You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.
On this page, you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked (and thought) questions planners have about Alvin and his programs. If you have a question we haven’t addressed here, feel free to contact us! We’re happy to chat with you.
What are Alvin’s travel requirements?
Alvin requires nothing special to travel within North America. He is able to travel alone, is completely self-sufficient and has the good fortune of not requiring attendant care. Alvin tries to be as flexible as possible, especially regarding budgets. He does not insist on First Class or Business Class airfare. Flights are booked at the best available fare, must be a changeable ticket but not necessarily fully refundable. Alvin prefers to book his own car rentals and to drive himself. To accommodate his needs he must rent a full-size automobile. Shuttles, cabs or public transit are quite inconvenient for Alvin so he tends to avoid these modes of transportation. However, limos are fine. Finally, Alvin requests a hotel room at or near the event location. His preference is for a king size bed if it is available.
Travel outside North America is a bit more complicated so please check with his office before any arrangements are made. We prefer to book Alvin’s travel in-house. Clients may handle travel arrangements but only with Alvin’s approval and input.
Important note: Alvin does not make airline policy or pricing…they do. It may seem as though it costs more to fly to the United States from Canada due to the Canadian Tax system, but actually distance dictates the price more than anything else.
Is there extra cost involved because of Alvin’s physical challenges?
None. In fact, part of Alvin’s professional standards are tight controls on any costs. If you have contracted Alvin with the “all inclusive” rate you just pay one fee and everything else is taken care of. When expenses are “in addition” every effort is put into making the expenses as reasonable as possible.
Does Alvin require any special assistance?
No. Alvin has adapted to carry his own luggage and care for himself all through the travel process. For flights, Alvin requires an aisle seat, preferably on the right side (facing forward). It allows him extra space to use his feet, but it’s also important if he requires any assistance from flight attendants, especially in case of emergency.
Does Alvin need an accessible hotel room?
No. In fact, rooms designed for the handicapped are less convenient, although if it’s the only room available, he can make do.
Can Alvin feed himself and does he have any preference of food?
Alvin can feed himself and requires no special diet. He does have a policy that is not related to his handicap. Alvin doesn’t like to eat just prior to speaking because of the potential for something to cause digestive challenges. He also believes that he should maintain a low profile before his program. If people see him even drinking a cup of coffee, it takes away from the impact on stage when he introduces the topic of his learning to use his feet. For that reason, he may also decline social events prior to his program as well, but not after. Alvin is very sociable and his participation in functions after his speech is encouraged.
Important note: Alvin has a life outside speaking so if he chooses to depart for home, he may decline invitations and that is not a reflection of his commitment to the client. If his presence afterwards is expected, no problem. Please advise.
Is there any paperwork involved in bringing Alvin to the United States?
Alvin has an E-1 visa which allows him to enter the U.S. without any paperwork on the client’s part. Other countries like Australia have brought Alvin in with a minimum of paperwork.
Many U.S. organizations require a tax exemption form such as a W-8BEN. If such a form is required please advise Alvin’s office. Darlene has copies of this particular form available and would be happy to provide it, and any other necessary paperwork you require.
Does Alvin travel to international destinations?
Alvin will travel outside North America and has, in fact, been to 5 different continents. Due to Alvin’s unique personal care challenges, to travel outside North America Alvin needs to bring his wife and business partner, Darlene for assistance on the flights due to length of flight and often at the destination. Alvin also insists on Business Class air travel as using his feet for long haul flights requires more space for meals, etc.
Some speakers restrict their travel to major urban centers or only large groups, does Alvin have such rules?
Alvin will go anywhere for the right price!! (Ha! Ha!) Actually, he has no restrictions at all. He has spoken to audiences from seven people (the smallest) to 7,500 (the largest) and has been places you can’t even imagine.
How long is Alvin’s presentation?
How long or short do you want it to be? Seriously, Alvin has one objective in the program he presents…to finish on time! Alvin has given presentations as short as 10 minutes and as long as 4 hours. Alvin’s strength is keynoting and a 60 to 90 minute slot is optimum. Every presentation is unique and Alvin works closely with the client/event planner to ensure their needs are met to everyone’s satisfaction.
What equipment does Alvin need?
Alvin Law’s equipment needs are a bit out of the ordinary. Because the program is largely based on the status quo perceptions in society, the visual nature involved is essential:
- Sturdy, non-swiveling, backless stool of approximately 30 inches in height
- Piano or electric keyboard and stool or bench
- Concert snare drum and stand (Alvin brings sticks)
- Stage or platform allowing optimum visibility
- Pro-quality wireless lapel microphone and sound system.
Alvin uses his musical abilities to demonstrate vital points and requires a piano or electronic keyboard and a professional quality snare drum and stand (he supplies his own sticks). They must be visible to the audience. On occasion the piano doesn’t fit on the stage, so in that case, assure that it is accessible to the stage and as visible as possible.
When not moving, Alvin uses a stool so he may use his feet as hands. Therefore, he needs a sturdy, backless, non-swiveling stool of about thirty inches in height.
It is important to Alvin that everyone is able to hear him clearly. Alvin has his own wireless microphone if you do not have one available. Alvin will be happy to bring his microphone if necessary. Please call if you are at all unsure.
The ideal setup is where the audience has an unrestricted view of the speaker. However, it is not necessary that he be on a stage or riser.
No special lighting is required but if available, may be utilized. Alvin likes to see his audience so if possible some houselights would be preferable. All of these requirements have been refined over 30+ years of professional speaking, and are proven to enhance the impact of the presentation – in other words, we ask for this stuff for your benefit! That said, Alvin is very flexible and will be happy to discuss variables.
What is a snare drum and where do we find it?
First, a snare drum is the most common drum and can be identified by the crimped metal “snares” across the bottom of the drum. Most music stores will rent them, although they are more accustomed to a long-term arrangement or renting the entire set. The costs vary and it is a piece of audio/visual that seems hard to justify, but it is as vital as any projector or power point equipment other speakers may require. Don’t hesitate to ask the simplest question if there is the least bit of confusion. It doesn’t have to be rented, it may be borrowed from a school or a musician, but it should be of sufficient quality to match the professionalism of Alvin’s ability and must be on a stand. He does bring his own sticks.
Will any piano work?
The piano is an important tool in Alvin’s program. He uses his toes, so a standard keyboard with weighted keys is a necessity. Many people own the portable, battery operated “Casio” brand keyboards and wonder if they will work – the answer is no! Key size and volume is vital. The keys on a small, portable, Casion keyboard are often too small for his toes and the entire audience needs to hear him. Visibility means the piano or keyboard should be on the stage but if that’s not practical (grand pianos are kinda heavy), please advise.
Does Alvin answer questions after his program?
Normally Alvin does not allow for Q & A during his sessions due to time constraints, but he will answer questions privately following his program. If time can be allowed and questions are a desired part of the whole session, that’s no problem. Alvin often says, “I’ve spoken to a lot of Kindergarteners, I’ve heard and answered any question you might imagine.
How does one greet Alvin or thank him following a program?
As Alvin discusses in his program, one of his most awkward moments is meeting people as the custom is to shake hands. Alvin can shake a person’s hand with his right foot but does not insist on shaking as he realizes not everyone is comfortable with that so whether it’s a pat on the back, a hug, or a kiss on the cheek, whatever is most comfortable for you.
What kind of audience is best suited for Alvin’s message?
Alvin first started speaking to children as a project of the International Year for the Disabled in 1981. His focus was very much on disability issues and awareness. Since he began, students, especially teenagers, have benefited from a message related to self-image and challenge. Over the years, Alvin has altered his program to suit any age and any background of audience while still using his life as the foundation. As Alvin likes to say, “The message is about the power of humanity, something we all have in common”. One important point; Alvin’s program is not about what Alvin alone has achieved. He uses his stories as a foundation but it’s his ability to adapt his program to fit each client’s needs that is most impressive. Because his story is so real, it transcends age, race or status of the audience members. The best thing to do is to contact his office and ask because chances are, Alvin can work his magic with your group, no matter who they are.
Does Alvin make his audience uncomfortable with his obvious difference?
The first thing you notice about Alvin is his own comfort level with himself. The next is his humour. Alvin’s most common comment from older students is he should do stand-up comedy. In fact, it’s Alvin’s difference that makes him so appealing. As Alvin has quite candidly stated in many speeches, you will never forget him as long as you live. If the goal of a speaker is to be memorable, Alvin is your speaker. Yet, as his wife Darlene likes to say, “There’s more to Alvin than what’s missing”. Many have said that after a short time you focus less on his differences and more on his similarities. One more point. Alvin believes in challenging every person present to think about their own attitudes so if they are at all uncomfortable, it’s a good thing. One sure way to grow is change our pre-conceived ideas and moving outside our comfort zones can be a great start.
Is there a religious tone to Alvin’s program?
No. Although Alvin is a very spiritual person and that does show, it’s not stated. In fact, it’s his ability to inspire people no matter what faith they do (or don’t) practice that makes him such powerful presenter. “No one person is better than another because we’re all just people who need to be more tolerant of each other’s beliefs” is a quote of Alvin’s that may answer the question.
Does Alvin speak to aboriginal, disability or other special groups?
Yes. For a white guy, his message can be tremendously powerful. Again, Alvin is so real that all people relate to him. Imagine him talking to a group of First Nations kids who feel like they have been cheated see a man without arms talk about how everybody faces challenge and true strength comes from within. With increasing suicide rates amongst teens, Alvin can reach high risk young people by providing a message of hope that anything can be overcome.
Does Alvin have products for sale?
Alvin isn’t a prolific product kind of guy. All he sells at this point is his International Bestseller and first book “Alvin’s Laws of Life, 5 Steps to Successfully Overcome Anything”. The book is only available from the website and comes in soft cover or ebook format. If time allows, Alvin would be happy to arrange to sell books on site after an event. Or you may make arrangements for advance sales or bulk purchases of the book by contacting Alvin’s office.