Hypnotic: The Web Series


(Paul Ramsay) #1

Hey gang! I’m so excited to share my web series with you here on Stareable. I’m a professional hypnotist, and I’ve toured the United States for over a decade. I get the same questions about hypnotism over and over again, no matter where I go in the country, so finally I decided to make a reality web series in the hopes of educating the broader public about what it’s really like to be a hypnotist.

I teamed up with the amazing guys at Anchor Line, and they followed me on tour. My biggest challenge was that I demanded that all of the footage be truly real. We didn’t have writers, and I was the closest thing to a producer. Because I’m a board certified hypnotist who sees clients when I’m not on tour, and I’m also an instructor of hypnotism for people who want to get certified, I felt that it was really critical that I kept everything in the series authentic.

So I guess my central question to all of you is, how do you make a reality show that’s real AND truly entertaining? Because while I managed to make one that was completely real, I missed the mark on the entertainment scale with this one. It has small moments here and there that are really fun, but the overall project just didn’t get it done.

It’s so important to me that I protect my integrity as an entertainer and also as a consultant who helps people change their lives with hypnosis. I can’t produce a show where we fake stuff, but I understand that I need to bring more to it than what I got from this first go round.

What would you do?


(Bri Castellini) #2

Excited to have you today Paul! One question before I watch and give critique- how do you make your LIVE shows entertaining? What have you learned as an on-stage performer about what an audience finds compelling?


(jimbo35) #3

This is a really interesting question! And thanks for being so upfront about what you were trying to do versus how it turned out. I think a lot of us go through that experience and it’s comforting to hear about the shared struggle.

I’ve never worked in reality entertainment before but Is one possibility to tape a lot of (real) footage and then edit it so only the best moments remain? It could still very real and honest to the original situations.


(Paul Ramsay) #4

The struggle is real, jimbo :slight_smile:

I was so full of optimism when we did this project. I knew that so many people have a fascination with hypnotism, and I had witnessed that fascination for years as I toured around the country. I was pretty naive in thinking that people would just flock to it.

I think your idea is a solid one. It would be interesting to record footage for a year, and then go back through it and see what we could put together.


(Paul Ramsay) #5

Great question, Bri. I am so blessed to work in an entertainment medium that is unique from other live acts because it doesn’t put the artist at the center, but takes everyday people from the audience and transforms them into the act. So really think about that…

I’m not like a comedian who can perform the same joke over and over, and polish the delivery of that joke so that it kills with audiences. I’m not like a musical artist who can rehearse each song until they are perfect. Every night that I perform, I get a new group of total strangers seated in front of me, and I must convince them to let me hypnotize them, put them on stage, and then transform them into a cast of characters who will entertain the people still in the audience.

I have to split my energy and attention between the functional aspects of hypnotism and the creative development of the show. I have to be a little bit like a master of ceremonies, a little bit like an improv artist, and a little bit like a clinical hypnotist (in terms of managing their hypnotic state and keeping everyone safe).

When I do all these things well, it allows people to truly transform on stage. They hallucinate, take on different personality traits, and behave in ways that they typically wouldn’t. It’s this transformation that compels audiences, I think. Watching your college roommate, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your best friend behave on stage in a way that you never thought they would.


(Bri Castellini) #6

Awesome! So taking all of that into account… how do you think that strategy- taking every day people from the audience or from your life and your shows and transforming them into the act- could help in making your show more entertaining? How can you take what you know about entertaining crowds and translate that to your show?


(Bri Castellini) #7

Episode 1- You spent 11 minutes telling us how you were having some fitness problems before going out on tour and how you, the hypnotist, decided to get hypnotized yourself to help yourself get healthier. That’s a super interesting concept and I loved how open you were about why you were doing this, but it’s not complicated, and it certainly didn’t need to be 11 minutes long.

I think you could have cut that down significantly to just explain who you are/why being fit is important to your tour, how you were surprised how much weight you’d gained since your last tour, and how you decided to enlist the help of a fellow hypnotist to get you back on track. That’s a story with a clear, concise arc. You could have cut most, if not all, of the gym footage, plus a lot of the interstitial commentary. A lot of it was redundant and slowed down what was otherwise a really engaging dude (you) and story (hypnotist needs hypnosis before going out on a hypnosis tour)

Also- I noticed your episodes don’t have titles, and I think you should rethink that decision. Titles, especially for web series (because they’re much easier to see), are a great way to frame your story, and because it looks like this series is all about you getting ready for your next tour, the episode titles will give the audience an understanding of what step we’re on. Same thing with thumbnails- it’s been proven that thumbnails with bright colors and faces get the most clicks. We actually did a whole article on release strategies (video titles, description boxes, thumbnails) that you can peruse here: Release Strategies for your Web Series (Step 12)


(Paul Ramsay) #8

This is such a great example of how we compartmentalize things in our heads, as if they are different, when they really aren’t. I approached the web series as if it was a creature all its own, and never thought to connect to the ways in which I already knew how to be entertaining. So smart, Bri. Thank you.


(Paul Ramsay) #9

Gosh, learning so much already. Thank you!


(sam lockie-waring) #12

for sure i would want to know more about hypnotism up front- you seem like a cool dude and it’s interesting that your series is about what goes on behind the scenes, but like the hook is hypnosis. let’s see more of it! how did you get into it? how does it work, and does it change on or off stage?


(Paul Ramsay) #13

Totally reasonable feedback, Sam. The later episodes showed footage from the stage shows, but we could have done a better job creating opportunities to hypnotize people off stage, in other settings.


(sam lockie-waring) #14

also just earlier on, in the first episode honestly. if your hook is hypnotism, your audience is gonna wanna see that up front. they’ll eventually learn, through the hook and hypnotism, that you’re a chill dude, and then they’ll be more interested in the personal story, but you gotta give them the hook first.


(Paul Ramsay) #15

That makes sense. At the time, I was thinking of it as character establishment and the beginning of an arc, but I could have made a stronger entrance with footage that demonstrated hypnotism right off. Thanks.