Author Topic: Share your special skills  (Read 6999 times)

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PSMKay

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Share your special skills
« on: Apr 12, 2009, 11:57 pm »
Some of us have a "special skills" section on our resumes.  Others do not, but still have unique talents and experiences that make them valuable as stage managers or consultants.  I wanted to start building a resource list of members, so that when we land that crazy production where we suddenly need to know how to, say, make soap onstage, or assemble a legit mountain climber's kit, we know who we can email for advice.

So.  What skills have you used as stage managers that don't fit within the normal sphere of creating a show?  What have you done that might come in handy in the future?  Let's start building our network of expertise.

ddsherrer

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #1 on: Apr 13, 2009, 12:07 am »
I am a stilt walker and juggler and have been teaching it for years. Oddly enough, my current theatre does a fund raising auction and I've been added to the "Once in a Lifetime" section to give a private stilt walking and juggling lesson to the highest bidder.  It has absolutely nothing to do with my current job but I've done several shows where these skills have been vital.
If all the world's a stage, where's my stage manager?

ewharton

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #2 on: Apr 13, 2009, 12:12 pm »
My undergrad degree is in mathematics. My grad school did a production of Proof and although I was not involved in the show in any way I was called in to explain the math in the show to the actors. I did the same thing when a friend of mine was directing Arcadia.

Tempest

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #3 on: Apr 13, 2009, 01:23 pm »
I'm a belly dancer, crack a mean whip, and have a hobby as a historical costumer.  All three have come into play.  I had to teach an actress how to walk/sit/move, etc in a big, poufy, period skirt, teach an actor how to crack a whip (without just smacking it against the floor), and help another actor who wanted to change his posture for a character in a show where he played several different roles.  We over exaggerated belly dance's base posture, and Bob's yer uncle!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

Trevor7

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #4 on: Apr 13, 2009, 01:37 pm »
I know how to build a computer part by part, and I have a knowledge and collection of middle ages style weaponry (swords, spears, maces, axes etc.).

zayit shachor

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #5 on: Apr 13, 2009, 03:42 pm »
I can do a lot of different dialects, and I can teach them to other people pretty well. I can also read and write in the phonetic alphabet.

ljh007

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13, 2009, 07:30 pm »
I have studied flamenco dance on and off for years. It is an often imitated dance onstage, but theatres rarely get the posture and technique really correct. I also am a classically trained pianist and can lead vocal warmups and teach actors how to fake playing. (This is not so impressive in opera, where everyone plays piano and speaks at least 3 languages.  :P)

My husband has a really dorky hobby of painting fantasy miniatures (like, little elves and swordsmen and dragons and stuff). When we were first dating, this was not exactly the thing that won my heart until the day I was working a show where we needed to purchase and then paint about 200 little plastic Catholic saint statues (Lonesome West). Though not involved with theatre, when he heard about my current prop dilemma, he jumped in and painted all the darn things in about a day and a half. We got married 5 years later.

maximillionx

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13, 2009, 08:46 pm »
I have experience in gymnastics.  You never know when you have to teach an actor to do a kip-up or a handspring.

missliz

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #8 on: Apr 13, 2009, 08:53 pm »
I'm an award-winning baker! I've definitely done a few shows where I've done food prep, especially specialty food (bath buns, or a full israeli breakfast).
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

stagegal1

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #9 on: Apr 13, 2009, 09:30 pm »
I have taught people on 2 shows how to dance the Charleston (I'm not a dancer by any means, just have a knack for this one).

I have had to teach actors how to play backgammon on 3 shows.

Playing Gin, Hollywood style, is big in my family.  That came in VERY handy during a production of The Gin Game.

I have experience explaining the games, if anyone needs to know it for a show.

Allison

ScooterSM

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #10 on: Apr 14, 2009, 10:52 am »
I have taught many an actor how to safely and realistically hold and fire prop weapons.  (Of course this is after the fairly long and intense safety lecture...)

A more abstract skill/training that I use everyday is from my work in a psychiatric hospital when I was in college, where I learned conflict resolution, how to diffuse a crisis situation, and how to work with people of many different personality types.  It always gets a laugh when I mention it in interviews, but it is something that really made me a better SM.
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

babens

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #11 on: Apr 24, 2009, 03:31 pm »
The one that I have listed that seems to get notice is "works well with children and animals."  You may laugh, but I've worked with some stage managers who I would never want to see working with children.  I'm sure we've all done our share of Christmas Carols, Sound of Musics, Music Mans, Annies, etc, etc to know that it definitely does take a special skill set to work with kids.

JDL

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #12 on: Apr 24, 2009, 08:56 pm »
I am a foster parent (dogs) and volunteer for the West Texas Humane Society. I spend every Saturday from 12-4 at various PetSmart locations helping out any way I can. Not sure if its a skill, but it is very special to me!

"Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered."
-Bob Barker
AlL tHe WoRlD's A sTaGe... AnD i'M oFf BoOk!

Allinblack

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #13 on: Apr 28, 2009, 09:45 pm »
I have done several shows that have either had Banjos, Guitars, or Ukuleles. So tuning stringed instruments to several types of tuning pattern would be my special skill. 

Also, I can match the color of a Carmel color and water mixture if props provides a sample in a clear container.

Both skill sets are something that you learn once for a show and serve you well for a long time.

missliz

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Re: Share your special skills
« Reply #14 on: Apr 29, 2009, 09:13 pm »
The one that I have listed that seems to get notice is "works well with children and animals."  You may laugh, but I've worked with some stage managers who I would never want to see working with children.  I'm sure we've all done our share of Christmas Carols, Sound of Musics, Music Mans, Annies, etc, etc to know that it definitely does take a special skill set to work with kids.

Oh definitely. I have a friend who did a tour of Annie followed by a tour of Oliver! Special circle of hell for some people.  ;)
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

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