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September 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Seattle filmmaker parodies Amazon’s drone program

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, it’s an Amazon drone.

Local filmmaker Michael Stusser of “Sleeping with Siri” fame has released his latest pièce de résistance —a video parodying the proposed Amazon Prime Air program. It riffs on the software giant’s own video about the program that is awaiting FAA approval, which promises deliveries within 30 minutes via the company’s unmanned drones. Stusser’s video pokes ample fun at the seemingly sci-fi concept. Shouts Stusser-as-faux spokesman: “If you are at Amazon, two days is no longer good enough!” The quasi-pitchman promises “pinpoint accuracy,” but unlike the tidy, yellow boxes shown in the real video, in Stusser’s Amazonian universe, cardboard packages go splat.

Stusser said he got the idea when he and his co-director Marty Riemer started playing with one of Riemer’s own drones. “We were experimenting and learning to fly these drones,” he said. “You realized if you practically attempt to fly a drone, you realized how nuts it is. We’ve crashed several times, we had to avoid power lines and avoid private property.”

Stusser doesn’t think that Amazon’s program will ever get FAA approval.

“Imagine the danger of one of these things dropping something in traffic,” he said. “It’s just not gonna happen.”

The video’s purpose goes beyond poking fun at Amazon’s drone program. It doubles as a promotional spot for Indiebound.org, which is a collaboration of independent bookstore members who are part of the American Booksellers Association, which aims to get people to buy from independent bookstores.

“I’m an author, and my book was put out by Penguin publishing,” he said. “I’m a huge fan of Elliott Bay and other independent bookstores in the area.”

Stusser’s video shows a woman attempting to order Steven Colbert’s “America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t,” and being denied (“Aha! Not that one,” Stusser cheerily announces when she tries to click the purchase button).

Colbert’s publisher is Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, which is currently embroiled in a dispute with the company over the pricing of e-books; until they work out a deal, Amazon has made it difficult to buy many of the publisher’s titles, instituting long delivery times.

In the end, the woman uses—gasp!—her own two feet to buy an actual, printed book from Merryweather Books in West Seattle. No drone needed.

Comments | More in Arts news | Topics: Amazon Prime Air, drones, Michael Stussen

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