Becoming visible like Barack Obama: touching people, awakening emotions like Hitchcock


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When Barak Obama was in the election campaign, he published an image film on his website entitled "The road we've traveled". Tom Hanks speaks. Obama hardly. Because it's about touching people.


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Michael Moesslang michael-moesslangMichael Moesslang is a lecturer at St. Gallen Business School, BAW and Munich University of Applied Sciences, Top 100 Excellence Trainer, Coach and Author.

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The message: Powerful and energetic

Because the winner of the presidential election will not be who has more arguments. The winner will be the one who touches more people. Emotions create presidents, just as emotions are crucial in other situations. Does the film manage to generate the right emotions?

The film's dramaturgy is classic. With the question “What do we remember?” the viewer is transported into a cheering scene from the 2008 election campaign. But immediately afterwards, Obama is confronted with the harsh reality after the victory.

Generate emotions

So also in the movie. The stock market, the banks, the real estate! Shown are film clips, photos, statements by eyewitnesses and pictures of Obama. It is shown alternately in two poses: thoughtful and powerful. The message: Obama acts deliberately and then energetically!

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Exactly after the first quarter of the movie follows the first plot point (turning point). This is classic for feature films. In this case, a graph is shown in which the employment figures in the last months of the Bush era go down drastically. The color of the bars is red, like that of the Republicans.

The heroic journey: Obama, the lone warrior

Now this begins an important and usual up and down of the hero for an exciting dramaturgy. After Obama has successfully launched measures for employment (for example, bridge building), the next crisis follows: the builders are asking for money. The lights turn out dramatically in a factory hall. The situation is serious. Even ex-President Bill Clinton has his say.

Because everyone else wants to do nothing or do nothing, it's Obama, the heroic lone fighter, who saves the auto industry. In addition a speech excerpt and a picture of the young Obama between his grandparents, who taught him how important it is to have a job. Obama saves the automotive industry. But the next problem is already at hand: the health system.

Turning point in the middle of the film

Since Nixon a topic - and again Clinton has its say. With a graph showing the skyrocketing cost, however, this graph does not have the meaning of the employment graph. It is interesting that - as in classical dramaturgy - she is shown exactly at the center of the film.

A photo of Obama's mother, who died of breast cancer and who could have lived longer with a better-funded healthcare system, will be shown. For the first time, Obama will speak for a moment. And also his wife Michelle.

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The second plot point

After that, it is about foreign policy: Iraq soldiers could be brought home. Bin Laden's death is also listed on the credit side. Obama refers to his feelings in this situation and supports Bill Clinton's comments. And as a proof of the correctness of the killing, a picture of Obama at the Ground Zero monument is shown.

And again as random, but for experienced presentation eyes quite clearly recognizable: after three-thirds of the film the second plot point. In the last four minutes it is about the direct benefits for the citizens and thus voters. Now it is enumerated what the individual of Obama's achievements has.

In the end: Obama's performance instead of crises

It goes up. No more crises. Solutions. The pictures: First affected people, then great personalities like the Dalai Lama, President etc. and then Obama cheering people.

Shortly before the final sentence the climax. That too is classic. The employment graph from the first inflection point is now continued with blue bars (the color of the Democrats). In doing so, she keeps going up to prove for the last time what Obama has done.

Even the auto industry does not stop again after less than two years and invests all around. Here are news pictures. A true highlight! While Obama is now being cheered on by workers, children and voters, there follows a strong conclusion and then the logo of Obama and Biden, his deputy.

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Even the words convince - and generate emotions

In the choice of words is clear on what the central message of the film. Obama makes decisions. And the right ones. Especially if others do not know what to do. Or maybe you would do the wrong thing. Obama, on the other hand, makes the right decisions, which gives the feeling of security.

The first part is about: “Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt has fallen so much on the shoulders of one president.” The subject is dramatized with this meaningfully emphasized statement. Obama is shown in black and white pictures, thoughtful and statesmanlike. The music is accordingly supporting.

Everything is about decisions!

It is not only talked about decisions, but above all about the fact that in the beginning the first decision was, which decision has to be made first, with which one had to start at all. Through this game, underlined by statements from contemporary witnesses, the word “decisions” is used very often.

The final sentence also revolves around decisions. To make decisions that were not made for the election campaign. Decisions that must be made in the future. By Barack Obama:

“Time and time again we would see rewards from top decisions he had made. Not for quick political game, but for long term and enduring change. So when we remember this moment, and consider this president, then and now, but remember how far we've come, and look forward to the work still to be done. ”

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Conclusion: Emotional film with lengths

It is fascinating to analyze how the findings and methods of the old master of tension, Alfred Hitchcock, which I have described in my book of the same name, can be used and used not only for presentations, but also for this type of political image film.

The emotions carefully planned in the arc of suspense come across clearly in the video. However, the film is very slow despite all the dramaturgy and emotion. This underlines the thoughtfulness and robs him of the superficial advertising of the election campaign.

Successful movie with lengths

But there is a clear danger that a large part of people will shut down prematurely. Especially since the movie is not least to be watched on the Internet. Then the whole Hollywood quality does not use anything anymore.

Final conclusion from the point of view of a presentation expert: In terms of structure and due to the perfectly thought-out dramaturgy very successful, but could be in some places even tighter and tighter to really keep all viewers until the end of the film at the bar.

A film showing Obama's strategy

It will not be the only movie. Since the Republicans have not finally nominated their candidate, not a word against an opponent is said. So there will certainly be more films that support Obama or Romney or trying to dismantle.

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The film “The road we've traveled” is so important because it opens Obama's campaign and shows its strategy. After “Yes we can!” Obama is now the man of decisions.


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  8. Michael Moesslang

    I took a close look at the latest campaign video from @BarackObama and analyzed its dramaturgy:

  9. Monika Paitl

    A presentation expert analyzes the dramaturgical structure of Obama's election video: Hitchcock sends his regards!

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  11. Richard de Hoop

    A presentation expert analyzes the dramaturgical structure of Obama's election video: Hitchcock sends his regards!

  12. Ralf Tometschek

    A presentation expert analyzes the dramaturgical structure of Obama's election video: Hitchcock sends his regards!

  13. Christian M.

    A presentation expert analyzes the dramaturgical structure of Obama's election video: Hitchcock sends his regards!

  14. berlin follow

    A presentation expert analyzes the dramaturgical structure of Obama's election video: Hitchcock sends his regards!

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