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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 07/24/2004 10:30:29 EDT
Subject: Employ'g AND Recording Signals at Smaller Events

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Couldn't have said it better. I attended a filming which was to go into making a video for the NPS folks to show at their Park at Sharpsburg. Our piece got cut (sio I'm told) but not because it wasn't good. The film producer is holding on to it for another film opportunity I think.

The point I wish to share is that as the signallists were waving their flags and peering through their glasses, the director stopped what seemed, to most re-enactors, to be an ideal shot of busy staff activity at the Pry House (Littl' Mac's Hd-Qtrs setting). He exclaimed that something was missing. So he asked the entire grop what staff officers did that we were not doing in this scene. Everyone looked puzzled and came up with answers like scurry and concern'd? I smiled at this point and waited for the other re-enactors to stop coming up with what they thought the director wanted. With a big grin I finally chimed in with the word paperwork. "Paper work! That's it!" exclaimed the director. "We need to be shuffling paperwork! ... Now let's get some papers out and do this scene the way it would have occurd in 1862."

Just between you and me, I think the director was watching the signallist going through each 'take' as they would wave, write and pass their message to a foot messenger standing at-the-ready to whisk the import to someone else standing by to receive it in the film sequence.

It had never, ever, I mean no way had it dawned on the gathered re-enactors to incorporate the paperwork and many (most I know to have been very seasoned members of our re-enactor community) just carried their re-enacting experiences over into what they thought would make a 'belivable' staff setting. Wrong! In actuality, these same folks seldom lift a pencil or pen (wood, steel or feather) at events. Many field desks (even those porporting to be company clerks) can oftimes be observed with rolls or wads of papers crammed into their pidgeon holes but not find an ink well in sight that contains liquid ink (well some of the clerks actually know how to write). Recording, however, is another issue altogether.

And that's the point! Like Doug has commented, "People this is how we learn to do it correctly." With his modern day experiences he knows, as those of the 1860's did as well, "... after a field problem such as an FTX (Field Training Exercise) we do what is called an AAR then we go to the next point of doing what is called, an ALL (Army Lessons Learned) its all part of the learning process.

Is this watering hole a good place to begin the
lessons-learned process? Let's post those After-action-reports. Let's talk about what happened. Let's see if we are willing to learn from our lessons....Proverbs 12:1.

Tnx, Doug
Great Post. Next?

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