After the fiasco of filming at Universal and getting ourselves into a little bit of trouble we now had to work on marketing the product. We had a date set, March 1, 2013 AKA 3.1.13. We both liked the idea of the release date being a pattern and the numbers had a bit of a mysterious look to it and so the hope was that there would be hype built up around it.
I got to work on finalizing the DVD and the demo in order to have it ready by the release date. However, as soon as I began to edit I ran into a huge problem; the sound quality was terrible. In one scene it was too loud and then seconds later it would not be loud enough. Sometimes you could hear Sebastian teaching and other times you would just hear the sound of wind on the outside of the parking garage. What should I have expected when I chose not to shoot in a controlled environment?
I had no choice but to have Sebastian travel to Jacksonville to reshoot most of his explanations. I also realized that most of the demo reel did not look very good either and so we reshot much of that as well. We also thought it would be fun to include a bonus routine that I came up with and include it on the DVD. This was all happening two weeks before the set release date!
We ended up having to delete the teaser demo and pretty much tell everyone that we overestimated our own abilities. That was a major blow to the ego. Luckily the new footage looked amazing and the new demo showed the routines more clearly. Instead of creating a flashy demo where the complete routine is never seen, our demo clearly showed Sebastian’s handling for the entire routine without cuts. We were very proud of that.
I went through a lot of post production delays due to the collapse of The Poker Test. I got the DVD edited and the demo made by June of that year. Which worked out well, as one of the largest magic conventions was about to take place.
Sebastian and I had a DVD made and we were on our way to Las Vegas for MAGIC Live to pitch The Hofzinser Anthology to some magic shops. We were overly optimistic and naive as can be. The friends I showed the demo to all seemed to be excited, almost as excited as us. The magic shops we showed it to seemed interested as well. What we didn’t realize was that they tend to be excited about every “product” that gets pitched.
I am always telling myself “failure is not an option,” but sometimes it just happens. Not everything is in my control; if it were, I would be a lot more successful than I am now. The Hofzinser Anthology failed. We put together a DVD with 4 solid routines that all get increasingly harder in sleight of hand. Sebastian and I learned a very valuable lesson in this project: people don’t really want to learn the hard stuff. Most people want to buy the DVD and the gimmick that they can turn around and do tomorrow. One of the reasons Poker Test sold so well is that both experts and beginners alike can learn and perform it within minutes. The Hofzinser Anthology really caters to a specific crowd of magicians who know sleight of hand. It took me about a month to really get down two of the routines Sebastian came up with. And there are two more that I still can’t do. As it turns out, I am one of those people who does not like learning the hard sleight of hand.
We produced one thousand DVDs to sell and about one hundred actually sold. That is literally ten percent of the product sold. It was a very demoralizing and humbling experience. This was my first venture into the production of someone else’s work and I felt as if I had failed him. I had hopes and dreams to make Pinnacle Spades a powerhouse to compete with Theory11 and Ellusionist, but after a hit like that at 20 years old, it kind of dampens your ambitions to really compete with two of the biggest companies in the industry.
Failure is necessary. I don’t know the struggles that Theory11 and Ellusionist went through, but I am sure they have had their fair share of failures before they got to where they are. … Probably. As cliche as this may sound, if I let failure stop me, then I wasn’t cut out to do this anyways. I will not let this experience stop me or slow me down; instead I will learn from it and move on to my next project.
I know this was overall a shorter story, but I knew I needed to make my failures public. I think it is necessary for me to remember what I have been through and to let others know that failure isn’t the end of the line, just a blip in your story. You can quit, or keep moving forward. Quitting is easy, don’t take the easy path.