We just tuned into the roll call vote for the Democratic nomination.
There is such a fine line between hokum and majesty. A travel agent talking about the rolling plains and majestic mountains of Montana is hokum. But put it in the mouth of a delegation:
Madam Secretary, the great state of Montana, which spreads from the rolling Great Plains to the majestic Rocky Mountains, home of William Jennings Bryan... casts all 35 of its votes for the next president of the United States, Barack Obama!
... and it is no longer hokum. It is grandeur. It is the People itself speaking through their elected representatives.
It is political theatre. But it is great political theatre. I watch, and even though I know it's hokum, I'm weeping and laughing.
And then New Mexico yields to Illinois, Land of Lincoln and home town of the next president of the United States ... and Illinois yields to New York, and Hillary is on the floor. Why? To move that the convention suspend its roll call and nominate Barack Obama by acclamation!
And the convention roars its approval, and Barack Obama is their nominee. And Hillary is hugging her friends like the woman at the wedding who didn't get to marry the groom but has to be there because he considers her his best friend.
You can rarely justify anything so operatic in a screenplay. And when you try and fail, you fail big. Sorkin is probably the master of the high pitch moment -- he makes protocol into something chilling and moving. ("Mr. President, you are relieved, sir.") He can also flop big: "I serve at the pleasure of the President." "I serve at the pleasure of the President."
When you have a legitimate moment, don't be afraid to spend the time it takes to do it right. No one complained that it took too long for Luke and Han and Chewie to get their medals.