I’ve been MIA in these Fake Movie Fridays for too long, so here is mine for this week. I went with a heavily wikipedia researched movie for this week. I really think someone will eventually make a movie like this, Elon Musk is just too much of a badass to not make a movie about him. I mean, Jon Favreau modeled Tony Stark after him. I think the way to make an actual good movie would be to to focus on one part of his life (Tesla Motors) kinda like The Social Network. But this is a Fake Movie Friday, so of course we see him as a kid etc. Hope you enjoy!
We begin with shots of the African savannah, sunsets and lions etc. This is done just because that’s America’s vision of Africa even though that has no bearing on the story and is a bit insulting. We then cut to a home in Pretoria, South Africa (people seem to forget there are cities in Africa…). A 10 year old boy named Elon Musk is opening a gift from his family. It is the families first computer. The boy is overjoyed and immediately sets it up and starts to play around on it. The camera zooms into the flickering screen and the credits begin. The credits sequence is meant to look like it all being displayed on the flickering computer monitor. ‘C’ code is being written that generates the crews names, we see crude CAD schematic drawing of cars and car components, and we see educational software showing topics such as electricity, early scientists and the history of space travel.
The camera pans back from the screen and a title card indicates that it is two years later. The boy is still at the computer (it is probably the same child actor of continuity’s sake). He is playing a game called Blaster. His younger brother by one year Kimbal asks if he can finally get a turn. Their dad walks over to watch the game over his son’s computer. “Elon, you made this?”. Elon is engrossed in the game and just nods. “What are you going to do with it?” his father asks. Elon replies “Sell it I guess.”
We cut to Musk in college watching a lecture. The professor is talking about Nikola Tesla. She explains that Tesla is not as well know as he should be, that he did more to improve the world than most better known scientists, but because he was so fiercely independent, unconventional and forward thinking that he had been smeared by his rivals. She goes become inspirational and talks about how one man can change the world. Musk is enraptured. He writes down in his notes :
“Important problems that would most affect the future of humanity:
1. The Internet
3. Clean energy”
Cut to title card “The Internet 1995”.
It is Elon’s second day of graduate school at Stanford studying applied physics and material science. He is in a physics lecture. It is a huge lecture hall but there are only a handful of students. Elon looks very bored and he puts his head down and starts to sleep. He begins to snore and the other students start to snicker. The professor is annoyed and yells his name. Elon wakes up. The professor says “This is my second lecture and you are already that bored. Do you have something you’d rather be doing?” Elon responds “Yeah, I’m going to build something” and he walks out of the lecture hall.
Elon immediately calls his brother Kimbal and convinces him to help him create his first company. They work together to create Zip2 an internet company (it creates software for content publishing, but it isn’t sexy so the movie keeps it vague).
Cut to title card “The Internet 1999”
Elon has a heart to heart with his brother. He talks about how he is getting bored with the company and he wants to do other things. Kimbal agrees and says that Elon should just do what he did with Blaster and sell the company. The company is bought by Compaq for $307 million.
Elon and Kimbal throw a big party the employees of Zip2. Everyone is wearing tuxes and drinking champagne. The party winds down and Kimbal and Elon, looking disheveled, are sitting in a stairwell sipping champagne. Elon says he can’t believe they are millionaires. Kimbal agrees. Elon starts talking about how he has an idea for a internet finance company but Kimbal stops him. He says that these were the best years of his life but he wasn’t ready to start something right then. The scene is played like a break up. Kimbal agrees to invest in the new company but he won’t help to build it.
Elon starts to build his new company is called X.com. He is obsessed with trying to make it easier for people to transfer money to each other. He draws these big diagrams on whiteboard of stick figures and money symbols with arrows going from one to the other. Elon is very excited and calls his brother to tell him about it. Kimbal is impressed but says “This company is all about bringing people together. X.com doesn’t sound very friendly. It’s about giving money to friends, and I think the name should reflect that.” On a sheet of paper Elon writes “transfer money – friend”. And in a twist worthy of the end of Dark Knight Rises, under “transfer money” he writes “Pay” and under “friend” he writes “Pal”. (Note that reality was much more complicated than that, but the filmmakers claim dramatic license)
Cut to title card “Space 2002”
After selling PayPal to EBay for $1.5 Billion Musk start work on his third company SpaceX. In their first company meeting Elon is somber. He says that what they are doing is important. That this is about the future of humanity, that “An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct.” (This is a direct quote from Elon, the filmmakers always make it a point to pat themselves on the back because of how much dialogue was true to life).
It is a board meeting months later for SpaceX, Kimbal is one of the members. There has just been a hiccup in the plans and Elon is frustrated. Elon explains again how important it is for them to succeed. When the meeting is over Kimbal stops Elon and says he wants to talk with him alone. Kimbal says that this is just a minor setback and that Elon seems to be so obsessed with the mission that he is blowing things out of proportion. Elon says that there is just so many things that threaten humanity’s existence that we have to colonize space. Kimbal asks what he thinks the most dangerous threat is, and Elon responds global warming. Kimbal says “then why don’t you do something about it”
Cut to title card “Clean Energy 2003”
We open in a high tech factory, there is a rough edge to it as evidence by exposed wire and equipment half hazardly lying around. Elon is giving a pep talk to a bunch of engineers. “We are all here to make the world a better and cleaner place. Global warming threatens the future of humanity but it is not an intractable problem. We will reduce the burning of fossil fuels by making the first viable electric car company. Change is hard, and we have to be bold and innovative to survive. The plan is to start by building high end sports cars so we can eventually create an affordable mid-sized fully electric vehicle. We take inspiration from one of the most innovative scientists Nikola Tesla, and our name will reflect that. We are Tesla Motors!”
Cut to title card “Clean Energy 2006”
We are at Burning Man, and we watch Elon take some acid. He begins to explore the art installations and the imagery slowly becomes more expressionistic. He strips naked and wonders into the open desert, and then lies on his back as the sun beats down on him. The camera cuts to a view of the sun and slowly zooms into it. Elon walks up sunburned and matter-of-factly returns to the group and borrows a cell phone. He calls up Peter and Lyndon Rive (who have probably be introduced before now). He says that he has an idea for a solar energy company if they were interested.
Cut to title card “2012”
We are at the SpaceX control room as their Dragon spacecraft is about to dock with the International Space Station. Tensions are running high. Actual documentary footage begins to be cut in with the film until eventually it is just documentary. A cheer erupts as the Dragon successfully docks with the ISS.
We fade to black and title cards appear which say:
“The Dragon spacecraft docked with the ISS on May 25 2012, making SpaceX the first commercial company to accomplish the feat.
Tesla Motors released their first sedan, the Tesla Model S on June 1 2012 which was named Automobile Magazines 2013 Car of the Year
Solar City, the solar company created based on Elon’s idea continues to create and install solar energy systems and as of 2012 has 1600 employees”
Easily the most researched FMF we have ever had. Stepping it up a notch and raising the bar for all other FMFs, which we will never equal. Well done, Dunn.