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June 4, 2007

01 Jun
Our long-awaited Panic Attack imagery is in the warehouse at last. Sorry it took me so long, (as in 3 years) folks. What can I say?? LOTS of interruptions! I could tell from the backorders that this title was long overdue..
Hello, all. Our long-awaited Panic Attack imagery is in the warehouse at last. Sorry it took me so long, (as in 3 years) folks. What can I say?? LOTS of interruptions!! I can tell from all the backorders that this title was long overdue. I’ll try to be speedier in the future.

Well, I’m back to reviewing audio and video titles for our list of mind-body goodies. We’re always on the lookout for stellar work that’s well produced and that addresses a topic we need addressing.

There’s a great range of quality in what we receive for review, and we always get a lot of calls and emails to the office, asking why something was turned down. The staff and I try to answer each individual query as best we can, but I thought a general explanation of how we assess these resources might be in order. I acknowledge up front that our standards are persnickety and we aim to keep them that way.

Sometimes the material is on a topic that’s so narrow, there simply isn’t enough of a market to allow us to carry it. Sometimes it serves goals I’m not so comfortable with .. like attracting love, wealth, fame, beauty .. in other words, looking for solutions on the outside taking the listener inside to develop inner strength, intuition, wisdom, receptivity and so forth - any of which might produce the side-effect of attracting love, wealth and all, but it’s not the main driver... This is a kind of spiritual materialism we don’t cater to. Sometimes - not often, but sometimes - we get materials that are jarringly judgmental and preachy. We don’t go for those either.

Sometimes what we get is just not that well done - maybe the content is too derivative or too unsophisticated for our extremely savvy audience of holistic health consumers.

Sometimes the work will lean too heavily or exclusively on vague, New Agey language and concepts, in place of something with more cognitive or substantive merit.

Sometimes it’s something that’s very well done but we’ve already got all the titles we need on the topic, at least for the moment. We keep these in mind, because we know we might be able to use them later.

And sometimes it’s really good material but narrated or hosted by someone who is either emotionally off-kilter, disembodied, irritating, overly dramatic or unnervingly seductive. If the person is not right, nothing is going to be right, even with the best possible content. [I understand that these are subjective decisions, but I’ve learned to trust my instincts and the staff’s instincts on this; and after nearly 20 years of listening to feedback from all manner of pleased and displeased listeners and viewers, we also think we’ve got a good handle on what others object to and what they like.]

The most painful thing is when we get terrific content that’s been so poorly produced, we can’t use it. Ouch! When this happens I’ll re-listen several times, in hopes I was over-reacting and the quality wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. Too often we’ll get samples from a superb practitioner, demonstrating an excellent technique with great integrity, but the CD or DVD is barely perceptible over a noisy or blurry production. The biggest mistake people make is to mix the music way too loudly, or to use so much reverb, it sounds like it was recorded in a cave.

Not infrequently, somebody makes a CD from a very noisy tape from decades ago, and it sounds exactly like that: an aged, noisy, non-Dolby tape from 1975. If the separate tracks of the original masters are no longer around, there isn’t anything our engineers can do to clean it up. We have to very regretfully take a pass or else ask the practitioner if they’d be willing to re-record it, either producing it themselves or letting us take a crack at it in our studios. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes the production quality is fine but the practitioner’s cousin or boyfriend or best friend did the music, which is incredibly distracting or annoying, but they couldn’t bring themselves to hurt their feelings and use someone who could really compose and score their work. This is also painful. Again, we offer to remix with more appropriate, effective music, and sometimes they take us up on it and sometimes they don’t. And so it goes.

Those are pretty much the reasons why we turn stuff down. So I hope these criteria are useful.

Take care and be well,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award