Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Aaron Sorkin is so well-established as a writer that his name connotes a certain level of ambition and achievement. He earned a large audience with The West Wing; whether he’s earning the right to keep it with The Newsroom is another story. So it is refreshing to hear, direct from the man, that he still struggles as a writer. For example, at a Q&A last night he talked about The Newsroom, saying, “I feel like I’m just now starting to learn how to write it.” He also talked about his Steve Jobs film, which is currently called… Steve Jobs.
Buzzfeed attended a Sorkin Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, and caught his best quotes. You can also listen to the interview in the player below.
On The Newsroom as a representation of and commentary on television media:
I’m going to let you all stand in for everyone in the world, if you don’t mind. I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with The Newsroom and I apologize and I’d like to start over. I think that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding. I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done. That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind. I set the show in the recent past because I didn’t want to make up fake news. It was going to be weird if the world that these people were living in did not in any way resemble the world that you were living in.
On his position as an authority:
I haven’t become an expert in anything. I’m not sophisticated when it comes to politics, when it comes to journalism. I’m not as smart as the characters are or, as you can see, as articulate… I want to make it clear: I don’t know nothin’.
On the push-pull between making quality television and doing so according to a demanding schedule:
I’m able to catch bad writing before it gets on the page better than I used to. The problem is with television, the schedule’s so ferocious. It’s so fast… We have airdates. We’re working backwards. There are airdates that have to be hit and you have to write when you’re not writing well and then you have to point a camera at it. So, with everything, we shoot my first drafts and you just have to live with, There’s bad writing out there. We had to do it. This is what you signed up for. It’s kind of like M*A*S*H unit… We just want to stop the bleeding. Some weeks, that’s what it’s like on series television. Make it as good as you possibly can in the time that you have to do it, but there isn’t a single episode of television I’ve written that I don’t wish I could get back and do again.
On his own learning curve with The Newsroom:
I’ve very proud ofThe Newsroom. I have the time of my life working with the people that I work with, but there is a learning curve and unfortunately, those lessons are learned in front of several million people. Again, that’s what you sign up for. I wish that I could go back to the beginning of The Newsroom and start again and replicate what you have with a play, which is a preview period… But I’m feeling really good about how the third season is going. I’ll look back on it fondly and proudly and wish I could get every scene of every episode back so that I could do it all over again.
Sorkin also talked about his script Steve Jobs, which now has Danny Boyle attached to direct. Quotes via THR:
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It’s not a biopic. It’s not the story of Steve Jobs. It’s something much different than that… One of the things that really excites me about Steve Jobs is, it is one of the very few times I ended up writing what I set out to write when I began. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling.