Director Khoa Le talks about Bezos

Khoa Le is one of those rare professionals who somehow find the time and the energy to do it all. He’s both a successful entrepreneur and a well-known figure in the movie industry. At the moment, he’s running two thriving companies, KVibe Studios – a full-service production studio, and Live Picture Studios – a cinematic and photography business for the wedding industry, while also working on his hush-hush new startup.

He’s also fully booked on the movie industry front, awaiting the release of his live-action business movie about Jeff Bezos and looking to develop a few other interesting projects for the small screen. We wouldn’t be wrong to call Khoa Le a visionary as he’s clearly set to change the art world and leave his mark on the business and entertainment industry.

So, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to get behind the scenes with this talented entrepreneur and director and find out a little bit more about both his upcoming biopic Bezos and his bold plans for the future.

Your new movie Bezos is coming up next month. Can you tell us a little bit about this project?

The movie tells the story of Bezos from when he was VP at a hedge fund to how he got his first book sale in the garage in Seattle. The idea of the story was to inspire entrepreneurs or people who have some sort of vision in their life, and want to take a risk and move their vision forward. Bezos already had a six-figure salary and was on his way up in the hedge fund. He was well off, he didn’t need to take on another job or sell books. But he saw something that most people didn’t see. He saw a massive opportunity for growth and went with it. At the time he was limited to only books, but obviously what we see today is not about books.

It’s not a story like Walt Disney going broke and losing his business. I don’t want to reveal too much about it, but it is an entrepreneurship story. It’s definitely a lot of risk-taking around what he was jeopardizing. It kind of encompasses his purpose, he talks about being regretful when he’s 80 years old. To me, that’s something really inspiring to hear, and I think everyone should take that into account in their own lives too. You shouldn’t settle no matter what kind of job you have. If you’re not happy or if you have some sort of vision, the worst thing you could do is not do anything about it. Bezos is someone who did something about it and changed the world, and we want to know how he did it.

The timeframe of the movie ends around the founding of Amazon, so it’s covering the start of Amazon rather than the transition from the book company to the everything company.

Yes, it focuses on the start of Amazon: how he came up with the name – he had two other names in the beginning – how his ideas were rejected and how he, just like many other big founders, started his company in a garage.

You’re a big entrepreneur yourself – you have KVibe Studios which is doing really well, and you have Live Picture Studio which does 500+ weddings a year. Do you find that all the experiences you’ve had becoming a successful entrepreneur helped you direct this movie?

Absolutely. Everything that we did for that movie and for the budget that we worked with, was taking my experience as an entrepreneur and putting it into the movie. That’s the only way I could go about it. That’s why when it came to directing the movie, I had this idea of what Bezos was thinking about, each step of the way. I was talking to my production designer, my assistant director, or the actors and thinking logically as an entrepreneur, not just as a director, about what I would be doing and what I wouldn’t be doing. And then I would make my decisions and try to tell that story based on the script obviously, so we had to make a lot of revisions in the script to make that part work. It’s not a documentary, so you’ve only got so much room to play with around the script.

Would you say there’s anything he went through that you could personally relate to your experiences in entrepreneurship?

Yes, anxiety and not being sure if this is the right move or not. There’s a lot of uncertainty around starting a business. I think that Bezos took a huge risk of changing his life and his wife’s MacKenzie life forever. I don’t want to talk about where he got his money from, but I personally don’t have that luxury, so everything I do is bootstrapped. I never ask for investment money; I kind of build everything dollar by dollar. When I was directing the movie, I imagined that everything is on the table, everything is at risk, and there was no going back, and that was their approach.

Was there anything you took away from the experience of directing this movie?

Yes, I would tell my crew, the cast, and everybody else what this movie was about. This movie is not about Bezos, it’s about a human being trying to do something more than themselves based on their vision, which is an example of a success story. We’re telling this story for the future entrepreneurs and for people to understand that they’ve got very little time on this Earth, so they better use that time wisely, and what Bezos did is a great example of that.

For me, that’s a huge takeaway because people are so afraid of taking risks and failing. But if you were his age and you’ve got nothing to lose, then why not take the leap and try to make things happen? We hear this all the time, and this is another success story, expect that you know who this person is.

What’s it like trying to tell the story that takes place in the ‘90s, having the benefit of knowing this will become the biggest company in the world? What was it like trying to think back to how people were thinking then?

It’s funny because we talked about the internet. In the trailer, he’s spelling out internet, and that was actually an improv scene the actors did. That’s a laughing moment because we all know what the internet is today, but back then no one knew what it was. So, to me, it was kind of nostalgic when we were creating these scenes and trying to be in that mindset. We were naïve back then about what the capability was with the internet.

While doing the research on how the internet was perceived at the time, we saw that people were reluctant to use it. Buying or searching for something online didn’t make sense to them because they could go to the store and get stuff or get the information they needed from books. When you think about it, a book was right there, and they could pull it out in seconds. On the internet, it wasn’t like that. It was dial-up, it took you five minutes just to get online and you had to pay $2.99 or $4.99 a minute to browse online back then. And it makes you realize we’ve come a long way since then. Now it’s like why use books when you have Google because you can instantly get what you want on the internet.  There’s a lot of correlation between what the internet was back then and what the new Web 3.0 is today.

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but this really is the perfect time for this story, isn’t it. Where can I catch Bezos?

Bezos premieres in select theaters later this year. Keep your eyes peeled!