Kickstarter documentary unpacks Steve Jobs’ original Apple downfall


Documentary will tell the story of Jobs' 1985 Apple firing and the immediate aftermath.
Photo: Esther Dyson/Flickr CC

Given that he was, you know, Steve Jobs, it’s still pretty crazy to think that there was a time in Apple history when Jobs was pretty much forced out of the company he helped found.

A new documentary, currently raising funds on Kickstarter, aims to tell the story of Jobs’ attempted boardroom coup and 1985 ouster from Apple with insights from the people who were actually there.

“Two fictional movies have been already heavily focused on this single event,” the filmmakers write in their Kickstarter project description. “Although a reconstruction may impressively convey the emotions that would arise in such an incident, it falls short when compared to real accounts, the actual reason and the practical consequences of it.”

Among the names the filmmakers have either interviewed or appear to have on board are John Sculley, the CEO at the time, whose changing complex relationship with Jobs will presumably form the narrative backbone of the film. More interestingly to me is Jobs’ mentor Mike Markkula, who has been interviewed about the subject far less often than Sculley.

Telling a bigger story

In addition, there’s a range of names who were present in Jobs’ life at around this time, including Steve Wozniak, Andy Hertzfeld, Larry Tesler, Jay Elliot, Paul Terrel, Chuck Peddle, Alvy Ray Smith, Steven Levy, Alan Cooper, Stan Veit, Michael Swaine, and Paul Freiberg.

Not all of these people were directly involved with Jobs’ firing at Apple (for instance, Steve Wozniak was pretty much finished with Apple at that time, while Alvy Ray Smith met Jobs through Pixar). However, from the sound of things, the documentary will extend to look not just at Jobs’ firing, but also the making of the Macintosh, and what happened to Jobs and Apple through “the confusion of the early nineties.”

There are already a number of documentaries about Steve Jobs and Apple, many of which touch on the firing event in some detail. However, if Firing Steve Jobs can shed a bit of light on the personal transformation Jobs underwent during his absence at Apple from 1985-1996, this could be a very worthwhile endeavor.

You can find more details about Firing Steve Jobs at its Kickstarter page here. Pledges start at $22 for a digital download, with a “shipping” date set for April next year.