Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aaron Sorkin presents... Facebook: The Motion Picture?

Okay, this is either unspeakably weird or unspeakably awesome, or maybe both: Aaron Sorkin is writing a movie based on the guys who founded Facebook, and he's started his own Facebook group so he can get a better understanding of how Facebook works.

You can't be Sorkin's friend, but you can write on his wall and -- at least for now, when he's in that heady "Ohmigod Ohmigod Ohmigod Facebook Is The Awesomest Thing Ever And I Can't Believe My Eighth Grade Girlfriend Is On Here" phase where his personal and professional lives get consumed with the site for about eight days -- he'll probably write back to you.

I didn't want to write about this until it was clear one way or the other whether this was Sorkin or one of the many Sorkin impostors out there. (Sorkin impersonation being second only to porn-downloading among popular Internet-based activities.) The writing style of his wall posts sounded like Sorkin, as did the post-script to his introduction to the group: "I feel about this introduction the way I felt about Sophie's Choice--It could have been funnier." But thankfully, we have real confirmation, as the movie's producer, Scott Rudin, confirmed it for Vulture.

Now, Sorkin has his very infamous history with the internets and the concept of an interactive audience, and I have my own complicated history with the guy. But the last time I saw him, when he showed up randomly at ABC's press tour party last month, he seemed in much brighter spirits than I'd seen him in in a very long time (we even achieved a peace accord over our "Studio 60" run-in, and I'm listening to Don Henley's "New York Minute" as I write this, in tribute to Sam Seaborn), and it's heartening to think that he can learn a few new tricks. As a shoulda-been poet laureate might have said, if I can change, and Aaron Sorkin can change, everybody can change. Right?


Matt said...

Joshua Malina is also posting on the main long thread, and it certainly seems to be him as well. I quite enjoyed "Farnsworth Invention," and the Facebook story actually shares a fair amount with that one.

jcpbmg said...

Thanks Alan, now I'm in the mood for Emergency/Jail... time to pop in disc 11

Anonymous said...

Rocky 4!

What's my prize?

It seems strangely fitting, after the self-absorbtion of Studio 60, that he would focus on a project about one of the internet's most narcissitic trends.

That being said, I check my facebook page about 6 times a day. Think I could challenge Sorkin to a game of Scrabble?

Theresa said...

Wow...I don't know how I feel about the combination of these two things. That said, it did make me immensely happy that, when asked which of his shows he would do another season of if given the choice, he said he would love to be writing Sports Night right now. Good choice. Of course, I couldn't resist posting a comment myself. Hmm...Sorkin and facebook. I shall go to bed pondering this strange alliance of superpowers.

Anonymous said...

i remember a new yorker story on the guy(s) who created facebook and it was actually pretty interesting w/ some potential drama to mine there if not one of those new yorker articles that makes you go 'omg this article needs to be a book and then that book needs to be a movie'. am i right in hearing that sorkin's working on a series for hbo? perfect fit if so, both parties could use the other a great deal right now.

Nicole said...

It doesn't seem like he can take criticism very well based on his TWOP postings and his interactions with you and so I don't see how this Facebook thing will last for him. Right now it's mostly fanboys kissing his ass, but soon there will be people that express dissatisfaction with Studio 60 - or something on West Wing and I can't see that he's developed a thicker skin since then to be able to handle it. He bought into his own hype ages ago and it shows in the quality of his writing as his fame increased.

Anonymous said...

The people on TWOP can't take criticism of their postings either. I was banned about 4 times on that site for explicitly questioning the opinions of moderators.

It was a pretty cool resource at one stage.

Also, the Charlie Wilson's War script was brilliant, something got lost in the translation though. Studio 60 showed Sorkin can have difficulty with tone, but he got it right on the page for that film.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Rocky 4!

What's my prize?

Oh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.

I wanted to link to Rocky's speech, but the only two versions I could find on YouTube were either in French or featured a random anti-Semitic slur edited in.

Anonymous said...

Well, I got that going for me. Which is nice...

Unknown said...

is it just me or does the whole concept of creating a facebook group to find out about facebook seem a little bit off? like maybe he would be better off by just creating a facebook profile silently and without all the fanfare (or just watch some college kid use his), dick around with it for a couple of months, and see for himself what this facebook thing's all about?

it's not even that creating a group where random users get to talk to the real live aaron sorkin will probably just end up in lots of "omg i loooved west wing!!11" comments. it's that the comments he has received don't really seem to get to the core of what facebook is about. and i don't blame them, because what is facebook really about? it's just a social networking tool, right? with lots of ads and applications and personalization and shit? facebook is such a widely used website--like, seriously, EEEEVeryone uses it--that covers so many specialized interests and groups, that it's not really reflective of a certain kind of person. its users aren't "dorky," as one commenter said it was and sorkin seemed to agree with a few comments later. it can't be dorky if every single person in college or high school is a member. i just think that the way sorkin's going about this whole thing, this sort of "survey random people on the street" approach is just kinda unnecessary and futile.

Anonymous said...

And it's also another fabulous medium where Sorkin can keep to his beloved two-person rant/conversation formula all snug and happy.

There's more to life than that!

NewsCat said...

Oh god, this movie is going to be awful. I don't know a person who seems to despise the power of "the internet" more than Aaron Sorkin unless it’s Ted Stevens. (Or has about the same level of understanding).

Above all Sorkin has always disliked the idea that the internet is a flat media. Meaning everyone gets to post something. He really is an elitist and hates the idea that "people who aren't professionals" get to have opinions (which are read by others! And sometimes even valued!)

Also, while he's probably smart for Hollywood standards he's dumb for DC. Meaning every time he tries to put some grand speech about SOMETHING IMPORTANT in some character's mouth, be it stage or screen, he really displays the fact that, fundamentally, he doesn't actually know what he's talking about.

He's going to write a Facebook movie that is going to mock everyone for just being on Facebook. I just know it.

Nicole said...

Anyone who is dumb enough to try to sneak crack on a plane should not be mocking those who use Facebook.

While I think Newscat is right on the money about Sorkin's elitism, I don't think it's just him, but pretty much everyone in Hollywood. It's ironic because the same Hollywood elite who love to bash Bush, are just as insular (and rich) as he is albeit on the other end of the political spectrum.

barefootjim said...

I'm not so sure that Sorkin has changed, as this, ahem, "Sneak Preview" might suggest.

Anonymous said...

Newscat, that was a great post.

To be fair, while Sorkin has all the flaws you mentioned (and if we go by Studio 60 has lost whatever writing ability he once had), Television Without Pity is pretty much a "free speech unless you disagree with a moderator" place. So, they really deserve each other.

Karen said...

I agree with alap: you're not goign to learn dick about FB from just moderating a group. Another sign of how out-of-touch with the Internet Sorkin is; he wants to learn about social networking without actually networking socially.

That was a great line about Sophie's Choice, though.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sorkin looks awesome in those Bad Idea Jeans.

Seriously, although I concur with everyone who says TWoP is the antithesis of being a bastion of free speech, it's their site and they can do what they want. Sorkin was happy to be there as long as everyone loved him, and when that stopped, the tripe that was "The U.S. Poet Laureate" resulted. (And I speak as someone who does write professionally part-time, and is as much of an elitist snob as Sorkin.)

I still respect the guy's work enough to want to see this movie. But the last truly great thing he did was season 2 of The West Wing. I enjoyed Charlie Wilson's War to a point, but I spent far too much of the movie wondering when Philip Seymour Hoffman was going to spout another Sorkinism, because he had three within his first five minutes onscreen.

Frankly, I don't know why Sorkin doesn't do a 1930s comedy about newspapers, a la The Front Page. A screwball comedy with snappy dialogue that's infused with a sense of urgency and importance but that can side-step awkward questions about audience feedback seems right up his alley.

NewsCat said...

His facebook group is nothing but a bunch of people sucking up to him and asking where they can audition.

Pamela Jaye said...

Alan, thanks for having a reasonably googleable name.
I was at facebook, looking for Aaron, and the only thing I could find was non-clickable. so I googled Sorkin Sepinwall Facebook, and found the right place.


Pamela Jaye said...

and apparently he's still replying.

I'd say, Wow, I just wrote actually fan mail, but I write on Grey's Writers a lot. They just don't tend to reply to me by name.

(and my praise wasn't exactly ringing, but then again,I'm still watching Grey's - how critical can my thought processes be?)

still, after having seen that Shibboleth twice in two days, being able to say how much I loved it to the person who wrote it (okay, did the teleplay - what is the difference, precisely?) and know he read it (apparently, that first giddy rush isn't dead yet?) is just very cool.

plus, someone told me the complete series was on sale on amazon (and it was, for $75!) and so my brother bought it, so Aaron can get those 4 cents (or is it 28 cents) he's been waiting for.