Aaron Sorkin & His Sorkinisms

Aaron Sorkin is a brilliant writer and his work is undeniably some of the best in the business.  But I’m not thoroughly surprised he has his own “Sorkinisms” where we see his dialogue being reused.  I mean, genius is not infinite.  Take a look.


5 thoughts on “Aaron Sorkin & His Sorkinisms

  1. Thanks for the great find. It actually is a very interesting survey of Sorkin’s dialogue and I think it highlights some of his strengths as well as his weaknesses. Yes sometimes the repetition of his dialogue (or sorkinisms) is simply recycling due to writer pressures (deadlines, habit) but I find other phrases to be intentional or entirely organic to the conversation.

    A lot of how Sorkin’s characters
    talk has to do with their social and economic status. To (poorly) paraphrase praise given to Stephen King, he writes in specific, regional language. I think he pegs these people in his own theatrical way. I also think that the way his characters talk reflect how Sorkin thinks about
    things, much like any othe writer. It forms a
    large part of his voice. I might actually be disappointed if there was no consistency in they way he talks. I’m sure you could make a video like this for other great writer (-directors): Altman, Tarantino, Mamet. In fact I hope there are some out there.

    Some of the other motifs like slappIng heads and other introductions seem like things that are said and done everywhere and could be applied to any film or TV show ever.

    If you haven’t already check out the GQ op Ed on how to write like Aaron Sorkin written by Aaron Sorkin

    • I completely agree with everything you say. Even the greats can use some of their dialogue, not because he or she has to, but because he or she can. Some, if not, most of the dialogue in the video is simplistic and general conversation that is not necessary to be reworded. Also, I think Sorkin knows that he’s doing and does it on purpose. Some of the best in the industry believe that their work should be grounded on the same universe, same issues and agenda, and I think Sorkin, especially if you look at his past work, stays in this specific realm of highly intelligent but characteristically damaged individuals. I think there are reasons why this isn’t as big of a deal.

      BTW, I did read the GQ article, and I thought it was interesting. A script needs so much care and attention, and it’s great to see this amount of effort in his work.

      • I like the way you capture that authorial quality in great filmmakers, whether they be writers, directors, actors, etc. “grounded in the same universe, issues, and agenda. I think if any one word describes Sorkin it is “agenda” for better and/or worse. Speaking of which, have you seen the Newsroom pilot? I recently caught it on YouTube and enjoyed it (for the most part). It also makes me wish I had HBO. 😦

  2. I did catch the Newsroom, wasn’t sure if I was going to publicly review it on the site. I think my biggest problem is that I have a sort of biased opinion with Sorkin. I love his work. So anything that he creates that may be flawed, I’m still engaged and entertained by his shows/movies. That being said, I think The Newsroom is really interesting, and I’m not sure if this is how the actual live news works (and from the sound of it from other critics, it’s not), but I think people tend to forget that Sorkin isn’t trying to retell the truth. He’s trying to make dramatic television that’s interesting for viewers. I mean, The West Wing wasn’t exactly how the President and his team works. The Social Network was not exactly how things transpired. It’s for the purpose of entertainment, and I think he’s one of the best at bringing in average people to watch his stuff that are not for the average viewer.

    • I’m in the same camp. I have not seen a show or film of Sorkin’s that I didn’t love. Heck, I think I may be one of the 12 people that liked Studio 60. His weaknesses are there but I think context is important in criticizing something. Yes the final product should be the most important component in criticizing a work but other information should be a factor. Considering that Sorkin spent time researching this milieu, getting to know the ins and outs of the TV news business, I think its safe to say that Sorkin knows he is not delivering an accurate representation. He is not proposing the same journalistic accuracy as say, David Simon did in the Wire (Season 5 actually does cover the newsroom of the Baltimore Sun with a fine balance of on the ground verisimilitude and a traditional dramatic arc).

      The pilot did have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight but I think it uses that to argue the greater values of journalism not how any one situation should be handled. And even when the show appeals to sentiment or goes for some rousing emotional moment, it always works, sometimes despite me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s