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Shooting an ecstasy trip


manueldomes
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I'm thinking mostly sound. Ideas/references welcome!

Depicting your mindset whilst drug taking is probably the hardest thing to do on film.

There's a film called Human Traffic (1999) which is all about the early rave scene & doing ecstasy - can't remember too much about whether it actually has a tripping scene in it, but it does have people on ecstasy & it is a good film.

There's also a film called Schrooms (2007), which is about taking Mushrooms, obviously - it's representation of tripping & how the film blurs the lines between reality/the trip is well handled.

But, recently the "Mr Robot" tv series dealt with cold turkey in a unique way (I think its episode 4): where he thinks he's taking a dose of heroin, but is in fact in withdraw - could give you some good pointers of how to film a drug trip/altered state of mind.

Any of David Lynch's films are just a trip full stop - loads of inspiration there, the small guy talking backwards etc... (or was that Twin peaks?)

There are 2 films by Aronofsky that could be useful: Pi - has some great sound effects/images that really play with your mind (could be good inspiration) & of course "Requim for a Dream" is all about drug taking & will help a lot.

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Thanks! That was super helpful. Will check out those that I don't know already (I recently watched Pi and yes, there is quite a bit of inspiration there).

The scene will likely be in a car at night and visuals and sound would be subtly yet substantially altered after taking the pill. Lots to play with in terms of city lights here, so that could go some way.

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i like how you mentioned sound bc thats huge, id really go deep with that

have you ever been on ecstasy? do you want more specific feedback?

i dont mind saying: the only benefit of surviving a life of drug addiction is that you can SPEAK ON SHIT LIKE THIS

i have NEVER seen a film about heroin addiction that depicts that experience at all realistically smh. but, ykno, trainspotting was based on someone elses book etc etc

 

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Thanks! Not too inclined to go into drug taking habits on a public forum but do feel free to send me a PM with specific ideas regarding ecstasy. 

If sound/music is to be adjusted midway into the scene, would probably boost bass and treble while reducing the mid-tones and find a way to make it sound fuzzy but detailed if that's possible. Shots could transition from medium to close-ups within the scene. Whip pans and the "invisible cut" editing technique discussed in the watchtower of turkey thread over at the main forum could help, too. Maybe a slight color shift to the warmer side. 

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Thanks! Not too inclined to go into drug taking habits on a public forum but do feel free to send me a PM with specific ideas regarding ecstasy. 

If sound/music is to be adjusted midway into the scene, would probably boost bass and treble while reducing the mid-tones and find a way to make it sound fuzzy but detailed if that's possible. Shots could transition from medium to close-ups within the scene. Whip pans and the "invisible cut" editing technique discussed in the watchtower of turkey thread over at the main forum could help, too. Maybe a slight color shift to the warmer side. 

i like all your ideas. after some contemplation, i would say that ecstasy isnt particularly visual, but its something you feel very deeply, in an emotional and moreover physical way, and so an aural approach to this sounds good to me (sounds lol)

im not suggesting that the visuals shouldnt get "trippy", cuz they should, but id really play with the sound design as far as deeeep resonant sounds, where you can feel the vibrations through a good sound system. p much try to make a $400 pair of beats headphones explode lol

visually, i like where youre going like i said, my thought there is that if it was my piece id experiment with after effects to create a bit off a buzz, a vibration, focused around the focal point of the shots, particularly intense when people are speaking...

something fairly subtle, but a visual effect that gives a sense of vibration... a pulsing, humming... buzz. hmm im at a loss for adjectives atm but hopefully that makes some sense??

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Ecstasy is about intensity. There should be no strange visuals or sounds, but everything should look like from a happy ad. It also depends on the circumstances. If you are going to a club, you will be deeply immersed in the music and move under the impression that your body can do everything. You will be constantly smiling. 

If you are sitting alone at home, in subdued light, with headphones on and listening to any kind of music, you will hear every note like for the first time, as if it was written exclusively for you. 

The best way to show the effect is the behavior of the guy who took it. In a group of sober people he will appear irritatingly, inappropriately (well, this is relative, isn't it?) and sometimes annoyingly happy. Many who have made own experiences will know what's going on, most will see his ecstasy as the manic side of a bipolar disorder.

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  • 4 weeks later...

MDMA is about empathy above all else. A feeling of warmth and closeness and intimacy and caring in situations where those emotions either don't exist or they exist in "lower doses". Difficult to depict in isolation. But - and I think this is critical - easy to depict by way of contrast. Before, during & after. There is no dramatic perception change or distortion of physical reality. It's subtle. It's emotional: "I love you now but I won't tomorrow". Maybe "love" is too strong. "I care now but I won't tomorrow"?

It's easy to hold hands with someone whilst taking mdma. Easy to hug. Not even necessarily sexual.

Music & sound? Not convinced. It's a peaceful time of silent caring. Soft edges. The (dance) music is the same.

But these things are quintessentially personal experiences which are difficult to characterise or bind by generalisations.

Tim

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  • 2 weeks later...

MDMA is about empathy above all else.

All depends as well on the circumstances as on your own mindset and emotional disposition. If to connect to other people's emotions is what you really miss, you will find this easier. Or at least you imagine that it is. And then, no matter whether the empathy was real or not, MDMA is a medicine for you. You will always remember the experience as Love Is All You Need.

but here is how it went down (there is more before and after in the final film of course). Sound and colors in rough stage.

 Acting maybe quite accurate. But all just shown from the outside. If that was your goal, it's good. 

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