Online Magic Act Generator

Mar 27, 2015
We are soliciting input from the magic community for an online magic act generator.

Over their careers, magicians see countless acts, learn thousands of methods, slights, banter and gaffs (collectively called routines). This web application allows magicians to catalog their routines. Magicians can cite where they learned it, who or what influenced it and how they personalized it. Magicians have the option to share their routines with others. The benefit of cataloging routines is access the crowdsourced pool of routines that feed a “Set Builder”. The set builder helps magicians find routines and sequences them into a cohesive set.​

We'd like to know what you think about this idea. How would you characterize a routine? How would you match routines to sets? What would motivate you to contribute a routine to the catalog?

Please post your thoughts to the forum.

If you'd like more information about the project, you can checkout the project's home page at

The motivation for this is a graduate-level class project.
May 6, 2013
I believe that creative freedom in designing a set lets the magicians' self translate into their act. With patters being sold already, I believe - and I hope I don't offend anyone - any formulaic structure builder would only take magic away from art.
Mar 27, 2015

That's a good question. We've reached out to Penguin, but we haven't heard anything back.

I'd say that one difference is motivation. Penguin's act generator is commercially motivated. We are doing this project for a class project.


Aug 31, 2007
I just checked out yours and penguins. I can't really get Penguin's to do anything. Your layout is much better, being able to browse sets and routines would be really interesting. One suggestion would be to add search filters (most liked, most popular , newest, category, materials, price etc)
I would have found this very interesting when I started out. People generally love to share and brag, so I can see people contributing set ideas and routine ideas. It would really motivate people to share quality work if there was some sort of (tangible?) reward system for those whose routines, and sets they share are most liked or something.
Two challenges and two thoughts. First as Ibimania suggested, it takes away some of the art of it when you use other people's canned shows and routines. There's something beautiful about creating something yourself and performing it. That said, a beginner will use sets of purchased tricks and use the same canned patter, and will have great success as a hobbyist (and even perhaps a few paid gigs). The professional will branch from there and create their own material and own patter that reflects them. They won't share that, however that's not necessarily the aim. It might be interesting to think about a) adding an element that encourages growth in the area of creativity, and b) finding some way to target and encourage participation from those who have moved beyond canned patter.
The second challenge is that material could be so easily ripped form another magician. "I saw Wayne Houchin put these trick together with this theme _, to this music_, and say this _, so I will write this as my own idea and share it." Aside from a report button and encouraging credit to be given, I don't know if you could ever police that. I wouldn't like to find my show up on something like this.
One final thought. I am not super creative. When it comes to tricks, I can easily modify someone's idea, but I have only made one workable effect that I use in my show. The rest are purchased effects that I have adapted to fit my show.
I'm a presenter. Give me anything and I can present it. However it takes me ages to create because I'm not a creator. The same with scripting. give me a script that I can tweak, and I can work with that. Creating my show has taken years (That's not a bad thing - like aging a wine, but some people can crank that stuff out). So I can see two sides to this. It may be interesting to help people see potential by letting a few people contribute routines to one set. For example, someone puts together three effects and gives a nice patter and theme to it. Someone else could add a different twist to the theme and patter, and others could do the same. Then someone looking at the sets could see the set and four or five different themes like time travel, murder mystery, pop culture, and science fiction. This might help people learn how to think out of the box. They don't always have to present an effect as "Let's try an experiment..."

Ultimately, would something like this be helpful? Not sure. But I think there are enough creative and generous people who would love to share and contribute to this to make it work (lots of helpful magicians on forums), but I can also see professionals closely guarding their material. Others would add material of their creation to help sell it - also helpful.

I flip flop, but there's a lot of potential that's worth exploring.
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