A President’s Tale

Imagine being asked to write a screenplay about an election. In the first draft you pitch a maverick against the establishment. It gets declined for being unoriginal. So, you turn the maverick into a maniac. You make him arrogant but leave it unclear if he is malevolent or stupid. He uses rhetoric from a more restricted age. You contrast his erratic campaign with the careful planning of his rival.

She’s the first female nominee but the significance is lost in a cloud of scandal, both current and historic. Last time she lost to the first black nominee, amidst scenes of unprecedented euphoria. That has long since evaporated and she can only dream of his initial popularity.

You think it is a great story. The executive agrees but still turns it down on the grounds that there is no character for the audience to identify with. “If they don’t like anyone they won’t turn out,” he predicts. But he has another idea, if you are willing to switch genre to horror.

Write a script about what happens if the maniac wins. And write it from the viewpoint of an ordinary person who challenges the new regime. What happens to him or her?


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