ADVICE FOR REENACTORS FROM A SUBCULTURE YOU MIGHT FIND SURPRISING
I sometimes think burlesque dancer Red Hot Annie was a reenactor in a previous life! Anne is a Chicago-based burlesque performer/ and she regularly posts Burly Q Biz aphorisms over on Facebook, and they are often remarkably pertinent to reenactors. They inspired me to compose a few specifically for reenactors; some are based on what Anne has posted, and some are completely new! https://www.facebook.com/redhotanniechicago
Be honest and thorough. Answer all questions! Remember that one of our main reasons for doing this is to communicate with the public!
Have a single person in charge of arranging for shows, but make certain all members know that they can refer likely shows to that person.
The person ultimately responsible for booking shows should not hesitate to delegate responsibilities but should make certain that he know what is going on.
The person ultimately responsible for booking events should keep other members of the unit apprised of what is going on.
Approach your work with an eye toward the long-haul instead of aiming for immediate pay offs.
When being interviewed, be honest. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. They’re looking for something interesting to print and “I don’t know” is rarely interesting. Being misquoted because you reached for information you didn’t know won’t help your cause. Do not say anything to the interviewer in jest; that—no matter how wrong it obviously is—will be what is quoted as being serious!
Find the time to regularly ask opinions and feelings of each member of your unit. They all need to be heard.
The fee for a show is not always as important as the intangibles. Sometimes the publicity or some aspect of the show or sponsor can be very important!
Answer every email. People will “fill in the blanks” about why you don’t, and they could assume…disinterest…spam…death…
Never ignore any inquiries, no matter how insignificant they might seem. Answer every inquiry to avoid assumptions that you are disinterested or are not available.
Be positive – a beacon of shining light! If you can’t be nice, address the problem or ignore it and move on, but don’t gossip!
Keep a list of all your sponsors so that you can contact them from time to time if they have not contacted you for a while, to let them know that your unit is still in existence and still interested in appearing for them!
If you are no longer interested in appearing at a certain venue or a certain sponsor’s shows—for whatever reason— polite when turning down requests for further show, but be firm!
Set expectations. Be proud of how well you make your presentation and present an accurate image.
Remember that when in costume, you represent not only your unit but all reenactors. But especially your unit!
When greeting a MoP at an event, be the first to say “hi.” Others may be nervous about saying anything, and your shyness may read as snobbery.
Remember it might seem awkward to MoPs to approach you or to ask questions, so do what you can to make it easy for them.
Update your website regularly to keep it relevant. An up-to-date schedule of shows you have booked is essential.
Try to have at least one entirely new presentation for each season. Do not be afraid to return to old presentations that you have not done for a while, but never be afraid to make a presentation better or more accurate.
Give yourself opportunities to learn and to practice activities. Do not hesitate to experiment with risky ideas.
Ask sponsors to give you feedback on your displays and performances. Most are willing to do so if asked but will not volunteer critiques.
You are only as strong as your unit. Do not do it all yourself when someone who does it better wants to help you.
Be prepared for performance. Do not hesitate to practice and always realize that you want to present a professional performance and display.
Know what time you are expected to set up or to display and adjust your actions according to that schedule.
Every social networking site should point to your website. It makes your website appear more important to search engines.
Always practice combat in costume and shoes—especially shoes!
So not publicly denigrate any farby or substandard society that professes to do the same thing that you do. But at the same time, make certain that the public know that there is a difference!
Do not downgrade your requirements for membership and participation just to gain greater numbers. It is better to have five people who are accurately kitted instead of five-hundred who are shoddily garbed.
Members of a unit should know what their key contributions to the unit and to your shows are and how to pull their weight.