Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Group Workshop: The Merc by Evelyn Yves

Aaron Sorkin

Lesson time 16:53 min

Evelyn's TV pilot kicks off a conversation about opening scenes and the importance of showing your audience something they've never seen before.

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

Topics include: Table read • Script feedback


Good afternoon, guys. It's good to see you again. We're going to start off with "The Merc." It's a one-hour pilot from Ellen [? Eaves. ?] Over black. Say you buy 1,000 shares of Coca-Cola from your client, each valued at $42? So that's 42 grand. Stock goes up to 43, 44, 45. Let's say it goes all the way up to 47, like it did last June. Fade in on flashes of skin, sex, top shelf bottles, lewds, nudes, and coke, cut into neat white lines on the bare stomach of a blue chip hooker, an almost super model. Your commission off that $5,000 profit is 1%. You just spent six months trying to make $50. And you have 100 other stocks and 100 other clients to worry about. But hey, that's Wall Street, right? A line zips through the coils of a $100 bill up the nostril and grinning face of a Wall Street stockbroker, who's pushed out of the way by more brokers just dying to get a hit. We pull back to see the full extent of this debauchery. Exterior, Battery Park marina, yacht, night. Three blue chips to every horny broker on 100 foot yacht cruising along the marina against the backdrop of the financial district and the World Trade Center. Title, Battery Park, New York, 1978. The only man lucid and taking advantage of their high is Andy Marks, 30, boyish Brooklyn charm and a sweet face that belies any trace of darkness or genius. In this crowd of suits, he's the only other jacket, out of place, but completely at ease. So let's say you convince your clients to bet on oil at the Merc, where you don't even have to worry about stockholders or a board of directors or the FCC. You get to drive the price up and down a million times over, and the only constant is that everybody, everybody, needs oil. Now, you're making 20% off $200,000. You made $200,000 in one morning? Yes. Bullshit. That's not what you said. This killjoy is David Bursar, 34, Lehman Brothers broker. Unbelievable good looks, money, a perfect storm of cocaine and self-loathing. What I said was-- Flash back to Wall Street, two months ago. A series of shots-- the street sign, the bull, the New York Stock Exchange. Interior Lehman brothers [? bullpen ?] day. Box-sized computers, index cards, telephone cords 10 feet long, all top of the line technology. In the midst of this chaos is David, unsettled, fixated on-- I made more money trading oil futures than I did my first three years combined. Nobody's trading oil. I am. And so can you. Cut to Merrill Lynch, day. Andy is now facing an uptight Merrill Lynch broker with a serious combover. All right, who else? Forget who else. You want the entire city to get [? on ?] this before you do? Interior, JP Morgan, different firm, different broker. This one has three chins and no neck. We have to see the contracts. I'll show you the contracts. But let me ask you this. What is your top priority as ...

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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