1st Person Impression

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1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:44 pm

Firstly,

I'm an Electrician and not a novelist, and Ben wanted a pen history for the website

What is a First Person Impression?

Doing a first person impression means that you are acting and speaking as if you were a real person living in the time period you portray. For example, if someone came up to ask about your display and impression, instead of saying, "I'm portraying a member of the xx Division, which was..." etc.

A first person impression doesn't just require you to be "that" knowledgeable about your impression (But it helps), but also about your time period (in terms of cultural references and expressions). You'll also need some acting skills to remain "in character" during public hours.
Why do a First Person Impression?

Aside from helping you get a better idea of daily life in the time period you do, a first person impression can also be an excellent tool to get visitors interested in your display and teaching them about history.

Most people could walk into a museum about World War II and see the uniforms and equipment there just as well. Living history gives them a chance to touch, try on, and "try out" history in a way that is more than just looking or just reading. After all, how many museums make it possible for you to interact with the displays!

There are many ways to do living history, and the ability to "stay in persona" has a lot to do with how effective your display will be. Some people like to have a guide who leads people through the camp and explains what the re-enactors are doing, while the rest of them stay in character as if they were in 1944 England/France etc.

In addition, the other group members could also keep from getting bored sitting around the display by engaging in some historic activities, such as Cleaning Weapons, Drill, map Disscussions , or cooking an authentic meal over their campfire.

Setting up a first person impression can be a lot of fun - if you take your time to put together your pieces and if the rest of your group play along and know you by your persona's name. After all, what's the point of going through all the trouble to put your persona together, if nobody calls you by that name or plays along.

It would be like playing Brutus on stage, and the other actors are calling you by your real name. "Et tu, Joe?"

The easiest way to set up your persona well is to incorporate as much of your real-life persona into it as you can - this also helps you to remember all your details while you're at an event! For example, if you have a sister named Sarah in real life, your persona might have a sister named Sarah as well. That way, you could chat about your sister while you're in character. The first two things you should jot down, however, are your persona's name and date of birth.

Picking your Birthday

A new year of birth is the easiest part to choose. You simply decide for which year you'd mainly want to set up your impression - for example, mine is set up for 1944 at most events. Then you subtract your actual age from the year and voila, you have your new year of birth. Me, I was born in 1897 - 1944 for the year minus 47 for my age. And if you have spare time on your hands, you might want to see whether your new birthday falls onto a holiday or an important date in history - it could make for a fun (or funny) story to tell around the campfire while you're in character.

Picking a Name

Most American historians who do an American impression for World War II use their own name, of course.

For those of us who don't already have a American-sounding name, or simply want to use a different name for their persona, this is no problem, because we can chose whatever we'd like to be named! Unfortunately, a lot of re-enactors end up picking names that are very unusual, even by American standards - of course,

Here are some useful websites for choosing a American names male and female:

1940's

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1940s.html

1930's

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1930s.html

1920's

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1920s.html

1900's

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1900s.html

1890's

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1890s.html

1880's

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1880s.html


I think that a simple name that is easy to remember and easy to pronounce is always a good choice in living history. Of course that doesn't mean we all need to be the John Smith's of America.



First Person Worksheet

Hopefully the first person worksheet is going to help you in putting together a persona. It just covers some of the basics that you should consider and set up. I found it helpful to have a notebook at hand to write down all the information I wanted include for my persona when I did this for my first impression. It also helped me remember a lot of those things!

→ Yourself

Your full name, to include your middle name
Your date and place of birth
Current Residence
Your education
Your job
Hobbies and Interests
Your favourites


→ Your Family

What's your mother's name?
Where is she from?
Who are your maternal grandparents?
What's your father's name?
Where is he from?
What does he do for a living?
Who are your paternal grandparents?
Do you have any aunts, uncles, cousins, etc?
Do you have any siblings?
Where do your parents live?
What are your parents' political views?
How do they feel about your work / friends / school, etc.?


Of course these are just some ideas to get you started. You can expand this list to include as much information about yourself and your family as you would like. Or you can keep it simple and just do the basics - it all depends on how much you want to put into it and what you want to gain from it.


Or if you're the crafty type you can make a little photo album with pictures of your relatives (whether they're photos of your real grandparents during the time period or pictures of "instant relatives" you've found at an antiques shop) and photos of you in period clothing at events.

You can of course do some of this, all of this or even none of this.

The main Main body of text is from here, with adaption to suit US names etc

http://reenacting.bdmhistory.com/firstperson.html and all credit to them.



Regards

Les


Last edited by Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:56 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:45 pm

Name: Lester "Mayo" Duggan

Age: 47 (As of October of 1944)

How Inducted: Career Soldier from the age of 21, enlisted 28th June 1918

Service Number: 5061964

Data taken from here
http://users.skynet.be/jeeper/page82.html
And here
http://users.skynet.be/jeeper/page83.html

Date of Birth: June 24th 1897

Place of Residence: St. Paul Minnesota

Address:
84 Moreland Ave E,
St. Paul
Minnesota

Place of Birth: Prescott, Arizona

Education: Student of History at University of St. Thomas, grew up in Arizona son of a Mechanic and a School Teacher

Marital Status: My Girl is Alice – I Shipped out before I was able to propose

Favourite Sports Team: The Los Angeles Dons of the Pacific Coast league

Current Position in Military:326th Airborne Engineer Battalion of 101st Airborne Division.

Role: Demolition’s

Religion: Protestant.

Occupation before enlistment: Mechanic


Family
Father: George Duggan - Mechanic
Mother: Enid Duggan - High School teacher

Parents Address:

Granite Alley Garage
621 Miller Valley Road
Prescott,
Arizona

Mothers school

Prescott High School
1050 N. Ruth Street
Prescott,
Arizona


Brother: Matthew Duggan - older brother Bomber Navigator in the 9th Airforce


Regards

Les


Last edited by Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:47 pm

I was born on June 24th 1897, my Father was then then a carpenter (who later during the depression was to become a mechanic) and my mother an high school teacher, I had a two year old brother named Matthew, and lived in an average sized house in Prescott, Arizona.

I grew up in that same house and you can well imagine the taunts of my school mates with having your mother as your teacher and watched with great interest the unfolding events of the war in France during my late teens,

Eventually enlisting at the age of 21 in the June of 1918,much to the dismay of my parents, more so my mother. But like many others I couldn’t simply watch it happen and I began my induction into the Army with the 109th Infantry Regiment part of the 28th Division.

The war however much to the relief of my dear mother ended before I had completed my training and my unit was sadly deactivated in the spring of 1919.
I moved around divisions over the years to follow slowly creeping up the chain, the constant moving around meant I never found “that” girl to steal my heart.On the 17th February 1941 at Camp Livingston, Louisiana the old 28th Infantry Division was re-activated and I requested to be sent there and luckily I was.

Everything was going well, I say was….

until I did meet that girl, who just happened to be the Lt. Col's Daughter, well of course after several months we were found out, and for some reason he wasn’t all that happy about his daughter seeing a lowly Sgt, and it was suggested to me from higher up the chain of command that It might be a good idea for me to request a transfer.

The war in Europe was of course well underway by now.

I’d heard that the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion was being activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana not all that far away from where I was, it was a no brainer, same location, different unit, in went the relevant forms (one of many) and I was subsequently granted a transfer due to my knowledge of demolitions to aid in the training and reorganisation of the 326th.
The battalion was moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with the 101st Airborne Division, on 29 Sep 1942. Where we took part in all, the divisional exercises and manoeuvres.

After a year’s extensive training I, and of course the rest of the 326th AEB were deployed to England on a sunny 5th September 1943, from Pier 90, North River, New York. The Ship number 294 (HMS Samaria)

Where we landed some considerable time later in a very cold and wet Liverpool, England, and the battalion was moved by train to Basildon Park, near Reading, Berkshire.

For yes, you’ve guessed it yet more training………………….


TBC

Regards

Les


Last edited by Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:04 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:49 pm

Right now thats done

off to find a decent picture of me for the website.... affraid

That may however take sometime... lol!

Regards

Les


Last edited by Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:54 pm

Doh !

this should have gone in reference study
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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  murph on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:30 pm


'There are many ways to do living history, and the ability to "stay in persona" has a lot to do with how effective your display will be. Some people like to have a guide who leads people through the camp and explains what the re-enactors are doing, while the rest of them stay in character as if they were in 1944 England/France etc.

In addition, the other group members could also keep from getting bored sitting around the display by engaging in some historic activities, such as Cleaning Weapons, Drill, map Disscussions , or cooking an authentic meal over their campfir
e.'





Les, That is first class! Up to now we have been skirting in and out of the whole idea. I know that some living historians choose a real life person and base them selves around that idea. I am not comfortable myself with this notion and what you have suggested is an excellent way round the issue.

We do different impressions all the time and choose different outfits, but the background information will always stay the same. We have really expanded on the idea of living history displays but there is more work to be done. Some of you may re-call meeting Val and Tony Duds. who are both long time living historians at Trowbridge. Their display was very much based on the idea of an open camp setting with the public free to walk around and talk to them.

We can do the same, agreed there is the whole idea of security but if we set the camp correctly we can keep the 'living areas' away from the display area and assign an area of responsibility to each member to keep their eyes and ears out for tea leafs.

We at GI 44-45 have a good record to date on interacting with the public but there is huge scope for improvement. If we can develop this idea it could lead to more events that pay for us to turn up covering costs and allowing us to buy better kit etc.

Exciting!


Last edited by murph on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:43 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:34 pm

Hi Les,

Thanks for sharing this excellent collation of data. What's the source for the first post, by the way?

I have also moved this to Reference.

Cheers,
Ben.

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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:52 pm

Ben,

here

http://reenacting.bdmhistory.com/firstperson.html

and they should take the credit for it !

I did however change it to suit US and added links over the weekend to something more suitable for our needs

I did have a link in the original site in word, but seems to have lost it in translation, well as I move it from word to the forum all the formatting vanishes ?

Regards

Les

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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Dantheman on Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:46 pm

murph wrote:
'There are many ways to do living history, and the ability to "stay in persona" has a lot to do with how effective your display will be. Some people like to have a guide who leads people through the camp and explains what the re-enactors are doing, while the rest of them stay in character as if they were in 1944 England/France etc.

In addition, the other group members could also keep from getting bored sitting around the display by engaging in some historic activities, such as Cleaning Weapons, Drill, map Disscussions , or cooking an authentic meal over their campfir
e.'





Les, That is first class! Up to now we have been skirting in and out of the whole idea. I know that some living historians choose a real life person and base them selves around that idea. I am not comfortable myself with this notion and what you have suggested is an excellent way round the issue.

We do different impressions all the time and choose different outfits, but the background information will always stay the same. We have really expanded on the idea of living history displays but there is more work to be done. Some of you may re-call meeting Val and Tony Duds. who are both long time living historians at Trowbridge. Their display was very much based on the idea of an open camp setting with the public free to walk around and talk to them.

We can do the same, agreed there is the whole idea of security but if we set the camp correctly we can keep the 'living areas' away from the display area and assign an area of responsibility to each member to keep their eyes and ears out for tea leafs.

We at GI 44-45 have a good record to date on interacting with the public but there is huge scope for improvement. If we can develop this idea it could lead to more events that pay for us to turn up covering costs and allowing us to buy better kit etc.

Exciting!

Yeah, top work Les! Always good to explore ways to improve ones individual impression which in turn will only improve the groups overall display further, detail being the key!

I know what Murph has picked up on is only a small element of everything you've mentioned Les but i have to say that's its a damn good idea!

Definitely gives another element to the display scenario and i'm sure we could put our own slant on it. Maybe one for East Kirkby or Trowbridge next year where we usually adopt a camp scenario (for safetys sake probably best not mix public and fox holes as i'm sure Dean will vouch!!! Embarassed ) where we could maybe either incorporate a 'guided tour' through the camp or allow the public to wonder around an 'open' section of the overall display.

Food for thought and worth discussing at the AGM!

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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Les Brock on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:06 pm

Seems you chaps are looking at it different to why I put it up in the first place lol.

It was mainly for me to give Paul the details for letters from home and a 1st person background for Ben to put on the website.

thought it might be helpful info for new members for when they have to do the same thing, so posted it.

It could well work, but the security bit is the worse to police( got plenty of them in the group tho !! Very Happy) as the public move through given all the goodies on display...

Still anything that might work is good for discussion study

Regards

Les
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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:41 pm

Thanks for your help, Les. This is a great topic.

For the project on which I am working, I will need to edit some of the pen pictures down to a paragraph, but I'm trying to do this in a tasteful and meaningful way.

Regards,
Ben.

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Re: 1st Person Impression

Post  Gina_Costina on Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:26 pm

Outstanding work there, Les' thanks for taking the time to do. Its nice as it gives all a suitable model to follow. I'm sure people sometimes will wonder, "what do I write?"

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