The Secret

More and more people in random places are coming up to me and asking me if I’ve seen the movie Secret.

I’ve seen the movie a few times and If I wasn’t procrastinating I’d buy it.

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`The Secret’ is out: Inspirational film goes viral (Chicago Tribune reprint)
By Joann Klimkiewicz
Tribune Newspapers: The Hartford Courant
Published January 4, 2007

The film’s trailer is urgent and haunting. A swell of chanting builds over a slick sequence of mythical imagery — burning candles illuminating sacred-looking texts, a cast of shadowy characters hovering over a mysterious scroll.

"A year ago, my life had collapsed around me," comes an accented female voice. "I’d worked myself into exhaustion, my father died suddenly and my relationships were in turmoil. Little did I know at the time, out of my greatest despair was to come the greatest gift."

The gift, the viewer learns, is a centuries-old secret to life, purported to be coveted and suppressed through the ages. "Why doesn’t everyone know this?" the voice whispers. "All I wanted to do was share the secret with the world."

It’s a provocative movie clip. And one that does the trick. Who doesn’t want in on a juicy secret?

But if moviegoers want the answer, they aren’t going to find it in traditional movie theaters.

"The Secret" is a 90-minute film eschewing the conventional movie advertising and distribution route, relying instead on a clever viral marketing campaign that has successfully harnessed the Internet and word-of-mouth buzz to reach the masses.

A meld of sweeping cinematic imagery and sit-down interviews with a host of writers, philosophers and scientists, the film can only be viewed through online streaming video, for $4.95, or purchased as a DVD, at $29.95, through the Web site,, and selected stores.

Spreading the word

"A film like this works much better when people hand it off from person to person," says Bob Rainone, president of The Secret, now a company with other projects in the works, including a just-released book and at least one film sequel, due out next year.

"When somebody gets the film from somebody, or somebody recommends it, there’s usually a story that goes with it," says Rainone. "It’s `I watched it; it helped me in my life.’ It gets an endorsement as it’s being handed off."

That doesn’t happen with most films, generally made for pure entertainment, he says.

"This is an entertaining film," he says, "but it has a much deeper meaning."

Since its April release, "The Secret" has sold more than half a million DVDs and more than 100,000 online views. But producers estimate millions have seen the movie. Compare that to Hollywood blockbusters, and it seems paltry. But in the viral world, and in the budding genre of spiritual cinema, Rainone views it as a success — and a phenomenon he still considers in its infancy.

That buzz is beginning to spread from niche groups and into the mainstream. CNN’s Larry King devoted two episodes to the film in November, and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" featured it last month. And while the producers have no plans for widescreen cinema release, spontaneous screenings are cropping up around the country — from intimate dinner parties to large gatherings at churches and community centers. (The producers allow such mass screenings under two conditions: that the film is shown in its entirety and at no charge.)

So just what is this big secret stirring so much commotion?

Rhonda Byrne, as Australian filmmaker whose story begins the movie, says its principles are tucked in the words of the greatest thinkers, writers and leaders throughout time — Plato, Albert Einstein and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., among them.

It’s the law of attraction. The power of positive thinking.

Like a magnet, the film says, the thoughts and images held in one’s mind determine what is attracted to them and, ultimately, the quality of life they live. Go anxiously through the day with a negative loop of thoughts in your mind, anticipating bad things will happen, and they will. Approach that same day with positive thoughts, anticipating good things, and they’ll be drawn to you.

Keeping the faith

It’s a philosophy the 25 teachers in the film say they have seen applied successfully to all aspects of life — finances, career, health and relationships.

"Deep down, every single person knows this. Every person knows, deep down, life is not meant to be hard," says Byrne, who came upon "the secret" after the string of misfortune she describes in the opening. In September 2004, she began reading a century-old book called "The Science of Getting Rich" and continued her studies from there.

In fact, she says she used the secret to make "The Secret." After a string of failed projects, her accountant reported her company was weeks from going broke. But Byrne was determined to launch the film project. Not knowing how she would cobble the resources for what would be a $3 million endeavor, she says she and her crew focused daily on the end result and held an unwavering faith the film would be made.

Byrne says the resources drew to her — the finances, the participants, even the distribution method — and the film was completed by January 2006.

It might sound like hocus-pocus to some, says Mike Dooley, one of the film’s speakers.

"But these principles, these laws of the universe — some would call it quantum physics — are as predictable as gravity," says Dooley, an author and international speaker who owns an inspirational Web site and retail business, Totally Unique Thoughts (

"There’s no society on Earth that doesn’t talk about the benefits of visualization and positive thinking," he says.

It’s a powerful, if controversial concept, considering we have tens of thousands of thoughts each day, says author Hale Dwoskin. Those thoughts, he says, literally create our daily existence.

"Most people are living life as victims — victims to life, victims to their inner landscape," says Dwoskin, who has taught his Sedona Method for 30 years. ( "But you don’t have to be a victim. "

Thinking negative thoughts about mounting debt or a dead-end job, these teachers say, will only ensure more debt and more years of unfulfilling work. The antidote is to visualize what it would look, feel and be like to have checks come in the mail or to have your dream job — and to believe with absolute faith these things are headed your way.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
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The Secret | Chicago Tribune | Secret Book | Law Of Attraction

The Secret

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