#SorkinGate, Or An Open Letter To Those In The Aaron Sorkin Business

UPDATE: I really felt strongly about a couple of bits of news coming of out of the utterly reprehensible Sony hack that the media has been oddly silent about. But, as I was about to hit publish on this post, a non-Sony email hit the news cycle…

Clutch your pearls, girls. To paraphrase the all-time classic Kanye West chestnut: Aaron Sorkin Doesn’t Care About Female People.

Feel free to read the rest of the post or whatever, but…

Aaron Sorkin can go fuck himself.


It goes without saying I am 100% not OK with anything relating to the hacking of Sony Pictures. I don’t think anyone feels otherwise, really, except the people who did the hacking. Probably.

So it was really, truly odd for an Op-Ed from Aaron Sorkin to hit the New York Times, seemingly to rally a tinny cry for justice. The… what?

If you didn’t know, Aaron Sorkin is very upset about all this hacking activity, but he feels as if he’s standing alone against this tyranny! Why isn’t the media smart and brave enough to stand up to the bad dudes, dudes??

(I’m paraphrasing. My utter lack of interest in being a Sorkinesque writer allows me to distill his missive, er, a bit.)

Admirable, right? Um, Aaron Sorkin taking a stand and fighting for the little guy…? Is he defending his friends at Sony? Is he defending an industry on its knees, or one that has fallen too far from grace to be saved?

Nope. On all counts.

Aaron Sorkin isn’t some innocent bystander chucking his admirable wordsmithing into this complex issue, in altruistic fashion. Aaron Sorkin has a horse in this race.

A straight-up racist horse, as a matter of fact.*

Much hullabaloo has been made about Amy Pascal’s seemingly (and hopefully) singular racist joke. (Granted, it was about a sitting president of the United States of America. Obviously not cool.).

There has been perhaps less emphasis on Scott Rudin’s racist (see president joke above), sexist (Remember, Angelina Jolie is a “minimally talented spoiled brat” and his speculation on Megan Ellison’s mental state? Anyone else spot a trend of Mr. Rudin not liking the powerful ladies so much…?) and downright boorish behaviour, in general.

But it took Aaron Sorkin to put the real cherry on that pile of crap and call it a sundae. (Emphasis is mine.)

“If I turned in a terrific draft of Flash Boys, why would it have a better chance of getting made than Steve Jobs? The protagonist is Asian-American (actually Asian-Canadian) and there aren’t any Asian movie stars. There’s no precedent for stories about high frequency trading creating a stampede to the box office. Aren’t you asking me to spend another year writing a movie you won’t make and sign a contract you may or may not honor?”

Woah, woah, Mr. Sorkin! One issue at a time:

1-Why would Flash Boys have a better chance at becoming a film than Steve Jobs? Hmm… Anyone? A diverse cast leading a story that hasn’t been told, adapted from a solid book versus a bunch of white dudes in a re-imagining of a story already made into a movie starring Ashton Kutcher? Tough call.

2- There aren’t any Asian movie stars? Oh. Then stories involving asian characters should be disregarded by Hollywood entirely? I missed that memo, but that’s a good note. Gotcha.

3- No stampede for films about wall street? Oh gosh, another memo I missed. Darn! (Also, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio must’ve missed that memo too… I’d bet their faces sure are red today!)

I must have also missed the memo that there is a MASSIVE stampede for films about dickish weirdos from Harvard who invented Facebook by accident, also hot chicks from Colorado who invite Ben Affleck to play poker.**

(And on the topic of dickish dudes and Facebook, I’m far from the first person to point this out, but I think the movie-going public made it pretty clear that they don’t care for Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield or Armie Hammer as “movie stars”. But, hey, at least they’re not Asian! AMIRITE?)

4-Oh noes! Aaron Sorkin might spend time writing a movie that won’t get made? The injustice! I’d bet that’s never happened to any other screenwriter in the history of ever!

Also 5- Aren’t the creatives supposed to be bringing in the new and wild and fresh ideas, while the grubby and terrible studios are forcing the white male agenda down our collective throats through apathy?

If you’d asked me prior to #SorkinGate, I probably would have agreed with Mark Ruffalo :

 “There’s been a huge disrespect to what the talent brings. Where does the value really lie? In the people making the deals or the people making stories? There’s been a perversion of that with agents and managers and producers.”

But Aaron Sorkin flipped this dynamic, single-handedly! So it’s the reverse now? Damn. I sure am missing a ton of memos. A stampede of memos, if you will…

But the hits just keep on coming. Like this headline and excerpt from The Examiner:

It’s not just ‘The Newsroom’ – Aaron Sorkin really doesn’t understand journalism

“There have been some serious news stories that have come from this hacked info and despite what Sorkin argues, the fact that Jennifer Lawrence makes less money than male counterparts matters. We’d be writing about this if someone inside the studio had merely leaked the news to a lone reporter, so how do we justify ignoring it because it was stolen by some third party?”

Does it matter that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were each offered 7% in profit participation in American Hustle while Christian Bale AND Bradley Cooper AND Jeremy Renner were at 9% each, though? We already know, like, men are way awesomer than women, even in Hollywood! Right, brah???

Anyhow, I am but a mere woman, worth two full percentage points less than any man who doesn’t have an Oscar, so it’s a real struggle to understand these things. Not to mention getting through books like Flash Boys and Molly’s Game.

Head to head, both books could be seen as varying degrees of dead boring. No matter how you slice it, the only angle to Molly’s Game that could draw more potential movie-goers than a story like Flash Boys would likely be the salacious “This is how the other half lives” telling of celebrity-soaked tales behind the scenes of back-room poker games.

Does that mean Aaron Sorkin would be using his vast writing talents to help in making a film based almost entirely on private business that celebrities and public figures don’t want you knowing about? “Doing it”, as it were, “for a nickel.”

Wait a second! Isn’t Aaron Sorkin against the entire nickel business? Or is he only against those “in the media” making the nickels for telling tales? Makes sense. He’s a real writer. And a dude! That makes him, like, way awesomer than, like, everyone.

OK, deep breath. Let’s start over.

None of the above is fair. All this stolen information and resulting opinion isn’t of interest to the rarefied air of Aaron Sorkin. Back to the Op-Ed, then…

Maybe Mr. Sorkin didn’t have time or space to refute allegations of racism or sexism in his seemingly spacious Op-Ed. Or maybe he did. He sure had time and space to address whispers of a rumoured affair with Molly’s Game author Molly Bloom with this: (I wish.)


Le sigh.

Let us set aside both Flash Boys (for aforementioned lack of available Asian-ness, sure) and Molly’s Game (still girl cooties brah- even if the chick who wrote it is a smoking fox, brah! AMIRITE?) for the moment.

Instead, perhaps consider adapting other true stories: Tales of African-American children being murdered in the streets, like Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown or Tamir Rice. You get the idea. There are lots to choose from. You could remake Fruitvale Station instead of Steve Jobs! But maybe there are no young African-American movie stars?

(At least the story would be about an American and not – GASP! – A CANADIAN! NNNNOOOOO! How could anyone even find an actor to say SOORY enough times to pretend to be Canadian anyway? There are no Canadian movie stars! Geez!)

Or, adapt a recent piece from the LA Times about how the tomatoes you spend your hard-earned dollars from writing tone-deaf Sorkinesque scripts on at Whole Foods might be harvested by child labour. Though, there may not be any Mexican-Mexican movie stars, so that may not cause a box office stampede either… Your move, Mr. Sorkin.

Wait, should it be his move? Should anyone get a free pass, not for a solitary transgression, but for what comes across as an utter disregard for women and minorities in Hollywood?

No one is even talking of boycotting Aaron Sorkin, or demanding he never work again? Not even after all this? I like A Few Good Men and The West Wing as much as the next person, but come on!

To anyone who still wants to be in the Aaron Sorkin business, at the risk of sounding like an advice columnist from the 1960s: You deserve better.

We all deserve better.

There are lots of really great screenwriters who do brilliant work. Some of them may even be women, minorities, or others who don’t jump to mind. Many people can write thinky/talky/smart/fun movies. People other than Aaron Sorkin do it every day – even WITH roles for Asian people and women and stuff! (It sounds crazy, but it’s true!)

And for all the innocent, decent and hard-working folk at Sony, this all truly sucks. You deserve so much better. You deserve to work with people who are not racist or sexist or self-serving or cruel. My sincerest wish is that, in our lifetime, that will happen. That, someday, there will be no one left wanting to be in the Aaron Sorkin business.  Not even Kim Jong Un.


*This is not an allegation that racist horses exist. I have never met a racist horse, personally.


Comic Cons Make Me Happy… Except When It Gets All Sexist Up In There…

I just found this random post that was supposed to be published… IN AUGUST (!!!???!) So, if you feel like a hop in ye olde time machine, come with me, all the way back to August 2014…



First of all, I gotta say, I had the best time at Boston Comic-Con. The. Best.

It was a totally positive and friendly space. Everyone was there to have a good time, and everyone who was there was super-cool and respectful of everyone else.

It was especially special for me, because Lost Angels finally – finally – made its print debut. And people went a bit nuts, in the best possible way. I couldn’t have imagined a warmer welcome.

So, I’ve been reading up on the post-weekend recaps (a LOT of people go to Boston Comic-Con and, if you go to cons, you should go too) and I stumbled across one from a blogger who… well, I’m going to leave his details out of it. I’m not challenging his views, personally, I’m more loosely paraphrasing some of what he said as a jumping off point to discuss the larger con world.

This particular guy drew my particular attention because he said there was nothing to buy at Boston Comic-Con. That prompted me to do the cartoon eye rub- what the what? At BCC, you could buy ALL THE THINGS. It was as good of a selection of merch as I’ve seen at just about any con (and I’ve been to a few…). Maybe there weren’t show exclusives or something? Maybe something was missing that I usually don’t notice…? But that WTF moment got me to delve a little further into this particular BCC post.

Then, the term “babe” was used. And again. And again. That little alarm in the back of my head that goes off sometimes started to sound a little. This was leading up to the plainly stated (keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing here) that guys go to conventions to meet and talk to “babes” that wouldn’t otherwise be interested in talking to guys like him.

OK. Wait. What?

I may be oblivious, but I’m pretty sure I’m not naive… Or maybe I am. Is that a thing? Do guys really go to conventions to “meet babes”? Not really, right? This is like the weird opposite day argument about fake fangirls, isn’t it? You mean to tell me there are fake fanboys too? Or, because the comic industry is so often steeped in some sexist and objectifying attitudes and leanings that every fanboy is there for “babes” on some level and that’s totally acceptable, so it’s impossible to be a fake fanboy? Does this sound like a sad, circular argument to anyone else?

Some dear soul at BCC who struck up a conversation with me about women in comics got a blunt answer (If you’re reading this, dear heart, my vitriol wasn’t aimed at you. You were a doll.) There is so much talk about how to get more women into the industry. And I’m tired of it.  The answer is pretty simple- go for it. Are the odds stacked against you? Oh boy, are they ever.

I’ve had a really long career in the shadows. I chose that. I wanted that, knowing full well what it cost me. It’s really strange to me now that people ask for pictures and autographs (no, really), that I spend a dozen weekends a year talking to strangers and that I’m even flirting with the fringes of cosplay for the first time ever (Fan Expo, boy, are you in for a treat…? Shock?). But, I’m warning you, the first person- male, female, manatee- that calls me a babe at a con is gonna get a square sock on the jaw. I’m there because I earned my place.

Sexist stuff like reducing a whole gender of amazing people to “babes” makes Steve Rogers cry, guys. Don’t be a Bonaparte Crumplehorn. Just don’t.


How I Met Your Summer Vacation (The I’m Not Just Lazy, I Swear Edition)

Sooooo… How’s everybody been? Summer, huh? Wacky, right?

Small talk, small talk…

Anyhow, I haven’t been neglecting this blog on porpoise (that’s what I wrote and I’m sticking to it…). I have been under the weather (a lot), lazy (a little) and working (too much). But no more excuses! Posts must get back to normal ASAP! I like exclamation marks today!


But, before that happens, this post is to help me finish a class. Yup, I’ve been taking a class. On screenwriting for short films. Taught by James Franco. I admit all of those things both 1- sound crazy and b- are true.

I’ve had an idea rolling round for a short for ages but  I was also busy. Mostly being plagued with the dread of “I’ve never written shorts so how would that even work!?! I only write longs!!!!!”

This class, thankfully, had a very limited amount of source material to choose from, and I enjoyed it a bunch. (Um, wait, I’m sorry… I have to WRITE A SHORT that HAS TO BE an ADAPTATION?! Did you see me cartoon sweating over here?! The thankful part came only after I was done. Don’t tell anyone.)

I think what I’ve learned is that if you can write a script well, you can write a script of any length well. It’s exactly the same process. Which I never would have guessed on my own. I probably would have never tried on my own, if I’m being totally honest…

So, with HUGE exclamation-filled (!!!) thanks to James and Vince (plus a few sleepless nights) here it is: The Man Comes Around.

Judge me as harshly as you wish.

A Handy Guide To Everything A Screenwriter Should Not Say. Ever.

Yup. Everything not to say. All in one place.

I am well familiar with the work of William Nicholson (as are you) but I know nothing about the man outside of his work. I thought well, maybe the clickbaiters are taking quotes out of context to try and drive some traffic… But there was this:

“’12 Years a Slave’ came out in America and that sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available. They were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don’t think there was much left over to be nice about our film. So our film didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, which was a bit heartbreaking.

“We showed it to test audiences very extensively and it got astounding responses. These things are measured in percentages and it was in the high 90s every time. So, honestly, we thought we had a winner. And when it didn’t become a winner it was devastating, actually, it was very distressing.

“I really thought it was going to win lots of awards, partly because it’s a good story but also because I thought I’d done a really good job and the director had done a really good job. So it has been very tough for me. Some things work and some things don’t. You just have to soldier on.”

… Ummm. Yeah…

There’s more in the Hitfix article, but be warned- it’s more than a bit heartbreaking. I mean, where to begin…?

Comparing Mandela’s struggle to slavery in America is so… misguided is the word I’m going to use.  There are others. Even going so far as to imply that people would see 12 Years A Slave (or Mandela, for that matter) out of guilt? Or that one filmic struggle cancels out the other because they both involve “black people”. What? I’m amazed he didn’t drag Fruitvale Station into the discussion. But, hey, it didn’t steal his awards thunder, so I guess it further didn’t merit a mention.

Wow. I’d honestly like to break this down further, but it’s making me too sad. This cannot be diversity in 2014, folks. We have got to do better.

What a weird (and kind of wonderful) Thank You, Zach Braff

Yeah, this happened.

And it made me giggle, honestly. So cheesy, yes, but in a good way… And it honestly looks like a good movie.

Anyhow, yes, I owe a weekend reader post AT LEAST… It was another convention weekend, but the less said about that, the better. Any-anyhow, it is a-comin. But I hope you enjoy a glimpse at MY PERSONAL TRAILER in the meantime.

The Weekend Reader – May 9ish (The TON Of Reading and Happy Mothers Day Edition)

It has been a couple of weeks… (Feel free to put the emphasis on that sentence wherever you would like…)

Pneumonia. Ick. The less said about it, the better. But I have been itchy to get back to work (at least, I think that is what the itch is) so I will start off niiiiiiiice and sloooooow. With some time on my hands, much reading was done. SO MUCH.


Get ready for the random stuff:


And the good stuff:









The Weekend Reader- April 18ish (The Hotblooded at WonderCon Edition)

I’ll say right off the bat I was looking for the Apu montage for this song, but I couldn’t find it anywhere:

And what do Foreigner and WonderCon have in common? Both involve someone having a fever of 103. No joke.

But I wanted to thank all the awesome people who came out this weekend before I took a break from all the things for a bit. You guys made it all worthwhile.

The Weekend Reader – April 11ish (The Waiting for Wondercon Edition)

Our quote of the week comes from Jon Hamm:

“There is no world in which I’m winning Best Shirtless anything,” he said. “I’m not a vampire, and I’m not a zombie and I’m not Kristen Stewart or Jennifer Lawrence. I’m not those four things, so I won’t be winning Best Kiss. If there was a category called Best Guy Who Kind of Reminds You of Your Dad. I would maybe win that one.”

It’s been another light reading/too much working week for me. And, no, it wasn’t just watching Captain America over and over (I’ve only seen it twice) it’s been just work. Work work work, it’s all I ever do (That’s a favourite expression of my dad’s, of whom Jon Hamm does not remind me… But I digress.)

Let’s see… what’s happened this week:

Wanna talk to Robert Downey Jr? He wants to hear from you.

He’s also the subject of the best game from this past week

Here’s some insight into Teen Titans (and why I totally don’t understand them)

A fun project you can fund for the next 12 days – She Got Game

There’s a new book out called Mom in the Movies, to which… I dunno what to say

This review had the best pull line I’d ever read: Draft Day Is Like the NFL’sMoneyball Except It’s Cruel to Nerds and Is Terrible


Aaaand, that’s it. I promise at least a WonderCon update this week. As for anything else…