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Ben Yennie: 5 Reasons Savvy Filmmakers Follow Politics

Most of us are more than a little tired of the constant talk of politics on social media.  However, as something of a political junkie and an executive producer of 8 films in the past 4 years I can tell you with some degree of certainty that following and understanding politics will make you a better Filmmaker.  Here’s why.  

It can give you Story Ideas

Politics is fascinating.  Right now it’s terrifying, but it’s always fascinating.  If you pay attention to some of the stories coming out of the beltway.  If you follow politics, it tends to keep you up on the news.  If you’re up on the next 

Also, you should get some sublimely fascinating ideas for characters.  This is especially true if you pay attention to politics on a local level, since the people who play in those areas can sometimes be a certain breed of crazy that makes a fascinating character, even if not a great leader.  

Understanding the Reality of the World Around you will help with crafting story worlds.

If you pay attention to politics, you probably have some idea of what’s going on in the world around you.  The turmoil, the unrest, the struggles, and of course the lunacy all give you an idea of what you can incorporate into your storyworld.  If it’s based from something that’s real, it’s more likely to ring true to your viewers.  You can extrapolate certain trends to their extreme and create a story world around it.  In many ways, this is how Bladerunner was brought to life, as well as many other potential future stories.  

It Gives You Real Life Examples of Power Dynamics

In general you’re watching incredibly powerful narcissists with far too much sway over the course of not only a single industry, but to some degree the entire world.  Yet many of them still have their weaknesses, and the people who exert undue influence over them.  Since most of these people care solely about themselves, it’s easier to figure out their motivations. Understanding what drives them, and what keeps them in check is not only a great exercise in what makes them (and us) human, but also the foils of idolizing those in power.  All of these can be excellent themes for 

You need to Understand the Market

It’s undeniable that politics has a huge impact over the market. Generally, understanding the stock market is a precursor to being able to get film investment, as most angels keep at least some of their money in stocks and bonds.  What happens in DC greatly affects the health of the stock market, and potentially the ability of your investors to invest in highly risky and speculative investments like a film or media project.  

Understanding the state of the world is essential for investment.  

If you’re even considering raising money for a film, via equity investment you need to understand what the state of the world is.  You also need to understand at least some of what the tax code in the US is, and how investments in the film industry are treated in terms of the deductibility and what tax credits your company or your project may be eligible for.  It’s absolutely vital to raising any significant amount of money.  

Thanks so much for reading!  We hope you enjoyed it.  If you’re a savvy filmmaker, you might want to check out our project management software.  It’s one place for everything your production needs.  Everything from independent film budgeting, indie film scheduling, call sheet generation, all in one collaborative, cloud-based platform. 


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