Amazon Studios’ All In: The Fight for Democracy examines the history of voter suppression in the U.S. Stacey Abrams, the Georgia politician and lawyer, stars in and produces the documentary directed by Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés that spotlights those who fought against voter suppression, and those still fighting today.
The documentary’s script, an Emmy nominee in the Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program category, puts Abrams’ 2018 run to become the first African-American governor of Georgia at the heart of the story. Ultimately she lost by a razor-thin margin, refusing to concede given evidence that the vote was rigged.
Here, the Emmy-nominated writer of the script — Jack Youngelson — answers some questions about his work as part of Deadline’s It Starts on the Page, a series showcasing scripts from this year’s Emmy-nominated programs and the writers who brought them to life.
‘All In: The Fight For Democracy’ Directors On Stacey Abrams, Defeating ‘Targeted Weaponization’ & Voter Suppression – Deadline Virtual Screening
What inspired you to work on the project?
I wanted to work on a project during the election year that could make a difference and help reshape the national discourse on voting rights. The combination of working with Stacey Abrams, Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés was irresistible – there was no doubt in my mind that this was the one.
What is your favorite line from the script?
It’s not a written line. It’s a line delivered by Terrence Floyd – George Floyd’s brother – while addressing a crowd shortly after George Floyd’s murder about the urgency of getting out the vote and bringing about change through political engagement. It’s a deeply moving and inspiring moment in the film that for me always elicits a feeling of both outrage and hope.
What was the most difficult scene to write?
Writing documentaries are always rich collaborations. In addition to Stacey Abrams, Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, I was lucky to work with an amazing editor, Nancy Novack, as well as include the work of a gifted artist, Diana Ejaita, whose images were animated in the film. There’s a story told by historian Carol Anderson about Maceo Snipes, a WWII veteran, who was murdered in Taylor County, Georgia in 1946 for exercising his right to vote. We knew of only one photo that exists of Maceo – a huge challenge for any documentary project. Yet the scene as it is constructed – utilizing music, sound effects and Ejaita’s imagery – is one of the most harrowing, emotional scenes in the entire film.
How many rewrites did the script go through?
Too many to count! Documentaries are intricate puzzles with a million different solutions. You don’t fully know where all those puzzle pieces will land until the very end when someone finally says “pencils down.”
Click on the script below to read it.