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A documentary that explores ASMR, the euphoric, tingly sensation that is changing lives. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on May 10, 2014.

A documentary that explores ASMR, the euphoric, tingly sensation that is changing lives.

About this project

Over the last few years, YouTube has been flooded with videos made with the intention of triggering a euphoric, tingling sensation often felt in the head -- a sensation called the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). Viewers are "triggered" (experience ASMR) by the different stimuli presented in the videos. These stimuli are most often quiet noises, whispering, or simply personal attention.

As ASMR videos grew in popularity on YouTube, the creators of these videos, affectionately known as ASMRtists, started getting feedback, and not just about their ability to trigger "tingles." 

To the surprise of ASMRtists, their videos had not only created a tingly sensation. They had also created a method of dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia for thousands upon thousands of viewers. 

There has been no scientific research on ASMR -- just testimony from those who experience it (and not everyone can experience ASMR). So what happened here? How is ASMR, previously considered a passing Internet fad, changing lives every day?

BRAINGASM will explore the experiences of both ASMRtists and their viewers as they help define what "ASMR" is really all about.

Keep updated on our progress through our Facebook and Twitter pages, or our website.

New to Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a way to fund creative projects. You can support a project you like by pledging money to help it succeed (and receive special perks as a thanks for your contribution). This is an all-or-nothing funding platform, so, if we don't reach our $15,000 goal, the production receives nothing and you keep your donation. Whether or not you choose to donate, please share our project on Facebook and Twitter so that we can spread the word about this exciting story. You will have our eternal gratitude!

Were you strangely calmed by painter Bob Ross? Do you unexpectedly get tingles while getting a haircut? Do you fall into a euphoric trance when your teacher slowly and methodically writes on the blackboard?

Maybe you've experienced ASMR. It's an experience many of us have, but don't think to talk about.

Enter the Internet.

In 2007, a thread entitled "Weird Sensation Feels Good" began on a Steady Health forum. This unnamed feeling was described as everything from "a silvery sparkle through the head" to an "attention induced head orgasm (AIHO)." Essentially, ASMR is a pleasurable physical sensation best described as "tingly" that is the result of various stimuli (mainly auditory, cognitive, and visual). 

In 2010, this tingling sensation was christened "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response" (ASMR) by Jennifer Allen, the founder of the ASMR Research and Support organization. Since Ms. Allen coined the term, ASMR has been the name most commonly embraced by the online community.

There are so many people out there who struggle daily with stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Shouldn't every possible outlet for relief be explored? We think so. 

Our main objective with BRAINGASM as a project is to raise awareness of ASMR, providing examples of its successes, and dissuading the misconceptions people may have about it.

It's been said many times: "This is weird." There are people out there that cannot experience ASMR, and when they listen to videos of strangers whispering, some of them think what they're seeing is creepy, sexual, or both. Even our title has sparked controversy online. When our teaser trailer went live, a Reddit thread quickly became antagonistic as individuals were angered by our play on the word "orgasm." While we think nothing of describing a delicious taste as a "foodgasm" or a killer song as sparking an "eargasm," presenting the possibility that a calming sensation in our head is felt as a "braingasm" somehow suggests taboo.

It's hard to articulate a feeling to someone who doesn't feel it. Have you ever tried to explain a joke to someone who doesn't get it?

We want to clarify and express what it means to be a part of the ASMR community. We want to help others find a means of relief from their insomnia or stress without feeling uncomfortable about watching videos of strangers whispering.

Just getting the project this far has had a trickle-down effect on the ASMRtists involved. Some have been able to better communicate with their family and friends just what it is they do with their microphones and cameras -- how it helps them, and how it helps others. Playing a small part in that has made us extremely proud. It's a great feeling, and like any great feeling, we're hoping to get more of it.

With your help, we can pull back the curtains and get a little more daylight into the room.

My relationship with sleep has been strained since childhood, and my struggle with insomnia has become one one of the larger facets of my adult life. During one of my many sleepless nights, I roamed YouTube for videos of relaxing sounds to lull me to sleep. Almost immediately, I came across the ASMR community. At first the videos seemed strange, but after reading that ASMR has helped people with sleeping disorders, I was intrigued.

A few hundred ASMR videos later, I've learned that ASMR doesn't just benefit people with insomnia. Many individuals with depression and anxiety are also helped -- even veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. I was surprised. These successes are a result of an internet phenomenon!

Why is the ASMR community so successful without any actual scientific grounding? What if this internet phenomenon was properly researched? Could there be an actual medical treatment that could utilize "the unnamed feeling" to help people like me find sleep?

Perhaps by raising the awareness of ASMR, BRAINGASM can encourage medical research and participation in the ASMR community. Maybe then others can overcome insomnia, depression, anxiety and other ailments through ASMR treatment.

  • BRAINGASM has been in various stages of development and production since December 2012. Up until now, the documentary has been completely self-funded.
  • We have filmed in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and England over the past year.
  • Last summer, we participated in a collaboration of ASMRtists at the YouTube Space in London, England. Content creators travelled from all over the UK to participate.
  • Many ASMRtists have graciously contributed their time, support and, of course, their videos to BRAINGASM. We've completed interviews with quite a few people you'll recognize!
  • Countless hours have been spent backing up and organizing the footage we've captured so far.
  • We're preparing to interview scientific specialists to hear their thoughts on this phenomenon.

$15,000 - PRODUCTION COMPLETION.  Through self-funding we've been able to film about 40% of the story. It will cost an additional $15,000 for travel expenses, equipment rentals, reward fulfillment, and the massive amount of hard drives needed to back up all our footage.

$40,000 (Stretch Goal) - POST-PRODUCTION.  A traditional documentary funded by broadcasters would often have this amount budgeted for the editing alone. Luckily, we have the experience and equipment to do the editing ourselves. So, any funds raised above our minimum goal will go towards a professional sound mix, colour correction, music, graphics, and final mastering -- everything needed to make this film look and sound as great as we hope it will!

We greatly appreciate your support of BRAINGASM, and we'd like to give you something in return as a way to say thank you. 

Our rewards include: a digital download of the completed film, shout-outs, on-screen credit, as well as a BRAINGASM t-shirt designed by Corey Pierce. You can even attend our world premiere, or view a rough cut of the film and share your thoughts with the filmmaker! We are also very excited to be able to offer magnets, tote bags, and notebooks featuring a colourful ASMR graphic designed just for this campaign by artist Alex Kittle.

Though we're already wearing our BRAINGASM t-shirts with pride, the reward we're most excited about is a series of ASMR videos produced exclusively for this campaign by members of the ASMR community! 

For $15, you can enjoy exclusive access to special videos by the following ASMRtists:

ASMR AngelAsmr inmylifeAsmrMachine, ASMRose (Mermaid), Brad RobboBrittany ASMRDonnaASMRHeather FeatherThe Hushed Life ASMRKarenSafeWhisperyPlaceMariedian ASMR, MasterCoul ASMR,  Olivia's Kissper ASMRThe River WhisperScottish Whisper, theASMRnerd, VisualSounds1TheWaterwhispersWhispersRedASMR, WhispersparklesASMR, WhispersUnicorn

Risks and challenges

Documentary filmmaking is risky. You don't know who you'll meet, what they'll say, or what they'll do until it actually happens. Unlike a scripted film, a documentary unfolds and takes shape in the edit suite. Editing -- especially for documentaries -- is a process that takes quite a lot of time. Thankfully, we do have an experienced editor for BRAINGASM, but editing the film will still take a while. Our post-production schedule may run even longer due to our skeleton budget, as the post-production team largely consists of volunteers with full-time jobs. With these factors to consider, we cannot guarantee a concrete release date, but we will keep our backers updated as the film progresses.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    10 backers

    THANK YOU! Every dollar counts towards making this film a reality. You have our eternal appreciation and we'll give you a shout-out on social media.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    13 backers

    EXPERIENCE ASMR (IF YOU CAN)! You'll be given access to exclusive ASMR videos generously produced for this campaign by members of the ASMR community. Plus you'll get the film credit and social media shout-out.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    62 backers

    SEE THE FILM! We'll provide you with a link to stream the film at home during its premiere (the link will be available for 48-hours). You'll also get to see YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS! Plus of course you’ll get the social media shout-out and access to the exclusive ASMR videos.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    3 backers

    LET'S ADD A MAGNET! We’ll send you an exclusively designed ASMR magnet! Plus you still get the social media shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos and the 48-hour window to stream the film when it premieres

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    40 backers

    LET'S ADD A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD! We’ll send you a private link to download the film once it’s released. You also get the social media shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos and the magnet. Plus you’ll still get to stream the film as soon as it premieres.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    4 backers

    LET'S ADD A TOTE BAG! We’ll send you a 14” square tote bag featuring our own ASMR design. And you still get the social media shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos, magnet, and you’ll get to both stream the film when it premieres, and download it when it’s released.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    4 backers

    LET'S ADD A NOTEBOOK! Jot down your ASMR video ideas in a notebook with our own ASMR design on the cover.

    Plus get the shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos, magnet, tote bag, stream the film when it premieres and download it when it’s released.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    3 backers

    LET'S ADD A T-SHIRT! Get comfy in this t-shirt sporting the Braingasm logo! Plus get the shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos, magnet, tote bag, notebook, stream the film when it premieres and download it when it’s released.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    MEET THE FILMMAKER! A one-hour chat with the filmmaker over Skype or Google hangout to talk about ASMR, the film, or anything you can come up with. Plus get the social media shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos, magnet, tote bag, notebook, stream the film when it premieres and download it when it’s released.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    ATTEND THE PREMIERE! Two tickets to the Toronto premiere with the filmmaker in attendance (transportation and lodging not included). Plus get the social media shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos, magnet, tote bag, notebook and download the film when it’s released.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    WATCH IT FIRST! Exclusive opportunity to view a rough cut of the film and give your input to the filmmaker (if not in Toronto then over skype) before Braingasm is completed. Plus get the shout-out, film credit, access to exclusive ASMR videos, magnet, tote bag, notebook, download it when it’s released and two tickets to the premiere.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    3 backers All gone!

    BE AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER! You will be listed as an executive producer in film credits and on IMDB. Plus you'll receive all the rewards up to this level and our eternal thanks.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)