Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest James Mapes author of Imagine That! Firing up your Brain.
In addition to being an author, James has ignited Broadway audiences with his critically acclaimed hypnosis show, “Journey Into the Imagination.” His performances have never failed to captivate his audience and win him praise from the media including such publications as the New York Times, Variety and the New York Daily News.
Beyond his one-man show, he has appeared in over 100 theatrical productions, television shows and feature films including Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek: First Contact, the thriller, Do You Wanna Know a Secret?, Conversations with God and The Wicker Tree.
James was the host/executive producer of the reality television pilot Through the Portal. James will be filming Robin Hardy’s Wrath of the Gods next spring.
In addition to acting, James is a Certified Clinical Hypnotist by the National Guild of Hypnotists and the American Board of Hypnotherapy and was the founder and director of the New York Hypnosis Center for twelve years.
According to James' bio, he is truly the embodiment of the Renaissance man: hypnotist, philosopher, performer, actor, writer, personal excellence coach and corporate speaker. He is an avid athlete, dividing his time between skiing, martial arts, skydiving, auto racing, hot air ballooning and white water rafting. Immensely versatile, Mapes is equally at home on the stage, behind a lectern, or in front of a camera. Described by many as a “visionary” or “futurist,” he delivers a message of unlimited possibilities, passion, love, humor and adventure. James Mapes is a living example of the creativity of the human mind at work and his mission is to show others how they can become masters of their imagination!
Good day James and thanks for participating in our interview
I noticed James, that you wear many hats. How do you integrate them into your life without going off the deep end?
I could not do it without a great support system including my endlessly hard working personal assistant. I basically have four careers that somehow work in harmony and complement each other.
After getting my MA in theater with my undergraduate in psychology, I threw myself into the world of acting and then producing a couple of summer stock seasons. I then became interested in hypnosis and began learning everything I could about it. So, in addition to acting I established my own private practice in New York City and also put together a hypnosis show.
The success of the show led to two public workshops, Positive Self-Image Training and Choices
which, in turn opened a path in 1982 to create The Quantum Leap Thinking Organization.
That steered me in to presenting keynotes and workshops for businesses on the subjects of creativity and leadership, which in turn prompted me to write my first book Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide to the Mind. All the while I continued to act. After nine years, my newest book is about ready and there are other projects brewing both in the field of the mind and acting. Whew! I suddenly got exhausted.Norm:
How did you get started as an actor? As a follow up, what was your training as an actor and do you specialize in any particular acting technique?
I started acting in high school and following a miserable two years in college as a math major and chemistry minor I enrolled at California State University where I earned a Master of Arts degree in theater and speech and an undergraduate in Psychology. That did it.
I loved every aspect of theater. I spent two years doing repertory in New Orleans and New Jersey before heading to New York City. After a zillion rejections and a lot of tenacity, I had a number of commercials running, did several soap operas and my first film Taxi Driver.
As far as studying, I was blessed to have studied with a number of wonderful teachers - Jeff Corey, Robert Ellenstein, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, and Michael Howard and others at The Actors Institute. I suppose I lean towards the method but I really have combined many techniques that seem to work for me.Norm:
Has acting changed over the years and if so, how? As a follow up, what are you feelings concerning the theater industry as it stands - do you feel optimistic or pessimistic?
Last part of the question first. I’ve been around for a long time and have seen changes in the film industry and heard doom and gloom about the demise of theater. It is alive and well and I am very optimistic - pretty much about everything. Actually, attitude is everything in speaking, acting and life.
Now, for acting. My feeling is that young actors don’t take the time to train properly. Somehow, there is a sense of entitlement that flows through many young actors. And that, I believe, is a direct result of the reality show explosion where it seems you can be a star for simply being a cruel jerk. Yes, that is how I feel. But, I also know many young filmmakers, writers and actors who have the passion to develop their skills and the compassion to treat people with respect.
Are you aware of any particular influence on your acting and what research do you undertake for a role?
Over the years, the actor Anthony Hopkins has become a friend. He told me that he reads every role 500 times before starting to create a character. That changed the way I approach a role. Of course I have ideas when I read a script but when you read a script 500 times - as I did for The Wicker Tree
- something magical happens. You kind of flow or mold in to the role without even realizing it and then when you show up on the set you are absolutely, totally prepared and therefore self-confident and comfortable. I then study the background; or rather create a background for the character. I always have a “secret” about me - the character, which I tell no one and if necessary, hire a dialect coach and work my tail off. With all my other careers still in play I have to have a lot of support.Norm:
What are the qualities in actors you most admire?
Outside of talent, I admire - dedication, commitment, the generosity of spirit to others, perhaps younger actors in a film, television or on stage. And, let us not forget passion. Norm:
I understand that you are the creator and president of The Quantum Leap Thinking™ Organization, and the creator of The Transformational Coach.™ What is this all about?
The Quantum Leap Thinking Organization is the frame around my speaking, writing and audio program career and really is about how we can excel by learning to manage our thinking and harness the imagination. It covers a lot of territory from visualization, managing change, overcoming fear and communication to leadership and teamwork. We rebranded a little over a year ago and my brand is “an expert on the imagination”.
As a personal excellence coach, I take a limited number of clients facing some personal or organizational issue and help them get “unstuck.” I like the word transformation better than change. Change implies we have to stop being who we are on some level. Transformation means that we can grow and expand, which automatically “transforms” our thinking, behavior and actions. It is all about leaning to manage our thinking.
What motivated you to become a hypnotist?
When I was in the New Orleans Repertory Theater run by June Havoc - Gypsy Rose Lee’s younger sister, she had a hypnotist in as a fundraiser for the theater. I was blown away, amazed and scared. It rocked my world. Part of me thought it was bogus, a trick - or that people were pretending. I was determined to find out - and I did. It still amazes and I have been blessed, through the show, to pass my amazement on to thousands of people as well as use hypnosis to do a lot of good.Norm:
You have recently authored Imagine That! Firing up your Brain. What motivated you to write the book and could you briefly tell our audience what the book is about? Who is your intended audience?
This book picks up where my first book let off. It focuses on the conscious mind and the subconscious mind and how brain science has given us a number of clues as to how to enhance our life mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. The first part of the book is about discovery. It is more than a “how to” book and provides very powerful tools to help people grow and recharge passion for living. It is tremendously interactive and plan to create a web presence to go along with the book. Norm:
Where can our readers find out more about you and your book Imagine That! Firing up your Brain?
It is not published yet but my first book Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide to the Mind
is available everywhere and still going strong. Your readers will love it.
I would also like to invite your readers to go to my WEBSITE
and sign up for my free monthly article. It is published in a number of newspapers and then I send it off to anyone who would like it. There is also a gold mine of archived articles to read and I invite people to follow me on Twitter and connect on Linkedin. That can all be done from my homepage.Norm:
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors
Follow Here To Purchase Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner's Guide to the Mind