As creatives we are often bemused with political shenanigans – and hasn’t there been a lot lately? Theresa May called an election. Her decision was ill judged. Last year we’ve seen David Cameron’s political career torpedoed by the BREXIT decision, we’ve endured Trumpian nonsense from America, the brouhaha in Quater and of course the continuing ISIS dramas in Europe and beyond, not to mention the climate change, famines in Aftica and political corruption cases in Asia and South America.

As creatives we are all storytellers first and foremost. What fascinates me about the 2017 general election in the UK is how the dynamics of the election has great lessons for us as storytellers and content creators.

Theresa May’s Six Deadly Mistakes

Read the news accounts of the election and see if you can spot these mistakes. Discover ways you can implement these learnings for your own story.

1.Theresa May believed her PR

When the election was called at the end of March everyone thought that Thersa May would win by a landslide. She hasn’t of course, and now her own political career is being called into question.

Spin doctors are equally important to filmmakers and screenwriters. Judging the mood of ‘the people’ is as difficult for creatives as it is for politicians. Be wary of their advice, and in the end follow your own gut instincts.

2.Theresa May became complacent

With a gigantic lead in the polls when she called the election Theresa May must have believed that a landslide victory was a slam-dunk.

Creatives too often are so convinced of their success that they don’t step back and constantly evaluate their creative decisions.

3.Theresa May flip-flopped

Her constant back-tracking on policies and issues really let her down.

Storytellers will always tell you that a change in direction of the main character breaks the storyline and ultimately damns your narrative.

4. Theresa May suffered at the hands of social media

Donald Trump is an expert in social media – like it or not. The British public saw May’s flip-flops constantly ridiculed and commented on social media. One would like to think that many waverers were swayed by a series of tweets or facebook messages highlighting her constant changes of direction.

Your story and the story of your film needs social media support in order to attract an audience. Learn to use this powerful tool to enhance not only the commercial success of your film but that of your career.

5. Theresa May ignored the audiences wants and needs

When over two million millenials registered to vote Theresa May ignored their concerns, their wants and their needs. Here is where Jeremy Corbyn scored major points. A defining moment for me was in a question session on the BBC a week before the election when she told a nurse there was no magic money tree. This after MP’s gave themselves a whopping 11% payrise.

A nures challenges Theresa May

As creatives too, we need to keep our ears to the ground, spotting new audiences and new social trends that we can convert into consumers of our content.

6. Theresa May ignored her antagonist

The reason films don’t get into festivals like Raindance is because there isn’t a good story. Our screenwriting classes tell the importance of creating strong characters with strong wants and desires. Elections like stories have protagonists and antagonists – hero and opponent. Storytellers will tell you that in any story, in any medium, from a computer game to sport to comic to narrative movie there has to be a confrontation between the two main characters.

Theresa May ignored multiple opportunities to confront Jeremy Corbyn. This certainly was her most significant ‘storytelling’ sin.

Fade Out

There is much we can learn form real world events. See if you can explore the news of the day and find the storytelling elements either missing or included. And then, write your story.

Great stories happen to great storytellers.

Lets Make Movies.

About 

Photo Credit Jay Brooks / BIFA 2015

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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