Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Hypnotic Experience of my MTV Audition

      I was absolutely flabbergasted when I received a phone call to audition for MTV casting directors last week. It was completely unexpected and out of the blue. They were looking for a host for their new hypnosis talk show. In the midst of my post production work of my film I said to myself “Let me try this, I have nothing to loose.” Some of my friends were so excited for me, probably more excited than I was myself.
      And so I did, I auditioned for MTV, they liked me and brought me in again the next day and I auditioned for more people. I showed all my stage hypnosis tricks, and my knowledge of hypnosis. But still, within myself I kept on thinking, “I will do what can, I will be myself, and if they like what they see- great. And if not – great too.” With this kind of attitude I felt totally relaxed and comfortable. I was just going with the flow. Besides, I had so much fun going through the auditioning process. Everything was happening very fast in just two days: a phone call, audition, hypnosis, another audition, meeting great people, more hypnosis and feedback, I felt like a hurricane came by into my life and shook me up a little bit.
      After my first audition I started thinking, “Well, yes I have background in Hypnosis and NLP, and I practice clinical hypnosis. I love Hypnosis, and realize that it is a part of my life. But where else am I to do with it? Where else am I to use my skills in this life? I certainly used some of them in my upcoming documentary Russian Women in New York ( by building rapport, organizing things, coaching and so on). But I feel there is much more to my skills. Shall I ever write an insightful book about it? Shall I ever have a film about it? Or perhaps a show? What is my position in this most exciting area of mental art, called Hypnosis?”
      The MTV audition got me thinking. And I started researching, and reading, and watching videos of some great hypnotists, mentalists, illusionists. That’s right. Magic. Here we come again. Why am I always drawn to that area? I guess Hypnosis and Magic are cousins.
      Nevertheless, my new and most profound discovery was English illusionist Derren Brown. I not only I watched mostly all his videos, but I also knew exactly how he did some of his tricks. I am blown away with his mindreading skills and I want to learn how he does that. I also realize that many of his tricks could not be done without a very skillful film production. Actually, I found that his producer is also a magician- that helps. It is clear that Derren Brown uses a lot of Hypnosis and NLP, yet I suspect that in some of his routines like in Mind Control program, the whole Idea of hypnosis is simply a cover up. In fact, some of the show is built around the idea as if he is skillfully using hypnosis or some kind of psychological tricks. I believe most of the scenes are set ups and are well written routines which convince us the audience as if he is using NLP or hypnosis. I am OK with that. It is a part of the show.
      Now, of course in some other cases he does use some powerful linguistic tricks. My favorite show of his is The Messiah. He travels to the US to convince five leading figures that he has certain powers in their field of expertise: alien abduction, psychic powers, Christian evangelism, new age theories and contacting the dead. The concept of the show is to highlight the power of suggestion with regard to beliefs and people's abilities, and failure to question them. In that program you can clearly see what Derren’s opinion is on the whole idea of human perception and how much we humans can easily be fooled with pseudo-scientific phenomena.
       I have also noticed that he has a very strong opinion about psychics. And you can place it in one phrase: Derren Brown believes that all physics are charlatans ( as if most of them use coldreading techniques).  Actually, I noticed that another magician Chris Angel thinks just that. When I watched his interview I noticed his absolute repulsion towards all guru/psychic/clairvoyant type of people. I do see a similar trait from Derren Brown. Now, this is very interesting, actually. Because, Brown had mastered those powerful linguistic patterns and obviously had studied many psychics and so this way he can surely say that all of the psychic phenomena is simply a bunch of bologna. Yes, there is certainly some kind of structure to magic, and obviously coldreading being a whole set of linguistic patterns that most psychics use. Where am I going with it? I believe that it can be both: Coldreading as science and also intuition. The latter is something that is indeed connected to some source of Knowledge and Enlightment. But, I also fully agree with Derren Brown and Chris Angel that there are way many people that use the techniques to fool people. Actually, I think that not only charlatan use these techniques, but also marketers on TV, film and various add campaigns.
      Anyway, I know today I am eliciting my position in the hypnotic field, And here is my line: I believe that there is a fine line between pseudo and true science. And we need to find unity in order to transcend polarity between western and eastern science.
      Well, now you want to ask what does this have to do with hypnosis? Hypnosis, NLP, coldreading- they are all elements of pseudo-science. That’s why Derren Brown being an expert in Hypnosis and NLP has simply turned the tables on the very experts of the many other pseudo-scientific felids. And Lo and behold, he was good. He fooled them with their own tricks.      Interestingly enough, some of those representatives really do believe that they can speak to the dead or spirits or have been abducted by aliens and so on. However, what differs my position from Brown is that I am somewhere in between, I do believe that there still exist certain amount of ESP or intuition that one may have. I don’t know maybe Carl Jang is right: there is that source of collective unconsciousness that contains all the information about everything. I am rational, I am skeptic, yet at the same time I want to believe that there is an opposite side to rationalism. But unfortunately, that opposite side has been exploited a bit too much by pseudo-scientists too.
      So, do you see now where my MTV audition had taken me? My quest for my position in the area of hypnosis, mentalism and magic. I see, I have a long way to go.
      And here is my tip for today: there are two kind of attitudes toward getting what you want: First is when you are absolutely sure that you want something, and you will get it no matter what. Sounds familiar? I am sure, many of you have had that experience before. It is the time when you know that whatever you want is something that you have been waiting for and here is your chance to grab it. Now on the other hand, there are other times when you want something but you are not sure if you want it, yet you go with it and simply take a chance- maybe I will get it, if I meant to have it – almost like playing a lottery.
      Which scenario has more of chances of getting the outcome? Certainly the first one. My point – you need to clarify your final outcome, mold it and refine it. It’s OK if you don’t know precisely what you want: because the process of searching for it is also gratifying. Keep on searching and never stop!