Meet the Members: Dan Sloane

Tell us a little about yourself and your involvement with Unicorn Studios?

I’m Dan Sloane, along with Steve and Rob I helped found Unicorn Studios.  As I travel a lot, they do the hard work whilst I write the Covid policies and fire risk assessments… although I’m quite proud of creating our wall-mounted Unicorn sign.

My day job is delivering technical solutions for live events, exhibitions, museums and visitor experiences.  This involves lots of time reviewing architects' drawings, realising the creative aspirations of designers and digital artists and making various gadgets talk to each other.

What was your first job?

My first job was at The Leather Shop on Bent Hill in Felixstowe.  It prompted many jokes at school related to the combination of address and shop name.   I knew a lot about Enny handbags and Samsonite luggage but was fired because, to quote the owner,  I ‘couldn’t clean as well as a girl’.

What work accomplishment are you most proud of?

Although I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in many big public facing projects, I think Production Manager for Video and Projection at the London 2012 Olympics is one I’m most proud of.   Four major shows in a 70,000 seat arena with nearly a billion people watching globally on TV still gives me a buzz when I think about it.   I was fortunate to manage a brilliant team of video and broadcast technicians and it looked fantastic both on screen and in real life.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

I aspire to be an early bird as I love the light at that time of day, but often go to bed too late.  When I have a task to focus on - particularly completing CAD drawings - I much prefer doing this late at night.

When working at home what is your guilty pleasure?

Saying goodbye to the kids as they head off to school then taking the dog for a walk and sitting on the beach to read and reply to emails.

What’s one of your favourite memories from the last year?

Getting back on site to Expo 2020 in Dubai in time for testing the systems and the opening ceremonies at the beginning of October.  My previous trip was long and I ended up isolating in my hotel room due to catching Covid and then returning as a Red List traveller passing through un-masked, un-distanced London on ‘Freedom Day’.

Putting on a comms headset for the first time in 18 months for the buzz of a live show was amazing.   Hitting ‘Go’ on the water feature we built in the DP World pavilion gives me spine tingles as it triggers all the senses.

What’s something you’re planning on doing in the next year that you’ve never done?

I’m learning all about Aquaponics for a project delivering in Singapore. This is a subject I never thought I’d cover and a place I’ve never been to.

What is your hidden talent?

I’m not a bad singer and was having singing lessons earlier in 2021.  It’s something that’s staying hidden except for in front of my teacher and when I’m in the car.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

Carpentry. I love building things but am impatient and - I think - because I’ve spent my life delivering temporary live shows I have a tendency to think  ‘that’ll do’ and then be unhappy with the results.  It’s always a good excuse to buy new tools.

What three people would be your fantasy coworkers at Unicorn studios? And why?

I’d like to share a space with someone like YouTuber Colin Furze, who makes amazing or utterly ridiculous creations and could teach me how to weld. Second, someone intelligent who can make me laugh like Sandi Toksvig.  Finally, someone inspiring and interesting who’s lived a very different life to my own: I first heard Syrian refugee Steve Ali on the BBC’s Grownupland podcast… he’s funny and brought an alternative view to every topic covered on the podcast.

Would you rather be a tiny unicorn or a giant hamster?

Having owned a hamster, the only real benefit I see is their small size to allow them to hide behind dishwashers, skirting boards and shoe cupboards, so I’d have to be tiny unicorn.  Small, magical and able to fart rainbows.

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