Filmmaker begins production of the ASMR-inspired movie, “P.A.I.N.”

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityMike Reed lives in Denmead, UK, has attended South Downs College, and has a Foundation Diploma in Fine Art from Portsmouth College Art & Design.

Mike also creates ASMR videos for his YouTube channel, “Show Me ASMR” and has begun production of a full feature length ASMR film titled, “P.A.I.N.”.

Mike’s movie “P.A.I.N.” now joins the movie “Murmurs” on a very short list of ASMR movies currently in production.

In my interview with Mike he shares his inspiration for creating an ASMR movie, information about other movies he has produced, why the movie is titled, “P.A.I.N.”, the types of ASMR triggers which will be incorporated into the production, and the release date of the movie.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and links to more information about Mike and his movie, “P.A.I.N.”.

How would you describe the ASMR videos you create for your ASMR YouTube channel?

Mike, “My channel started somewhat experimentally. I wanted to discover my own triggers but also put stuff out there that might trigger others. It’s a young channel I started in January 2016 and I’m still evolving my technique.

Currently it’s a mixture of unboxing and Lego (de)construction videos. I treat each video as an episode of performance art. Technically my recording baseline is stereo audio with point-of-view video and usually 60fps (although sometimes I test for reactions at different frame-rates from different cameras and recorders).

People sometimes ask why I wear gloves in my videos and the simple answer is that it saves me the bother of having a manicure. However, wearing gloves can also lead to moments of comic relief (especially with small bits of Lego), and creates additional sounds that probably wouldn’t arise using my bare hands. I also refrain from talking in all my videos because I’m more interested in the intricate sounds the object I am filming might make.”

What inspired you to make the leap from ASMR videos to a full feature ASMR film?

Mike, “The shortest answer is that I love sounds and I love movies. With a background in the arts I also love experimenting and taking risks with my work, I don’t like standing still for too long.

I think it will be fun to instruct a film production thematically with ASMR. I expect to create a mindfulness in the movie that might otherwise not have existed had we decided to make it with a conventional narrative pacing.”

What other feature length films have you created?

Mike, “I’ve created a handful of features over the years. I filmed my first feature length narrative in 2004 on the cusp of the DSLR revolution which I could see coming (I’ve always said that film is just 24 photographs per second). However we had to keep costs down and ended up shooting on miniDV which was inspired by Danny Boyle because we used the same basic equipment he used on ’28 Days Later’ and even managed a cameo role for one of the supporting actors. In contrast to ’28 Days Later’, we shot our film documentary style and it’s nothing to do with zombies. This was the beginning of my minor obsession with the ‘doco’ format as a production technique.

My next feature was a result of a challenge issued on Twitter in 2009 by a stranger on the other side of the world: produce a feature length film within a two-week window. This became known as #2wkfilm on Twitter. Naturally I accepted such an insane proposal and ‘The Original Soundtrack’ is what came out the other side. The film title is a hint at my affinity for vibrating air molecules and a nod to an old 10cc album that introduced me to the concept that ‘Life Is a Minestrone’. I call it a musical although there’s no singing and dancing on screen. We filmed it on a compact camera and made the soundtrack heavily dependent on diegetic music that the protagonist is listening to through headphones.

In 2010 and 2011 we shot two more features refining the #2wkfilm process for our own means (released as “The Fix:” and “G.A.I.N.” respectively.”

How would you describe the plot of your current ASMR film?

Mike, “It’s about a girl and her faithful companion being transported into another world and her quest to get back home to her boyfriend. Along the way she meets several colourful characters including a homeless man, a replicant, and a cowardly arms dealer.”

The title, “P.A.I.N.” is intriguing for a film involving ASMR, is this a touch of irony?

Mike, “It’s a working title, although it may likely stick. It’s more to do with it being the spiritual successor to G.A.I.N. (which is not an ASMR film) and an allusion to the theory of non-linear time given that there is “no pain, no gain”.

Ultimately, P.A.I.N. refers to the faithful companion which is a ‘Personal Area Interscape Navigator’ manufactured by the Blackwell Corporation and is the first-person lens through which the viewer will experience the world. Films certainly can be a pain to create though, there’s no irony in that.”

What technology and methodology will be utilized to create the film?

Mike, “We are using mobile recording equipment which includes a microphone array. We are not shooting in a sound studio nor in a controlled space so it’s possible the production soundtrack will be augmented with overdubs in post-production.

The film will be shot in binaural stereo at a high frame rate (HFR) of 60fps in full HD. There will be lots of long takes. This will allow the film to be chaptered into particular ASMR highlights for people who might want to use parts of the film as a sleep aid.”

How will you be incorporating ASMR triggers into the film?

Mike, “There’s some very specific events in the film that lend themselves to incorporating ASMR triggers. We will be covering many typical triggers such as whispering, accents, role play, tapping, crinkling – and maybe discover something new along the way.”

How familiar with ASMR are the cast and others involved with the production?

Mike, “Not at all familiar with ASMR. However, I consider this a strength since no one on the cast and crew has any preconceived ideas of what ASMR is or isn’t. I have given everyone a primer on the basis of ASMR and everyone is very positive and excited to be part of it.”

Are you self-funding the production or do you have supporters/investors?

Mike, “It’s largely self-funded with some local co-production co-operative investment from Murlyn Films International (MFI) and Trash Arts. They have mainly helped with the casting, location management, wardrobe, and prop acquisitions – all things that cost time and/or money.”

What do you anticipate will the biggest challenges as you move forward?

Mike, “Undoubtedly the production phase. About half the movie is set outdoors and we will be filming in an uncontrolled environment. My biggest concern is that if it’s a particularly windy day the microphone array will not perform well outside which will mean a more lengthy post-production sound phase will need to be employed.”

What is your timeline for the production and completion of the film?

Mike, “There is a tentative local release date set for January 2017. After principal photography wraps by end of August 2016, I would anticipate a month of picture editing (including colour grading) before we have a locked cut. In theory that leaves us plenty of time to do any dialogue editing or ADR (automated dialogue replacement) and foley that may be needed although the intention is to leave as much of the production sound intact as possible.”

Note: A link for the IMDb entry for the movie is below. The entry will list cast/crew within a few days and should also track the production to release status.

Do you think more feature films in the future will be incorporating ASMR?

Mike, “I think it’s a possibility. Especially as things like AR (augmented reality)/ VR (virtual reality)/ 360 degree filmed entertainment find a foothold – these are mediums that lend themselves to intimacy so it’s not a big stretch to wear headphones when viewing. Married with technologies like Dolby Atmos there is potential for some next level ASMR experiences.

Right now though I see ASMR as on the fringes of the vernacular, the awareness with the mainstream (that would help make these technologies more successful) just isn’t there yet.

As I wrote these responses I note there is a bit of press about Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) doing an ASMR video which to me demonstrates a sustained growth towards pop culture and establishing ASMR as a genre.”

Links for more information about Mike, his movie, and his ASMR videos:

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

One thought on “Filmmaker begins production of the ASMR-inspired movie, “P.A.I.N.”

  1. Pingback: Updates on the two ASMR movies in production, “Murmurs” and “P.A.I.N.” | ASMR University

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