Demi Lovato Goes Behind The Scenes of “Dancing With The Devil” Music Video

Demi Lovato and her team of collaborators reveal hidden messages and everything you didn’t know about the video’s creation process.


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Global superstar Demi Lovato and her team of collaborators behind the new “Dancing With The Devil” music video have partnered with Vevo to reveal hidden messages and everything you didn’t know about the video’s creation process exclusively for Vevo Footnotes.

“Dancing With The Devil” appears on Lovato’s newest album, Dancing With The Devil… The Art Of Starting Over.

The music video’s co-director, Michael D. Ratner, details their commitment to ensuring each frame has meaning and matches Lovato’s reality, and that production runs smoothly so she wouldn’t have to relive each scene multiple times.

A digital XR stage was used to take viewers through Lovato’s experience, which also created a sense of photographic memory to convey her re-telling of the moments before her overdose. Everything from the cast members t-shirts to hairstyles and color are accurate in this artistic reenactment of Lovato’s most trying times.

Below is a complete outline of “The Making of ‘Dancing With The Devil’ | Vevo Footnotes, including key insight from the music video’s executive director and more from Lovato herself.

FOOTNOTES OUTLINE:

0:16 Narration: “Dancing With The Devil” is the second video from Demi Lovato’s seventh studio album, Dancing With The Devil… The Art Of Starting Over. Both the video and doc directly address Demi’s near-fatal overdose in July 2018 as well as her road to recovery.

0:31 Demi co-directed the video with Michael D. Ratner, who also helmed the documentary. Miranda Sherman was the video’s Executive Producer.

0:39 Miranda Sherman: “The documentary was really important preparation for this project. We had time to really understand and unpack the story – get the full scope of it. In the actual creation of the music video, we’re telling the literal story but also communicating visually the feeling of that night.”

0:59 Demi Lovato: “There’s something really cathartic and healing about being able to address trauma through art for me.”

1:09 Narration: The video took two days to film but the preparation took six months.

1:13 Michael D. Ratner: “Our commitment to telling this story with care really started with the process. At every stage of pre-production – from overall concept to shot-listing to storyboarding to blocking camera movements – we checked in with Demi and her team stayed honest and created a space of autonomy and empowerment.”

1:36 Narration: Demi wore this ‘Legalize Marijuana’ t-shirt because it’s similar to the one she actually wore on the night of her overdose. The bedroom scene was the last shot of the day, and the toughest scene for Demi to film. The camera movement required a techno-crane. The team rehearsed endlessly so that Demi didn’t have to go through the scene multiple times.

2:00 Michael D. Ratner: “There are no accidents in this video. From where people are facing to what they bring into frame, or where they are in frame, everything is thought through and has meaning. Demi has 23 tattoos and there are 23 easter eggs in the video.”

2:20 Michael D. Ratner: “The video is in no way glorifying drinking or drug use. Quite the opposite, and that’s why there’s that constant chilling reminder of the hospital bed, which is symbolic of the scary possibility that the danger of addiction is very real and very present.”

2:38 Narration: In order to cover so many locations and emotions, they used a digital XR stage to take the viewer through Demi’s experience which also created a sense of photographic memory to convey Demi’s re-telling of the night before and morning of her overdose.

2:53 Many of Demi’s friends and family appear in the documentary, but for this video, actors were used to represent them. Their faces are deliberately hidden.

2:59 Demi Lovato: “When recreating the night before my overdose some of the actors are wearing clothing to match some of my friends who were there, including Dani Vitale’s white tank top, which is seen in the documentary’s archival footage. In the scene where I’m surrounded by family in the hospital, one of the actresses has hair the same color as my sister Dallas in 2018.”

3:20 Narration: Ratner and his team made specific technical choices with the goal of helping viewers understand the feeling of falling into addiction, drug abuse, overdose, and recovery. Demi’s case manager was on set during the filming of the video. Before filming began, Ratner worked with him to ensure the shoot was a safe space for her and she was as comfortable as possible.

3:50 Demi Lovato: “At the beginning of the video, the diffused effect of the kaleidoscopic light on the glass mirrors mimic the blurry feeling of using drugs and indicated the start of this dangerous journey. The last shot of the video reveals the disco ball spinning over the hospital bed and serves as an eerie reminder that the challenge of addiction is persistent and recovery is an ongoing process.”

4:09 Narration: Demi got this ‘survivor’ tattoo in 2019. It covers the scar from where her dialysis port was.

4:15 Demi Lovato: “It’s a really important reminder of everything that I’ve overcome, and that I’m stronger and more in control of my life than ever.”