Soon after the world lost John Lennon, Yoko Ono found a way to cope with her sorrow by forcing a smile each day in the mirror. Soon those forced smiles turned into a real smile and led her to search for a way to share her discovery that smiling can help one face tragedy. Years later, she realized her dream could be achieved through the power of the Internet. Yoko Ono is an artist who wants to make you smile – quite literally in the case of her crowd-sourcing #smilesfilm project, that encourages users around the world to contribute footage of themselves smiling for her growing global database of grins.
For Fred Burger of VisionsMedia/BurgerDesign recovering from a heart attack several years ago was no laughing matter. Burger, a filmmaker, photographer and college professor found himself lying in his hospital room feeling sorry for himself and realizing he needed a way out of his depression. Burger came up with an idea — how could he experience instant, spontaneous and authentic laughter to lighten his spirits and get his mind off his troubles? The latest result of his 15-year quest is “The Gift of Laughter” app.
Burger says watching someone laugh triggers the response of laughter, progressing from smiles to chuckles to belly laughs. “This app is all about that feeling and an opportunity to share the gift of laughter,” he said. “And that’s why I named it “The GIFT of Laughter.” With all the challenges in the world today I thought it would be especially fitting to help bring a little happiness, smiles and laughter into our lives.”
After much planning, design and programming, Burger’s company VisionsMedia/BurgerDesign created the iPhone/iPad version of a video he first created in 1996. While the DVD version of his laughter video has sold to many happy users and health professionals through Amazon.com, the easy-access video clips on the iPhone/iPad app, which features fifty, 15 to 20 seconds clips of real people laughing, can be viewed and shared one at a time, as a group (“Play all”), or on a loop (“Continuous Play”). http://www.amazon.com/The-Gift-Laughter-Various/dp/B0063U36B6/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1331316562&sr=1-1
Burger’s project featured many recorded sessions with willing subjects laughing for his camera. The DVD has been used by organizations such as laughter therapy clubs, laughter yoga sessions, schools and hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers across the country.
Burger based his program on the theories and work of Norman Cousins and others who studied the healing and therapeutic power of laughter. Convinced that laughter could heal one’s soul and in turn the mind and body, Burger set out to capture laughter that could be accessed instantly with just the touch of a finger. The iTunes App store made that dream a reality.
“The DVD is a great way to deliver the video, but iPhone and iPad technology has given me the delivery system I have been waiting to use for many years now,” says Burger. “It’s the fastest way to deliver a healthy dose of laughter whenever you want it, every day.”
“This is the BEST laughter video we have ever seen. Period,” said Steve Wilson of the “World Laughter Tour,” which sponsors seminars and laughter-leader training globally. “When we laugh, our pain and suffering are put on hold and we are completely engulfed in a sense of well-being. Laughter makes us feel good both mentally and physically. And laughter is contagious, which makes this video work especially well.”
This gift of contagious laughter comes in the form of “The Gift of Laughter,” an iPhone/iPad app that is available now on the Apple iTunes App Store. The app, which already has thousands of users laughing along, was previously selling for $2.99. Now with 25 more laughs added to the original 25, users can select a favorite laugh or choose one at random and join in the fun. This great idea allows iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad users to participate in the power of laughter to induce smiles and laughs and to share them with friends and loved ones.
“There’s no other app quite like this available on the iTunes App Store,” says Burger. “My goal in creating this app was to share the feeling we get when we watch someone laughing. Taking advantage of smartphone and tablet technology, this app lets you enjoy that liberating feeling whenever you want.”
Steve Wilson, psychologist, founder of the World Laughter Tour, and Director of National Humor Month (April), says this about this unique app…“You have produced the best demonstration of true mirthful laughter that has ever been recorded. It’s very important in our therapeutic world. Mirth is a special emotion. I’ve seen so many takes on this (recorded laughter) but they are just OK. This truly is wonderful. And by far it’s the best one I have ever seen.”