If THE BIG SHORT Got a Round of TV Network Notes

Confession: This TVWriter™ minion is not a fan of the film THE BIG SHORT, but you know what: I still disagree with everything the fictional network exec here suggests.

What a strange feeling to enjoy laughing both at and with the butt of the joke:


by Jeez Jon


Hello! Big thanks to you and your team for all of your hard work on the cuts so far.  Unfortunately, we are too far off from being on the right track.  The clever illustrations of the different investment vehicles is part of the out of the box thinking we really need, but the show right now is too dark and depressing for our brand. Can we recut this to show the banks in a better light?  By focusing so much on how the banks screwed over the American people denies us the opportunity to tell a layered story.  Do we have any interviews with anyone who liked what Lehman Brothers did?  Let’s dig through our footage to find more positive bites about the financial industry.  Otherwise we’re doing ourselves and especially the audience a disservice by not telling the richest story possible (pun not intended).  We were envisioning the show to be more Undercover Bossthan Frontline.  Are there any heartwarming hugs at the end between the CEO’s of the banks and the guy whose family is now homeless?  Take a look.

Also, you guys are giving us a lot of information.  Mortgage back securities, CBO’s, strippers with five homes… that’s a LOT for our target demographic to digest. Remember, the bulk of our audience watches our network as a secondary viewer.  If we can’t give them all of the story beats in small soundbites that they can process while doing the dishes and not looking at the screen, then we aren’t doing our jobs.  Let’s do a clarity pass through the whole show to make sure we are telling the cleanest story possible.

We will need another rough cut before we can go on. Once this is done — with a VERY NECESSARY bite pass — then we can give time coded notes.


The narration is great and the 70’s reenactment scenes are well done, but we really need a bite in here explaining what a mortgage backed security is.  Sure, the large guy in the glasses tells the other people in scene what it is but we need to hammer this home with a good solid — funny? — bite.  Remember: repetition is storytelling!


Let’s replace a good chunk of Dr. Burry’s backstory with the following bite: “Hi! I’m Dr. Burry. I’m an MD who is brilliant at math and investing.  I lost my eye to a childhood illness and now wear a glass one.  I’m rather skeptical of the mortgage market and I’m going to investigate it further.” Please get this verbatim. Let’s think less of a scene where people interact and more of a fun intro package….

Read it all at Jeez Jon