Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
Graham: I’m reading the pilot script for Sorkin’s new show. I will send it to you, but as a preview, simply close your eyes and imagine that Aaron Sorkin was writing a TV show. Bingo! You now have all the contents of this script in your head.
Me: Wow, awesome. What’s it about? Before I read your response, I’m going to write a synopsis of what I think it’ll be like.
Graham: Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 are spot on. 5 doesn’t quite happen, but not far from it, 6 doesn’t happen but will in future episodes, 7 probably does happen but I haven’t finished reading it yet.
It’s called “More As The Story Develops”. It’s set behind the scenes at a cable news program. It’s partially inspired by Keith Olbermann. It stars Jeff Daniels as the brilliant but kind of assholish news pundit. The show-within-the-show is on a fictional network called UBS, which is the network from Network (and the network Studio 60 was on, until NBC picked up the pilot and changed the name to NBS).
Events happen, Jeff Daniels ends up in crisis – has been in crisis – and the person who comes to help him turns out to be a brilliant woman with whom he had a romantic relationship.
It also stars a mixture of Dana from Sports Night and Jordan from Studio 60, Isaac from Sports Night, Natalie from Sports Night. Not the actors, just those characters. Also there’s a young guy who is kind of a cross between Jeremy from Sports Night and Sam from The West Wing.
But it’s on HBO, so sometimes people say “fuck”. That’s new.
Me, writing a blog post after reading the script: Yeah. It’s so unmistakably Sorkin, you almost wonder if it’s not Sorkin but a Sorkin stalker who’s devoted his life to perfectly mimicking every trope and character Sorkin has ever written.
Early on, I was thinking, “I know why this is funny, I know why it’s engaging me, I recognise all the Sorkin tricks and understand why they work.” It’s a rhythmic and always slightly absurd interplay between smart characters who are smart in different ways, and angry, exasperated or cynical about those differences. He can repeat that formula as much as he likes, I’m never going to stop enjoying it. These are my buttons, he has found them.
Towards the end, though, it becomes more than the offspring of Sports Night and Studio 60. As step 7. kicks in and starts to resolve step 4., Sorkin adds some basic stage directions about what the score should be doing. I’m not hearing the score, he doesn’t tell me what it would sound like, he just says what kind of mood it should reflect. And each time, it’s a perfect description of the mood I’m already starting to feel from the script.
Without even being played, the score is somehow reinforcing and boosting that escalating sense of excitement, and by the absolute climax of the action – which is an ordinary goddamn news report – I am tingling. It’s the emotional high of seeing characters you care about overcome obstacles to do important and difficult work incredibly well.
Unlike the smaller Sorkinisms, I know what’s happening but I don’t know how he’s doing it. As long as he can keep doing it, More Story is going to be great.
Octaeder: This could have just been a direct lift from any of the other shows in a new setting and I'd still be excited. I think I even persisted with Studio 60 longer than most.
If 5 doesn't happen at least once by the third episode though I'm taking it as a portent of the end of the world.
Chris: Wow, does it really star Jeff Daniels? That's a weird choice. I do not see him as Alpha Male at all.
Tom Francis: Yeah, I was imagining him as Matthew Perry.
Jason L: Also The American President.
Ronin08: I saw Sorkin speak recently at an event for the WGA. He said this: "I'm not going to make any friends here, but, The Social Network....I wrote it on one draft."
I've never heard a room GASP before. I didn't know that happened outside of movies.
lemon-lyman: You forgot the part where one of the main characters, usually the smartest one, is a writer and will give a short but incredibly eloquent soliloquy about how hard it is to be a writer. Afterwards, he will produce something brilliant which will form the climax of the show and everyone will tell him how brilliant he is.
SportsNight Lover: So Sorkin's gonna keep writin' SportsNight till he gets it right?
Wow, impressive. So the last episode of season 1 will be called, "What Kind of Day It's Been," Joshua Malina will show up, there will be a slew of Gilbert & Sullivan references, at some point someone will paraphrase Thomas Merton and go,
"'I don't always know what the right thing to do is, my Lord, but I think the fact that I want to please you pleases you."
Someone will be in the tall weeds
Someone will decide that, "ordinarily it takes hours for someone to realize I'm not quaified..."
Oooh, maybe he could throw back in the Three Dog Night songs and see if someone else still hasn't slept with someone in Spain because they've never been to Spain.
Yes, I'm looking forward to it!
The Newsroom, by Tom Francis: [...] leaked Aaron Sorkin script I wrote up a while back is now a show, called The Newsroom. It goes behind the scenes of a nightly news show [...]