Film Courage: Where did you grow up? What was life like at home?
Jeffrey S. Gould: I was born in Brooklyn NY and don’t have any clear-cut good or bad memories of home life…I think it just “existed.” My parents divorced at age 10 and I ended up living with my Father and Stepmother and still very close to them…perhaps the closest I’ve ever been and we only see each other once or twice a year.
Film Courage: What was life like sensory-wise as a young child?
Jeffrey: I was always a quiet kid… I always needed my own space/place to go even as a child but up until the divorce I had a lot of friends. It was at age 7 while taking a test in school in a total quiet classroom, that I discovered that I had a real problem with people sniffling. I couldn’t concentrate on my test and kept turning around to stare at the kid doing this in the hopes he would stop…but it never stopped.
Film Courage: Which of your parents do you resemble most?
Jeffrey: I am exactly 50/50. My Father is very practical and my Mother lived on the edge…I have both of those traits, which I think is a great combo.
“I was having lunch with a friend and she asked what I wanted to do with my life and I said without much thought “shoot a documentary” and she said “on what?” and I said “I’m only passionate about chocolate and misophonia… I left it alone for a week and then after going back and forth with this friend, she said “I think you need to do a doc on misophonia, that seems to be where your passion is.” Since that day, I have spent a part of every single day working on some aspect of the film.”
Jeffrey S. Gould
Film Courage: Does anyone else in your family have Misophonia?
Jeffrey: While telling my parents about this film, it was discovered that my Father has misophonia and we share most of the same triggers. He was just as relieved that this is a real condition as I was…nothing worse than feeling you’re the only one.
Film Courage: Did your parents lend support toward creativity or encourage another type of career/focus?
Jeffrey: At first I wanted to be an architect…until I picked up a camera for the first time. My Father being the practical, provide for your family kind of man, didn’t think that filmmaking would be a viable way of making a living. In my senior year, my film teacher Mr. Hochberg wrote my parents a letter (which I still have) saying that I was a special student and that I needed to go to NYU film school…so from that moment on, my parents took it more seriously and supported me.
Film Courage: What were your plans after high school?
Jeffrey: However, I didn’t go to NYU as my teacher suggested , I went to a community college and took film, radio, tv production and photography courses.
Film Courage: How did you learn about Misophonia?
Jeffrey: My best friend of 17 years (at that time) knew about my sound “issues” and one day called me up (like I say in the trailer) and said “I saw a show last night, there’s a name for what you have” and then she told me it was called misophonia.
Film Courage: What is Misophonia?
Jeffrey: Literally, misophonia means hatred of sound, but it’s really a neurological disorder relating to how sounds are processed in the brain.
Film Courage: Do most sufferers isolate?
Jeffrey: As I’m typing these answers, I had to walk away from the dinner table due to all the banging, dishes, silverware, TV…so while it can lead to isolation, I for the most part am OK with that. I like to be alone, but I also like socializing. I just need to know that I have the choice.
Film Courage: Aside from noise or movement, what aggravates Misophonia?
Jeffrey: There are two major factors for me that play a role in how much I can tolerate; sleep or lack thereof and stress. When the two are combined it makes it very difficult to cope and everything is magnified. It’s just when a person doesn’t feel well, every annoyance is magnified. I would say nutrition plays a role as well, but they all add up to helping you build tolerance. Also state of mind plays a role, where are you in your life at the time; are things going well or not? It all adds or helps…
Film Courage: What inspired the idea for your documentary QUIET PLEASE…?
Jeffrey: I was having lunch with a friend and she asked what I wanted to do with my life and I said without much thought “shoot a documentary” and she said “on what?” and I said “I’m only passionate about chocolate and misophonia… I left it alone for a week and then after going back and forth with this friend, she said “I think you need to do a doc on misophonia, that seems to be where your passion is.” Since that day, I have spent a part of every single day working on some aspect of the film.
Film Courage: Why are you crowdfunding?
Jeffrey: I spent 6 months building relationships on the misophonia forums and asked the groups if they would find value in a documentary on miso and in 24 hours, I received over 500 likes and even more comments, so I thought crowd-sourcing would be the perfect platform going in with a built in audience of 12K people.
Film Courage: How long was the idea floating around in your head before you began filming QUIET PLEASE…? Even though it’s a doc, did you write a script or story outline for it?
Jeffrey: Right after New Year’s 2015 I decided I was going to do this, but it started out in my head as a short, since I had previously worked on two successful narrative shorts. It took 5 months to go from emotionally investing to actually shooting as I also own a production company with corporate clients and deadlines, so I lost a few months there. Once I was back on track, it happened pretty quickly. I knew early on that there would be no voice over and therefore no script per se. After shooting video/film for 26 years as a career and 12 years before that as a hobby, I usually have a vision in my head and the final product ends up being 95%of what that vision was. I still am in the process of putting together an outline, as I think it’s important to go in with a plan, but to be open for happy accidents and twists and turns along the way.
Film Courage: How long have you been planning the film? What went into the pre-planning?
Jeffrey: I have been planning this since January, the pre-planning process included reading blogs, joining FB groups, googling everything miso and watching the existing misophonia videos on YouTube. In the early stages I had a producing partner, but that didn’t work out for various reasons and now I know that I needed to do this alone right from the start. I have surrounded myself with brilliant people to help with my vision, but I remain the creative force.
Film Courage: Is QUIET PLEASE… the first movie that you’ve made? Why now?
Jeffrey: I was Executive Producer, DP and Editor on two shorts: baggage and Painkiller. I needed a break from the collaborative process of traditional filmmaking and knew a documentary was the right thing for me to do at this time.
Film Courage: Do you feel our modern world inside the home (TV commercials, machinery) and outside (leaf blowers, garbage trucks, etc.) has become louder than prior years?
Jeffrey: Today as I was taking my dog out, I was listening to all the noise and felt bombarded, blowers, wood chippers, kids screaming, the ice cream truck music, planes, trains and even loud automobiles; and I thought to myself “there’s really no place to go to get quiet around here”. there’s a great film in production now called “In Pursuit of Silence”…I think these two films should distributed as a double feature.
Film Courage: Common misconceptions about Misophonia sufferers and how do you dispel those beliefs?
Jeffrey: I’m not sure enough people know about misophonia…since most people who have it, don’t even know the name…but if you’re talking about the reactions of a person who has a sound sensitivity issue, then I would say that a non-sufferer would see us as demanding, difficult, self-centered and even irrational. One way to help change those perceptions is for both parties to realize that they each have different needs and there needs to me compromise. The second way and the one where the film comes in, is awareness and education. If people don’t understand the condition, how could they possibly have empathy or understanding?
Film Courage: How did you meet the people in your documentary QUIET PLEASE…?
Jeffrey: I made a wish-list of people I wanted in the film through the message boards and 6 months later, 95% of those people were in the trailer or have committed to being in the film. I’m lucky that people resonated with me and trusted me very early on in the process. Communication and building relationships is everything, regardless if it’s in friendships, business or filmmaking.
Film Courage: Examples of soothing, non-anxiety causing sounds to someone with Misophonia?
Jeffrey: Everyone is different in regards to their “go to” sound to decompress; some love rain…for some that’s a trigger. Some love fans, for some that’s a trigger. For me, I need absolute silence to regroup and be able to be in a social environment, once I’ve been assaulted by several triggers at once.
Film Courage: Most emotional interview you captured from QUIET PLEASE… and why?
Jeffrey: Excellent question. They were all emotional, because here were strangers bearing their souls for me and my camera and I could relate to every word they were saying. Ren was the most emotional person I filmed so I would say it would have to be her…you can’t watch her interview and not be moved, and not see that she isn’t trying to make Misophonia work in her family and marriage. If someone still thinks that we make this up after watching her, then I would say they are a close-minded individual.
Film Courage: How can someone close to an individual with Misophonia be supportive?
Jeffrey: There are several ways a loved one or co-worker can supportive to a person with misophonia; first off, you have to realize that this is not a choice, we didn’t ask for this…we don’t like feeling this way and reacting this way, we can’t control it. Once you understand that, it should help take the personalization out of the equation and make it about the offending sound…not the person making the sound. Also, if you know a person with misophonia has an issue with certain sounds (triggers), then do your best to try not to make them…that doesn’t mean stop living, just have a sense of awareness. After each shoot, I asked the interviewees if I triggered them at all and they all said no, one woman said “you’re way too aware and calm to be offensive”. It meant a lot that she said that, because I go through life trying to be sensitive to other people’s needs.
Film Courage: Advice for a newly diagnosed Misophonia suffering living a noise ridden life?
Jeffrey: I live in a noisy city and at times it’s just too much, I think all you can do with sounds that are uncontrollable is wear earplugs, sound generators that you can get from an audiologist or blast your own music. Sometimes I turn a fan on high. Landscaper day is rough around here, as well as construction noise. It’s definitely a stressor and can ruin your life. Even people without misophonia have issues with neighbors living above them with a heavy foot, or a TV too loud; magnify that by 100 and then imagine if there were 50 sounds that bothered you that same way…that’s what it’s like living with misophonia.
Film Courage: Your most memorable or worst situation with an offensive noise and how you successfully turned it around?
Jeffrey: The worst situation was actually at a horror film screening a few months ago, I was very deep into planning Quiet Please… and it put me in a different mindset, not necessarily a good one. I was noticing everything around me, every sound, every visual, people eating, dishes, the sounds from the films themselves…it was all too much and I had to leave. Sometimes all you can do is remove yourself from the situation, but I don’t know that I would’ve done that years ago. Know that this had a name and that it’s real, empowered me to protect myself and my mental health.
Film Courage: Other common traits (positive or negative) in individuals with Misophonia?
Jeffrey: A few people have said to me that very creative people seem to have misophonia, but I haven’t seen that firsthand. My goal with the trailer, was to show 6 different people who come from all walks of life and show that besides misophonia, they have nothing in common. A carpenter and a VP of a dress manufacturer, a musician and a teen aged girl…that’s pretty diverse. In the actual feature-length film, I have people with various ethnicities and cultures; misophonia is global.
Film Courage: Are there medications used to treat Misophonia? Side effects?
Jeffrey: I have not personally taken any medications for misophonia but I know of some who have taken Xanax…it supposedly takes the edge off and Magnesium was suggested to me, but I have to admit, I have not been diligent about taking it…tonight I will.
Film Courage: Any non-medication techniques for Misophonia sufferers?
Jeffrey: As I said before, I only use two methods in my life, so I might not be the best example; education and removing myself from the premises. Of course there are times when in a corporate environment that I can’t tell the CEO to stop crunching chips and have to grin and bear it and know it will pass. You get an adrenaline burst when triggered and that adrenaline has to be released somehow.
Film Courage: How commonly known is Misophonia in the medical community? How commonly known is Misophonia within the general public?
Jeffrey: In the 3 years that I’ve known about misophonia, maybe 5 people that I spoke to have heard of it…they knew the symptoms and some of them lived it, but they never knew it had a name. Everyone says the same thing “I thought I was crazy.” I have friends that have spoken to top Neuroscientist and they have not heard of it. I have two hospital clients, both of their Neuro departments weren’t aware of it enough to speak about it on camera. Some audiologist have misophonia patients that they can provide sound generators to, otherwise, there’s no proven treatments that work 100% of the time for everyone and have a lasting effect.
Film Courage: Are there support groups, community websites and/or specific books for Misophonia sufferers?
Jeffrey: At this point there are many support groups on Facebook, Yahoo, there are blogs, websites, books, videos on YouTube (some excellent ones). There’s enough information out there, but you have to know what you’re looking for. If you don’t know it’s called misophonia, you could self-diagnose or choose the wrong path for treatment. Before I knew the name, I never thought to look up sound sensitivity. This is why this film is so important, I think we’re going to find out that it affects many more people than we realize.
Film Courage: What is a good way for a person with Misophonia to inform another of this issue to make the relationship mutually understanding?
Jeffrey: My approach to telling new people in my life is to put gently and explain that I have a strange condition that causes me to be really sensitive to certain sounds. Sometimes I get looks and sometimes they say “I know what you mean, I can’t stand Styrofoam” and then I follow that with “you can’t stand it, but does it consume you and dictate where you’ll and where you won’t go?”. That usually helps them realize that I’m not making this up and like I said, every person, except for one has taken me very seriously and said “it must be awful to live with that”. Empathy is better than sympathy…so if they can understand what it feels like or find something relatable, then I think you have a much better chance of having that person be an advocate for you.
Film Courage: When a person with Misophonia is in a temporary environment they can’t comfortably leave (such as a social setting, airplane, commuting with friends), are there healthy coping mechanisms one can employ to slow the emotional/physical toll certain sounds are having on them in the present moment?
Jeffrey: Airplanes are brutal…I sat next to a man who played the drums on his leg for 2.5 hours while listening to iPod, so there was the visual trigger and the sound trigger. I put on noise canceling headphones and turned my head in the opposite direction. When I think of those moments, there’s honestly nothing I can do, yesterday in the bank a guy was talking on his cell phone like he was at the Y and crunching lollipops 2 feet from me…all I could do was keep saying “this is unbearable”. When he left, I said to the teller, ironically, I’m doing a film called Quiet Please… and she laughed.
Film Courage: How did you start your company Action Media Productions?
Jeffrey: I started Action Media Productions 26 years ago with the intent of shooting weddings…which I did, over 1,000 of them. I got a break when a video crew didn’t show up to film a hospital seminar, so a friend suggested me, that started my relationship with Barnabas Health that is still going strong. From medical, I got into corporate video where I was quite content, until I worked on my first indie film and got the “bug.”
Film Courage: For your new movie QUIET PLEASE… did you come up with a film budget first (based on your resources available) before coming up with idea? Or was it the other way around of having the idea first?
Jeffrey: I knew if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right…but not be cavalier and wasteful either. I knew what I wanted to pay my production assistants, I calculated air travel to 3 states plus hotels, gas, food, film festivals, screenings, DVD’s and perks and came up a number that was slightly above what I thought would just get us by. I see many projects running a 2nd campaign to cover post production costs…I only wanted to ask once.
Film Courage: What’s something you learned from making QUIET PLEASE… (and maybe didn’t execute as well as you would have liked) that will be an area of emphasis on your next project?
Jeffrey: Since we’re still in production, but shot enough footage for a short film, for the trailer, the one take away was to leave enough time to set up and not compromise production value and enough time for B Roll, because in a documentary, that could make or break it…there’s only so long you can look at even the prettiest face on screen.
Film Courage: Where did you shoot interviews? What did you use for ‘B’ roll footage?
Jeffrey: I will only shoot interviews in a place that resonates with the subject. The environment has to be a part of their lives, especially for a person with misophonia. Many people have offered to fly out to my studio, but I turned them down. I was restricted by time for b roll for the trailer, but for the actual film, we plan to spend a day with each person/family and try to capture a “day in the life of.” I also plan to film spouses, children and parents, depending on who is the sufferer.
Film Courage: What camera(s) did you use? How did you know you had the right camera to film this story?
Jeffrey: Another excellent question. I started out with a Sony FS700, but knew for this project that I needed something smaller, less intimidating and a lower profile, so I went with a C100 M11 and have been really happy with it. You can strip it down to where it just looks like a DSLR, but have the benefits of it being a video camera.
Film Courage: Is there anything you haven’t shared yet, that you wish you knew before you made this movie?
Jeffrey: I wish I knew how big it was going to get and how many people I would affect and help…I wasn’t emotionally prepared at first to accept that responsibility, but now I am. The acceptance of the trailer for a community of people that are very protective of their image, was a big boost for me and gave me the confidence to accept the huge undertaking that this project is.
Film Courage: When will QUIET PLEASE… be available to watch?
Jeffrey: It’s not available yet, still in crowd-funding stage with shooting to being in mid-July.
Film Courage: Are you also submitting it to festivals? Are there any other plans for distribution?
Jeffrey: Festivals are the key to the future of Quiet Please. My goal is to have it be seen by as many people as possible, create buzz, win awards and hopefully get picked up by a network or distributor. I also submitted an application to IndieGoGo/Vimeo where they help with perks, digital downloads and possibly distribution on Vimeo.
Film Courage: What do you want audiences to gain from watching QUIET PLEASE…?
Jeffrey: So many things: understanding, compassion, acceptance, compromise.
Film Courage: Biggest supporter in your life and why?
Jeffrey: My biggest supporter in life is my best friend Pat, she is the one who told me that misophonia was the term and that it was a real condition, after she watched a segment on 20/20. While it didn’t change the condition, I no longer thought I was the only one who had this aversion to certain sounds. She also helped me through the darkest times in the past 20 years and is a true self-less friend in every sense of the word.
Film Courage: Quote or mantra that you live by?
Jeffrey: “You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable” friend/client Chris Ruisi
Film Courage: What’s next for you creatively?
Jeffrey: I’ll be shooting the documentary for the next 6 months, but I also plan on working with Painkiller (Painkillerfilm.com) writer Jerry Janda on 5 or more micro shorts starting this Summer. I think it’s important to keep active in the indie community in order to remain relevant.
“Jeff, this is incredible! Thank you for your commitment to this project!!!“ – Madeline
“I love it, I love it, I love it!!!!”– Joyce
“Oscar goes to Jeffrey Scott Gould! It’s PERFECT! it’s so good Jeffrey you should be so proud of yourself”- Jennifer
“Thank you, for having that rare quality of being able to gracefully merge passion and professionalism”– Judith
Quiet Please… a documentary about Misophonia, a relatively unknown disorder related to the processing of sounds in the brain. Literally translated, misophonia means “hatred of sound.” Hearing is a gift: the sound of the ocean, music, or gently falling rain; however, we all have certain sounds that we find annoying or discordant; such as the proverbial “nails on a chalkboard” or a baby crying incessantly. For some people, selective sounds go beyond annoying and can ultimately dictate and consume their lives and relationships; it’s like an autoimmune disease, when the body turns on itself…but in this case, your sense of hearing backfires and elicits rage, anxiety, and a life of isolation. Although we will feature clinicians that are actively involved in Misophonia research and patient care, this film is all about the emotional and psychological toll this disorder takes on lives, families and relationships (Read more here and watch the trailer).
I’m Jeffrey Gould, the director of “Quiet Please…”. I have owned Action Media Productions for 26 years and produced award winning videos and films in many facets of the medical and health care fields; including patient education, treatment protocols, marketing, and disease awareness. I’m also an independent filmmaker/cinematographer, with two award winning narrative short films to my credit …It was with this combined experience, that I dreamed of producing a documentary about a subject that had a personal effect on me and that subject is Misophonia.