Arts & Entertainment, Writing

The West Wing Writers' Room: Part 5

Aaron Sorkin

Lesson time 22:26 min

Take Aaron's advice: When you have great characters, use them. Learn how to keep your protagonists active.

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Topics include: Virtual writers' room


Your idea about walking, seeing an opportunity, leveraging this, try to do something, I think it's a good idea if it's a Walken's staffer, OK? And not make John Goodman a mustache, twirling guy. I think that John Goodman, he can be John Wayne he can be tough, he can be shoot him out of the sky after one morning, that kind of thing. And he can certainly be ideologically the opposite of our president, but I think that he should be a fundamentally decent guy who does not try to take advantage of such a horrible situation. And I'm saying that for two reasons. One, because he's a more interesting character that way. Two, must we on a rare occasion when we're introducing a Republican into the mix, make them Donald Trump? Art imitates life, Aaron. Just writing what we know here. Yeah. So if we want to do that story, I think it's Walken's Josh-- Right. Who is doing that. Now if we've got all these characters that we want to use, old and new. We're bringing Sam back, we have Josh Malina playing Will Bailey. We're going to have a Walken staffer, possibly. The discussion that you're having and you're having about just what the law is here and how does Bartlet become president again, we need some lawyers in the room. I mean on the show, right? Whether it's Oliver Platt or a new-- this was a show where every time we needed a White House counsel, it was a different White House counsel. And they got to do an introductory scene. We need all those people. The person I think we want to see most is Emily Procter, right? Ainsley Hayes? OK, so we are going to very nicely ask CSI Miami-- and I'm putting us all in a time capsule and putting us back there-- we're going to very nicely asked CSI Miami, which is on a different network, can we borrow Emily Procter. Does she square off against Matthew Perry? Hey-- Both Republicans going to war with each other. We need Matt too, don't we? Yeah, I know. All right, it's going to be great. But just imagine the promise for this episode. It's going to be a good episode but-- bill. That's right. But if we are going to have this many people sitting at the dinner table, we need plenty of food for everybody. That's not a hard metaphor to understand, right? Seven course meal. I don't know there's just something about you that's pissing me off. I can't-- like I'm OK with the frosted pop-tart, but I don't know what it is. I agreed with you. A little bit, not enough. And I really feel like you should've been kissing my ass. I'll stand on the chair next time. OK. So, we have right now two big juicy story problems to deal with. Obviously, the priority is-- and one of those big juicy story problems kind of has two branches, OK? So let's talk about the abduction of Zoey, a big story thing. We've got to find and rescue Zoey, OK? Get her back safely. A...

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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