Two haunters have pivoted to developing a 360° immersive audio experience called https://sleepwalkr.org/. Hidden within a strip mall in San Gabriel, California, is The Sandmen Collective, a popular dream exhibitor. When entering, guests can choose...
Two haunters have pivoted to developing a 360° immersive audio experience called SLEEPWALKR. Hidden within a strip mall in San Gabriel, California, is The Sandmen Collective, a popular dream exhibitor. When entering, guests can choose from three distinct dreams offering 12 minutes of 360° audio effects intermixed with practical elements and actors. Today, we’ll preview the experiences with co-creators Sam Kellman and David Coleman (Inside the box productions). Support for this episode comes from Gantom Lighting and Controls. See what you’re missing with a free demo. Subscribe: https://linktr.ee/hauntedattractionnetwork
Sam Kellman: I'm Sam Kellman, I am the Co-creative Director of SLEEPWALKR, also did some writing and sound mixing for this experience.
David Coleman: I'm David Coleman. I am the Co-creator of SLEEPWALKR. I did some sound mixing as well as writing for some of the individual experiences for SLEEPWALKR.
Philip Hernandez: What is SLEEPWALKR?
David Coleman: So, SLEEPWALKR is an immersive 360-degree audio experience where we immerse guests into the dreamscapes of dreamers using headphones in a dark, isolated space. Once you enter the space, you are led into one of three different exhibition bays where you either sit down on a long bench in theater-type seating or lay down on a small mattress where you can experience three different formats of dreams and three different formats of sitting or lying down.
Sam Kellman: The physicality of the way that you're experiencing it does connect to whatever that story is about. So, we've one that takes place on the subway were you're on a long bench with vibration effects inside of it. Then we have a whole other one that takes place in a child's bedroom in a bunk bed, so you're listening to that whole thing lying down. So, we're taking that into account. So it's not just, OK, something you could have listened to at home per say, we're adding more physicality and effects and stuff to the experience. So, it's a little bit more than just a horror podcast or an audio drama.
Philip Hernandez: So, you have three different experiences. Can you tell us the top-line story for each possible dream?
David Coleman: We have three dreams, Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. We start with Alpha which is the dream of a 16-year-old who is flashing back in his dream to when he was a child. Alpha sort of deals with childhood fears, and it's a wild ride through all these very common childhood fears, falling, the dentist, being left alone, getting lost, clowns.
Sam Kellman: But then you have Bravo, which is our second experience. You're playing the role of a violinist who's going on stage to perform in this Opera House, and the audience is not having it. It's based on that sort of fear of like performance and expectations, it's probably the most anxiety-inducing one.
David Coleman: Dream Charlie takes place on a subway. A lot of people can relate to the fear of being alone in an isolated space with a stranger, a stranger who is creepily sociable with you.
Sam Kellman: We had somebody record an entire violin track so the music's original. It's all produced.
David Coleman: In Alpha, 90% of that is fully that I literally just recorded in my room. I did seven or eight different small voices for the entire experience across all the dreams.
Sam Kellman: We've been working on just these 3, 12-minute experiences for like the past four months now, so we've been putting a lot into it. We come from more like traditional haunting and stuff, it really has to do with like sets and the physicality, but audio is always such a big part of setting a tone and creating an environment anyway, that we both came together and we're like, "what if we just like really lean into that for an entire thing?"
David Coleman: Dreams offer a naturally abstract framing device for us to use. So, we didn't have to stick to a single storyline, they could really just branch out into all these wild directions and be dream-like, they could be abstract in nature.
Sam Kellman: That's why the audio is so perfect for it too, is because you're listening to audio, you're blindfolded, that's the only reference point you have, so all of the images and stuff are being conjured up in your own head, which is sort of scarier than anything we could build for you. I think you get a more visceral, dreamlike experience of your own images that are coming from your own subconscious, and it builds onto it. So, that also had to do a lot with our deliberate kind of choice to do an audio-only experience, because you can apply a lot of yourself to it. Two ot of the three could be considered more nightmarish, and we also did that intentionally, knowing that a lot of our audience already is pretty based in horror stuff. But we kind of want to bring them in with this and then the idea, not to tease too much, but the idea is that we can do more of these installations in the future and swap out all the stories, and then we might start being able to get even more variety out of them. We have some pretty crazy ideas already.
David Coleman: When you listen to something like this on your own you can choose to close your eyes, you can choose to take yourself out of it at any point you want, you're listening to it on a walk, on a car ride, in your room. However, when you come to a live setting in a live space that suspension of disbelief immediately gets heightened. You allow yourself to be immersed into this space, you are blindfolded, you are touched, this is absolutely something that you cannot replicate on your own. This is something that you have to come out and see if you want to get the full experience of this.
Sam Kellman: It will get bigger than this. This is the first iteration of it, we're trying something new here, and seeing how people respond to it.
Founder at Inside the Box Productions
Sam Kellman is a 19-year-old filmmaker and themed entertainment geek living in Los Angeles.
He's been making films for as long as he can remember. Over the course of high school (LACHSA, the #1 performing arts high school in the U.S.), Sam has written, directed, and produced numerous shorts, some going on to win various awards and nominations at festivals, including Moondance, WestFlix, NFFTY, Luminescence, Seattle International Film Festival, All American High School Film Festival, and more. Along with writing and directing projects, he is also an editor and visual effects artist, using those talents to further enhance his stories.
Additionally, Sam utilizes his annual home haunt, The Opechee Haunt, as a way to showcase his passion for themed entertainment, and as a vehicle to grow as an immersive storyteller. He has been invited to create haunted attractions for the Hall of Shadows at the world’s largest Halloween and horror convention, Midsummer Scream (2017, 2018, 2019); has been featured on panels at both Midsummer Scream (Next Generation Haunters: A New Breed of Terror, 2018) and ScareLA (New Blood, 2015); and is profiled in SAGA Studios’ 2018 documentary, Epic Home Haunts (currently available on Amazon Prime Video). The Haunt has operated in one way or another for ten consecutive years!
Additionally, he has recently launched his own independent production company, Inside the Box Creative, which you can check out at goinsidethebox.com!
For Sam, stories always come first. It's all about finding creative ways to tell them.