How Does Sorkin Write So Much? - Complications Ensue
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Q. Just been reading some of Aaron Sorkin's scripts from the West Wing. In the introductions he tells us that he wrote all the scripts himself, but then goes on to thank all the writers on his team. (and on the show itself, many writers are credited). How did they contribute if they didn't write?
As I understand it, he has a team of writers who come up with story ideas, and do research, and come up with rough outlines of the scenes, and then he goes through and "writes" it. In other words his team does the "bad" version and he does the "Sorkin" version.

I haven't ever seen this in action, so I can't tell if he's a legitimate master whose assistants are just saving him time, or if he's grabbing credit that belongs to other people. Mark McKinney could tell you...

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7 Comments:

The writer character on Studio 60 does what Sorkin claims -- uses the staff only for rough input but writes the whole thing himself. Interesting.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 1:17 AM  

I always thought that Matthew Perry's character was based on Sorkin. He even battled drug addiction while writing a hit show, like Sorkin.

By Blogger Tim W., at 1:43 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger visitworld, at 2:35 AM  

Maybe coke helps. Silly me, I've been relying on caffeine.

By Blogger Lisa, at 7:32 AM  

I did the Warner Bros writing workshop last year - and he came in to speak to us - he said exactly that - his staff is there to give him ideas and nothing else. He said that writing on his show is probably the worst gig you can get cause you'll never get to write. But it's also probably the greatest gig too - cause you'd be working for him. His words not mine. Although - I'd have to agree.

By Blogger Lara Azzopardi, at 9:11 AM  

I'm a 39 year old professional chef in Dallas that needs some advice about breaking into the screenwriting world. I've had so many different experiences that it's hard to come up with a query letter that not only gives the reader my screenplay idea, but tells them of my life experience.
I would like to know how someone would go about getting a consulting job and in what way I should reach them. Thanks

By Blogger Karl Wilhelm, at 10:56 AM  

@Karl: I critique query letters. See http://www.craftyscreenwriting.com/screenplay.html.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 3:37 PM  

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