Small Acts of Kindness Make a Big Impact
Podcast #7 — Aired November 21, 2013

In the face of seemingly insurmountable world issues, sometimes all it takes to make a difference is a small act of kindness. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk about how every day BetterWorldians can do their part to fight hunger and poverty. Our guest this week is Dan Karslake, an award winning producer and filmmaker. Dan’s latest project, Every Three Seconds, tells the stories of five individuals from different generations whose acts of kindness have had a big impact. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

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Dan Karslake
Director, Every Three Seconds
Director, For The Bible Tells Me So

Dan Karslake is an award-winning American film director and producer. His film, For The Bible Tells Me so, won nine “Best Documentary” audience awards at prestigious festivals across the country, it was on the short list for a 2008 Academy Award, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His work was singled out by many organizations, including the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Dan graduated cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies.

 

Episode Transcript

MarySue Hansell
Joining us today is filmmaker and producer, Dan Karslake. Dans film, For the Bible Tells Me So, won nine best documentary audience awards at prestigious festivals across the country. It was on the short list for a 2008 Academy Award and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Dans work was singled out by many organizations, including the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Raymond Hansell
Dans latest work is a film called Every Three Seconds, which well be discussing in detail today. Dan, its great to have you on the show. Welcome aboard.

Dan Karslake
Thanks for having me. Its great to be here.

Raymond Hansell
Id like to start out, Dan, with just tell us about Every Three Seconds. What is the film about?

Dan Karslake
Well, the title comes from the fact that every three seconds someone somewhere in the world dies in extreme poverty. Usually, its a child. And usually, its from a preventable disease. When I first heard that statistic, I thought, well, wait a minute, thats something like 30,000 people a day; 300,000 people every 10 days are still dying from things that are mostly solvable. I just had a really hard time believing that, so I decided to do some research myself, and I kind of dove into it and read everything I could about both hunger and extreme poverty. And I realized that we live in a time now when there have been so many advancements in how we can distribute food. We have three times as much food on the earth than we need to feed everyone. Yet so many people even in the US suffer from hunger. But we also live in a time where especially through cell phones and our computers, we are all so much more able to be a part of the end of hunger and the end of extreme poverty. So when I learned that these two are completely solvable now and that we are part of the generation on the earth right now that could solve them for the first time in human history, I decided I wanted to make a film about it because I wanted to be part of that process. And what I do is make films. So I decided to use my skills as a filmmaker to spread the word that each of us can have a role in this incredibly exciting new possibility.

Raymond Hansell
Thats incredible. It really is. I understand from stats that weve also read that youve sent to us that more than 800 million people go to bed hungry every single day, and 300 million of these people are children. So why arent we doing more about this right now?

Dan Karslake
Well, I think part of the problem is somewhat ironic. It comes from the campaigns that started in the 1970s when the world started first focusing on world hunger and trying to end it. I know that I grew up in that period seeing a lot of commercials and campaigns about ending world hunger, and I saw so many images myself of starving children covered with flies and sitting in a mud puddle looking horribly desperate that Ive been sort of socialized myself to kind of turn away from that. It all felt so hopeless and so huge and so overwhelming that I think a lot of us have turned away from the issue. Even though we would love to see it solved, we would love to be part of it, we dont really believe its doable, and we definitely dont believe that we could have a role in it. I mean, thats been a huge learning for me personally as Ive made this film is trying to talk to people in a way about these issues when they dont kind of glaze over and shut down because its just too painful. The good news is that since those campaigns started in early 70s, we have cut the number of people dying from hunger and extreme poverty in half not the proportion. As everyone knows, the population of the globe has increased greatly since 1970, but we have cut the bottom-line number of people dying from hunger in half since 1970. And with all these new tools, we could do the rest in less than five years.

Raymond Hansell
Now, you stress in your film that Every Three Seconds is not a film about hunger and poverty, or its about solving these problems. Tell me a little bit more about that. What was your goal in doing that?

Dan Karslake
I was invited to Stanford University to be a visiting scholar there in the fall of 2008 just in order to figure out how to make this film because had spoken to a number of faculty and staff at Stanford about this challenge that I didnt want to make a film that fed into this helplessness that people feel around these issues because its such a big part of why its not being solved. So they invited me there, and I spent a lot of time talking to students and faculty and really just people in my regular life at Stanford: what about the discussion of hunger, what about the discussion of poverty turns you away not necessarily turns you off but just feels too overwhelming? And the feedback I always got was that they just dont believe that there is anything they can do about it, that theres nothing that a normal, regular person whos not necessarily an activist, who hasnt necessarily given their life to this cause can do. So I decided instead of talking about how widespread hunger is and how devastating it is and showing those examples, I would instead find five people of different ages, regular people who decided for some reason in their life to do something having to do with these issues that involve poverty or hunger. So I found these five people: a kid, a college student, a 35-year-old, and two seniors who were just kind of regular people going about their lives. And they didnt think, okay, now its time for me to change the world. Now its time for me to solve hunger or make a huge impact. They thought, I see something right in front of me where I can do something small to help somebody else a family, a community, their town, even their state. And what happened in all five of these stories that we tell in the film is that things just kept evolving and evolving, and the first act led to the second act, led to the third act. And all five of these people ended up actually changing the world because they just followed their intuition and their intention that they could have the power to make somebodys life better. And by doing that, they made in some instances, millions of peoples lives better.

Raymond Hansell
Thats amazing. Were going to be talking today, throughout this section and also throughout the entire show, about a few of these people. Id like to start out by talking about, as you call it, the kit. So Charlie Simpson this little boy we found this very inspiring. So tell us a little bit about Charlie.

Dan Karslake
Well, Charlie lives in London with his little sister, Alice, and his two parents. And just after the Haiti earthquake, when he was 7, he and his family were watching coverage of the earthquake. And of course, like everybody else who was watching that coverage, they were horrified. But Charlie, especially, was particularly deeply upset by the children he saw in this coverage children who had not only, as he says, lost their homes, but theyd lost their parents as well. And after crying, literally crying, for a couple of days, according to Charlies parents, his mother sat down with him and said, Charlie, you seem very moved by this. I understand why youre so upset. And he said, yes, I just cant imagine losing both my family and our flat. What must that be like? I have so much. I have to do something to help those kids. And his mother to her credit and this is a wonderful parenting story as well, his mother said, well, Charlie, being upset and crying about it is one thing. Its another thing to actually do something. What do you think you could do to help these kids? And he had seen his father the year before, his father had done a bike ride from London to Paris to raise money for breast cancer. So the only thing Charlie really knew that you could do to raise money for charity was ride your bike. And as a typical 7-year-old boy, he had a bike, and he loved his bike. So he said to his mom, how about if I ride my bike around our local park? And she said, okay. How far do you think you can go? He said five miles. Thats pretty far, but I think its worth it for these kids. And she said, great. Lets go online to a philanthropy page in the UK called JustGiving, and lets put up a webpage so that Daddy and I can share it with your grandparents, with our friends, with Daddys friends at work that hopefully people will make donations, and then well send those donations to UNICEF whos doing such important work for the children in Haiti as they do for children everywhere. So they put up a webpage. He went to school; this was on a Sunday, and he went to school the next day. When he went to school, no one had made any donations, but by the time he got home, he had raised £2,555, which completely blew him away because he didnt even know what £100 meant. They had set a goal of £500 for the whole campaign, and both parents were worried that that was way too much. But the people that they had shared his website with felt very moved that this little boy was doing this. So he had already raised £2,500. And more miraculously, by the time he actually did the ride, which was only a week later after he had the idea, he ended up raising more than £250,000 for UNICEF. And UNICEF UK talked very clearly in the film about the fact that not only was that money hugely needed in Haiti, his inspiration inspired thousands of kids all over the world to call their local UNICEF offices and say, I saw that little boy who did that five-mile ride in London. Im going to do a ride myself. Or Im going to rollerblade. Or Im going to go door to door. They cant even quantify how much money really he and his inspiration raised. And this is just because this little boy saw someone in need, decided to do something about it and didnt listen to all the outside voices saying, what can you really do? What will that really matter? He just did it. And he did it spectacularly. And its an amazing story.

Raymond Hansell
It is an amazing story. I cant wait to see it on film. Its an amazing, amazing story.

Dan Karslake
I just heard from Charlies mom, Leo. Charlie is now 11, and hes just decided to he is doing a 40 kilometer bike ride to raise money for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. And hes only 11. Its his third ride. The first one was for Haiti. He did one a couple years ago for Somalia. And now hes doing it for the Philippines. So if anyones interested in knowing more about that ride, definitely go to our Facebook page. We have the link, and we can also give it to you guys to put it on your website, too, because I want as many people as possible to support him.

Raymond Hansell
Why dont you give me the link right now?

Dan Karslake
I dont know it by heart, and Im not in front of my computer, but I can absolutely give it to you guys. I know that the name of the page in the UK is JustGiving and that if you go to the JustGiving page, which you can get via Google, just put in Charlie Simpson, and it will come up.

Raymond Hansell
Thats fantastic. Were going to take a break right now. Id like to offer this challenge to our listeners. If you know someone out there whose acts no matter how small they are, whether theyre 7 years old, 11 years old, or 70 years old are making a difference in the lives of other people, wed love to hear about them. Tweet us at #BetterWorldians so we can let the BetterWorldian community know. Well be talking more with filmmaker, Dan Karslake, about other people featured in his film, Every Three Seconds, when we come back. In the meantime, you can learn more at BetterWorldians.com and follow our live tweets at Twitter.com/betterworldians. Well be right back now. >> The Internets number one talk station. >> Number one talk station. >> Voiceamerica.com. >> How can we make it a better world? >> I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. >> Everybody needs to help their neighbor, and then it will spread from then on. >> I should do more. I could do more. >> I spend so much time on Facebook. >> How much time do I spend on Facebook? >> Probably more than I should be spending. >> I would definitely give back if I could find the time. >> Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. Its called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. >> For more information, visit Facebook.com/abetterworld. >> What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? The Dr. Pat Show with Dr. Pat Baccili is a radio forum for some of the worlds most influential people in the fields of health, wellness and human potential. Dr. Pat brings together and introduces visionary scientists and futurists, environmentalists, educators, business leaders, inventors, filmmakers, authors, artists, mystics and healers who inspire and support individual and collective growth and positive cultural shifts. This award-winning radio show empowers the listening community to be the change they want to see in the world. Tune in every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Pacific for the Dr. Pat Show with Dr. Pat Baccili, radio to thrive by! >> Ask the experts. Call toll-free right now, 1-866-472-5787, and ask our all-star team to answer your questions. Thats 1-866-472-5787. >> Thank you for calling. >> Voiceamerica.com. >> This is BetterWorldians Radio with a family team of Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an email to radio@betterworldians.com. Now back to BetterWorldians Radio.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Dan.

Dan Karslake
Hi, MarySue. I watched the video that Ray just referenced, and its pretty wonderful. And Ive shared it. So share it as much as you can, everyone.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, thank you so much, Dan. Now before the break, we were talking about some of the people featured in your film Every Three Seconds. Lets talk a little bit more about that. Can you tell us about Ingrid Munro and her microgrants? I just love that story.

Dan Karslake
Yeah. Ingrids an amazing woman. So Ingrid is a Swedish woman who found herself with her husband in Nairobi at the end of her career. She worked in housing in Nairobi. And the year she retired, she had this experience where she and her husband decided to adopt three black African boys who were living on the streets of Nairobi. Their mother had been killed. And they adopted first Waithaka and then his two brothers. But when they adopted Waithaka, Ingrid as she says in the film got to know the friends of Waithakas friends mothers. Okay. So Waithaka had all these friends in the streets, and she got to know the women who were the mothers of Waithakas friends. They were all women who were beggars on the streets of Nairobi. And they all had various stories about how they got there mostly around tribal violence in Central Kenya but often around simply the fact that these women had only boy children, and often in Kenya, husbands reject the wives once theyve had one or two boys because they really only want girls in Kenya. So these women had been rejected by their families, rejected by their husbands, and they were on the streets with their children begging. But as Ingrid got to know them, she realized that these were women who had huge capability to have their own careers, to have lives that were far better for them and their children. They just had absolutely no chance of getting there. And Ingrid had read about this man called Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for starting this whole system called microfinance. And very simply, its this: you gather people that banks will not ever lend money to because theyre too poor you gather them together in groups of five, and you give them whats called microloans. You give them very small amounts of money that are loans. And with that money, they can either buy a single cell phone to rent out to other people who dont have cell phones in their village, or they can start a very small green vegetable business, or they can start to buy used clothing and resell it at a profit. So these five people together, they each get a microloan of say $12 each, and then they support each other in their businesses and make sure that things are going well. And then when each person pays back their $12, then they get a $24 YIT loan. And they buy two more phones, or they buy more clothes that they can resell or whatever the microbusiness is theyve decided. And its this really amazing way to give people at the lowest rung of society literally a ladder to climb themselves out of poverty. Its not charity. Theyre not giving the money where they just spend it and then leave. They are giving them loans. And theyre paying the loans back. And whats so amazing about microfinance, particularly Ingrids microfinance bank, is that something like 98 percent of the loans are repaid.

MarySue Hansell
I was just reading about that.

Dan Karslake
Yeah. When you look at the US and the rate of repayment of loans to major banks, it hovers around 50 percent. But these people, who we think are not responsible or who some people think theyre not responsible or not hard workers, are paying back their loans at a rate of 98 percent. So Ingrid back 10 years ago, the year after she retired, decided to gather these women together; she knew 50 of them, five, zero. She put them in groups of five, and she loaned each of them $12. So altogether for Ingrid, it was an investment of $600. That was the beginning of a microfinance bank called Jamii Bora. And those 50 beggar women all started their own businesses theyre all tiny, tiny, little businesses and paid back their loans and then took another loan and paid back that loan and expanded and expanded and expanded. And its now 11 years later. Jamii Bora now makes microloans to 350,000 people all over Kenya. And they are responsible for pulling probably about 1.5 million people out of poverty. Its an amazing story.

MarySue Hansell
Talk about a little deed carrying it.

Dan Karslake
Its amazing. And what I love about it is that she started it the year she retired. This is a senior citizen. So many seniors when they retire think, well, my usefulness if over. What can really do now? These are my golden years. I guess Ill just sort of calm down and just get old I guess. But this is a great story proof that seniors, especially, have so much to give back. And Ingrid, so beautifully in our interview about going back to Sweden to her high school reunion about five years ago and how struck she was by how everyone just talked about how old they felt and how getting older was so hard. And she was sort of stunned. She thought, Im so busy with the microfinance bank, working with all these people, I never even think about being old. I dont really consider myself old. Youre young. I mean, its just its a beautiful example also of its not so much that well, let me say it another way. When you help someone, youre helping yourself just as much. I mean, the payback and the effect even biologically on your own body is just as strong. So its wonderful to do something altruistically, but those of us who do that, at least when we do it and everybodys had this experience when you are able to give of yourself, something comes over your body that you never feel otherwise because its even physiologically good for us to be doing small deeds of goodness because it helps our health; it helps our immune system. And every three seconds, we theres a section of the film in which we talk about the biology of altruism. And a scientist called Dacher Keltner from Berkeley talks about the fact that weve had 50, 60, 70 years of science about what stress does to the human body. And as we all know, stress rips our body apart. It has an effect on virtually every system in our body. But theyve just started to do some experiments and started to come across studies and create studies that are actually studying the effects of doing good on the body. And it is significant. Theres a nerve called the vagus nerve that starts at the base of our brain, goes through our throat down into our lungs. It slows our heart rate and slows our breathing. But most importantly, it goes into our abdomen and has an incredibly strong effect on our immune system. So doing good is a win/win, win/win/win for everyone because physiologically, now we have this rock solid science that says, if youre not feeling well, heres something else you can do to feel better. Its very, very interesting.

MarySue Hansell
Theres wonderful, wonderful research about that to support what youre saying, Dan. So tell us about some of those people that you didnt pick for your film but had great stories. I mean, you must have talked to how many?

Dan Karslake
Oh, boy. I talked to many, many people and reviewed many, many stories. And all of them were moving and incredible in their own right. You know when youre making a film, you have to make hard decisions on which stories work well together, which stories kind of hit all the right bases together, what kind of geographical locations do you want to include? So often, we had to make our decisions based on that. But there are so many wonderful endless wonderful stories about people doing amazing things. And example one of our supporters of the film, too, is a woman named Caroline Brudreaux who lives in Austin, Texas. She has just an amazing story about how when she was a young adult worked in the television industry, and it was relatively materialistic, and took a year off to kind of chase the sun on a trip around the world with her best friend. And they were just going form glamorous place to glamorous place. And all of a sudden, they found themselves in India. And something brought her into an orphanage where she met one child who was malnourished. And she happened to be there on the American holiday, Mothers Day. So she was thinking about her mom. She found herself holding this child who was malnourished, and her entire life changed. She decided that she needed to not go back to America and forget about this. She needed to do something because she has great potential. Shes a very powerful woman herself, very bright, very much a go-getter. So she went back to Austin and started something called the Miracle Foundation which employs only Indian people in India to completely rejuvenate the existing orphanages there which were pretty horrible. Kids were not getting the food they needed; they were not getting the clothing they needed; they were not getting the motherly attention they needed. So she has altered, in her time with the Miracle Foundation, I dont know how many orphanages to have house mothers. Every 12 kids have a house mother who will always be their house mother from the time they get there to the time they leave there when theyre 18. So they start to have a family structure. She raised enough money to get them the food and the nourishment they need. And she keeps either starting or taking over more and more orphanages. And it was just solely based on this one experience she had with this one child where she thought, I am feeling deeply that I need to do something about this. And though Im socialized to kind of disregard that and move on and kind of just have fun, Im not going to do it. And its made her life just way more full. And shes happier than shes ever been. And thats just one amazing story. There are really thousands.

MarySue Hansell
These are just wonderful stories. How did you find them? How did you find out about these people?

Dan Karslake
Well, because my last film, So the Bible Tells Me So, was pretty widely seen and embraced; a lot of people have followed me on Facebook and on Twitter. And Ive talked a lot about my next project being Every Three Seconds, and Ive asked people, if you have someone in your family or if you read about something or if you see something, just send it to me. Id love to know about it. So I read extensively. Im always online. I just really believe in research, and generally, if Im moved by something I consider myself sort of middle range, middle class. If something speaks to me, it probably will speak to a generally broad audience because Im a white male, middle class person in America. So at least to that demographic, I feel like what resonates with me will resonate relatively widely, so I just pay attention to what moves me, and I pursue those stories.

MarySue Hansell
It sounds like a great filmmaker there. What impact do you hope the film will have?

Dan Karslake
Well, the whole point of this movie really is to get people from intention to action. Changing the world starts with really important, good intention, but change doesnt happen until action. We have to take action. And the film really is about showing people that there are so many ways now to just while youre sitting in your theater seat watching the movie or sitting at your computer watching the movie, there are so many ways to engage in the end of poverty and hunger now. In the film itself, at the end when people see it, viewers will be given the opportunity while the movies playing to engage in any of the five stories or other issues surround hunger and poverty as theyre sitting there via SMS texting technology. Were working with an amazing company in Los Angeles called Participant Media who have produced all of the big documentaries youve ever heard of: Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, The Cove, Food, Inc. They also produced The Help and a movie last year that a few people saw called Lincoln. So theyre a very successful company. They are doing all of our texting engagement, which means they are building all our online engagement, so when someone says, I want to either support Charlie in what hes doing Charlie Simpson or I want to do something myself for UNICEF or something else for children globally, they will just simply while theyre sitting in their seat watching the movie text the word Charlie, the name Charlie, to a source code 77177, and theyll immediately get a website where they will have five or six options that they can do right there to engage in helping children immediately. In Ingrids story, people immediately hear about Kiva. Kiva.org is this amazing website where you can go on kiva.org, make a $25 loan to one of 1,000 people across the world who needs a microloan to start a business so they can pull their family out of poverty. And then those people pay that loan back, and then you get to give that loan to someone else.

MarySue Hansell
Yes. I have contributed to Kiva. And its wonderful to see how people use the money and pay it back.

Dan Karslake
I made a loan probably six years ago on Kiva of $25, and Ive now loaned that same $25 to probably eight or nine people now.

MarySue Hansell
So have I. Its a wonderful experience. I know the feeling.

Dan Karslake
Isnt it wonderful?

MarySue Hansell
Yes, it is. What issue what has been the response so far, Dan, to the film?

Dan Karslake
Well, weve had just a couple very small sneak preview screenings, one, my childhood summer hometown called the Chautauqua Institution, which is a really wonderful arts festival in Western New York. We had a couple nights of screenings there and just recently, a sneak preview at Rutgers University. And the response has been extremely positive. People are very, very anxious to engage. Unfortunately, our online component that I just described is not yet live. So people expressed a lot of frustration that they wanted to get involved now. And thats a really good thing as a filmmaker because our whole team you know I keep saying I, but really this is a team of people that has been working on this film for five years. Its a team effort, absolutely both on the fundraising side and on the production side. So weve been hoping that the online engagement stuff would be up in time for at least the last sneak preview, but its not yet up. So to hear audience members express frustration is kind of a bummer, but its also exciting because the whole point is this movie is designed to make people feel like, okay, its now time for me to engage because it is time for us all to engage.

MarySue Hansell
Absolutely. I know our listeners are dying to know how they can see Every Three Seconds. When and how soon do you expect it to be released?

Dan Karslake
We are working on a very innovative distribution release plan. When For the Bible Tells Me So, my last film premiered, it started as Ray said it started at Sundance. It went through a bunch of festivals. It went into theaters. It was in 150 markets; then it went on television. Its a very sort of that is the pattern that most documentary films had taken until that point. Well, things have changed so much since then, and we are looking at a pretty exciting online premier of the film coming up within the next probably two to three months. I cant announce where or when yet, but people who are interested should absolutely go to our Facebook page. When you go to Facebook, just search by the films title, Every Three Seconds, like our page, and you will get the updates for when the film will be available, or follow us on Twitter, which is e3sdocfilm docfilm. Those announcements will also be there, but we will premier the film online. This is our plan. And then it will go after 24 hours, it will go to something called either Gather or Tugg. These are two websites that are similar to Kickstarter indiegogo. People who know about Kickstarter know that Kickstarter is a crowd funding site. People who want to get funding for a project put it on Kickstarter and people from all over the world, through the Internet, can either lend them money or donate money or just give them money for their project. Well, Gather and Tugg are crowd sourcing sites. So what happens on Gather is when Every Three Seconds is up on Gather, they will click on it, will be taken to the Every Three Seconds page, and then you have to just do two things; you have to put in your zip code, and you enter your credit card information in order to buy a theater ticket. Your credit card, though, will not be charged unless and until 50 people in your area have also done the same thing. And as soon as we reach 50 people in any given area, the film will immediately go into a theater near you so that you can see it. So people, its really crowd controlled distribution. Weve been raising money for this film all over the country for five years, so we have a lot of really strong pockets of interest and support. So were excited about that because the film wont immediately go to Seattle and immediately go to Miami and all these places that weve had fund raisers and talked to people. So its a very innovative, very new kind of way to distribute a film (Speakers overlapping) our Facebook page.

Raymond Hansell
Were very excited as well. We need to take another break. When we come back, well talk more with Dan Karslake about his film Every Three Seconds. You can ask Dan a question after the break. You can do that several ways. First, you can call us at 1-866-472-5788. Thats 1-866-472-5788. Or you can send us an e-mail at radio@betterworldians.com or Tweet us a question at Twitter.com/betterworldians. Well be right back now. >> Stimulating talk. >> It gets those synapses in your brain firing really fast. >> All the time, the number one Internet talk station where your opinion counts. Voiceamerica.com. >> How can we make it a better world? >> I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. >> Everybody needs to help their neighbor, and then it will spread from then on. >> I should do more. I could do more. >> I spend so much time on Facebook. >> How much time do I spend on Facebook? >> Probably more than I should be spending. >> I would definitely give back if I could find the time. >> Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. Its called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. >> For more information, visit Facebook.com/abetterworld. >> Ask the experts. Call toll-free right now. 1-866-472-5787, and ask our all-star team to answer your questions. Thats 1-866-472-5787. >> Thank you for calling. >> Voiceamerica.com. >> This is BetterWorldians Radio with a family team of Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. Thats 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an email to radio@betterworldians.com. Now back to BetterWorldians Radio.

Gregory Hansell
Hi, Dan. This is Greg. How are you doing?

Dan Karslake
Good, Greg. Thanks.

Gregory Hansell
One of the things I wanted to ask you is what did you feel you learned from people in the process of making Every Three Seconds?

Dan Karslake
When I chose - or we chose these people to look at for the film, they had already gone at least part of the way down their journey of making a difference. So I always went into each of the interviews kind of with a sense of awe, thinking, wow, this is amazing. Even this little kid, hes amazing. This has got to be someone whos really special. And they are all very special people, but what I really learned, and I think I referenced this earlier, was that none of them none of the five really at the beginning thought they were going to really make the huge difference that they ended up making. They just simply decided to do one thing and let the universe or however you look at life, God, whatever that voice is guide them to continue and go a next step and go a next step and go a next step. So that was really important for me to learn that none of these people who had made such huge change thought, Im going to make huge change now, and this is my first step. They just said, you know what, I can do this one thing right now. And then that led to another thing, and that led to another thing. That was hugely important for me just individually and I think for the film because I dont want people to look at these people and say, well, theyre somehow much more special than I am. These are five regular folks who are just doing what they felt moved to do, and they just kept doing it.

Gregory Hansell
Well, I think that if the big message of the film is this idea that small acts can make a big difference, and you say that thats one of the things that inspired you about these people, is that something that you want to tell the listeners at home that you do think that you do believe that small acts can make a difference?

Dan Karslake
Oh, absolutely. Im sorry. Definitely. As I said earlier, people I know Ill speak for myself. I have often really good intentions to do good things, and way too often, I just dont do them. And I think, well, at least I was going to do it. Change only happens when action takes place. Do as much as you possibly can to follow your intuition and actually do those small gestures, those small things that make the world a better place because once you start doing them, you will realize that its almost addictive, that its kind of why were here. Were here to look out for each other. I just read an amazing quote, which I just loved. It was something like, The same heart beats in every human breast. And for me, the movie is a lot about our oneness, the fact that we put up these walls, these false walls of belief or country affiliation or race or whatever it is. And I think when we do these small acts of kindness, we start to erase those false barriers and realize that the same heart beats in every human breast. So yeah, small acts are what its all about I think.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah. I like the way that you put that. Thats why were here, ultimately. Its a big part of our mission and our belief here at BetterWorldians Radio. So thank you for mentioning that. And I think part of that also; your film shows that you dont have to be a millionaire, celebrity, rock start to make a difference. Can you just say something about that?

Dan Karslake
Yeah. I mean, none of these people were any of that. The other senior story is Gloria Henderson whos this 70-something-year-old African-American woman in rural eastern North Carolina who realized that just so much food was rotting on local farmland, that the farmers in that area and really the farmers all over the US, the technology that we use to harvest our crops is from the 40s and early 50s. Because we have such bounty in the US, we leave an incredible amount of fresh fruit and vegetables on our fields. And she realized that if she went with some friends and picked those fruits and vegetables obviously with the permission of the farmers she could immediately take all of those fruits and vegetables to homeless shelters and food pantries where people were only getting high-salt, high-fat food that supermarkets were giving to these homeless shelters and food pantries. So heres Gloria, just having a small idea, like Im going to walk across the street to the corn field across the street and pick whats left and get it to these people who are hungry because they need nutritious food. Thats such a simple idea, and yet she has now picked more than a million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables which have been given to the hungry of eastern North Carolina. And she couldnt be sweeter; I dont want to say simple. Shes not a simple human being; everybodys complex. But she has no grandeur about her. Shes just a real, caring woman who, again, stays young by helping others. In that story its a gleaning story; its called gleaning which is a Biblical term I learned that 96 billion pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables is left on our fields in America every year. Imagine what that could do when put in the mouths of the 22 percent of children who are hungry in America. Its crazy. We have these simple solutions. I just have to believe that the more people understand and realize it, the more people are going to want to be part of the solution.

Gregory Hansell
I think thats right. I think that you are inspiring us today. I know youve inspired me to realize that small acts can have a big impact, and its something that everyone can do. Let me take a question. A question came in from e-mail Caitlin from Pennsylvania. She heard that you mentioned working on the film way back in 2008, and shes curious about the whole journey then of making this film and the process that took place. Can you talk about that?

Dan Karslake
Sure. One of the great challenges of making independent documentaries is that it takes a while. So you have to choose carefully and really pick topics that that youre passionate about. We started I started in the fall of 2008 and really completed the film just recently. So thats five years. And honestly, what takes most of the time is raising the money it takes to make the film. And we had an amazing team doing that. And they did an amazing job. And still, it took us five years to complete the whole film because you cant continue with a project unless theres funding. So we were constantly kind of stopping shooting to raise more money, shooting and then stopping to raise more money, so a huge number of very generous people have come together to make this film, and its taken that long because the fund raising part of it is a real challenge. And theres really no way to get around that. Its just part of what it is. And the good news is that I really believe that the films take as long as theyre supposed to take. I learned that with my last film, and it feels like more than ever, the world is ready for Every Three Seconds, maybe even more than last year. So its going to be coming out exactly when its supposed to come out. But it is a journey. And I learned from my colleagues at Sundance, Im lucky enough to have had a film at Sundance, so I have some resources there. And I was talking to one of them recently and just saying, ugh, why does this have to take so long? I want this film out in the world, just kind of bellyaching. And she said, Dan, the average documentary takes seven years, so youre ahead of the game. So really, stop complaining. (Laughter) So Im not complaining.

Gregory Hansell
Thats great. Well, thank you, Caitlin, for that very much. I think we do have Jeannie from Connecticut on with us. Jeannie, welcome to BetterWorldians Radio.

Jeannie
Hi there.

Dan Karslake
Hi.

Jeannie
My question for Dan is: I noticed on your website I was poking around that your first film, For the Bible Tells Me So, was recognized as one of five films that changed the world. I think that was the accolade or whatever from Entertainment Weekly, which is fantastic. Do you foresee that Every Three Seconds will also be a film that changes the world, and can you talk a little bit about the shelf life of films and how they can be impactful beyond their initial release?

Dan Karslake
Yeah, sure. The Entertainment Weekly acknowledgement was quite stunning and amazing and very, very important and meaningful for everyone who worked on that film. And yes, the goal is absolutely that Every Three Seconds has that kind of reach and more. When I first heard about Charlie Simpson, the young boy that wed spoken about earlier in the hour, I approached UNICEF UK to see if they would put me in contact with his parents. And they declined. They said no; Charlie got a lot of press when the ride happened, and his parents very specifically and very clearly at one point said, okay, thats it. Hes 7. We want no more press. He will not be on any television shows. He will not be in any newspapers anymore. We want him to have a childhood. And so when I called UNICEF and they said, no, the parents have been very clear; theyre not doing anymore press, I said, well, I understand that, and I think its really great that theyre looking out for their son that way, but this isnt press. This is a movie. And the thing about this movie is that no one will hear Charlie Charlie was big in the news right around his ride, and then the press moved on. And the number of kids who will be inspired by him stopped because no one was talking about him anymore. And what I explained to the UNICEF UK people was movies have shelf lives. And this movie will be seen and then seen again. I mean, For the Bible Tells Me So, my last film, really premiered in 2007, and I still get an unbelievable number of e-mails about that movie every week from people who had never heard of it and finally saw it and loved it and it changed their lives. So when I talked to UNICEF UK about that, I said, please tell the parents that this isnt about press; this isnt about exploitation. It is about giving people the opportunity to know what Charlie did and be inspired by it so they could take their own small acts of kindness forward. And so they finally gave me access to his parents, who were also immediately saying no. So I actually was in London shooting an interview with Karen Armstrong, the theologian, for the film. And I asked them if we could just meet. So we met at a local bookstore. They did not bring Charlie. I just met with Leo and Dan. His parents I explained this again that the thing about film is that it has a life and as you said, Jeannie, a shelf life that there were thousands of kids and adults already inspired by him, but we could exponentially increase that if you allow me to tell his story. You do not have to do any press for the film. Ill understand if you guys want to stay completely out of it once the film is done, but please allow me to tell his story. And they agreed at that point because they understood about the power of film.

Gregory Hansell
Thank you very much for that call. We actually have just one more call. I apologize for interrupting you, Dan. We have Sherry on the line. Sherry, are you with us?

Sherry
Yes. Im here. Hi.

Gregory Hansell
Welcome to BetterWorldians Radio.

Sherry
Thank you. This has come up for me as weve been going through the Philippines disaster in the past few weeks, and its the same kind of concern that I often hear and read about as I read about this issue of hunger and poverty and that is we have a lot of hungry people and homeless people right here in the US. Some people have said they didnt get enough help for Sandy and so forth. And so theres a mentality amongst some people that we should take care of our own in our own country first. And clearly, this movie has a very global perspective. So what would your response be to that concern?

Gregory Hansell
And Dan, I hate to tell you this; we have to just make it quick. We only have a few more minutes left to wrap up the show. Sorry.

Dan Karslake
Okay. My response is absolutely, there are stories in the film that are both United States based and globally and that all I say to people when they say that is, as long as you take action to help people here and dont use it as an excuse not to do anything for anyone, Im fine. If you want to help people in the US, absolutely. Theres so many people who need it. If you want to engage in the end of hunger abroad, fantastic. Just do something.

Gregory Hansell
Okay. You can find out more about the film Every Three Seconds by going to Dans website, everythreeseconds.net. Dan, once again, wed like to thank you for joining us. This has been a most inspirational episode this week in BetterWorldians Radio. And we appreciate you joining us.

Dan Karslake
It was my pleasure. I love what you guys are up to in the world. Thank you so much.

Gregory Hansell
Thanks, Dan. Youre very welcome. Please join us next week for our show on Thanksgiving, The Habits of Happiness with happiness expert Matthew Della Porta. Dr. Della Porta will talk about gratitude and the importance of being thankful. What a great idea for Thanksgiving. We have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks, and if you know of an unsung BetterWorldian who would make a great guest on our show, please send us an e-mail at radio@betterworldians.com. Wed like to remind everyone that you can be part of a miracle this holiday season. Simply share our video challenge at help heal 10 disabled children (ph). Its that easy. Just go to colorwithkindness.com, watch the video, share it with your friends, and give these kids the gift of a lifetime. Wed like to thank everyone today for listening. Once again, you can join the BetterWorldian community at Betterworldians.com. Until next time, everybody, please be a BetterWorldian.