Title: Transparency Template
Artist: Dr. Jonathan Royle
Producers: Magick Enterprises & Jonathan Royle
Retail Price: $135 USD
Learning Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
Length of DVD: 16+ hours of video, 8+ hours of audio, and many other printed forms of information
Notes: 5 Disk DVD-Rom set.
Features Disk 1:
• Play All
• Scene Selection
Features Disk 2:
• Play All
• Scene Selection
Features Disk 3:
• Play All
• Scene Selection
Features Disk 4:
• Play All
• Scene Selection
Features Disk 5:
• Bonus Disk with PDF, Word Documents, Audio Files, and Photographs
When I took on the self appointed assignment of doing a review on a new Hypnotism DVD set called Transparency Template I didn’t know much about two things. Hypnotism, and who Dr. Jonathan Royal is. They say curiosity killed the cat for a reason. Man did I ever bite off more than I can chew with this DVD, and no doubt the amount of attention I’m going to receive because of it.
Jonathan Royale, a performer who has been known by many names, has put together a home study course on Hypnotism that he’s billing as being the first, last, and only material you’ll ever need to purchase to learn how to perform Hypnotism legally, ethically, and safely anywhere in the world. This product he’s calling the “Transparency Template” covers just about every facet of hypnosis you could ever want to know about. Et Nasium.
The four DVD set has over 16 hours of video tutorial covering theory, safety, performance, hecklers, licensing, induction techniques, insurance, legality, and just about every other bit of information you could want to know. If that isn’t enough there’s over eight additional hours of audio instructions, and a crap load of PDF, word document, and audio files on the bonus disk.
The problem I had with all the extra information is that it’s just all thrown in together making it rather daunting to know where to begin, and what order to reference things in. The bonus disk has a folder labeled “Look Inside And Read This First Please.” This is a long word document, letter, thanking you for purchasing the DVD set. This letter makes bold statements that you’ll never need to buy another source on hypnotism again, and even warns you against going to review other sources. This warning reaffirms that everything you need to know is somewhere in this package. Somewhere being the operative word.
I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t read through or listened to everything on the bonus disk. After having spent nearly 12 hours reviewing the four main disks I just haven’t had the desire to go through all the bonus material with a fine tooth comb.
I am a person who doesn’t know a thing about Hypnotism. I’m never put someone under before, and I’m a complete virgin when it comes to the material being discussed on these DVD’s. In all practical sense I’m the exact person this DVD set is designed for, a person who wants to learn the ins and outs of Hypnotism. As a first time student I’ve found myself lost and overwhelmed with the extra bonuses provided on the fifth disk.
One of the curious things I found in the bonus disk is a folder stocked full of different diplomas and certificates on a range of hypnotism subjects from past life regression, corporate stress, PDA Instructor certification, phobias, and pain control to name a few. I raise a cautionary flag on this because it gives someone the ability to print false documents for things that they’ve not been awarded for by merit or study.
There are a lot of photos included too on the bonus disk that are of props that Jonathan uses, or of him doing stuff for TV shows and the like. None of these images are really important to you learning how to hypnotize someone, and most of them aren’t high quality, or if they are they are not full sized photos. I think these were included more so Jonathan can say “Look at all I’ve done” and less “this is how you do it.”
The bonus disk also contains a PDF with links to additional training videos that you can either view or download online. I didn’t watch all of them. I did click through some though just to make sure the links still worked. The bulk of the links are to an online training seminar called “The Holy Grail of Hypnosis.” This online video series suffers from many of the same flaws that I’ll discuss later once I get into the details on the actual four disk set in Transparency Template. The video is a static single camera shot, the quality is grainy, and the sound isn’t the best. There is a lead in where nothing happens for a minute or two while we wait for the class to be let into the room. Why this wasn’t edited out in post I’ll never know.
I could probably spend another ten pages going over each and every single nuance about the bonus disk but I’ll not put you through that. Suffice it to say there’s a lot of information there, and you could spend hours on that bonus disk alone going through it all. Now let’s take a look at the main attraction. The four disk Transparency Template DVD set.
Transparency Template is a multi day seminar on Hypnosis that was hosted and taught by Jonathan Royal and a few of his guests and or friends. You are going to sit through at home a 12 hour, roughly three hours per disk, lecture on hypnosis. I highly recommend watching this with something to take notes on. The material presented, especially in the first disk and some of the second, can get very dry as its all legal related topics.
So what all information does this DVD set cover? Well the short answer is everything. Disk one covers all legal related subjects, risk assessments, etc. Disk two covers still more legal, and then gets into suggestibility tests, and preshow conditioning. Disk three discusses pre talk, volunteers, entrances and exits, music, props, costumes, and what to do if no one is responsive or goes under. Disk four discusses hecklers and a lot of what if situations like: Tech fault, lose props, an emergency occurs, there’s an accident, no chairs on stage, other hypnotists show up in your audience, and then goes into about 30 or so different inductions.
The product as a whole suffers from a couple of problems. For starters the way the information is presented. There’s no gradient in learning. There’s no you’re new so let’s start this off with the easy stuff first. Nope! It’s strait into the deep end with you, and by the way look out for the sharks. The entire first four hours or so is nothing but dry, boring material that is only made vaguely interesting by the use of a British accent. The camera work is jerky, and is plagued by constant auto-focus issues, and the video quality is amateur level at best. The sound leaves a lot to be desired for as well. At some points in the video there’s a lot of loud back ground noises, like glasses being moved around, that is very distracting to the learning process. Thankfully the presenters have all been micd but the sound levels vary greatly throughout the DVD.
I’ve never watched a magic video before that opens with so much legal concerns, loop holes, and information as to how to get through or around legal concerns. That’s kind of off putting for me. There’s a lot that goes into doing hypnotism, so this has got to be something you’re willing to dedicate yourself to. This isn’t something you learn because you want to do it at your next company holiday party.
Another thing that I found concerning is the amount of, for lack of a better word, drama that follows around the artist in this video set. Dr. Jonathan Royale’s reputation in the magic world isn’t the best. In fact one of the online bonus extra’s included is a link to a very long winded explanation why the accusations levied against him are wrong. I didn’t know who he was when I ordered my DVD and since then I’ve read more than a few pages online dedicated to outing him as someone with questionable ethics to say the least. I think I even recall reading an article that calls into question his doctorates. I’m not here to pass judgment. I don’t know Jonathan Royale personally, and I’m not one to be motivated by what I hear about someone sight unseen. But I will say that I feel there should be a certain amount of full disclosure involved while you are making your purchasing decision to support this artist. This is certainly one you should do your research on for yourself, weigh the evidence, and go from there.
So overall what did I think of this DVD set? To sum up a very long review I’ll just say it like this. Nice and short, and sweet: I found the entire DVD set to be long winded and full of information regarding the subject at hand. The information is presented in a way that makes it not very user friendly. Even the bonus disk is a hodge-podge collection of things thrown at you with no real sense of order in how to view them. The DVD set is plagued by low resolution video cameras, uneven sound levels, auto focusing problems, and no real clear separation or organization of the things being presented. If you didn’t watch it already then you would have no idea what Disk 1 talks about compared to what Disk 3 talks about.
Is this the definitive Holy Grail of Hypnotism? Is this going to be the only source of material you will ever need? I doubt it. I find that statement to be rather egotistical. The industry is forever changing, growing, and evolving. I doubt very much that this is the only information on hypnotism that you should learn from. Is it full of information? Yes it is. And I don’t want to down play that. Every subject you’d want to discuss about putting together and executing a stage hypnosis show is covered in this DVD set, but I would encourage you, especially in a field so rich for legal litigation, to always be willing to review new information as it becomes available.
So would I recommend this to someone who wants to learn hypnotism? At $130 dollars a hit I’m not sure I’d recommend this as the first thing they should look at. Yeah, sure I’d say look into it eventually, if you feel you need to. I’m just not sure this should be your first experience in learning hypnotism. I’m not sure what other sources are available on the subject, but I’d certainly encourage anyone interested in learning hypnotism to do their research and look around. I know there are even schools that teach this stuff, which may not be a bad way to go. I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of information here in this DVD set, but it’s just not presented in a way that’s attractive to a new student. You’re on your own on this one kids. I’ve sat through over 12 hours of tutorial to write this review and I don’t think I’m any closer to being able to hypnotize someone than when I started. But at least the presenters have a British accent right? I mean that always makes things sound better when you listen to it with a British accent. So there’s that.
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.
Product Quality: 6
There’s a lot of information on this disk. You’ll spend days if not weeks trying to sort through it all.
Teaching Quality: 5
Slow, sluggish, and hard to get through in places.
Video & Sound Quality: 1
Poor camera work, auto focus issues, sound level issues, this video may have good information in it, but the production quality is that of a high school AV club.
Overall Quality: 4
I’ve sat writing this review for a good three hours, and I’ve probably socked another 12 into watching these videos and I’m still on the fence with it. I can say one thing for sure. Exposure to this product has cemented my decision that I will NOT be using hypnotism in my stage act at all. This isn’t a product for someone who is curious. Even for the dedicated student I’m not sure there aren’t other sources that are easier to learn from. It is full of information though. I will say it is complete in that way. Probably has too much information really and maybe that’s what makes it not so user friendly.
Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!