Why Following Politics Will Make You A Better Filmmaker

Films are one of the most accessible kinds of art for people all over the world. While watching a film, viewers get scooped and occupied completely, so they see and listen to every tiny bit of a film. As a result, whatever is inserted by the director into a film will be processed and then comprehended by the viewer. Dr Victor Dan-Jumbo in his Pillars of Democracy stated that media are making the people aware of everything that is happening around and at the same time they shape what the people think. If parallel was drawn, then you could see that films are in fact making the same thing: they depict the current state of the world with the small amends that can change the whole perspective. So in this regard, filmmakers are the fifth pillar of democracy and power in any country. But let’s get closer to the point.

Film industry follows the trends prevailing in the world or a particular country. As a result, it depicts the current state of affairs in the society. For instance, in the past years, the trend for talking and reflecting on people from the LGBTQA community has swept the world. This year Girl by Lukas Dhont has already won the Caméra d’Or for the best first feature film as well as the Queer Palm. The lead actor Victor Polster has also won the hearts of the jury and received the Un Certain Regard Jury Award for Best Performance. Gary Collins from Red Rock Entertainment reviews all films of the year and also confirms the political trend for women empowerment that found its way in the films like Annihilation, The Favourite, Ocean’s 8, etc. All these films have received nominations and awards at several festivals which proves the point: following the trends of the society especially those dictated by the politics pays off.

Politics generally is about convincing large audiences about some point regardless of their truthfulness and common sense. Politics is also about persuasion in communication and debates. So how a filmmaker can benefit from following the politics? Here are a couple of things.

1. Communication with investors, producers, etc.

Persuasive devices used by politicians are almost infinite. Such tricks as inclusive “we”, repetition, or the rule of threes always do their job in persuading the audience in the truthfulness of what the speaker says. The question one may have is why a filmmaker needs the skill of persuasion. Well, persuasion is universal and doesn’t matter whether you talk to a couple of investors or to the millions of future voters. Politicians know how to ensure that the audience receives the right message about their campaign or ideas. The same strategy is of great use when a director is looking for an investor or a producer or tries to get a particular A-star actor on board.

2. New topics for upcoming projects

As mentioned above, politics influences the life and interest of people all over the world. And then films are made based on these changes. Recollect the phenomenal TV show House of Cards or the huge success of the Breaking Bad. Both shows depict the existing problems in politics and drug cartels existing in the States. They are both based on the real problems discussed in the US. This means that if you follow the topics politicians raise in their speeches, election campaigns, or the laws they are trying to push, you will be able to create a successful up-to-date scenario for a film that will not only be of a great artistic value but will also interest wide audiences that follow the political trends of the world.

3. Subtext use in every aspect of the filmmaking

Besides the direct use of persuasion, politicians also frequently talk about unpleasant topics in an acceptable way. Or they discuss the taboo things in public. How they do it? The power of subtext in their speeches and public materials is undeniable. They manage to trick everyone around by talking about trees and in fact starting a war (this is a hypothetical example). So by following the politics and listening to how politicians hide the truth or on the contrary show it to the world in an acceptable manner, a filmmaker can learn how to hide the hidden sense in their films. One of the best examples in terms of subtext and underlying layers of meaning, according to Red Rock Entertainment production crew, is Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro. While the story on the screen represents two parallel worlds: of the WWII and of the fairytale creatures, in fact, the hidden meaning roots deep into the ancient mythology.

These are only a couple of examples of how the art of politics can benefit any filmmaker. Without any doubts, politicians are good at selling their ideas and pitching new trends which can come in handy for marketing and distribution deals.  So follow the politics as much as you can, without diving deep into this pool, and take only the good and useful knowledge from them to improve your skills and make your films better.

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Written by Rachel Wise

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