At the end of 2011 I had a run in with Johnny Ace Palmer (look this guy up, he’s amazing) and I got to show him my trick. He loved it and asked me to teach it to him, so I ended the year very well. I wish I could say 2012 started out just as well but unfortunately it did not. I had a few email interactions with Greg about how to release this trick in the beginning of the year. We talked about him filming some footage and me filming the rest, but even though we had an overall plan I had no idea how to move forward on selling a magic trick. That was a whole new beast to tackle. The trick was made. It was audience tested. But I was stuck.
This is what Greg was referencing when he said to do the hard work yourself, I just didn’t know what the hard work was supposed to be. So basically, I gave up. Not magic, I just gave up this whole idea of being a published creator because I didn’t know how to move forward at all.
Logically, I should have put a demo together and sent it to Greg and asked him to send it to his contacts. Or I could have asked Greg to send me their emails, which would’ve made even more sense. Instead, I just stopped. I moved in to my own place, got a third job and only used the magic job to fly me to conventions to work in the dealer’s room. If I wasn’t at a convention, I was working constantly and trying to make enough money for rent, food, gas, and other necessities. I stopped thinking about The Poker Test and I kind of stopped thinking about new magic all together. I wasn’t trying to create and I wasn’t trying to learn anything new. I just stuck with the classics.
Luckily that all changed fast! In May there was a convention called The International Magic Experience and that was the first big convention I had the chance to go to, it was an amazing experience and truly reinvigorated my love for magic. There were so many people in my age group there too that were so creative and much more talented than me. Meeting people younger than me and leagues ahead of me is the most motivating thing ever and anytime I wasn’t selling, I was soaking it all in, meeting everyone I could meet, and learning as much as I could.
And you’ll never guess who was a hired performer there. You probably did actually. Gregory Wilson! I talked to him for a bit and he asked me how The Poker Test was going and if I had one on me he could borrow. Luckily I had brought three gimmicks with me. He then called one of his friends over and asked if I remembered the routine enough the show his friend. I certainly hadn’t forgotten any of it and I quickly did a demonstration for his friend. Much to my surprise, his first response was to say he wanted to buy it from me. That was a punch to the gut knowing that someone wanted to buy it, yet I hadn’t made it available for sale. It was very disappointing telling a potential customer I wasn’t able to sell him my trick because I hadn’t done the work in producing it. The only positive was knowing that my trick was wanted and that motivated me to get back to work.
When I told him it wasn’t for sale yet his response floored me: “Well, when it is available I would love to buy the first 1000 units.” The only thing I could think of to say was,“Uhhh, yeah it’s for sale now.” So he gave me his card and told me to email him. It was Acar Altinsel, the owner of Penguin Magic.
Greg, being the incredible guy he was, called over the owner of Penguin Magic and told me to show this trick to him knowing he would buy it. Then he went with me to the café in the hotel, refreshed his memory with Poker Test, and then filmed the demo material with me. I could go on and on about how great Greg is for all of this; for helping build my routine, getting me in contact with Penguin Magic, and filming the trick for me.
Shooting the demo video with Greg in the café was the first tangible steps to actual development of the product. I went home and started ASAP on my 1000 units. I had to borrow some money to get off the ground, obviously I had to get my hands on 1000 Royal Flushes and a ton of blank face decks, then I had to…. well…. make the trick which I won’t go into too much detail for obvious reasons. This is where problems arose. Making these things by hand and working multiple jobs was extremely difficult. Every day was a mixture of working one of my jobs, then at nights I was in my garage making these things. I had some friends who helped me immensely as well and I am so thankful for their support. In my upcoming post I’ll be writing about one of my ideas that, in retrospect, turned out to be illegal. However at 19 I really thought it was a great idea.