#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.)

HE REALLY SAID THAT. IN PRINT. IT’S THERE.

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.

**#NoDisrespectToBenAffleck

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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.

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…

Weekend Reader – April 4ish (The Spoiler-Free Steve Rogers Edition)

Has anyone else just had the worst week?

Well, it would have been the worst week, except I got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So it was the best worst week.

Did you know Cap has his own froyo? So many flavours. Including Cheesecake! I wouldn’t think he’d be into that, considering how long he was on ice. Insensitive? Anyway…

My only Cap-related complaint is that’s it’s really hard to find non-3D screenings. That’s the definition of first world problems right there. Like I said, anyway…

If you read the header of this post, you know what I’ve been reading this week. And you don’t need me to tell you how good this movie is. I’m sure there are lots of reviews you can read. But, if you’re looking for your Avengers news fix, you are in the right place:

An interview iffy in quality from The Guardian

THR had SO MANY THINGS

 

A WARNING: this link is a bit misleading… Someone cut together scenes from different movies and used the word naked in the title… But, really, he’s wearing pants. Mostly.

(And go see Snowpiercer as soon as you have a chance)

As for the other Avengers…

And…

 

The Weekend Reader March 28ish – (The Stuck In An Airport With You Edition)

Did anyone else notice March went by really, really quickly?

Also, did anyone else spend an inordinate amount of time in March reading about Chris Evans?

Just me? Alright…

All the Captain America-related reading will be found in next week’s Reader. As a result, you might notice a dearth of reading material this week. I’ve been on the road working, I swear. Not just swooning over Chris Evans. In fact, as I write this, I am stuck in an airport lounge waiting  for a delayed flight. As far as I know,  Chris Evans is not here, nor is he responsabal for the flight delay. So I think I need to stop thinking about him…

 

Ahem. Anyway:

Attention female filmmaker! There’s grant money out there to finish your films.

Are there differences between writers and the mentally ill? Not so much.

New York state may give incentives to encourage diversity in writers rooms.

David Goyer really doesn’t care what you think (umm… and maybe he should? Possibly? Perhaps?)

The Black List has TONS of partnerships happening right now. Be sure to check them out!

Jason Bateman’s BAD WORDS opens wide this week. It’s a filthy, funny adult comedy that you should see if you haven’t

And the best thing I saw this week (or, possibly, in 30 years…)

 

More next week. Until then, Chris Evans! Um… OK, I did honestly think that. I’m not gonna lie.

 

 

The Weekend Reader – March 21ish (The FREE STUFF AT MEGACON Edition)

Yes, MEGACON attendees, you heard right- We want to give you free stuff! If you didn’t get a download card in your swag bag, let us know on Facebook and we’ll send you the info on how to get your download when it’s ready- just for you!

Also, to tie up the rest of the con loose ends, two awesome artists that should have been on the list of awesome ladies from Toronto Comicon:

The incredible Dear Alice (She does so much different and cool stuff, it’s impossible to talk through it all. I don’t see a link to her astonishing Loki print, which I have previously pimped. But maybe if you get in touch and ask nicely, she’ll let you buy one…?)

Have you ever seen 8-bit Golden Girls Artwork? You have now. Thank  you, K8 Bit Hero

And because I have been lost in Con-Land, here’s a very rudimentary Survival Guide For Comic-Con from The Mary Sue (which applies to all cons, really…)

And one that will melt your frozen and otherwise unavailable heart: A very special teen invents the comic book vending machine

In movie news this week, someone gave M. Night Shayamalan enough money to make another movie, so pretty much anyone who wants a career in the movie business still has a chance.

Also, if you’re ever feeling low after a rejection, read these rejection letters. It’s all about finding people who believe in you, so keep on keeping on, my friends.

(And I am woefully behind on my reading, so please feel free to shout at me if there are topics/articles/discussions that I’m missing out on that fit the Twelve Percent mandate! Or, hey, if you want to do a Guest Blog, just say so!)