Here’s what it took to write a book and release a DVD. Would you release your material for the same result?

When I was 7, I witnessed a card trick that changed my life. I saw this simple trick and that inspired me to learn more about magic. I started going to a local magic shop to buy tricks. My family was very poor so it was up to me to save up the money to buy a new effect. I mowed lawns and did chores around the house for an allowance. I did this for years and even started performing at birthday parties to make more money. The more money I had, the more magic I could have.

I realized that books and VHS tapes yielded more effects than just buying a single magic prop. I learned as many tricks and sleights as I could to keep getting better and better. But I still wanted more. When I was 20, I found a mentor, Darwin Ortiz. I was honored to have one of the world’s best teach me. However, I had a similar problem. I could barely afford the lessons and the cost it took to travel 7 hours (one way) to Washington D.C.. I could only afford to travel for sessions about 2 or 3 times a year. To save money, I’d drive down and back the same day to avoid paying for a hotel. I studied and practiced hard for the next 10 years to gain as much information as possible. I studied to learn the effects, sleights, and the theory. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my mentor.

I began creating my own material. After another 2 or 3 years of creating, performing, and refining these new effects. I thought I’d take a shot at writing a book. But I didn’t know how to write. I realized that I was good at creating and performing, but I had almost no knowledge of how to teach or write a book. I stopped everything and bought as many books as I could on writing. For at least 3 years, I read and studied and applied those concepts to the work I had attempted to write years earlier. Slowly but surely, I began to see progress.

Another few years went by and the book was starting to take shape. I realized that I needed photographs and video footage to help sell and promote the book. However, these weren’t cheap. The video shoot was going to cost me around $5,000 after editing and hiring a cast and crew and paying a venue. This put everything on hold again. I had to do gigs to raise the money. Eventually, I raised the money and did a full photo and video shoot of all the material.

I reached out to Vanishing Inc. and we agreed to publish the book along with a sample DVD. A few years later, I decided to release the DVD set. I again had to save up the money to film the explanations and pay for the DVD production and duplication. In the end, everything took over a decade to complete and I had to finance everything myself. I achieved my goal, but with an unforeseen result: within three days, some scumbag thief in China was selling pirated copies of my life’s work for $2.99.

If you’re one of those people that buys pirated material, please stop. Every time you do, you’re killing our industry and you’re supporting people that had nothing to do with the artist’s vision. You’re as bad as they are. Everything I’ve ever released is for sale somewhere online for pennies. (This is true of almost every artist that has released any material through a reputable dealer.) My second book Game Changer was listed on the China knockoff websites within 24 hours of the release. Why should those companies see a profit for my lifetime of hard work?

Support the creators in the business by buying from reputable magic companies. Otherwise we’re going to get to a place where artists feel that it’s not worth it to release anything anymore. Would you write a book if most of the profits went to someone else? I didn’t think so. And finally, if you ever see a pirated copy of someones work, please contact the creator with the information so they can take care of it.



Comments are closed.

  1. Ray 5 years ago

    Jason, I agree 100%. When certain creators stop publishing, then it might get folks attention but I suspect even then it won’t make much of a difference. I also had to scrape and save in order to afford magic books as a kid. Video didn’t exist, so no piracy issues there but I know guys would Xerox lecture notes and share. I never did and never will.

  2. Jeff Ashkettle 5 years ago

    Andi and Josh are working hard to prevent piracy so you are at least with a great team. Believe it or not (and not to make this political ) President Trump is also fighting piracy of out intellectual properties that China and other countries have been getting away with for years. I’m glad to see that people are paying attention to this problem and working on it. Good luck to them all. I do buy from legit sites for the most part but when I don’t, I buy directly from the creator. This helps the creator both ways. They get a little more with direct sales but buying from legit sites keep these sites buying in bulk and inventorying the products getting to a broader base.

  3. Axel Winter 5 years ago

    There have always been copies, not only in magic. The people buying those copies would never buy the original. IMHO you loose next to nothing because of that.
    Sure it sux, but it is as it is.

  4. Axel Winter 5 years ago

    There have always been copies, not only in magic. The people buying those copies would never buy the original. IMHO you loose next to nothing because of that.

  5. John 5 years ago

    I agree 100%!

  6. Joe R. 5 years ago

    Awesome content. Thanks

  7. Simi Valley 5 years ago

    I thought that publishing a book and really having something to add to a world, perhaps the most complete of card magic would have been difficult. Difficult but not impossible because Jason Ladanye with his Game Changer has confirmed that it can. The book is fantastic both in its editorial and in its content, reading and learning are facilitated with plural photographs that portray the salient points of the effects a truly remarkable editorial commitment. Fabrizio Bottino Cardician. italy

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