There are a few things filmmakers can pick up from the victory of Donald Trump at the US polls.
Despite what some people consider as his despicable character and lack of decorum, Trump floored the media-darling and pre-poll favourite, Hillary Clinton.
Below are 5 things we think filmmakers can learn from the Republican candidate’s success.
Understand whether or not social media let’s you reach the right audience. The two major candidates were opposites in their use of social media. While Clinton said “the right things” on social media and during her campaign, Trump kept on treading without caution, insulting people and personalities. Going by the social media dos and don’ts, it was easy to see why Clinton won more popular votes. But Trump understood that he needed the electoral colleges to win and he didn’t need to be a social media darling for that.
What Trump got right and Clinton didn’t was the use of emotion. We all say Trump is narcissist, racist and misogynist right? But he still won. He played on the emotions of Americans. When words like narcissm, misogyny and racism comes into play, emotions shows up. That’s what Trump leveraged on. Your film is dead if you cannot play with the emotion of your audience. Be it comedy, tragedy, romance or drama, work out how to make your audience’s emotions slave to your work and you become king.
Don’t try to please everybody. Rather, please the right people. Who are you making this film for? Understand what they want and give it to them in abundance. They will love you for it. That’s what Trump did. Clinton tried to please all Americans. She gave speeches that tried too hard to please all Americans. She won the debates. Because that’s what debates are for, not the election proper.
What is your film saying? Is it saying it with the right language?
“Filmmakers often ignore the power of language in their press releases, movie titles, loglines and during their press conferences…A great filmmaker can put themselves in the cinema seats of their audience and know how to keep them glued to their movies. A great filmmaker knows how to pitch their ideas clearly and concisely to potential investors and crew.” – Raindance and British Independent Film Awards founder, Elliot Grove.
Sometimes, going against the norm works.
As bad as his tactics were and as disgusted as they made us feel, he achieved his purpose – to get into the Oval Office. Don’t be afraid, as a filmmaker, to break the norm. Shatter the rules once you’ve mastered them. Decades of interacting with some of the world’s most powerful people already gave him the experience. He knew the rules but he broke them. Clinton played too much by the rules but that didn’t help her much.