Chapter 28 of 35 from Aaron Sorkin

The West Wing Writers' Room: Part 4

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How can research drive the plot forward? Aaron and the students discuss the limitations of the 25th Amendment as a plot point.

Topics include: Virtual writers' room

How can research drive the plot forward? Aaron and the students discuss the limitations of the 25th Amendment as a plot point.

Topics include: Virtual writers' room

Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin teaches you the craft of film and television screenwriting in 35 exclusive video lessons.

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Your script starts here.

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. You’ll learn his rules of storytelling, dialogue, character development, and what makes a script actually sell. By the end, you'll write unforgettable screenplays.

Watch, listen, and learn as Aaron teaches the essentials of writing for television and film.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Aaron will also critique select student work.

Reviews

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

SO great , I just wish it was more longer , more details in some parts like complete process to write a movie , but in total so great :D

Thanks. Masterclass is the beginning! I'm excited and encouraged to keep going on this journey. Thanks for the wisdom!

Aaron has shaken me from my core, igniting my spirit. Breaking twelve years of writers block, on my first feature. I am now able to see clearly. He is the funniest, most compelling man I have ever witnessed. I can't thank him enough.

Learned an amazing amount from this class. Aaron Sorkin is truly a master of his craft.

Comments

Judith M.

Article 25 section 3 voluntary stand down of a President is considered short term unless further ratified by Congress. In the case of Reagan and George W. Bush the authority was taken back by the second declaration of competency by the stood down President and witnessed by the Vice President who had in fact been Acting President under this section. Bartlett could theoretically at any point with the VP declare himself competent the same was that the previous two Presidents did. Sorkin very cleverly left two ways of getting Bartlett back in the end of season 4. The standard section 3 return of power, and the fact that under law it should have been the VP given control as acting president, not the opposition leader. The Stock Exchange would react with the normal issues at least,, the dollar and oil would fall, and gold and silver would rise. Trading is suspended in the markets if more than a certain number of points is dropped or if a crash trend is seen for a short amount time. Mercantile I would imagine minimal impact.

Ronald S.

As I recall, during President Reagan’s anesthesia (surgery) there was temporary transfer of power.

Paul B.

Jeanie "I don't like Pop Tarts." Aaron "Shut the hell up!" - I lol'd at that one.

Lisa

This lesson shows how spitballing is so much of the creative process. Lots of storylines to juggle. Can't wait for the next lesson.

Maros M.

I liked the lesson, I sort of got into it as if I was a part of the group or watching the TV series. I also enjoyed how Aaron shows that its not all just blood sweat and tears but in the creative process and in the room with more people trying to come up with ideas, it is important to have the breathing moments and time for mind to relax then come up with something creative. That is my takeaway point.

Peter S.

Interesting how when they're discussing the intricacies of the law that it almost sounds like the drama itself--it kind of morphs in and out of the writers discussing it and the characters on the show having the same discussion.

Dennis F.

Plowing into 25th amendment scenarios brings realism to the creative process.

JWB

I like Aaron asking lots of questions, always a great way to uncover some gold

Jillian

I am surprised that Aaron knowing he would be discussing the West Wing at length didn't go back and watch the forth season.

Karmen B.

I love the brainstorming - but then to be so brilliantly guided by Arron to dig up and look into any kind of scenario that would add to the drama is a really good reminder. Because bottom line - it is drama. I can see why, for a television series, many people are necessary for creating and writing together fast moving, well researched and thought out situations and dialogue for each episode. A most inspiring, collaborative drama in the writing room with a brilliant leader, Arron Sorkin.

Transcript

I was thinking about this last night. All I heard yesterday were good ideas. Let's hear some bad ideas so we can talk about why they're bad. Let's learn from some mistakes. OK? I also had another idea that I was certain I didn't need to write down, because I was going to remember it. Just hang on a second. Goddamn it. OK. All right, let's go back to where we were. I remember what my idea is now. I think we do have to start that the logical place to start is in the press briefing room in the middle of the night. The last briefing CJ gave, does anybody remember? Here's what I remember, because I haven't seen-- you guys have seen it more recently than I have. Leo told CJ she's got to give the best briefing of her life. When did that happen? Early. It happened after Zoe was taken, right? OK, that's happened. Abbey, Stockard Channing, then, who has been sedated, nonetheless shrugged off-- barreled through the sedation to go into the press briefing room to make a personal plea from a mother. All hell broke loose instantly. I remember in the script I wrote a stage direction. This has gone from 0 to 60 instantly with CJ and with Mary Louise Parker trying to stop her. Abby gets a couple of feet into the press briefing room. Everyone starts screaming to get her out of there. But CJ's briefing was prior to the president stepping down. OK, the press needs to be briefed again. It's the middle of the night right now, right? Midnight, 1:00 AM somewhere around then. OK, so great. We've got that press briefing room to handle exposition for us. And that's what's going to happen. CJ Is going to go in and brief the press on the fact that a short while ago, the president called his cabinet together, requested that they invoke the 25th Amendment, the president believes he does not have the mental capacity to do this. And according to the Constitution, the following has happened. People will have a ton of questions. Reporters will have a ton of questions. We'll decide what questions we want to hear answered, that kind of thing. And I think it's a good idea to let the audience know that we expect this to be wrapped up soon that The West Wing, that the series, has not gone into a permanent condition of John Goodman being the president, Martin Sheen being in the East Wing, and worse yet, that World War III is about to happen. I remember early on at the end of the second episode of the first season, a US Air Force plane carrying a bunch of military doctors, including the president's personal physician, accidentally wandered into Syrian airspace and got shot down by the Syrian air space or Libyan air space. I think it was Syrian air space. I can't remember. I believe so. And they got shut down requiring military action on our part. And the head of NBC at the time, Scott Sassa, who was a big champion of th...