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I'm working on a personal project about maladaptive daydreaming

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I'm making a short film about the social and emotional effects of maladaptive daydreaming. So far my plot consists of a young girl with MD who struggles to come to terms with the alternate life in her head. I've had several ideas to represent her MD:

-the alternate version of herself, which is prettier and, smarter and is a personification of her own dissatisfaction with her life
-a personification of her daydreams, like a person in extravagant clothing that perhaps narrates what goes on in her head

Either way, this "personification" of what goes in in her head slowly begins to control her life as her social life deteriorates.
But I need a way to effectively show this. How are her friends and family affected? As I show how her interaction with others slowly wilts, this will be shown by the actions of the "daydream".

At the beginning of the film, the "daydream" is walking in step with the girl. As the film progresses, the daydream begins to walk out of step and slightly ahead of her as the girl's social life slowly deteriorates. At the end of the film the daydream is a full two steps ahead of her, and the girl is willingly, almost dumbly following.

Interesting concept of walking in step.

There has to be enough separation between dream world and the real one, it can be done with colour filters. In the dream world she would have different, more satisfying interactions that would contrast with the ones she has in real life. Also the dream world would show prettier, smarter people and the real one, well at least herself as less favorable.

The damage done by the dreaming can perhaps be shown when the character is faced with choice: keep walking in step with the ideal that has cooler friends etc or choose to "walk with" a real world interaction, because if she doesn't do the latter she is not understood and rejected/given up on. Parents and such could be shown separately, as worried, talking about the main character, maybe having the main character hearing them argue.

I think it all sounds very interesting and I wish you the best of luck.


The only feedback I'd give is that, based on many conversations here on this site, almost all of us (I can think of only one exception) are totally aware of what is real and what is not.  I can't tell by your description if you mean to blur that line, but I think if you blur the character's understanding of reality, then you are no longer dealing with MDD but dealing with some other psychological issue. 

My suggestion is to stick to the fact that your character's life is being taken over by her daydream, but that she is aware of this happening, that it is distressing to her, that it has real world consequences, and that she continues to allow it to happen.  I suggest this not only because that is what really happens with MDD when it is out of control, but also because I think it will take you to more interesting places with the character.  It's sort of a cop-out to say something like "and then she lost sight of reality" and much more interesting to ask yourself why someone would allow such a thing to happen to them.  What emotional needs are being met in the MDD world and how does that affect her in real life?

MDD is more like an addiction.  A sane person on the outside looks in and says, "Why don't you just quit drinking?"  It's the same with MDD.  Why don't I just get the hell up out of bed already and stop it?

Also, any idea if you are going to eventually give her a happy ending?

Desiree Winns said:

I'm making a short film about the social and emotional effects of maladaptive daydreaming. So far my plot consists of a young girl with MD who struggles to come to terms with the alternate life in her head. I've had several ideas to represent her MD:

-the alternate version of herself, which is prettier and, smarter and is a personification of her own dissatisfaction with her life
-a personification of her daydreams, like a person in extravagant clothing that perhaps narrates what goes on in her head

Either way, this "personification" of what goes in in her head slowly begins to control her life as her social life deteriorates.
But I need a way to effectively show this. How are her friends and family affected? As I show how her interaction with others slowly wilts, this will be shown by the actions of the "daydream".

At the beginning of the film, the "daydream" is walking in step with the girl. As the film progresses, the daydream begins to walk out of step and slightly ahead of her as the girl's social life slowly deteriorates. At the end of the film the daydream is a full two steps ahead of her, and the girl is willingly, almost dumbly following.
PM me I'll help all I can. Psych student here

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