Notes on Your Bio-Pic Script about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos @stervenson


First, a pervasive issue: How do you consider this a bio-pic? Your Jeff Bezos is, apparently, “a bionic man for the nano-tech age” who can fly, fire lasers from his hands, has hunted humans for sport (and may still, the script is unclear), and has single-handedly brought about the destruction of the print industry and perhaps even publishing itself. The latter is a highly debatable claim. The rest of your portrayal is libelous except for the stretches during which it drifts between outright fantasy and a surprisingly lyrical defense of anarcho-libertarian values. The following notes will deal with these issues and others.

Page 1:

Immediately following the fade in you have Bezos opening a secret vault by “grabbing and twisting his left nut,” employing ban imagined technology which communicates with the vault by Bluetooth. Aside from the unseemliness of having the central character yanking on his testicles in the first seconds of your movie, how is the viewer supposed to understand that this action results in the vault opening? Won’t it just appear that the character grabs his crotch and the vault opens? It’s a fraught situation, since further articulation of the technology requires drawing additional focus to the central character wrenching his own genitals and, again, this is the very beginning of the movie. 

However, we have to admit that the relationship between Bezos and Carlos, the dog with a Kindle for a head, communicates depth and complexity and even moved us.

Page 18:

I’m guessing that your description of Jeff Bezos “watching his hero, Ted Danson” in an episode of Cheers while crying is meant to humanize him. To be honest, that’s something we need after we’ve seen him callously dispose of a warehouse full of android children in a half-page scene just previous. (It doesn’t matter, as the script points out, that the robot children don’t possess souls, or that this is symbolic of the character putting away childish things; from an emotional perspective, the viewer just watched Bezos just torch a warehouse full of kids.) You stress that while Bezos watches Cheers, we see the entire episode, since it “ties in with the weightier themes of Bezos’ life.” Aside from the fact that this would add twenty-plus minutes of viewing time, getting the rights to re-present an entire episode of a classic TV comedy would be a complication that no studio would be prepared to deal with. We advise you to find another way to develop the character and set up your themes, ideally one that doesn’t involve importing someone else’s work wholesale.

Pages 35-38:

The scene between Bezos and Carlos on Jeff’s tropical island fascinated everyone here. You handle the tone deftly, and the image of the young dolphin caught in the tide pool devastated us. Jeff tugging his “left pecan” to summon “the Mojito-bot, via Bluetooth technology” ruined everything.

An note about your repeated emphasis on Bluetooth: 

You seem quite taken with Bluetooth, but in an increasingly tech-savvy culture, it’s seen as a common, if not altogether mundane element of tech. It would be like making a big deal out of characters using cellphones, which you also do. (Examples: “I’ll make the call from my car, on my cellphone” and “I don’t have to go back inside the house and use the landline, because I have a cellphone” and “I just called my best friend, Tom Selleck, from my private helicopter, on a cellphone, not a landline or a CB radio” etc.)

Pages 47-70:

This section, a very long flashback dealing with the backstory of Bezos and Tom Selleck’s best-friendship and their time “slinging rock in the hood” (???), can be cut without affecting a single other aspect of the story. And it should be.

Pages 75-81:

Same goes for this seance with Steve Jobs. The scene establishes one thing—Bezos needs to go back to Seattle to destroy his fleet of Amazon Drones so that the combined forces of Al-Qaeda and North Korea cannot harness them to use them against the freedom fighters defending the Northern US Borders against the “Canadian threat.” Honestly, anything would be preferable to this, including watching Bezos read an email that contained the same exposition. Or, if possible, completely different/semi-coherent exposition.

Pages 93-211

Most scripts come in around a hundred pages. The last 118 pages of your script deal with Bezos’ quest for apotheosis, and focus on an incomprehensible religion, ostensibly of your own invention, which involves elements of Presbyterianism, Hare Krishna, and in which ritual testicle gripping and weekly communion result in enlightenment.

Page 212:

We cried when Bezos passed into glory as the light of Carlos’ Kindle head flickered briefly back on and then out again.

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