WORKS MAGIC ON HIS LIFE

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - HOME STEP INSIDE - Writ­ten by VERA CODY Photography by MARK HOLLERON

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 tonguein-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

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