Margin Call (2011)
John Tuld: There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.
Will Emerson: You know, the feeling that people experience when they stand on the edge like this isn't the fear of falling - it's the fear that they might jump
John Tuld: So, what you're telling me, is that the music is about to stop, and we're going to be left holding the biggest bag of odorous excrement ever assembled in the history of capitalism.
Peter Sullivan: Sir, I not sure that I would put it that way, but let me clarify using your analogy. What this model shows is the music, so to speak, just slowing. If the music were to stop, as you put it, then this model wouldn't even be close to that scenario. It would be considerably worse.
John Tuld: Let me tell you something, Mr. Sullivan. Do you care to know why I'm in this chair with you all? I mean, why I earn the big bucks.
Peter Sullivan: Yes.
John Tuld: I'm here for one reason and one reason alone. I'm here to guess what the music might do a week, a month, a year from now. That's it. Nothing more. And standing here tonight, I'm afraid that I don't hear - a - thing. Just... silence.
Seth Bregman: Will, did you really make two and a half million last year?
Will Emerson: Yeah, sure.
Seth Bregman: How did you spend it all?
Will Emerson: It goes quite quickly. You know, you learn to spend what's in your pocket.
Peter Sullivan: Two and a half million goes quickly?
Will Emerson: All right, let's see. So the taxman takes half up front, so you're left with one and a quarter. My mortgage takes another 300 grand. I send 150 home for my parents, you know, keep 'em going. So what's that?
Peter Sullivan: 800?
Peter Sullivan: All right, 800. Spent 150 on a car. About 75 on restaurants. Probably 50 on clothes. I put 400 away for a rainy day.
Seth Bregman: That's smart.
Will Emerson: Yeah, as it turns out, 'cause it looks like the storm's coming.
Peter Sullivan: You still got 125.
Will Emerson: Yeah, well I did spend 76,520 dollars on hookers, booze and dancers. But mainly hookers.
Peter Sullivan: 76,5?
Will Emerson: I was a little shocked initially, but then I realized I could claim most of it back as entertainment. It's true!
Will Emerson: Jesus, Seth. Listen, if you really wanna do this with your life you have to believe you're necessary and you are. People wanna live like this in their cars and big fuckin' houses they can't even pay for, then you're necessary. The only reason that they all get to continue living like kings is cause we got our fingers on the scales in their favor. I take my hand off and then the whole world gets really fuckin' fair really fuckin' quickly and nobody actually wants that. They say they do but they don't. They want what we have to give them but they also wanna, you know, play innocent and pretend they have no idea where it came from. Well, thats more hypocrisy than I'm willing to swallow, so fuck em. Fuck normal people. You know, the funny thing is, tomorrow if all of this goes tits up they're gonna crucify us for being too reckless but if we're wrong, and everything gets back on track? Well then, the same people are gonna laugh till they piss their pants cause we're gonna all look like the biggest pussies God ever let through the door.
Seth Bregman: Do you think we're gonna be wrong?
Will Emerson: [long pause] No, they're all fucked.
John Tuld: So you think we might have put a few people out of business today. That its all for naught. You've been doing that everyday for almost forty years Sam. And if this is all for naught then so is everything out there. Its just money; its made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don't have to kill each other just to get something to eat. It's not wrong. And it's certainly no different today than its ever been. 1637, 1797, 1819, 37, 57, 84, 1901, 07, 29, 1937, 1974, 1987-Jesus, didn't that fuck up me up good-92, 97, 2000 and whatever we want to call this. It's all just the same thing over and over; we can't help ourselves. And you and I can't control it, or stop it, or even slow it. Or even ever-so-slightly alter it. We just react. And we make a lot money if we get it right. And we get left by the side of the side of the road if we get it wrong. And there have always been and there always will be the same percentage of winners and losers. Happy foxes and sad sacks. Fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there's ever been. But the percentages-they stay exactly the same.
John Tuld: Maybe you could tell me what is going on. And please, speak as you might to a young child. Or a golden retriever. It wasn't brains that brought me here; I assure you that.
Sam Rogers: The real question is: who are we selling this to?
John Tuld: The same people we've been selling it to for the last two years, and whoelse ever would buy it.
Sam Rogers: But John, if you do this, you will kill the market for years. It's over.
[John nods grimly]
Sam Rogers: And you're selling something that you *know* has no value.
John Tuld: We are selling to willing buyers at the current fair market price.
[Sam lowers his gaze]
John Tuld: So that we may survive.
Sam Rogers: You would never sell anything to any of those people ever again.
John Tuld: I understand.
Sam Rogers: Do you?
John Tuld: Do *you*?
John Tuld: [pounding on the desk] This is it! I'm telling you this is it!
Sam Rogers: Thank you all for coming in a little early this morning. I know yesterday was pretty bad and I wish I could say that today is gonna be less so, but that isn't gonna be the case. Now I'm supposed to read this statement to you all here, but why don't you just read it on your own time and I'll just tell you what the fuck is going on here. I've been here all night... meeting with the Executive Committee. And the decision has been made to unwind a considerable position of the firm's holdings in several key asset classes. The crux of it is... in the firms thinking, the party's over as of this morning. There's gonna be considerable turmoil in the Markets for the foreseeable future. And *they* believe it is better that this turmoil begin with us. As a result, the firm has decided to liquidate its majority position of fixed income MBS... today. These are your packets, you will see what accounts you're responsible for, today. I'm sure it hasn't taken you long to understand the implications of this sale, on your relationships with your counter parties and as a result... on your careers. I have expressed this reality to the Executive Committee, and they understand. As a result, if you achieve a 93% sale of your assets, you will receive a 1.4 million dollar one-off bonus. If the floor as a whole achieves a 93% sale, you will get an additional 1.3 million dollars apiece. For those of you who've never been through this before, this is what the beginning of a fire sale looks like. I cannot begin to tell you how important the first hour and half is gonna be. I want you to hit every bite you can find: dealers, brokers, clients, your *mother* if she's buying. And... no swaps, it's outgoing only, today. Obviously this is not going down the way that any of us would have hoped, but... the ground is shifting below our feet, and apparently, there's no other way out.
Eric Dale: I run risk management... it just doesn't seem like a natural place to start cutting.
Sam Rogers: You are panicking.
John Tuld: If you're first out the door, that's not called panicking.
Will Emerson: [to Seth] Listen, nothing I'm gonna say is going to make you feel any better. It's just going to suck for a while and then you'll be fine.
Seth Bregman: Who is that guy?
Will Emerson: Sam's boss.
Seth Bregman: He looks like he's fifteen years old.
Will Emerson: He's forty.
Seth Bregman: Yeah, how does that happen?
Will Emerson: Oh, it happens all the time. Except to me.
John Tuld: You're one of the luckiest guys in the world, Sam. You could been digging ditches all these years.
Sam Rogers: That's true. And if I had, at least there'd be some holes in the ground to show for it.
Peter Sullivan: Look at these people. Wandering around with absolutely no idea what's about to happen.
Sarah Robertson: We were wrong.
Jared Cohen: You mean *you* were wrong.
Sam Rogers: I'm heading for the conference room.
Jared Cohen: I want you to hear this.
Sam Rogers: I don't want to hear this. How do you think I've stuck around this place so long?
Mary Rogers: Sam, you don't live here any more. Are you alright? You don't look so good.
Sam Rogers: Yeah, it's been a rough day all the way around.
Mary Rogers: I know, Sammie called.
Sam Rogers: Is he alright?
Mary Rogers: They got hammered, but they got out alive.
Sam Rogers: Oh, good.
Mary Rogers: Well I'm going go back inside and go back to bed. The alarm is on, so don't try to break in. Take care of yourself.
Sam Rogers: [resumes digging dog's grave]
Peter Sullivan: Aren't you tired?
Sam Rogers: A little... but I don't work as hard as you do.
Peter Sullivan: That's not true.
Sam Rogers: No it is.
Sam Rogers: How old are you?
Jared Cohen: 43.
Sam Rogers: Jesus.
Jared Cohen: This is bizarre. It's like a... dream.
Sam Rogers: Oh, I don't know. Seems like we actually may have just woken up.
Jared Cohen: Sometimes in an acute situation such as this, often, what is right can take on multiple interpretations.
Sarah Robertson: I didn't think they were going to be able to get you back here.
Eric Dale: Well, they told me they were going to drag me through hell on everything for the next two years - my options, my healthcare. Or I could come back here and make, uh, 176,471 dollars an hour to sit quietly in this room. Didn't seem like much of a choice.
Sarah Robertson: It never is.
Peter Sullivan: Are you sure it's the only or right thing to do?
Sam Rogers: For who?
Peter Sullivan: I'm not sure.
Sam Rogers: Neither am I.
Sarah Robertson: At the time, it didn't seem like there was much of a choice.
Eric Dale: It never does.
Eric Dale: Do you know I built a bridge once?
Will Emerson: Sorry?
Eric Dale: A bridge.
Will Emerson: No, I didn't know that.
Eric Dale: I was an engineer by trade.
Will Emerson: Hmmm... hmmm
Eric Dale: It went from Dilles Bottom, Ohio to Moundsville, West Virginia. It spanned nine hundred and twelve feet above the Ohio River. Twelve thousand people used this thing a day. And it cut out thirty-five miles of driving each way between Wheeling and New Martinsville. That's a combined 847,000 miles of driving a day. Or 25,410,000 miles a month. And 304,920,000 miles a year. Saved. Now I completed that project in 1986, that's twenty-two years ago. So over the life of that one bridge, that's 6,708,240,000 miles that haven't had to be driven. At, what, let's say fifty miles an hour. So that's, what, 134,165,800 hours, or 559,020 days. So that one little bridge has saved the people of those communities a combined 1,531 years of their lives not wasted in a fucking car. One thousand five hundred and thirty-one years.
Will Emerson: Well, that was fucking hideous.
Sam Rogers: It's gonna get worse before it gets better.
Seth Bregman: Just like that? Jesus Christ! Are they going to do it right here?
Will Emerson: You guys ever been through this before?
Seth Bregman: No.
Will Emerson: It's best to keep your head down and ignore it. Keep your head down and go back to work.
Will Emerson: [as he is leaving Eric's place] Hey Eric? Don't beat yourself too much about this stuff, all right? Some people like driving the long way home. Who the fuck knows, right?
Sarah Robertson: What's your background?
Peter Sullivan: My background?
Sarah Robertson: Your CV.
Peter Sullivan: I've been with the firm for two and a half years working with Eric that whole time, but I hold a doctorate in engineering, speciality in propulsion, from MIT, with a Bachelor's from Penn.
Jared Cohen: What is a 'specialty in propulsion,' exactly?
Peter Sullivan: My thesis was a study in the ways that friction ratios affect steering outcomes in aeronautical use under reduced gravity loads.
Jared Cohen: So, you're a rocket scientist.
Peter Sullivan: I was, yeah.
Jared Cohen: Interesting. How did you end up here?
Peter Sullivan: Well, it's all just numbers really. Just changing what you're adding up. And, to speak freely, the money here is considerably more attractive.