And they're off...

Well, it looks like Jim Rosebrock is off and running with the Antietam Battlefield Guides. He has been in charge just a few months and there has already been a new batch of candidates taking the test. I wish the new folks the best of luck. Interestingly, the written test is usually the 'easy' part. Now they candidates have to prove that they can apply their knowledge. Here are my top ten tips:

  1. Don't talk about anything you can't see.
  2. Try to create an emotional connection between your guest and things you talk about.
  3. Don't mention someone's name unless you will be mentioning them again.
  4. If you insist on mentioning someone by name just once, share a great tidbit about their life (see Ed Bearrs "Fields of Honor")
  5. A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end...hopefully.
  6. Listen. Talk a little. Listen....(meaning: know when to shut up.) See above.
  7. Have a point of view. Express it with humility and in context.
  8. Speaking of context, start every new location with context, eg. time of day, troops locations.
  9. Speaking of Hitchcock: “The essential fact is to get real suspense you must let the audience have information." Tell the end of the story and then tell the story. Constant reminders of this looming danger will build suspense.
  10. But not too much info. Keep it simple. As Hitchcock says, “what is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out…”

Feel free to ignore my advice and/or give me some. But most of all, relax and have fun.