Jeff Bezos's rules for epic storytelling

From Brad Stone's book, Amazon Unbound, we have Jeff Bezos's rules for epic storytelling. He's seen a few movies in his time! [via @BradStone]

• A heroic protagonist who experiences growth and change
• A compelling antagonist
• Wish fulfillment (e.g., the protagonist has hidden abilities, such as superpowers or magic)
• Moral choices
• Diverse worldbuilding (different geographic landscapes)
• Urgency to watch next episode (cliffhangers)
• Civilizational high stakes (a global threat to humanity like an alien invasion—or a devastating pandemic)
• Humor
• Betrayal
• Positive emotions (love, joy, hope)
• Negative emotions (loss, sorrow)
• Violence

This is solid boss talk, not even wrong, broadcasting confidence and knowledge without helping. It's like reminding a chef that "food requires energy sources (e.g. wheat and intramuscular fiber), flavored with compounds (e.g. table salt, diacetyl) and must taste good (umami)."

It reminds me of the folks you see online that I've taken to calling Trope Eunuchs. If they're older than 40, they've read and internalized all the Joseph Campbell secret-rules-of-storytelling script guru types. If they're younger than 40, they've lost weeks of their lives to TV Tropes dot com. They know how it's supposed to be done, but that doesn't matter, because there are unseen barriers to success that lie beyond their frame of reference.

Unlike Bezos, they fail. Like Bezos, though, they can't think past checklists. This is because missed checklist items readily explain failures, whereas success never needs accounting for.