of you who know me personally know I'm talking about my certification in clinical hypnosis! 80 hours crammed into 10 days...that's more than your typical 16 week college semester for a 3-credit hour class.
Quick background: About 6 years ago, in addition to performing magic, I become captivated by the idea of doing stage hypnosis shows, and then I took a quick 3-day course....by DVD.
Let me tell you from experience, learning hypnosis from DVD or any home study course is not the same as a live training. I became a very good stage hypnotist and after having done around 200 or so hyp shows, I know I'm good. However, I also wanted more skills and techniques for specialized situations.
I'm also tiring of life on the road so my agent suggested I get into clinical hypnosis...taught by her husband. I signed up and for ten days I have done nothing but think about hypnosis. Let me repeat: I'm a good hypnotist, but the knowledge I had up until 10 days ago was strictly for stage work.
The stuff I have learned is amazing, from helping people overcome childhood traumas to the stereotypical (and much-needed) smoking cessation. I'm really looking forward to this next chapter in my life as a Consulting Hypnotist certified by the National Guild of Hypnosis...represented in over 60 countries. Wayyyy cool.
(By the way, if you're willing to invest 10 days of your life and spend those days in beautiful, sunny, scenic Florida less than a stone's throw from Disney, check out Doug's site: http://www.worldclasshypnotist.com/ It's truly the best investment I could have ever made...plus you can get Doug to tell you the "two thumbs" story from one of his stage shows!!)
Onto this week's review!
Week Two of Paul Romhany Month involves Entertaining on Cruise Ships Book by Paul Romhany. It's available for $29.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=11132
WHAT YOU GET: A big, thick book that gives you an incredible amount of detail on working in cruise ships.
QUALITY: This looks like a softcover bookstore book. As with Paul's other releases, I'm amazed by the quality of not just the knowledge but the visual appeal of the book. TOP notch.
VALUE: As soon as I went through this book, I immediately emailed Paul and told him this sucker was wayyyy underpriced. I told him he could have split this material up into a few separate books and released this as a home study course a la Dave Dee. This material is something I would have happily paid several hundred dollars to acquire. It's THAT good.
MY THOUGHTS: OK, I'm going to sidestep alot of my usual review categories because unlike a magic routine or prop, first and foremost this book is about educating the reader about a specific industry.
There are many markets in magic that over the years have been heavily 'romanticized,' that is, magicians daydream about these markets without realizing the realities of those markets.
For instance, trade shows...highly coveted by magicians for the good pay, but the truth behind the romance is trade shows involves standing on your feet for 8-10 hours a day performing magic for people who don't want to see magic. I've done it and hate it.
With the cruise ship industry, there are many great things about it - compared to other markets, a very soft schedule for the money you can earn, the opportunity to see exotic locales, performing in beautiful ship theaters and on and on.
The downsides include tricky travel issues from a legal standpoint, being away from your family for long stretches of time, and more. Paul is extremely candid and forthcoming about the realities of performing for cruise ships.
He covers a lot of travel issues including passports, vistas, the nuances of many countries' governmental headaches for traveling performers, dealing with crew members, passengers and other matters of fine points.
Performance parameters, music, material, effect selection and much more is covered. Paul even tips the workings of several effects out of his own performing material as well as others his fellow cruise ship performers have graciously shared. What's interesting about this section is that even if one chooses not to use the material (frankly, it's awesome stuff and highly commercial) it's still beneficial to see what a seasoned pro uses in his/her professional cruiseship shows...and why.
The most enlightening part of the book is where Paul shares several journal entries from his own personal experiences that really illustrate the realities of cruise ship performing. A lot of it is great. Some...not so much. Some of the stories are more than just a little frightening.
A fellow performer friend of mine once said in relation to making a living with magic that "the thing is not the thing." In other words, just having a great act is not enough in any market....it's all the little details that truly season a pro for a particular performing niche.
I feel I'm at the top of my game in the school market. While I know a certain hypnotist from Florida who works on cruise ships (and he kicks butt on them), in terns of magic, after reading Paul's book, I cannot fathom how any other magician could lay claim to being at the top of their game more than Paul Romhany.
Most highly recommended and a perfect 10 out of 10.
NEXT WEEK: I review Paul's Artist's Dream, which Paul has told me is his favorite thing to perform. After studying this routine, I can certainly see why. Stay tuned...