Sit Rep

One of the benefits of long-distance communication is knowing what's going on very far away. People present in one place can call/write/text characters in a completely different place. When Time Travel is involved, characters might even communicate from one time period to another.

Sit-Rep, short for "Situation Report", is a military term where a soldier is giving a report on what's going on. Not everyone making a movie is military-trained, and having characters frantically yelling out a Sit-Rep, while trying to keep themselves from breaking and running, is much more satisfying. Poor Communication Kills may be in effect; narratively, we don't care if the characters are speaking clearly or not. What matters is just how bad the situation is gets conveyed. The Stoic calling HQ and saying "Houston, we may have a problem" is just as valid an example as a recording of screams and fright as people die.

Often an aversion of Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer. If there really is No Time to Explain, characters are dying.

Examples

Film

  • A perfect example of one is delivered by Gold-5 in A New Hope. After Gold Leader and Gold-2 got blasted, he immediately pulled out of the trench, and immediately started telling Red Squadron what was waiting, before being killed uttering his last words.
    "They came from behind—"

  • Several are given through out the main battle scenes of We Were Soldiers, with varying levels of yelling. Some of this could be chalked up to inexperience on the part of the radiomen, some on the officers. Although when Hal Moore is delivering one, it turns into a Crowning Moment of Funny when he does and M-16 Off Hand Backhand...
    General: How bad is it Hal?
    Hal turns around to headshot an NVA soldier trying to bayonet him from behind
    Hal Moore: Oh it's getting pretty sporty down here sir!

  • Many are given in the course of several minutes in the first Behind Enemy Lines. Both in the form of "Hey, we've been shot at!" when they have a SAM shoot at them. And in the almost panicked form from the main character as he tries to explain what happened. Although his example could be chalked up to a mix of exhaustion from running from enemy troops and climbing a mountain, and shock from seeing a good friend of his getting killed in cold blood.

  • Delivering a Sit-Rep almost gets The Squad killed in Battle: Los Angeles, since the Aliens are able to track their signals down to within a few feet.

  • Under Siege. Chief Ryback does this twice, talking with Admiral Greer in Washington. The first time, he gives Greer information about the terrorists in control of the ship and what they're doing. The second time, Greer calls him while Ryback is fighting the terrorists so they can't talk for long.

Video Games

  • EndWar has a game play mechanic known as Sit Rep. Although it's meant to give you a much clearer view of the battle space from which you can issue orders.

  • Sometimes in Company of Heroes your forces will deliver a Sit-Rep when they're under attack. Which is usually helped by your announcer to get the point across that your troops are under fire.

  • Colonel Sawyer from World in Conflict demands and receives sitreps from his officers (Bannon, Webb, and Parker) on regular basis.

Real Life

  • In real life, soldiers are trained to deliver a Sit-Rep (or any other report) in an almost robotic tone. This way, the guy on the other side of the line can understand what's being said by the guy talking. Many instructors actually mock war movies that portray scenes where Sit-Reps are being given by a guy who's barely able to speak (due to injury, or panic), let alone speak clearly enough to be understood by anyone listening. As a result, many videos and recordings of troops talking to someone else tend to sound very monotone.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SitRep