As the dust starts to settle on one of the most divisive political campaigns of all time, and people across the world start to consider how it could affect their future, we take a moment to run the thought experiment of what a Trump presidency might mean for our industry and global film production.
For starters, everything about this election has upended conventional thinking. Most never expected Donald Trump to win the GOP nomination. He won. Even fewer expected him to win the presidency. He won. Pundits predicted instant financial calamity. A day after the election the stock market finished at near record highs. We can only hope that the below Pessimistic View is equally as wrong in its conclusions…
The Pessimistic View
US protectionist policies are met with global trading partners implementing their own retaliatory protectionist policies. A trade war brings about a global recession. Rules requiring products to be made in the USA lead to wage driven inflation. The economic slowdown coupled with more expensive locally made products leads to decreases in sales. Demand for advertising slumps.
Laws passed to keep business in the US discourage runaway productions. Retaliatory laws are passed by nations around the world, preventing their projects from filming in the US.
New immigration laws restrict groups of people from entering the US. Similar immigration laws allowing American crews to live and work abroad tighten.
Trump’s distaste for criticism may see changes to libel laws, making it harder for journalists and filmmakers to create critical work.
The Optimistic View
Removal of government regulations, new fiscal spending on infrastructure projects, tax cuts to business and other incentives to prevent offshoring will increase business investment in the US. This in turn will improve the size and wealth of the middle class, meaning more profits for brands and increased demand for the services of advertisers that sell their products.
Despite the initial protectionist rhetoric, new trade deals will stimulate global economic growth. There will be no restrictions on US productions filming abroad or on foreign productions seeking to film in the US. The vast numbers of American producers, film and photography crew living abroad will be allowed to continue their work. Visiting teams will be allowed to enter without discrimination.
America’s centers of creativity will be re-energised. Liberal viewers, which still make up more than half of the country, will be hungry for creative works which speak to their ideas and values. Perhaps we’re about to enter a creative golden era.
One thing that is certain is that Trump is the President-elect. He will lead a government with an establishment House and Senate majority, and a soon to be right-leaning Supreme Court. It’s probably safe to conclude that a President Trump will be as unconventional as candidate Trump. As such, Trump’s affect on the future of our industry and that of global film production, as indeed the future of the world, is exceedingly difficult to predict.