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4/15/05
This morning I was interviewed on the Lou Pate Show on radio station KIRO in Seattle, Washington. I was scheduled to go on at 6:00am my time, which is 3:00 in the morning there! As it happened, I couldn't sleep past about 3:00am my time, either, but it went well and they seemed pleased afterwards. Actually all of my interviews have gone well. I'm naturally more introverted than extroverted, so where I pull this particular ability out of from my incarnational past, I have no idea. But I find I can do it, and this time I wasn't particularly nervous even at the start.

This is what I feel like I'm supposed to be doing, getting this information out there and educating people. In an era when promoting one's product is most people's first concern, I can honestly say that's not my top priority. I'm making enough from video production lately to get by.

Reincarnation education seems to be one of those thankless tasks into which you can put tremendous amounts of effort, and see hardly any tangible results from it. But I think that will change as the thing builds momentum. It will dawn upon society like a child learning to walk, and then we won't know how we managed without it.

Over this last month, working with my distributor, Don Shafer, I contacted by e-mail about 1,500 film distributors, buyers, television channels and television stations around the world, in addition to managers of 165 PBS stations in the U.S. Approximately 25 of them requested screening copies of "In Another Life." Of these, about five to date have rejected it, and the rest haven't responded yet (if they're going to). I can speculate, but really-speaking I have no idea why they would request a copy, and then never respond. Perhaps they are inundated with material, given that it is now so cheap to produce programming with digital equipment. Perhaps it offends them; perhaps someone in the organization finds a way to quietly drop it into "File 13," believing that is their religious duty and feeling quite good about it. Perhaps they're disappointed that it wasn't created on a $100,000 budget; or that it wasn't edited in the modern "MTV" style. The reasons cited in the rejections don't tell me much, as you can imagine (Don has made me promise not to answer them). One recent rejection from Venezuela, which I believe, like many South American countries, is heavily Catholic, may provide a clue: "It is very well made but unfortunately our market will not appreciate it." Another, even more recent letter from Maryland Public Television, states: "We think this program is a good idea and it is evident that you have put a great deal of creative time and energy into its development. At this time, however, we find the program does not fit with our programming and business strategy."*

Perhaps those who don't respond sense the power in it, and feel on some level that they aren't ready, so they keep procrastinating. People see what they are able to see; and very often what they see is themselves. As for my own assessment of "In Another Life," I know that as good as it is, it could have been improved technically with a $100,000+ budget. That being said, it is artistically well-crafted, the editing style is intentional because I want viewers to become deeply absorbed in the experience rather than continually distracted, and it is broadcast-worthy. I also know there's spiritual energy and depth in it that people don't even guess at.

I'm realizing, from a comment that Lou Pate made during this recent interview, that I have so much free information on this website that visitors probably feel they don't need to purchase the video. You can get the information in one place or another on this website, and that was intentional because I want everyone to have access to that information whether they can afford $25 or not. But the documentary is an artistic work to be experienced. Aside from the issue of selling copies or selling broadcast rights, I want people to experience it. Sometimes I begin to question myself. If all of these distributors, film buyers, station managers, channel executives, and even film festival judges reject it, maybe I'm fooling myself.

Then at other times I find myself "surfing" through the television channels, and when I see the crap that passes for programming--however much technical expertise goes into it, and however large their budget--I am convinced once again that the problem lies with society.

Even if not a single one of these people purchases distribution rights or accepts "In Another Life" for broadcast, it occurred to me that an interesting side-effect of this marketing effort is that all these media executives, including the station managers of 165 PBS stations, had the opportunity to play the trailer and hear Prof. Almeder say, "Not only is it rational to believe in reincarnation, but all the counter-arguments seem to fail. There's no good reason to disbelieve it."

As you can see by the frog-and-bird cartoon above, I don't give up. I'm in no real hurry. I believe in the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita--act without attachment to results. I, and other reincarnation educators, will just keep putting it out there, society can keep ignoring it, and we'll just go on like that for awhile. Since reincarnation is true, eventually it will be society that says "uncle," I guarantee.

Best regards,

Stephen S., Producer

*Yet another letter from a PBS series for independent films, says: "Your film is thoughtful and informative but we didn't feel it was a good fit... My constructive advice is that the program needs more visual imagery and less talking heads. It is professionally produced and a quality production for an academic audience." It's true that there are more interviews, and they are longer, than what is currently in-fashion for documentaries, making the pace slower than most modern programs. First, I wanted experts and experiencers to tell the story rather than for me to be preaching through the narration. I knew that whatever I taught directly through the narration would be taken with a grain of salt as my personal opinion, whereas if I built a case with the direct testimony of experts and experiencers, it would be stronger. Secondly, it was not possible, on a low budget, with an intangible subject like reincarnation, and with the degree of resistance I encountered when requesting photograph permissions, to obtain the vast number of images required to cover an hour-long, narration-based film. My solution was to shoot and edit interviews with personalities, and content, strong enough to hold the viewer's interest, supporting them by occasional images and footage where they would be most effective. I feel it works if you are interested in the topic, and if you have a reasonable attention-span. If the film is judged by the style that's in fashion, or by its ability to hold the attention of a person who is only mildly interested in the topic, then I can see where it would be rejected for broadcast. (I don't know that I care whether I artifically hold the attention of people who are only mildly interested in reincarnation, but I can see that station executives might.)

Addressing the content, a PBS station manager writes: "...while I'm sure you've put this together in a professional manner, I think this topic can be considered pseudo-science and is therefore is not consistent with our programming philosophy." (see my response)

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