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Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 6th, '12, 12:21
by Lady of Mystery

Welcome along to a new part of the forum where we'll pose your questions to some of the biggest and best names in the business.

To get things started, our first interviewee is going to be the creator of the STEP System and iCandy DVDs, professional magician and Talk Magic's own regular nice guy, Lee Smith.

Please PM me with your questions by Friday 10th February, I'll then pick a handful of the most interesting and pass these onto Lee to answer. Lee's answers will be posted in this thread in due time.

So if there's anything that you've ever wanted to know about Lee, his thoughts on magic, where it all started, his favourite Ben and Jerry's flavour or just about anything else, now is the time to ask. :D

Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 17th, '12, 13:22
by Lady of Mystery
Thanks so much to all of you who snet me questions. I've picked some of the best and asked them to Lee. Below is the first part of our interview with him...

Hi Everyone.

Thanks for all the questions I will spend the next day trying to get through them all. Some will be more longer than other and hope they all make sense.


Here we go.

What started you off in magic and how old were you?

I am not really sure what started me off? It was just a hobby for me that got out of control.

I used to be a Carpenter by trade and picked up a few basic tricks to do on building sites as I wanted to have something different. I was about 17 year old when I first started.

It was just a hobby for a couple of years and the same as most I read all the main books, Encyclopedia of card tricks, royal road etc. I was purely self taught for a long time.

I then went onto run a bar for a friend (I was about 22) and it was here that I got to show my magic to more people on a larger scale. I had been performing in the bars and for friends for a while but now had the chance to show random punters. It all got more serious for me from this point and started learning from the Michael Ammar DVDs and many others. I ended up getting so involved that the Charles Wells chain started paying me to do other venues. I soon got pretty busy and that was how it all started for me.

Can you explain the route you followed into Magic, then into Close-up, and finally (so far!) into Commercial Products for Magicians

Please read the post above for my route into magic.

I have always been into close up and I have found it to be the most interesting and amazing form of magic out there. I like to watch all the magical arts but have always been a close up guy. I have never even done any stage or children's in my career. I have thought about branching out many times and have done a lot of parlor over the years but still do my close up material.

My commercial material came about from performing in the real world and making so many mistakes. As I was self taught for so long I would do something wrong and adapt it to my style (the well that didn't work so lets try this attitude) lol. I never let anything faze me and this would usually end up in me making up my own versions of effects. Before long I was doing them completely different and making up my own full routines.

I honestly didn't know what I was doing until I met other magicians years later and showed people my work. Everything I do has to be tried and tested it must be simple as possible and work for all audiences. Often laymen would say something like can you make this vanish or can you do this or do that? I would go home and find a way and often a new effect would be born.

I guess I just had no choice but to be creative, and now I am working with some of most creative guys out there that just being around those people rubs off on you. :D

Was the above a definite plan, or just something you fell into

It was just something I fell in to. My experience ids that you can have a rough idea and should aim for that but if you plan things to much it doesn't always work. I think if you be yourself work hard and put in time and dedication and enjoy what you do then things will happen for you.

What are your plans for the future, Magic-wise?

This is an easy one. I have none as I didn't think I would get this far. I feel very lucky to do what I enjoy for a living and If i can just keep doing it then I will be happy. I want to continue to put out products as long as everyone continue to enjoy it.

I do want my son to get into it and to perform when he is older.

There seem to be concerns about the changing quality standards of some playing cards, have you noticed this and, if so, how do you deal with the problem?

I have not really noticed to much? but I have seen all the talk about it. I always use bikes when I work and have noticed the change in boxes and face print from time to time, but never really found it to be a problem? Nearly all my material is impromptu and I go through one or two decks a night at a busy show. I think if I didn't trash so many and used gimmicks to match decks I might find It a problem?

I dont think laymen notice the discrepancies like we do so I wouldn't worry.

Setting magic aside for a moment, what else floats your boat?

I look after my Son full time which I love. I have great friends and family that I love going out with. I like going out and buying stuff (mainly clothes) my other half is into fashion and works in the industry so guess that has had an effect on me, lol.

I like gaming I spend lots of my spare time on the PS3 (big kid) but love it. I try and have break from magic when I can and when I do just like going out socializing.

Just to encourage those of us who are still struggling with sleights and moves, is there a sleight or move you just can't manage to do?

So so many,

I still struggle wit some of the most useful sleights. I do a really bad cull and often avoid using it. There are moves that have spent so long trying to do that I have ended up creating a new one. So yeah we all have this problem.

As a leftie, are there any sleights you omit from your work? For example, I struggle with the corner riffle used to select a card then catching a break after. Easy for right-handers, but lefties have the index on the wrong side!

Yep, I have the same problems and feel your pain. Us lefties have had to spent all those years learning everything back to front. I do my fans riffles and all sorts of moves back to front and upside down. Over the years I have learnt to adapt to do it both ways. I have not taken anything away from my set but made sure to make it work for me another way. Some things are easier as a leftie but others we have to put in much more practice.

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 20th, '12, 21:45
by Karma
Thanks to Lee and Lady of Mystery for this post, a very interesting read.

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 20th, '12, 21:55
by Lee Smith
Karma wrote:Thanks to Lee and Lady of Mystery for this post, a very interesting read.

Thanks Karma,

There will be more posted soon.


Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 20th, '12, 23:01
by Alfred Borden
Excellent stuff, an enjoyable read

I look forward to the next installment

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 16:50
by Ste Porterfield
Thanks for the nice read, Lee.

Mods, personally I'd like to see who asked a particular question as seen in a few Q&A sessions. :)

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 16:53
by Lady of Mystery
and here's the second part of the interview....

Of all the routines you perform, which is your favourite and which puts the biggest smile on your audiences faces?

I love all the standard routines, card to wallet, ambitious card etc. But for some reason David Stones cell (folded card to Cell phone) has always been the one for me that gets the reaction. I have tried for a long time to work out why it is stronger than everything else? I think it because the phone is just a phone and its just an impossible object. Always get a big smiles and has probably got me more repeat work than anything else over the years.

As a magician, have you ever had one of those moments when you just wished that the Earth would open and swallow you up?

Lots and lots of times. More so early in my career. I had one where I was doing ring on band with a borrowed ring. As I put the ring int the band it snapped and the ring bounced around and fell down the gap on the decking I was performing on. (lesson learnt) I think they thought it was part of the act until the manger came out with a hammer to lift the boards. :lol:

Who would you say was your biggest influence in magic?

There are a few magicians that have helped and influence me. Early on it was my good friend Sean Goodman. He really helped me out and gave me some great advice. I have to say Gary Jones has been brilliant. He is has helped me in so many way from good advice to being more creative. There have been a few but these guys have been brill.

Most of my best thinking gets done in the bath, where do you do your thinking?

I just have moments when an idea pops in. I have no idea why. Most of the time its at night while I cant sleep.

Which living magician would you like to meet?

I have been lucky enough to work or meet most the guys I wanted to. Nobody really stands out to be honest.

Which magician no longer with us would you have liked to meet?

I have to say Dai Vernon, Just to see what all the fuss is about, and to have had chance to pick his brains.

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 16:54
by Lady of Mystery
Thanks so much to Lee for taking the time to answer the questions for us :D

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 18:23
by daxi
Interesting..Thanks for taking the time to do this, both of you.

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 18:53
by Mandrake
Ste Porterfield wrote:Mods, personally I'd like to see who asked a particular question as seen in a few Q&A sessions. :)

Some of the questions were asked by more than one member but they'll all know who they are, we figured that the answers were the important point of the interview.

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 19:43
by Rob
I see my sheep question was duly ignored - Baaaaah!! :wink:

Seriously, though, a great read; thanks for taking the time, Lee!

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 19:56
by Palmo
Brilliant Idea for the forum. These'll quickly become the most read topic I should think.
I forgot to post my questions in time so decided to go for a coffee with Lee today instead (Very lucky me) and pick his breans live...
Thanks Lee for taking timeout for us all, though I am sure everyone is still dying to know, what is your fav Ben and Jerry's flav mate?

Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 21st, '12, 20:43
by Lee Smith
Palmo wrote:Brilliant Idea for the forum. These'll quickly become the most read topic I should think.
I forgot to post my questions in time so decided to go for a coffee with Lee today instead (Very lucky me) and pick his breans live...
Thanks Lee for taking timeout for us all, though I am sure everyone is still dying to know, what is your fav Ben and Jerry's flav mate?

Good to see you earlier.

And its the one with the little brownie pieces in it. :wink: yum yum.

Thanks guys for all the comments.


Re: Lee Smith

PostPosted: Feb 28th, '12, 12:12
by Acolophon
Thank you Lee for a wonderful thread. Lady of Mystery I'm sure you have whetted lots of appetites and many people are looking forward to many more. You really have given yourself something to live up to! Thanks again.