Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Group Workshop: Aaron Pitches Mission to Mars

Aaron Sorkin

Lesson time 10:17 min

Aaron turns the tables on his writers and pitches them his idea for a brand-new TV series called Mission to Mars.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars


Topics include: Aaron's pitch for a TV show


Preview

I've got a series to pitch. It's not like anything I've ever done before. And it's not science fiction. It's just science. You ready? Mission to Mars. Whole series takes place on the-- I think it takes about four years to get there. Whole series takes place on the ship and at mission control. And there's going to be everything from life-threatening situations coming up, to normal workplace things just that happened. It's a workplace drama in space? Yeah, it's a workplace drama in space. This thing is not crazy, far-fetched. NASA is ready to go to Mars. They know how to do it. They can't get the funding for it, but they absolutely know how to do it. And I thought while The Martian dealt fairly realistically with the Matt Damon part of the science of being on Mars, it didn't really care that much about getting to Mars and back from Mars. The gang on the ship, they were just a happy gang of people. But I love NASA. I love space. Mission to Mars-- boom, drop the mic. That's amazing. You should write a series called Ex-presidents. Maybe. Maybe. There's sort of a secret, exclusive-- Ex-president's club? --club. Well, there's an ex-president's club, but there's also a club in Washington DC for presidential speechwriters, for people who've been presidential speechwriters. You have to be a presidential speechwriter to get into this club. That, I don't think, would really be an interesting place to set a thing. Is nobody turned on by Mission to Mars? No, we like it. We're gonna freaking go to Mars, OK? Would you build a Mars sound stage? You're asking an interesting question. Would we ever get there? Would we land on Mars? That depends, I guess, how long the show runs. I don't know if we begin with blasting off. I don't know if we began with two years into this thing, or training to go up there. But workplace drama on the ship that would go to Mars-- we work with NASA to see like a real drawing of what this thing would look like. It's not going to look like the space shuttle. It's not going to look like the Apollo ships. You're going to have to live on this thing, not for eight days-- I mean for Apollo, they were just able to kind of seat-belt themselves into these things. And it's zero gravity. You go to sleep. You're going to need living quarters and all kinds of stuff like that. People can die. And what do you do then? Get sick? People can get sick. People can fall in love. Everything that can happen in a workplace drama can happen, except this time, instead of it being the West Wing of the White House, or a newsroom, or a SNL type show, or a law firm, or an emergency room, or a police precinct, it is on a spaceship traveling 17,400 miles an hour toward Mars. Boom, again. Does this mean you're coming back to TV? I'm sorry? Does this mean...


About the Instructor

Aaron Sorkin wrote his first movie on cocktail napkins. Those napkins turned into A Few Good Men, starring Jack Nicholson. Now, the Academy Award-winning writer of The West Wing and The Social Network is teaching screenwriting. In this class, you’ll learn his rules of storytelling, dialogue, character development, and what makes a script actually sell. By the end, you’ll write screenplays that capture your audience’s attention.


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Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin teaches you the craft of film and television screenwriting.

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