Lights, camera, Emerge2!

Recent film spectacles have featured animated ogres and a global weather catastrophe. Now the Homeland Security Department's Emerge2 program has joined the summer movie season with its own entry, the Electronic Industry Day Event.

The 21-minute online presentation opened worldwide on June 4'grabbing the weekend crowd. The event marked a technological step forward in federal industry days, which until then had been confined to in-person meetings on auditorium stages.

The talkie starred Resource Management Transformation Office director and Emerge2 program manager Catherine Y. Santana, backed by supporting actor Carol Macha, the program's assistant director for architecture and implementation.

Undersecretary for management Janet Hale and chief financial officer Andrew Maner appeared in cameos to explain the financial management project.

During most of the streaming video presentation, Santana addressed the camera directly. Macha appeared somewhat more intense, even at times surprised as she read her speech.

What the movie lacked in comedy, it made up for in special effects. Microsoft PowerPoint slides beside the speakers' images guided the audience through plot points such as the sequence of events for the Emerge2 procurement:
  • The harrowing solicitation

  • The nail-biting initial down-select

  • The joyous'or crushing'source selection

  • The rousing demonstration

  • The soaring conference-room pilot

  • The heartwarming implementation.

An unbilled director kept fancy cinematography to a minimum, with a few jump cuts and transitions from tight shots to medium shots.

Budget considerations may have played a part in the producers' minimalist decision to present the film without a musical score.

The PowerPoint presentation at times mugged shamelessly, with over-the-top flow charts and unreadable graphics'possibly calculated to convince the audience that they were, in fact, working as they watched the show.

In comments after the show, Santana predicted the first electronic industry day would be followed by sequels. She's on to something.

The new form has advantages over its live counterpart in that viewers can stop and replay the presentation at any point.

The Emerge2 electronic industry day seems destined for a lengthy run before an intense, if somewhat eccentric, audience of vendors and feds.

Check it out at www.interactive.dhs.gov. Admission is free. And some lucky viewers will come away from the movie, and the procurement, with multimillion-dollar task orders.

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