Horse to Water

Horse to Water

I’m on a plane right now, headed out to The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. A lot of people hate flying. I don’t love being stuck on a plane, but I tend to get a lot done while flying – catching up on books or writing. Today I re-read Steve Ozanich’s follow-up to “The Great Pain Deception”: “Dr John Sarno’s Top Ten Healing Discoveries“. It is a fantastic distillation of Dr Sarno’s ideas that, along with Dr Sarno’s own work, is an essential companion to “All The Rage”.

Books and movies are very different animals. We all process information in different ways and at different speeds, and it’s important that we understand the different ways we consume various types of media as we work to create it. When we read, we have much greater leeway to engage with information at a pace that is suitable for us. We can go back to re-read and pause to reflect. When an audience consumes a film, they tend to do it one one sitting; therefore, when we construct our films at Rumur we often think of them as a river flowing forward. This leaves a lot less room for intellectual processing of information and we instead rely on emotional processing. While the way that we consume video now, with our finger on the controller, means that we can pause and re-watch, we still process visual information much more instantly than written materials.

When we began working on “All The Rage,” we tried to put a great deal of the information that is in Steve’s book in the movie. People who already knew this information were glad to see Dr Sarno’s ideas in visual form. People who were resistant to the ideas thought the movie was over-the-top in its proselytizing of Dr Sarno’s theories and they tended to reject the ideas in a somewhat emotional and visceral way. Rather than being swayed by the information we presented, they viewed it with a heightened sense of skepticism. For every piece of information we presented, they would point to some other piece of information that they felt was counter factual, or they would question the science behind it. We first addressed this issue by adding in MORE information. What we found was that people were even more resistant.

As Steve points out in his book, no one will accept the ideas at the heart of Dr Sarno’s work – that almost all pain and illness is connected on some level to our emotions – until they are “ready”. No amount of fact flinging or cajoling will convince them. We went back the drawing board and worked to construct a film that would engage people emotionally rather than intellectually, because when we process information from an emotional center we tend to be more connected emotionally. While we have had a good deal of pushback from Sarno fans who wanted the film to be a canonization of Dr Sarno, we have found that people who are even partially open to the idea that our emotions are connected to our health have had intensely revelatory and emotional responses to the film. Those people who are very resistant to the ideas still feel like it is proselytizing.

While we want fans of Dr Sarno to appreciate the film, the people who we really need to reach with it are the ones who are open to it but not yet aware. Once they have seen it, they tend to want to know more. This is where Steve’s book – and Nicole Sach’s, and Howard Schubiner’s, and Eric Sherman and Frances Sommer-Andersen’s, and Dr David Clarke’s and David Schechter’s, and Marc Sopher’s, and Zero Pain Now, and your journals – come in. “All The Rage” can lead people to the water, but they have to choose to drink.

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