Aaron Sorkin Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (16)  | Trivia (29)  | Personal Quotes (19)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameAaron Benjamin Sorkin
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Aaron Sorkin grew up in Scarsdale, a suburb of New York City where he was very involved in his high school drama and theater club. After graduating from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, Sorkin intended to pursue a career in acting. It took him only a short time to realize that his true love, and his true talent, lay in writing. His first play, "Removing All Doubt", was not an immediate success, but his second play, "Hidden in This Picture", debuted in 1988 at the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theater Bar. A longer version of "Hidden in This Picture", called "Making Movies", opened at the Promenade Theater in 1990. Despite his youth and relative inexperience, Sorkin was about to break into the spotlight. In 1989, he received the prestigious Outer Critics Circle award as Outstanding American Playwright for the stage version of A Few Good Men (1992), which was later nominated for a Golden Globe. The idea for the plot of "A Few Good Men" came from a conversation with his older sister, Deborah. Deborah was a Navy Judge Advocate General lawyer sent to Guantanamo Bay on a case involving Marines accused of killing a fellow Marine. Deborah told Aaron of the case and he spent the next year and a half writing a Broadway play, which later led to the movie. Sorkin has gone on to write for many movies and TV shows. Besides A Few Good Men (1992), he has written The American President (1995) and Malice (1993), as well as cooperating on Enemy of the State (1998), The Rock (1996) and Excess Baggage (1997). In addition, he was invited by Steven Spielberg to "polish" the script of Schindler's List (1993). Sorkin's TV credits include the Golden Globe-nominated The West Wing (1999) and Sports Night (1998).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous

Family (2)

Spouse Julia Bingham (13 April 1996 - 2005)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Parents Sorkin, Claire
Sorkin, Bernard R.

Trade Mark (16)

Appears as an extra in a bar scene in titles that he writes
Rapid quick fire exchange of tightly-scripted dialogue for characters
'Walk and talks' (or 'pedeconferencing') where two characters have a conversation while walking together.
His scripts often represent his liberal political views
Long character-driven speeches representing a character's beliefs and actions
Characters with Sarcastic dispositions
Stories regarding Government or Government Institutions
Intelligent and cocky but troubled Protagonists
Intelligent Female Characters
Often employs non-linear storytelling methods
Characters who successfully undergo psychoanalysis
Many of his films feature at least once character with an alliterative name (Sam Seaborn, Harriet Hayes, Matthew Markinson)
Often uses a legal proceeding as a plot device (trials, depositions, etc.)
Shows often center around the behind-the-scenes of a television show (Sports Night, Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, The Newsroom)
witty and humorous dialouge.
his stories often involve fictional presidents.

Trivia (29)

In July 2000, he signed a four-year deal with Warner Bros. TV for approximately $15 million. The deal marks the first time that he has signed an exclusive long-term production deal.
In 19 June 2001, a judge sentenced him to a drug-diversion program as a result of his arrest at a California airport for carrying marijuana, rock cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
His daughter, Roxy Sorkin, was born November 17, 2000.
Graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theatre.
Wrote a 1988 Rolling Stone Magazine article about the top acting schools in the U.S. One of the featured schools was the State University of New York at Purchase (S.U.N.Y. Purchase) where Janel Moloney ("Donna" on The West Wing (1999)) happened to be attending at the time.
Many of his works contain references to the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan. In Malice (1993), the doctor played by Alec Baldwin boasts that he is "never, ever sick at sea", lyrics from "The HMS Pinafore". In The West Wing (1999), Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) says that he was recording secretary of the Princeton Gilbert & Sullivan society, and many of the regular characters welcome Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) to her new office by decorating it with G&S posters and singing "He is an Englishman", also from "Pinafore", to her. The second episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006) closes with the cast of the show-within-the-show singing a parody of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" from "The Pirates of Penzance". In Charlie Wilson's War (2007), he gives Gust a throwaway line of "...and I'm never, never sick at sea", which is a line from "HMS Pinafore".
He is considered one of Scarsdale High School's "Distinguished Alumni." His picture hangs among the other alumni near the school's cafeteria.
His sister, Deborah Sorkin, is a Navy Judge Advocate General, who worked with David Iglesias. She told Aaron about a real-life case she had worked on with David, which became the basis of A Few Good Men (1992). The character played by Demi Moore was based on his sister. David Iglesias was a Republican, who would later gain fame as one of the U.S. Attorneys fired by the George W. Bush administration.
All of his four television shows feature a season finale episode entitled "What kind of day has it been?".
His play "The Farnsworth Invention" at the TimeLine Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, was awarded the 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award for Production of a Play (Midsize).
After he wrote the screenplay for A Few Good Men (1992), Sorkin rewrote the Broadway play for the National Touring Company, since there were elements added to the film that weren't originally in the play.
Sorkin seems to have an affinity for Nobel prize-winning economists. His fictional President in The American President (1995), "Andrew Shepherd", studied under a Nobel prize-winning economist. His President on The West Wing (1999), "Jed Bartlet", actually was a Nobel prize-winning economist.
He originally wanted to be an actor and did not discover writing until he was in his early twenties.
Worked odd jobs including limousine driver and singing telegram worker while struggling as an actor.
Was paid $700,000 to rewrite Warren Beatty's astronaut love story "Ocean of Storms" in 1996. He worked on several drafts of the script through 1997, which was originally written by Ben Young Mason & Tony Bill, who sold it in 1989.
Describes his creative process as long brainstorming sessions, followed by short writing periods.
As of 2022, has written four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: A Few Good Men (1992), The Social Network (2010), Moneyball (2011), and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020).
Sorkin has the habit of chain-smoking while he works on scripts for hours.
He did an uncredited polish on the script for Excess Baggage (1997).
Sorkin was brought on by Steven Spielberg to polish the script for Schindler's List (1993). It was the first time Sorkin acted as an uncredited script doctor.
He did an uncredited polish on the Jerry Bruckheimer produced action thriller Enemy of the State (1998).
He did an uncredited polish on the 'Jerry Bruckheimer' produced action thriller script for The Rock (1996).
He did an uncredited polish on the script for the Warren Beatty political comedy Bulworth (1998).
Describes his writing process as very active; he often stands and acts out every part. As a result of this process, he once accidentally broke his nose by lunging into the mirror while writing a fight scene.
His favorite line of any movie is Chief Brody's "You're gonna need a bigger boat," line from Jaws (1975).
Directed 4 actors to an Oscar nomination: Sacha Baron Cohen, Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, and J.K. Simmons.
Of all his film screenplays, Malice (1993) is the only film to not get an Oscar nomination in any category. All of his other films received at least one Oscar nomination.
Sorkin has a program with his undergraduate Alma Mater, Syracuse University's Department of Drama, called "Sorkin Week: LA Practicum" where selected advanced students get to fly out to Los Angeles and participate in a week long intensive meant to prepare students for transition from training into the professional business through several workshops and first hand access to his studio offices at Warner Bros.
On April 29, 2004, his play The Farnsworth Invention was falsely reported to be adapted at New Line Cinema and it's entry was removed from this website.

Personal Quotes (19)

I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, "You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I'm not your agent and I'm not your mommy, I'm a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?" and I really, really don't. I'll go peaceable-like.
[speaking about freebased cocaine] I had found a drug I absolutely love and that gave me a real break from a certain nervous tension that I kind of carry with me moment to moment.
When things that are very mean-spirited and voyeuristic go on TV, I think it's [like] bad crack in the schoolyard.
When I am setting out to do something, I don't consider the state of the culture. I can't possibly conceive of what the most people are going to like. Honest to God, I write something that I like, that I think my friends would like and that I think my father would like, and I keep my fingers crossed that enough other people are going to like it that I can earn a living.
I am all for everyone having a voice, I just don't think everyone has earned the microphone. And that's what the Internet has done.
[on creating Mark Zuckerberg's persona for The Social Network (2010)] I identify with him. I've felt like I've had my nose pressed up against the glass of some cool party I have't been invited to. I've felt the world has reflected back to me that I'm a loser.
I think socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.
I became a writer, because I wanted to be Donald Hollinger, because he got a girl like Ann Marie.
[speaking about the importance of making good decisions at his 2012 commencement address at Syracuse University] I've made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to cocaine addiction. You know how I got addicted to cocaine? I tried it. The problem with drugs is that they work--right up until the moment they decimate your life. Try cocaine, and you'll become addicted to it. Become addicted to cocaine, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one of the other. My big fear was that I wasn't going to be able to write without it. There was no way I was going to be able to write without it. Last month I celebrated my eleven-year anniversary of not using coke. In that eleven years, I've written three television series, three movies, a Broadway play, won the Academy Award, and taught my daughter all the lyrics to "Pirates of Penzance." I have good friends.
My big fear when I quit drugs was that I wouldn't be able to write anymore. Because if you're a writer, and you're on a roll - and I was on a roll when I was high - you don't want to change anything about the way you work.
[on how audiences are watching TV in 2012] Audiences are watching at a time other than when the network puts it on. Unlike with a movie or a play, I don't get to experience the audience watching the show. On Sunday night, it feels like I'm the only one watching it. It's hard to imagine anyone else is too.
I am truly at my happiest, not when I am writing an aria for an actor or making a grand political or social point. I am at my happiest when I've figured out a fun way for somebody to slip on a banana peel. That's really what I want to do.
[on his college mentor, the late Arthur Storch] Arthur's reputation as a director, and as a disciple of Lee Strasberg, was a big reason why a lot of us went to S.U. [Syracuse U.] As a freshman you didn't speak to him, and it was unlikely he'd know your name. But he'd generally zero in on two seniors who he felt were worth his time, and I was one of those seniors. 'You have the capacity to be so much better than you are,' he started saying to me in September of my senior year. He was still saying it in May. On the last day of classes he said it again, and I said, 'How?' and he answered, 'Dare to fail.' I've been coming through on his admonition ever since.
[to his daughter in a Father's Day letter] The nurse taught me how to swaddle you. My first try didn't go so well.You had a look on your face that said, 'Oh my God, my father's a moron'.
[on A Few Good Men (1992)] A lot of what I was concentrating on in the screenplay adaptation was simply doing a rewrite - writing it better. But it was also my first time learning that a camera wasn't just a device to record performances, that it has a vocabulary. The audience may not know how to speak that vocabulary, but it understands it fluently. If you do a slow push-in on a glass of water, it becomes a meaningful glass of water, and you can cut that speech you love from the play about how meaningful the glass of water is. I've never written anything that I don't wish I could get another chance at. "A Few Good Men" has been my white whale for 25 years. Just a few years ago, I did a new draft for a West End production. I'm older and more experienced now, and I could write it better. I'd politely ignore the voices that are asking: How are you going to open it up? There's no rule of cinema that says claustrophobia is bad. Ask Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) or 12 Angry Men (1957).
[on his rationale for The West Wing (1999)] I was a bit tickled by the fact that we don't have a king in this country. We have a person with a temp job. My favorite moments on 'The West Wing' were never in the Situation Room or abroad. They were always when I could make the President human. You do that by making him somebody's husband, somebody's father, somebody's son. It was fundamentally a workplace drama about a man and his children. I wanted him to become one of us. In our history, in popular culture, we portray our leaders as either Machiavellian or idiots. I didn't want to do either. They're not backstabbing or power-grabbing. We have to know if they woke up this morning wanting to be there, wanting to work for us. Once we know that, we're going to forgive the mistakes that they make. I wanted them to lose as much as they can. So I got to create my own White House.
[on the process of creating the dense opening scene of The Social Network (2010)] David Fincher and Scott Rudin are very, very good at what they do. I believe that Scott Rudin is the best producer of plays and movies alive. I think he gives a lot of the dead producers a run for their money. But he is a demanding person, an exacting person. He may not speak to you the way you'd like to be spoken to. He's a tough, tough man. So is David. David is a truly phenomenal artist, with no affect, no pretention at all, but with a great eye, and uncompromising. At the beginning of the process of making a movie, the first battle you're going to have is over the budget, right? The director is going to sit down with, it's called a line producer, and they're going to figure out as close as they can what the budget of the movie is going to be, by going through scene by scene, I'm going to need 100 extras here, I'm going to need a helicopter there, I need this kind of camera for this, this I don't - you know, I want to shoot on the exact location. I don't want to shoot in Pasadena, pretending it's this place, that kind of thing. And they'll come up with a budget for the movie, and the studio is doing the exact same thing with their in-house line producer. Those two numbers are going to be far apart, and there is a negotiation to find your way in the middle, unless you're David Fincher, OK, who comes in and says $41 million. And the studio will say $30 million, and he'll say, no, $41 million, and the studio is, like, $35 million. And he said listen, you think I'm negotiating with you. I'm telling you, the price of this movie is $41 million. That's what it costs to make this movie. I don't want to make the $40.5 million version of the movie. Now, some people might think you're being a jerk. Find your way, figure out a way to make the movie you want to make for what's somewhere in the middle. I don't think that David is being a jerk. I absolutely loved working with him. An average screenplay is about 120 pages long. My screenplays have higher page counts because there's more dialogue and less action and just, by the rules of screenplay format, dialogue takes up more room on the page and less time on the screen than action, which takes up more room on the page - I'm sorry, which takes up less room on the page and more time on the screen. So the average screenplay is about 120 pages. A Few Good Men (1992) was about 140 pages. "The Social Network" was 178 pages, and the studio said, OK, the first thing you've got to do is figure out a way to cut 30 pages from this. And David said, I don't think so. I think this is a two hour movie, and he came over to my house with his iPhone set on stopwatch mode, and he said, "I want you to read the entire script out loud for me, at the pace you heard it in your head when you were writing it, and I'm going to write down the timing of each scene." So that opening scene that you've been very complimentary about, with Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara. If I read it and it was seven minutes and 22 seconds, then in rehearsal, and David demanded part of what was baked into the budget was rehearsal time, and part of what wasn't baked into the budget, I remember David saying to them, "Well, I can cut $125,000 out of your budget right away, because we're not doing any test screenings." That's the kind of thing. And I just thought David, Scott, these are the bullies I want to be with. You know, they're great when they're on your team. And anyway, in rehearsal, Jesse and Rooney would rehearse the scene, David would say great, and he would give them a couple of notes, and always end with, "But this scene is seven minutes and 22 seconds long, and you're doing it at seven minutes and 40 seconds. So I don't care how, but you're going to have to talk faster somewhere, because I promise you, this scene plays best at seven minutes and 22 seconds." [2016]
[About accidentally breaking his nose while writing a scene] If it were a Martin Scorsese film, they would've said, "Let's do it again but this time less blood."
One of the biggest mistakes rookie screenwriters make is not having a strong intention or obstacle. The drive shaft of a car, beautiful leather seats, a fantastic sound system, a really cool paint job but the car isn't going to move forward if the car doesn't have a strong intention or obstacle.

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