Jeff Bezos’ rules for epic storytelling

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From Brad Stone’s book, Amazon unrelated, we have Jeff Bezos’ rules for epic storytelling. He saw a few films in his time! [via @BradStone]

• A heroic protagonist who experiences growth and change
• A convincing antagonist
• Wish fulfillment (for example, the protagonist has hidden abilities, such as superpowers or magic)
• Moral choices
• Diverse construction of the world (different geographical landscapes)
• Urgency to watch the next episode (cliffhangers)
• High civilizational stakes (a global threat to humanity such as an alien invasion or a devastating pandemic)
• humor
• Betrayal
• Positive emotions (love, joy, hope)
• Negative emotions (loss, grief)
• Violence

It’s not even a bogus boss talk that conveys confidence and knowledge but obviously doesn’t really help, like reminding a chef that “food requires energy sources (eg wheat and intramuscular fiber), flavored with compounds (eg table salt, diacetyl) should taste good (umami). ”

It’s close – but not quite the same as, because Bezos has a job – the people you see online that I started calling Trope Eunuchs. If they’re over 40, they’ve read the types of script gurus obsessed with Joseph Campbell. If they are under 40, they have lost weeks of their life to TV Tropes dot com. They know how it’s done, in the sense of butterflies pinned to a board, but that doesn’t matter because there are invisible obstacles to success that are beyond their frame of reference.

Like Bezos, however, they can’t think beyond checklists because unverified checklist items easily explain failures while success never needs to be counted.





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