Is President Trump From Outer Space?
"Alternative Universe" is a creative screenplay meant for an animated story of Donald Trump and that attempts to make sense of the way his mind works. "Alternative Universe" is an official selection of the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017 as well as the Portland Comedy Film Festival 2018. Candice Delevante seeks to raise awareness about current social, economic and environmental issues around the world today that are adversely affected by authoritarian leadership.
Overview: Alternative Universe By Candice Delevante
The newly elected U.S. President, Donald Trump, is seeing his psychiatrist and former adviser to his father, Dr. Hoopenschlocken on Mars-A-Lago (f/k/a Mars). Fulfilling a promise to Donald's late father, the doctor has the arduous task of transforming a narcissistic, fascist dictator into a principled, benevolent leader of the free world. Cha Cha is the doctor's highly intelligent African Grey parrot and obnoxious psychiatrist-in-training. Media is Donald’s adversary, who attends couples therapy with the President. Quotes from Donald's speeches, interviews and tweets are used as actual dialogue in the script.
Candice Delevante Interview
- Why submit to ACSFF? “I read the guidelines and looked through the website. I noticed that Austin Comedy Short Film Festival values thought-provoking concepts. From there it just had a good vibe for me and it looked like a really fun festival with cool people.”
- What inspired this story? “I was traveling in France earlier this year and we just had the 2016 US Presidential Election. There was a lot of tension and events in Paris leading up to their national election with several protests and attacks. I was a bit stressed actually, and took a trip to the museum. At some point, the story just flowed in and I went along with it.”
- What was your inspiration for the characters? “Dr. Hoopenschlocken was born out of my fascination with Dr. Strangelove. At first he was in a wheelchair and wore a black glove and saluted. When I asked for permission to adapt the Stanley Kubrick character, his producer Jan Harlan wrote back and said that "Stanley did not favor adaptations of his work." So I had to give him unique characteristics, which was a better choice anyway. It was a nice problem to have.”
- Where does this story taking place? “I see alternating locations between Mars-A-Lago and Earth in order to draw parallels between the alternative universe that has been created by Trump and what's really happening on the ground back home.”
- Do you have plans to produce of this film? “I finished a 4th draft on Labor Day weekend and started a pitch bible. I had a web series in mind, so I drafted loglines for about a dozen episodes and I'm open to working with an indie producer who's not afraid to take (calculated) risks.”
Candice Delevante Interview Continued
- Has creating this screenplay helped your writing career in any way? “I would say I've really been looking at this project more through the eyes of a social justice advocate seeking to use comedy to engage an audience. We need writers, painters, actors, songwriters, comedians to reach out to the masses now more than ever.”
- What were some of the creative challenges that you encountered while writing this screenplay? “Character development was a major challenge. I had to recreate Dr. Hoopenschlocken's physical characteristics and Media's character and relationship with Trump and it took time to hash it out. Also, I was playing around with her name and I wanted to combine Melania with Media and I came up with Meledia. Or Medalania? I chose Media to keep her intention simple and clear, and I'm still working on Cha Cha.”
- How do you promote your screenplay on social media or other online websites. “I took social media and Google Analytics workshops this year, but it's still a challenge for me. I'll promote it on my website and perhaps create a Facebook page for Alternative Universe. I have another project I'm working on at the same time and I really could use a social media strategist who can just take over!”
- Did you have any funny or weird ideas that popped into your head while writing this screenplay, that didn't make the final draft? “Yes a number of times, but while I was daydreaming over a glass of wine:) Sorry I can't recall!”
- Can you list any awards, nominations or official selections for this film? “No, but Blue Cat and Slamdance given me some great feedback, which I discussed with my story consultant as I continued to work on the script.”