The original masters of special effects, were highly skilled laborers of the 20 and 30's. Their "old world" training was extremely thorough, and all that knowledge was collected
in one place, the studios. What is done now, is the 21st century version of what they did then. Many of those early skills are amongst the list, since they are still the best solution. Where it says "Painting,
Carpentry, or other skills you might think are simple, think again! They can paint a wall, a walrus or a wink, build you a box, a box car or a blink, that will look and act, exactly as the director thinks! pardon me Dr. Seuss
Alphabeticaly listed to emphasize there is no order of importance.
Real knowledge in as many fields as possible
Trades / Skills / Professions - previous to fx
Aerospace - mechanics, designers and engineers
Automotive - mechanics, designers and engineers
Biology / Anatomy - valuable knowledge when performing stunts!
CAD/CAM - on many different platforms and applications
Diving - certification is required for most prod. companies
Drafting - blueprint reading and creation
Electronics - use and create every type of electronic device
Engineering - all disciplines
Glass Making - breakaway, ceramics, blowing, etc.
Hydraulics - design, engineering and fabrication
Leather Working - an "old world" skill that still has many applications
Machining - all types of "high-end" equipment, and the tail gate of a truck!
Mathmatics - nothing happens without it
Mechanics - all disciplines
Metalurgy - black smithing, material processing
Model Making - miniature fx
Mold Making - sculpting is usually required also
Painting - scenic
Physics - it's all about physics
Plastering - sculpting is usually required also
Plastics - design and fabrication
Pnuematics - design, engineering and fabrication
Programming - any language, you never know what you'll be handed!
Pyrotechnics - on-the-job training and state / federal licensing
Rigging "high" - !
Sculpting - in all media
Sewing / Tailoring
Theater Crafts - This had to be on the list even though it's implied.
Welding - certification is a plus now and becoming a must
These are only suggestions, your way, is the right way!
Good luck, DC