Before I get into this week's review, I want to mention something pertaining to an earlier product of mine. A couple of years ago, I released The Mother of All Predictions, which in essence is a prediction using an audio CD WITHOUT needing to buy an expensive gimmicked CD or tape player. I'm pleased to say the product sold very well. Recently, a purchaser contacted me to say he was having trouble understanding the instructions for construction of the primary gimmick involved. The gimmick construction is quite easy and though I never had any trouble when I first learned it (the gimmick was Lee Earle's creation, included in the book with Lee's permission), I know different people learn in different ways, so what I did was create a simple, no frills video available on Youtube. If you would like to see this video to aid you with The Mother of All Predictions, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I receive your email, I'll ask you a "security question" about a line of text in the book and then I will send you the link on Youtube, as it's not accessible to the public.
On to this week's review....
ZAP - The World's Fastest Hypnotic Induction. It's available for $149.95 from Hocus Pocus.
EFFECT: This technique allows you to walk up to someone and hypnotize them into a deep trance faster than ever before! This is NOT magic or mentalism - it's real hypnosis!
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive a DVD that is approximately 2 hours in length and you receive a softbound book, around 70 pages.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: The book and DVD both do a good job of explaining the barebones of the conviction necessary to hypnotize people and a good job explaining the overall technique. Some parts of the DVD are shot in-studio and the visual quality as well as sound quality is just fine. Other parts are shot in the real world, outdoors, both with participants and Gordon & Hon speaking to the camera. In the case of the outdoor shots, occasionally wind noise is a bit distracting but everything is still easily understood. Still other parts of the DVD are shot in the car as Hon drives, answering certain questions or telling amusing stories. In particular, Gordon, Hon's 12 year old son, shares a funny story about some unusual kids in school who approached him regarding his abilities as a hypnotist.
MY BACKGROUND: Before I go further into my review, I'm going to outline my own background in hypnosis so new or first-time readers of this blog will understand that when I offer my criticisms and praises, I come from a place of experience. (I do have criticisms, but not many - this is a fine product.)
I first learned hypnosis for stage back in 2005. I took a course offered by Geoff Ronning from Phoenix, AZ. It was very good and soon after I was performing stage shows very effectively. Since then, I've averaged between 30 and 50 stage shows a year, hypnotizing around 12 or more people per show at most of these gigs, in addition to one-on-one demonstrations, so I've hypnotized around 3,000 people for entertainment since 2005.
A few years ago, I started training in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), learning language patterns and psychology to influence people, help them acheive their goals or simply to get people to focus on what I was saying! (NLP has sooooooooooooo many uses for the real world!) I eventually became a Certified Trainer in NLP, and I use it in my clinical work. (I was certified by the NGH for clinical hypnosis/hypnotherapy two years ago.)
Now that you understand my experience, I'll move forward.
MY CRITICISMS ON ZAP: In short, this is a terrific technique, although I do have a few quibbles. Before I get into my quibbles, understand that hypnosis, like magic, has many different and effective schools of thought. My opinion does not necessarily mean that I'm 'right' but simply I have altering points of view on things. Here we go...
First of all, it's obvious that both Hon Wong and his son Gordon are exceptionally gifted hypnotists. In particular, it amused and amazed me to watch 12 year old Gordon put someone into hypnosis who stood a good head higher than him!
These two know what they are doing and in particular I was motivated to explore contacting them for one of their advanced trainings on sales techniques and such.
As a hypnotist, I found the technique easy to understand and I know without a shadow of a doubt I could use this myself. Now that is out of the way, a few concerns:
At times, the tone of the DVD contradicted itself. Hon spoke about wearing clothes that suggest a professional demeanor, while Noblezada claimed to be "true to yourself." Now, I get what both are saying, but I feel that when selling something to the mass magician market, you've got to be careful with "be true to yourself," because there are so many magicians out there who believe they are being true to themselves, yet they wear a tux to all f their gigs because that's what they saw another magician on TV do.
In short, magicians must sometimes be led by the hand.
Another concern I had was at various times, Hon stressed that hypnosis like this is "not a party stunt," yet later both he and Noblezada suggested you could "go to a party" and use the technique. Again, I am sure they are talking about using the technique responsibly, but they could have been a little more careful in their wording, only because the myriad of self-proclaimed 'street magicians' out there are considering buying this to show off and be oh-so-cool.
Also, Hon claims he's never seen any hypnotist put someone into deep trance any faster than 7 minutes without a lengthy pre-talk. While it's true most hypnotists claiming to be 'the world's fastest hypnotists' need a lengthy pre-talk first before they use an instant induction, I think 7 minutes is not accurate.
I myself can hypnotize someone 'cold' (no lengthy pretalk) in a minute to 90 seconds. Hon's technique allows you to hypnotize someone into a deep trance in under 30 seconds, from the time you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, interact with them for just a few seconds, and then deliver the actual induction (which is less than a second!) and deepen them into deep trance.
I'm going to take on faith that Hon is in fact the world's fastest, I am just taking issue with the statement that he's never seen anyone do it in under 7 minutes. I am a big fat no one in the world of hypnosis and I can do it in a minute or two.:)
My final minor gripe is I really feel that this product should have been at least twice the length, both the DVD as well as the book. Again, both Hon and Gordon are AMAZING and they know their stuff, but I have to look at this from the standpoint of a person buying this who has NO experience at all in hypnosis. Granted, they can learn the ins and outs of the technique as well as some cool post-hypnotics, but I just feel that hypnosis is so easy to learn and so easy to abuse that with something like this, there should be more of an admission price, so to speak - more detailed analysis of how the mind works, and why this technique works so well.
Nobelzada, in particular, at times says things but doesn't back them up. At one point, he explains that without compliance a person will not allow themselves to be hypnotized. He's absolutely correct, but instead of explaining how this is so, he merely says something like, "And that's just the way it is."
Again, as an experienced hypnotist, I had no trouble with that, but for a "newbie," I feel they include more information simply to make first time hypnotists respect the information and skill because the power of hypnosis can be very seductive and can be easily abused.
Now, onto the things I did like...
MY PRAISE FOR ZAP: In case I haven't mentioned it before, I do have a great deal of respect for both Hon and Gordon. Both are very knowledgeable in hypnosis and it shows.
They talk a LOT about the fact that to hypnotize anyone, you need conviction. You need to be in control. It's been said that hypnosis is a confidence game and no where is that more true than walking up to a total stranger and hypnotizing them in a park setting!
The reason why I'm so glad they spent so much time talking about conviction in hypnosis is simple - by offering this to the magic community, it's very likely that a person buying this could be simply looking for the next 'perfect toy,' in that many amateur magicians buy the latest version of a certain plot in magic looking for the perfect weapon, one that's undetectable, that they can use to fry people with.
For example, consider the classic nut unscrewing from a bolt and the classic 'turn 5 $1 bills into 5 $100 bills' effect. New versions of both of these pop up all the time and every time they sell a ton...even to magicians who have the previous 5 versions of the effect put out by 5 different creators.
In short, they are looking for the magic bullet, one that will allow them to perform a miracle with no work.
Hypnosis is an easy skill to learn...but a difficult one to master because you need to do it on real people a LOT to get real good.
Also, Hon stresses the fact that in certain states you need special licenses and such in order to be a hypnotist. In my state of New York, for example, I can practice hypnosis (stage and clinical) without a license BUT I am not allowed to use the term "hypnotherapist" because it's been determined by the state that only a PHd can be a "therapist" of any kind.
The point is, check your local laws.
They also spend some time giving you some alternate techniques, such as the sitting induction in a chair if you're not comfortable with people crumpling to the ground. The technique is safe but a newbie may be unnerved by how quickly people appear (key word APPEAR) to lose control, so having alternate techniques is great.
The key thing to understand is that the physical technique is NOT the 'real secret.' It helps, sure, but the 'real secret' is the language you use, your conviction, and most importantly, the person you're hypnotizing must be compliant...they gotta want to do it.
So, for anyone out there who thinks you can just nail someone without them knowing, it ain't gonna happen!
In particular, I found some of the language techniques to be REALLY interesting, so I definitely got a LOT out of this.
Post hypnotics, skits, safety and additional tips are also covered in detail.
WHO THIS IS FOR: I believe this product would be a fantastic addition to the stage hypnotist's arsenal. My stage induction is between 5-10 minutes long (depending on my audience) so, with my pretalk, I've moved into the show with skits about 15 minutes into the show. In a 60 minute show, that means I get 45 minutes of fun and antics.
Occasionally I allow myself to get talked into a longer show, so being able to 'zap' people in the audience would be very cool as a way to liven up the longer shows.
I also feel that for college hypnotists - that is, ones who perform in colleges - could use Zap in two ways - one, footage for a demo video and two, as Banachek says in the college market, sometimes you gotta 'build your own audience,' so if you 'zap' a few people on campus before your show, it can build interest quickly for a show.
I would NOT recommend it being used in a corporate hypnotist's demo video as most corporate audiences are 'spooked' enough about hypnosis so seeing someone get 'zapped' would make compliance go down.
Magicians could use it as a different sort of routine in a show, though I imagine that in the context of a magic show, some people in the audience would think it's just playacting....which is fine because even in a hypnosis-only show, people STILL think it's playacting.:)
Amateurs can certainly use this too, but I really think they would benefit from additional training to develop their conviction and confidence levels. Happily, Hon Wong can certainly provide that training.
MY RATING: I'll give this a solid 9 out of 10. I can't give it a perfect t score because while the product was just fine for me, I HAVE to look at this from the viewpoint of someone with ZERO hypnosis training picking this up and while that person could have success with it, I would prefer the product get more in depth with how the mind works and really push for newbies to respect the craft. There are warnings aplenty in the product, but it's like the latest 'Russian Roulette' style effect - a few warnings aren't going to keep amateurs from using it and stabbing themselves!
Still, a great product for the respectful, experienced person.