Which television venue can better help start funeral planning conversations: reality TV or TV interviews? Yep, even funerals are fair game for reality TV, as you’ll find out.
TV interviews can get people talking about their own funeral services by bringing the conversation directly into their homes. The problem is, most news and talk programs won’t touch the subject.
That’s why A Good Goodbye TV, an educational and entertaining 12-episode series of 30-minute programs, will present expert interviews on “everything you need to know before you go.”
Each conversation on A Good Goodbye TV will illustrate my motto: Talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, and talking about funerals won’t make you dead. By planning ahead and having a conversation, families can reduce stress at a time of grief, minimize family conflict, save money and create a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.”
It’s rare to see people talk knowledgeably about estate and funeral planning issues on television. Watching such a conversation enables families to discuss these topics and take action BEFORE there’s a crisis.
Topics to be covered include estate planning, funeral planning, cremation, cemeteries, managing costs, eco-friendly funerals, life celebrations, pet loss, end-of-life issues and much more.
The episode on estate planning will feature Jim Plitz, attorney with AAEPA member firm Morris, Hall & Kinghorn, P.L.L.C. The firm has offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque and other communities throughout Arizona and New Mexico.
The program will initially air on public access channels in New Mexico, then be offered nationally to 2,700 content-hungry public access channels. Pay-per-view online downloads and DVDs will follow.
Compare intelligent conversation with “reality TV.” On January 6, the cable channel TLC debuted a pilot program Best Funeral Ever, focused on over-the-top celebratory funerals. It featured African-American “home-going” services produced by the Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas, TX.
Each funeral had a theme: a Christmas funeral for a man who loved the holiday season; a barbeque funeral for the singer of a jingle about baby back ribs; and a memorial service visit to the East Texas State Fair with the cremated remains of a man who loved the fair but couldn’t go on rides because he had spina bifada.
These colorful, activity-filled funerals were the opposite of traditional services. The funeral home staffers were creative, energetic and totally committed to serving their families. The families served were very happy with the results.
While participating in a live online chat with funeral directors watching the program, industry reactions were mixed. The pseudo-dramatic aspects of the program got the most negative reviews. Some funeral directors wondered about the dignity of the proceedings – especially the presence of live animals (two pigs at the barbeque funeral, 17 unusual manger animals for the Christmas funeral).
And yet, this program showed what an arrangement conference with a family in a funeral home actually looks like. Plus, it showed people truly celebrating the lives of those they loved.
If it takes a program like Best Funeral Ever to get people to talk about funeral planning, I’m all for it! But “reality TV” is not the only reality on television. What kind of TV do you think your clients would prefer for starting a funeral planning conversation?
You can learn more about A Good Goodbye TV here: http://agoodgoodbye.com/a-good-goodbye-tv-series/
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®, is author of the award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die and host of the new television interview series, A Good Goodbye TV. She speaks to groups using clips from funny films to illustrate funeral planning issues and help start serious conversations. Her website is www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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