So he did what we all do, he went on to buy books to try to find out what a screenplay was supposed to look like.
Aaron Sorkin has one of the most distinctive voices in the business. His latest venture is an online screenwriting Masterclasswhere he shares the secrets of his trade. Creative Screenwriting spoke with Aaron about intentions and obstacles in scriptwriting, the importance of the first 15 pages of a screenplay, and of course writing dialogue.
I was starting to worry about competition from new, young writers, coming up. So I thought if I could get in there and screw them up, that might keep them off my back for a while.
So we began talking about how the job might work and I pitched the idea: In addition to me talking to a camera for a while, it could be great to be interactive. I wanted to get some young writers in there so we could sit around the table.
I thought that might be something. I thought that might work. These guys are fantastic. Forgive the reference, but this is not Trump University.
These guys really want to be good. They bring in great production people. We did over four or five days and I really enjoyed it. I got the chance to preview some of the courses.
You briefly mentioned your relationship with William Goldman and there are several instances where you discuss his classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Can you comment on the importance of having a mentor? I can definitely comment on the importance of having Bill Goldman. He had been my hero long before I met him.
I had also read another book of his called The Season. I love his writing style. I love his novels and his screenplays. After I had written the play, A Few Good Men—but somewhere before the rehearsal—the script had been passed around and several people were reading it. He has been, and still is, an incredibly important figure in my life.
In one of the instructional videos, you mention the importance of the first 15 pages of a screenplay. Can you elaborate on this idea?
There is a big difference. Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men. Several movies and television shows are mentioned throughout the course, but the main vehicles seem to be The Social Network and The West Wing.
What makes these character versions of Mark Zuckerberg and Toby Ziegler so appealing as a teaching method? Can you comment on the difference between writing character versus reality in terms of action and dialogue?
The characteristics of characters and the characteristics of people have almost nothing to do with each other. I talk about intention and obstacle a lot in the MasterClass.
They are defined by what they want. Then there is a formidable obstacle. But they do have to want it or need it, really badly. There must be a formidable obstacle—something very difficult to overcome. The tactics that the characters use to overcome the obstacle is what defines that character for the audience.
They represent heightened versions of ourselves. It has very little to do with people. We all eat a lot of soup, but you hardly ever see somebody eating a bowl of soup in a movie.
Can you elaborate on that idea?I recently watched Aaron Sorkin's Masterclass on screenwriting. One frustrating section of it (overall it's quite good, IMHO) is about dialog, and Sorkin says that dialog is important, it can't be. If you want more of Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting advice, check out Lessons from Oscar-nominated Screenwriters.
Watch the entire interview below. Matt van Onselen is a South African screenwriter living in Los Angeles and a graduate of the UCLA MFA Screenwriting program.
After the jump, learn writing tips from Steve Jobs screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. The writer behind The Social Network and Moneyball got his start in theater, after studying the art form in college, and once even gave acting a shot.
Aaron Sorkin stands in the upper echelon of working screenwriters. His first screenplay for Hollywood was an adaptation of his own play that happened to land two of the biggest stars in the world Does this mean Billy Bush gets his old job back?
#PresidentTrump #godhelpus November 9. Aaron Sorkin's advices to people inspired to be a screenwriter "Anybody who is remotedly interested in screenwriting should read the book "Adventures in the screen trade" by William Goldman.
Bill won the oscar for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance", he won another Oscar for "All the President's Men". 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.