22. Why low-level skills are invaluable

As someone who creates and organises events for a living, I am used to being an octopus. Not that I’m naturally slimy or lurk in dark places — no, I just end up having a lot of different sort of tasks on my plate. Because to get even a small-scale larp event off the ground, the following skills come into play:

  • Game design (which in itself involves a whole sub-set of skills)
  • Writing (neither characters nor web page texts appear out of thin air)
  • Web design (buying www.coolestlarpever.com isn’t enough)
  • Layout (got a flyer, poster, book, etc? Word doesn’t cut it)
  • Social media (unless you promote somewhere else, of course)
  • Project management (if you’re not the only organiser, naturally)
  • Budgetting (something a surprising number of people dislike)
  • Location scouting (including talking with owners, and so on)
  • Prop building (not mandatory, but often useful)
  • Food (buying it, making it, serving it, cleaning after it)
  • Driving (since most larps aren’t held at your home)
  • Costume making (again, you don’t have to. But it’s cool)
  • Set design (those props have to go somewhere, right?)
  • Public speaking (doing briefings can be downright scary)
  • Carrying stuff (sometimes it’s a LOT of stuff)
  • Volunteer management (since few projects are 100% professional)
  • Photography (for those nifty-looking pictures)
  • Videography (for both trailers and documentation movies)
  • Money management (which is NOT the same as budgetting)
  • Accounting (which isn’t, either)

All this has to be done by someone

That someone doesn’t have to be you. But it can be an enormous pain-in-the-behind if you get to a point where you’re stuck because you’re lacking someone who can edit/write/film/talk, etc. That’s why I’ve found it a huge advantage to have a crazy number of skills at a low level. I also have some at high levels, but most of all there are very few things I can’t do.

So how do you go about getting these skills?

This is — surprisingly — the easy part. There are tons of people out there who want to teach, and there’s a whole internet full of guides, how-tos and collections of tips and tricks for the rookie. Whether it’s text writing (which most of us have done quite a lot during school, so we’re not exactly newbies, to be fair), cooking for 50+ people or organising storage space, there are lots of places to learn. And if asked, many people will gladly help you out.

Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Coach at McKinsey & Founding Partner at The Global Institute For Thought Leadership. Author of 31 books.

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