By David Hague
John Westwood started in the video and filmmaking business in 1965 using telecine and has produced literally dozens of documentaries, commercials and films that have been shown all over the world and he has won numerous awards since starting Redgum Television Productions in 1984.
John’s passion for video and filmmaking includes a close association with Briz31, the Public Access TV channel in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia as well as mentoring many, many up and coming filmmakers and other talent. He spoke to Digital Media Net’s David Hague about his next project entitled Before and AFTER, Near Death Experience
Near Death Experience John Westwood’s latest project, entitled Before and AFTER, Near Death Experience, germinated almost a year ago when he was having a conversation with an old friend, Graham Bell in Coffs Harbour (NSW, Aust). Often, together, they would search for doco ideas and started chatting about Graham’s past employment with ABC radio (Australia’s version of the UK’s BBC – Ed).
He recalled an interview with a young lady who had recently achieved her Ph.d at a New South Wales university. Her thesis was a near death experience and of course, she was reflecting upon her own experience when many years earlier she had in fact an NDE during childbirth. Graham had recorded this seven part interview on audio tape and John was simply fascinated by her words and the commitment in her voice. This documentary will explore the near death experience, find out if there is any scientific evidence and the frequency of the experience across the Australian population.
Initially, a video clip has been created to serve two purposes; firstly, it will draw an audience response and if targeted correctly, elicit feedback both good and bad. From the response the producer will often make a decision to “can” or delay the project, alter his or her approach according to the response or embellish the production to include audience suggestions and ideas. Secondly, the promo will be used to support a pitch. Most films and documentaries are sold prior to production through agencies worldwide and to achieve that sale, a producer has to pitch (physically sell) the concept to an agent or broadcaster. Mostly they are only given twenty minutes to make the pitch which is often a culmination of years of preparation and work. Having a promo can be of immense value in this short timeframe.
Before and AFTER, Near Death Experience
With specialty subjects, a potential audience is usually tightly focussed. John says he’s found that the near death experience is not unlike the UFO phenomena but with a much greater acceptance by the general public. Early research out of the US by legitimate pollsters estimates 5% of their population has had an experience; in round numbers this indicates almost a million Australians could have also have experienced an NDE. With such a huge audience, John says it would be remiss of him as a filmmaker and documentary producer not to pursue the subject.