Senior’s video shows true side of dissociative identity disorder
For her Capstone project, Shelton High School senior Olivia Delgado created a film to accurately portray the psychological disorder, dissociative identity disorder.
Through her film, Me and Her, Delgado, the director, writer and editor, works to show what it is like trying to live with and attempt to hide mental health problems. She said she wanted to eliminate stigmas associated with the disorder.
“I understand the appeal of dissociative identity disorder, as it is a condition that lends itself to extremes of behavior, conflict, torment, and mysteries — everything that makes a juicy drama wrapped up into one character,” Delgado said. “Unfortunately, so many movies have used it as a plot device to deliver a ‘gotcha’ twist rather than helping the audience understand the condition. I wanted to take something scientific and psychologically proven and try something new.”
Delgado said she wanted to create a movie for her project because it would combine her interests from being a creative video student at the Regional Center for the Arts and a student in A.P. psychology.
With her mentor, Regional Center for the Arts teacher Mark Barnes, she spent her required 15 hours for the project drafting the final script, holding auditions, filming and editing on Final Cut Pro X.
“I work[ed] as a teacher’s assistant during his lower-level classes and he has helped me grow as a student and mentor to others interested in this field,” Delgado said. “This is why I knew that he would be the best person to mentor me.”
Before filming, Delgado held auditions for actors and crew. For the actors, she had them read a monologue from the main character’s point of view. For the crew, she asked for them to explain their roles on previous projects.
“ Holding an audition was surprisingly fun,” Delgado said. “ I was worried that I would seem overly judgmental toward them but instead it was an enjoyable time for everyone involved. The people who I rejected were understanding and those who I accepted and asked to come on the project were really enthusiastic.”
For filming, Delgado said that the crew filmed in local parks because it was the best way to record ambient sounds and aesthetic shots. She said she faced one of her biggest problems during this step of her project. One of her crew members was unable to attend one day and she had to think on the spot, she said.
“In the future, I would plan on having at least one other actor and crew member on standby so the filming process can run without error,” she said.
After filming, Delgado said she spent hours editing the project on Final Cut Pro X.
“The editing process was arduous and mentally exhausting but satisfying in the end,” Delgado said. “I had to apply all of the [dissociative identity disorder] research that I had done in this stage of the project, which ended up coming off as subtle but meaningful.”
On May 21, Delgado began sharing a version of the film on Vimeo and YouTube.
“There is not a single aspect of this project that has not been beneficial to me in my growth as a student, partner and mentor,” said Delgado. “I've learned how to create special effects on film editing software and creatively collaborate with others in ways that I never knew I was capable of. I have also learned how to better manage my time and utilize my camera to the fullest extent.”
Once she graduates from Shelton High, Delgado will be going Sacred Heart University, where she plans to major in media arts with a concentration in film and television.
“Now that I've seen the impact that incorporating psychological principles into a film to achieve a more profound meaning has, I will definitely continue to use what I've learned from this project in the future,” Delgado said. “Who knows, maybe there will be a sequel one day?”