It was actually with writer Ben Mezrik. Although you may not be familiar with the name , you certainly know his work. Mezrik wrote ‘The Accidentally Billionaires’ which became the Academy award winning movie (will be true very soon) “The Social Network’ and ‘Bringing Down the House’ which became the movie ’21’. Mezrik was as good an interview as I’ve heard in a while, and his easy going attitude and candid answers gave the session a feel of just a bunch of guys hanging around talking about past projects.
With every answer came a laugh as if he really was having a good time answering the question and reliving the writing of his books. And why wouldn’t he laugh. How many people strap $250,000 to their body on a trip to Vegas? And how many people get to dissect the history of the biggest company to hit the Internet since the Internet itself (sorry Google)? The question and answer session left me with a smile on my face and put a little more wood into my creativity theory fire. Since the time I was young I’ve always felt that on the road to wealth, creativity could trump intelligence. It’s not to say that creative people aren’t intelligent, they’re just not often first in their class or have the highest test scores. You could respond by saying Ben went to Harvard and all his books are about the smartest kids at the smartest schools, but I would answer with this. The reason he was able to extract these great story is because of his personality. Five minutes into a conversation you like the guy. These people wanted to tell him their story. They wanted Ben to be their friends. That’s why he has so much detail.
The other reason he is so successful is not as much because of his writing (although excellent) it’s because of the amazing subject matter. Stories that are even better than fiction. Stories you couldn’t make up if you tried. He realized he could find better stories than he could make up and he’s now the “goto guy” for people with amazing stories. He tried to write fiction and he soon realized people would much rather read incredible real life stories. Now he’s searching for the next “that’s fuc#ing amazing” story. And he’s found one. It’s titled “Sex on the Moon”. Here is the synopsis “The new film tells the story of Thad Roberts, a once-promising young scientist working for NASA who back in 2004 hatched a crazy plan to steal highly prized moon rocks from his bosses at the Johnson Space Center and sell them on the Internet. The motivation: wanting to impress his girlfriend (i.e., ‘giving her the moon’).” The sex on the moon tag line came from the fact he laid out all the rocks on a bed and then made love to his conspirator girlfriend. A story so good that Sony has already optioned the film rights and the Social Network‘s producers Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, as well as executive producer Kevin Spacey will all collaborate on the project. Most importantly it looks like Aaron Sorkin is going to write the screenplay. Sounds like a $100 million dollar movie already.
So there we sat in the “DomainFest Fireside Chat” listening to what seemed like a little talk with one of our old college buddies but in reality we had the honor of listening to one of the greatest story tellers and story FINDERS of our generation. A man that has matched his talent with financial success. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
PS If anyone has a good photo of Ben from DomainFest I could have, I’d love to add it.