Sorkin and Fincher are friends and collaborators. But Fincher knew something Sorkin needed to learn...
They worked together on The Social Network and have been friends since. Their collaborations and friendship are really admirable in Hollywood. Sorkin was recently talking about it during an appearance this week on Michael Moore’s “Rumble” podcast.
In that conversation, Sorkin shared the best piece of advice he’s received from Fincher: “As soon as the studio knows that you want to make the movie more than they do, they own you.”
In Hollywood, them wanting you is more powerful than you wanting them. So you have to hide your enthusiasm at times. Especially when you're at the top. At the bottom, I have found this doesn't really apply.
At the time, Sorkin was discussing The West Wing and how he never planned for the series to continue beyond the pilot. As Sorkin explained, “When I was writing the pilot episode, I never imagined that there would be an episode two. I didn’t think that this could get on the air. And I certainly didn’t think it would last as long as it did and be as popular as it was and have the kind of effect on people that it did.”
But it did get on the air. And it became a huge hit.
NBC had never aired a show directly about politics. The show felt daring to them, and they knew they had to have something like that on the air.
“I think that NBC, the network, and Warner Bros., the studio, kind of sensed that I had written the pilot, I liked the pilot, and that it’s okay with me if there isn’t a season 2,” Sorkin said. “In a way that saved us. Of course, once it did get on the air, I was very much committed to there being an episode three and four and five and so on. And I wrote and produced the show for the next four years.”
That was the application of how he learned his lesson. NBC desperately wanted that show, so he was in a position of power when he gave it to them. When you have those fleeting instances of power as a writer, use them to propel you forward.
Have you used this advice yourself? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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