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Behind the Scenes <<

Behind The Scenes Looking back from the vantage point of one who has been involved, almost from the very beginning, in the unfolding and shaping of this amazing project called Ancestors, I believe I can speak for the entire production team when I say that we have all learned some important things along the way.

  • We learned that you can never, and I mean never, assume, in the company of genealogists, that you actually know who you are unless you are prepared to prove it.
  • We learned that there's a big difference between finding great family history stories and finding great family history stories that work for television.
  • In Paris, director Matt Whitaker learned that speaking fluent French is no guarantee that French airline employees are actually listening to you and will put your camera equipment on the right plane.
  • That experience helped producer Craig Steiner learn how to creatively adjust an around-the-world production schedule to include a "Wait for the cameras to arrive in Ireland" day.
  • We learned that if you're going to re-write scripts at midnight in Hong Kong, and expect to start shooting at six the next morning, your host must be brilliant (he is), have a photographic memory, and not be inclined to report you to the labor union.
  • We learned that having a camera in St. Petersburg is only helpful if you don't actually intend to film anything specific.
  • We learned that saving $75 on an international flight doesn't seem quite as clever in the middle of the night, during the third plane change.
  • We learned that all good film editors come equipped with nocturnal sensors that allow them to discover, while everyone else is sleeping, incredible missing shots that even the director didn't know existed.
  • We learned that knowing the difference between genealogy and family history is only important to those who aren't doing it.
  • We learned that experts don't always agree on what the expert advice should be.
  • We learned that there are many more fiche in the vast sea of genealogical records than any of us can possibly catch in one lifetime, but there are always other ficher-men out there to help.
  • We learned, from instructional designer Jim Tyrrell, that if Ancestors is the answer, we better know what the question is.
  • We learned that you really can capture the "heart" of family history and teach something useful at the same time.
  • We learned that when no law of physics can explain why the production van wasn't totaled by an oncoming car, it's perfectly logical to conclude that someone in the crew has ancestors who were looking out for him.
  • We learned that people involved in family history are some of the most generous and truly good people in the entire world.
  • We learned that 1 + 1 = too many to count, in about six generations.
  • We learned that if we could ever find a way to harness the energy of genealogists, just one small society could easily produce enough power to match the output of Hoover Dam.
  • We learned that the only real difference between us and our ancestors is a death certificate.
  • We learned that when giving the keynote address to a genealogical group, it's helpful to know how to spell "geneology."
  • And finally, we learned that old genealogists never die, they just give up their ghosts.
  • Happy Ancestors Hunting!!!

    .... Marcy Brown

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    -Behind the Scenes-

    Things We Learned

    Executive Producer-
    John L. Reim

    Executive Producer-
    Marcy Brown

    Craig Steiner

    Matt Whitaker

    Scott Wilkinson

    Instructional Design-
    Jim Tyrrell

    Other Team


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