For over 40 years Elliott Smith has followed his dream of being a magician. The passion for magic has followed him throughout his life and has expanded to include becoming a successful author, motivational speaker, and corporate team builder, all using magic as a vehicle to entertain and teach.
The charismatic entertainer loves what he does and encourages others to follow their own dreams as he travels the world meeting people of different cultures, traditions, religions and backgrounds. Having performed on large stages in front of huge audiences, including private performances for Liberace and Jay Leno, he most enjoys doing close-up magic tricks where people's reactions energize him.
According to Elliott's wife Roslyn Franken, most people think inside or outside the box - but in her husband's case, she knows there is no box. The proof of this is seen by the way their home's perfectly manicured lawn has raised a few eyebrows. Maybe that's because Elliott likes to vacuum it! After all, it is artificial turf.
Inside, their eclectic home pays homage to collections of vintage memorabilia and the humour continues with accents in every nook and cranny that make you think twice: a headboard resembling giant puzzle pieces; footprints running up and down walls; shoes hanging from the ceiling; and a sawed-off female mannequin to greet you in the entrance.
Elliott believes we all have a choice to do what we want in our lives. Years ago, he left a safe career and a life of complacency, and has never looked back. Magic has given him the courage to believe that he can inspire others to do what he did. Dreams can come true.
What inspired you to become a magician? I watched the Mark Wilson Magic Show every Saturday from when I was six years old, and was totally enthralled. I told my parents I wanted to be a magician. They told me to first get an education and a real job, and then I could do what I wanted. After school, I would practise magic in my bedroom until it was perfect and I studied books at the main Ottawa library. The librarians kept ordering more books for me and I would show them tricks I had learned. There were no videos, DVDs or the Internet back then. When I was 16 years old, I joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Ottawa Society of Magicians where I learned from other magicians and shared ideas, and was later awarded the Order of Merlin Shield.
What's different about your magic? The years of determination, patience, dedication and discipline that have honed my skills. I do tongue-in-cheek, highly interactive comedy magic. My marketing material says, "If you don't want to laugh and have a good time, don't book me."
What's your favourite magic trick? I have been doing this rope trick since I was a kid and have kept it in my repertoire all these years because of the extreme reactions I get. You take ropes of different lengths and all of a sudden they become all the same length and then they go back to being three different lengths. That trick is one of the most visually impacting pieces of magic I do. When someone can't figure out how a trick is done right in front of their eyes, that's magic.
Do you consider yourself an entertainer or a magician? I would like to say I am an entertainer playing the part of a magician. Or I am a magician that entertains. I am both. My persona on stage is the same persona in my day-to-day life. I'm a kidder and a joker, personally and professionally.
Why can't you reveal the secrets of a trick? It would destroy our art form if people already knew how the magic is done. I tutor up-and-coming magicians and people who I know truly have that passion, and not someone who just wants to know how it is done. I am bound by a sworn oath to secrecy. When people ask me how I did a trick I say, "Very well." People want to be amazed. Knowing would ruin it.