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Christman’s Funeral Home director Greg Vaitl said he thought the call might be a scam at first.
His phone rang out of the blue one day with a producer from Viewpoint Project with host Dennis Quaid on the line.
Viewpoint Project is a program distributed for free to public television stations across the country, and it’s also picked up by other stations such as CNN, Fox Business News, TLC, and Discovery to fill programming gaps.
Vaitl said that the Viewpoint producer told him that the show was thinking of doing a segment on funeral services and that his funeral home was picked to be interviewed.
“At first I thought it was a scam,” said Vaitl. “Okay, Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid is calling me, I seriously doubt this is happening.”
Now, with the segment produced and now running, Vaitl said it still feels surreal to him that Christman’s was picked out of all the funeral homes in the country.
Vaitl said he isn’t exactly sure how Christman’s bubbled up to the top of the list, but he decided to take the opportunity as it’s good exposure, and it was a chance to educate and inform the public about how funeral homes operate.
“The end result is to educate and inform the public about what funeral homes are doing,” said Vaitl.
Vaitl acknowledged that typically no one wants to go to a funeral.
“But if you’re doing it in a way that’s memorable and has meaning to it, I feel like that’s important,” he said, describing his goal for arranging funeral services.
“When you leave the funeral, you feel that you got something out of it. The service was good, it represented the person, you got something out of the experience. Versus just dreading it the entire time.”
Although Vaitl did not get a chance to meet Quaid during the filming process, he did get a taste of what it’s like to be on set.
For the five-minute segment, Vaitl hosted the Viewpoint team for a full day of filming. He said that one of the toughest parts was answering the same question, just worded ever-so-slightly differently, over and over again so that the producer could get the perfect soundbite.
“The shooting was exhausting,” said Vaitl, adding that it definitely wasn’t as easy as it sounds. “This is why I don’t do this for a living,” he joked.
“You keep answering the same question over and over again and lose train of thought.”
Despite the grueling shooting schedule, Vaitl said he’s happy with the results and thought it was a great opportunity.
As part of the opportunity, Vaitl said that Christman’s was charged for the filming, and for that he received the rights to the footage as well as a 60-second commercial for Christman’s cut from the educational material.
Vaitl said that the segment is airing now, although he hasn’t personally caught it live yet. You can watch the segment below.
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