After the Gold Rush

gondolas

INT. 60 MINUTES STUDIO – DAY

IAN BOLLINGER, the 20-something CEO of StorySpace, is being grilled on national television by MORLEY SAFER. The interview is not going well. StorySpace has tanked along with every other dotcom. Safer is sharply questioning Ian on the losses shareholders have suffered. Safer seems personally ebullient over the 20-something’s failure, a bit of generational warfare. Ian is trying to explain himself.

INSERT plunging graph of StorySpace stock price.

SAFER
Awful, isn’t it? A catastrophe.

IAN
We’ve had difficulties.

SAFER
From more than a hundred dollars a share to less than two. Fall any further and you’ll be delisted from the NASDAQ. Reduced to a penny stock.

IAN
We’re taken steps to avoid that, to improve our ROI. Our latest business plan incorporates a series of low-cost viral marketing initiatives that will help us regain first-mover advantage–

SAFER
(interrupting)
In English, please, sir. Explain your failure in language your investors can understand.

IAN
I’ve never doubted the intelligence of StorySpace investors.

SAFER
A lot of them are doubting yours. They put a lot of faith in you, your company, your idea.

Safer puts on a pair of glasses and reads from a StorySpace press release.

SAFER (CONT’D)
“StorySpace provides online tools for families to build shared stories with text, video, and sound.”

IAN
Families can construct shared experiences even if they live in different parts of the country and –

SAFER
(interrupting)
You’re down 98% since your highly publicized IPO. I want to show you something.

Safer brings out a mini video player. He puts on his glasses – it’s clear he knows little of technology. At last, he finds the play button and the video displays MRS. BERGEN, an elderly investor from Tempe, Arizona.

MRS. BERGEN
(on tape)
I saw Mr. Bollinger talk about StorySpace on CNBC. I’m dyslexic, I don’t read well, so I like the TV. StorySpace was the daily stock pick. I believed what Mr. Bollinger said, trusted him, so I put what I had on his company.

The clip ends.

SAFER
What do you say to Mrs. Bergen?

IAN
Every investment has its risks.

SAFER
Alright, maybe you don’t care about Mrs. Bergen of Tempe, Arizona, the small investor, all the little people that make this country work but what about those closer to you? It wasn’t just retirees who lost their life savings to your dotcom madness.

Safer pulls out a prop, a document from the SEC.

SAFER (CONT’D)
I have here a list of your investors. Now, let me see here. Daniel and Marilyn Bollinger. Your parents?

IAN
Yes.

SAFER
They lost nearly $200,000, right?

IAN
Right.

SAFER
$200,000! Your parents! You have no comment on that?

IAN
No.

SAFER
Okay, here’s a name. Marcus Czestohovich.

IAN
(fixing the pronunciation)
Czestohovich.

SAFER
Who is he?

IAN
My General Counsel.

SAFER
And a friend. You played soccer together in college.

IAN
Yes. He played midfield. I was a forward.

SAFER
Your best friend?

IAN
(reluctantly)
Yes.

SAFER
He lost $426,000. That’s a big number.

IAN
Yes.

SAFER
That could strain a friendship.

Ian doesn’t respond. There is a a long, uncomfortable silence.

SAFER (CONT’D)
Ian, I’m really surprised at your indifference. Your friends, your family, all invested in you and now that money’s gone, gone, with nothing to show for it… Nothing to say? You don’t want to apologize?

IAN
StorySpace is not the only dotcom to lose money. We are on a glidepath to profitability–

SAFER
(mocking him)
Glidepath to profitability! 98% of shareholder value is gone! And you don’t care?

Ian is silent, seething.

SAFER (CONT’D)
No? Okay, one final investor name for you to consider. Emily Stuart.

Ian starts to get out of his chair, but he’s encumbered by microphone wires, trapped by cameras, boom mikes, lighting.

SAFER (CONT’D)
Emily Stuart. Your fiancee.

IAN
Ex-fiancee.

SAFER
Very well. Ex-fiancee. A school teacher. Fifth grade. Do you know how much she lost? It is a considerable amount – especially on her very modest salary.

Ian is flailing, trying to escape. At last he gets out of the chair, and BANGS out of the frame, knocking down equipment to escape.

SAFER (CONT’D)
What are you going to say to her? And the rest? Ian? Ian?



One Response to After the Gold Rush

  1. Arwen says:

    I hope you win!!! This looks very promising and I would pay to watch your movie in a real theater. Go Joe!

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