2010 holiday greetings teams ready to travel

USAF photo: Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell Erich Schwab walks Staff Sgt. Antwoin Prater through the process of filling out a holiday greetings card during a practice session at the Defense Media Activity on Sept. 7 in San Antonio.

By Rich Lamance: Joint Hometown News Service

SAN ANTONIO — Before candy gets stocked in supermarkets for the upcoming Halloween season, teams already will be busy taping at overseas locations throughout the world for special greetings to be aired during the holiday season.

Three separate broadcast teams from the Joint Hometown News Service in San Antonio are boarding planes this week to begin taping video holiday greetings of service members and their families stationed overseas during the holiday season.

Service members and civilian employees from all branches of service, their family members, and DoD civilians are eligible to participate, according to Erich Schwab, this year’s holiday greetings coordinator. According to Schwab, who also is the European team chief, three teams comprising three members per team will travel to the Pacific, Europe and Southwest Asia theaters, setting up their cameras in more than 60 locations.

When a team sets up in your area, Schwab says there are just a few guidelines to follow to ensure family and friends back home see your personal greeting on local television and hear it on local radio stations.

• Make sure to bring your address book. You’ll need family members’ names along with a city, state and phone number. No street address is needed, but station managers need phone contact info to let families know when your greeting will air.

• Service members need to be in uniform. Work uniform is fine. Family members should accompany their sponsor, unless their sponsor is deployed. And, of course, don’t forget the props: Santa’s hats, pets, banners and Christmas attire.

• Depending upon where you’re stationed, there is a good chance there will be waiting lines. Lunch time and after work are normally prime times, so if you can break away for a few minutes during mid-morning or mid-afternoon, you can avoid the rush.

• In front of the camera: There aren’t a lot of rules, but here are some tips to make the experience go smoothly. The top three — relax, relax and relax. So what if you’ll be seen by a million TV viewers? When you’re taping, it’s just you and the camera.

• Try to be cheerful and in the holiday spirit. It doesn’t show well on camera if your teenage daughter looks like she’d rather be at the mall than wishing grandma happy holidays.

• Try to keep hand gestures to a minimum and, of course, no profanity. When you’re giving your greetings, don’t say “Happy Thanksgiving.” Most of these greetings will air from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day and could quickly become obsolete if the specific holiday mentioned has come and gone when your greeting airs.

• You don’t need a teleprompter or a script, but try writing down your main points on a 3 x 5 card. Sometimes nerves can cause a bout of forgetfulness, so jot down your family members’ names and the points you want to get across. If you have family in more than one area, you can do several greetings. You’ve got 15 to 20 seconds per greeting, more than enough time to get in your holiday wishes to those closest to you.