Right Between Your Ears explores how we believe, how we turn beliefs into certainties, and mistake for them truth.
We hit our main target! We have now announced a stretch goal to help with marketing and distribution costs. We introduce 2 new rewards as a thank you when we hit £14,000: the choice of an extra DVD or set of postcards for everyone backing £20 or more, and a fifth story of our time with the believers. See "Can we exceed our target?" section below for details.
ABOUT THE FILM
Right Between Your Ears tells the story of how people from different walks of life came to the extraordinary belief that the world would end on a given date, took a public stand for it, and how they coped when nothing happened. A stock trader with a young family, a philosophy student about to graduate, a retail manager who became so convinced she quit her job of 18 years. Initially they were skeptical, but over time they came to feel it was true. When the prediction failed, they experienced the opposite of feeling right: feeling wrong.
Along their journey, we explore what 60 years of social psychology and contemporary neuroscience have to say about our curious relationship to being right and being wrong. Together these perspectives give a unique insight into the nature of conviction, and turn the film from a story about “them” and “their beliefs” into a story of how we believe.
By revealing what we share with people who disagree with us, the film offers insights into how issues can become divisive and how we can reduce polarisation in society.
MEET THE TEAM
Sheila Marshall Following her MA in International Political Economy Sheila worked for 10 years across film and television. This includes working in development for Film4 and the UK Film Council. Sheila also produced “Outtakes US Presidents” for BBC, a comedy show about presidential gaffes. Since 2011 she has worked as an independent filmmaker on Right Between Your Ears and other projects, including a pilot magazine show "Living Resourcefully".
Dr. Kris De Meyer Kris is a neuroscientist and a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. He has a passion to explore and communicate how the sciences of mind and brain can lead to a better understanding of ourselves, and how this can shed light on important issues in society.
WHY WE MADE THE FILM
Convictions (regardless of whether they are right or wrong) drive the polarization of our public and political debates: health care, immigration, inequality and the welfare state. Human rights and foreign interventions. Climate change, vaccines, evolution. What these debates have in common is people with strongly-held convictions on either side who think “I am right and you are wrong”. These debates are becoming increasingly gridlocked polarized, and, paradoxically, the more people argue, the more they can become convinced that they are right.
There is 60 years of scientific research in this area, yet these insights have had little impact so far on the divisions in society. Hence the idea of making a film to show the experiences that lie at heart of this: the feeling that we are right, and why it is so hard when we have to deal with being wrong, or with having our convictions challenged by others.
Beyond the public sphere, our predisposition to “feel right” also affects our personal lives. One popular saying goes: “You can be right or be in a relationship.” Other examples are how we (rightly or wrongly) justify the decisions we make in our professional careers, how we take or fail to take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and how we react to conflicts with family, friends and work colleagues.
We spent 6 weeks in the US with a group of end-time believers before, during and after their prophecy date. Unlike those public debates which remain gridlocked, the believers would be in the unique situation of discovering they were wrong when their prediction failed. We fuse their personal stories of how they became convinced and dealt with being wrong, with interviews with social psychologists Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris (experts in the study of how we deal with making mistakes), and historian of religion Jon R. Stone (an expert in end-time beliefs throughout history). A believer participates in a brain scan study to investigate what belief looks like at the level of the brain. Together, these elements give a unique insight in what we share with those who disagree with us: the need to feel right in our beliefs about ourselves.
FUNDING THE DOCUMENTARY
All the money we raise will go towards the technical finish of the film, the final steps of the post-production process called "the online". This includes recording of the final voice over, the audio mix, colour grading etc. In short, everything that is needed to get the film to the same technical quality of what we are used to seeing on TV or in screenings. For these final steps we need access to specialist equipment and expertise, hence the substantial cost. The end result will be high-quality master tapes that are needed to exhibit the film in festivals and cinemas, and to create the copies for digital and DVD distribution from.
CAN WE EXCEED OUR TARGET?
With our main campaign goal of £12,000 achieved, we've created a stretch goal to help us with marketing and distribution costs.
STRETCH GOAL £14,000
In return for reaching this goal, we will offer 2 new rewards:
(1) From the £20 level or above you can choose between an additional DVD or a set of postcards with artwork from the film (see below for images). We’ll also include a postcard of Clay Sinclair’s “Believe in Me” to all categories above £20.
(2) So far we published 3 exclusive stories of our time on the shoot (available as backer-only updates). The fourth one is coming shortly. But.... if we reach our stretch goal, we will add a fifth story. We will share a story from the eve of May 21 when we were with a group of believers waiting for the end.
Exclusive stories of our time on the shoot During our time with the May 21 believers we kept a diary. Each week during the campaign, we will publish a new story (which is not in the film) on the Updates page, exclusively for backers. To give you a taster, we have published one story, accessible to everyone, on the “Updates” page.
NEW REWARD Original Artwork Print "Believe in Me" Artist Clay Sinclair makes "provocative pop paintings dealing with issues of power, prestige and possession". His works have sold exclusively to the Woolff Gallery in London and to major collections around the world. We especially commissioned a piece from Clay. We told him about Right Between Your Ears and he created this work as a response. We offer this print in 2 reward categories. At £160 is a 50 x 42cm Giclee (high quality for artwork) limited edition, signed print by Clay himself. Clay is an accomplished artist and this is a unique opportunity to get this limited edition print from him. At £80, we offer an 40 x 34cm print (unsigned).
If you would like to upgrade from a lower reward category to include this print in your rewards, we will ensure that you do not lose any of your previously selected rewards (this applies especially to upgrading from the limited edition £55 category). If you have any questions please contact us.
Set of postcards with artwork from the film Ada Bodjolle, our wonderful animator, created some truly beautiful animations for the film. We are offering 4 postcards she created that are inspired by her work. Here’s a peek:
Signed book “Mistakes Were Made” (limited to 20 maximum) Two of the contributors to Right Between Your Ears, social psychologists Prof. Elliot Aronson and Dr. Carol Tavris have kindly agreed to sign 20 copies of the new, revised edition of their fantastic book “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions and hurtful acts” (due for publication in the Autumn of 2015). Prof Elliot Aronson was a student of Leon Festinger and is the world's leading expert on cognitive dissonance. He is the only psychologist to ever win the highest awards of the American Psychological Association in all 3 categories (distinguished research, teaching and writing). He also received the William James Award for Distinguished Research from the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Carol Tavris has taught and written prolifically on social psychology, publishing a dozen books and textbooks. In February 2015, she won the Media Achievement Award of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. The offer is limited to 20 copies only, see the £55 EARLY BIRD OFFER.
Film Poster You will receive a signed copy of the official poster of Right Between Your Ears. The final design will be inspired by the Right Between Your Ears title card and is coming soon!
Workshop Based on the neuroscience and psychology in the film, Kris gives workshops about what the science means for how we can fail to understand each other, and how knowing this can make us better at communication and working across disagreements. In the last year, he gave workshops at the King’s Cultural Institute, The Natural History Museum in London, University College London, and the European Space Agency in Rome for mixed audiences of artists, science communicators and scientists. He will work together with you to tailor the workshop to your particular needs and organisation. Recommended for a group of up to 25 people maximum.
FIND OUT MORE
Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RightBetweenYourEars
Via Twitter: https://twitter.com/@rightbtw
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
PARTNERS AND SPONSORS
Right Between Your Ears is proud to be featured on the RSA curated area on Kickstarter, which selects the best new ideas to help tackle social problems that its 27,000 Fellows are looking to deliver. Kris is an RSA Fellow and has been selected to be a part of this. Click here to see more RSA-backed projects and find out more about the RSA.
For more information about Clay Sinclair check claysinclair.com.
Audience Feedback from a Recent Test Screening
“I wish there were more films like this where people could learn about themselves through other people’s experiences.”
“Good to show Joe Public how science can be applied in practice. Often it’s just “up there” somewhere.”
“Filmed with sensitivity and kindness.”
“Moving, not soppy. Portrayed the characters as thinking people, not zealots, making them easy to identify with.”
“We couldn’t stop talking about it for days.”
Risks and challenges
The film is finished, with only the final technical delivery outstanding. The risk of setbacks are therefore fairly small.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)