Tuesday 15 May 2012


This is from his commencement speech at Syracuse University. I have spent three years blogging about the film industry and being 'an artist' and what success is; constantly going on about the journey. About how you can't skip a step.

And I've never succeeded in explaining what I mean. Partly because I'm just not a good enough writer, and partly because I don't totally know what I'm talking about. And also, it's because I am on that journey,  somewhere in the middle of the road like most of you who read this.

Not only is Aaron Sorkin one of the all-time great screenwriters, but he knows about the journey. And a few days ago at Syracuse, he pinpointed and explained it exactly with this anecdote about the casting of 'A FEW GOOD MEN'.

Read it! And read it again!

"When we were casting my first movie, "A Few Good Men," we saw an actor just 10 months removed from the theater training program at UCLA. We liked him very much and we cast him in a small, but featured role as an endearingly dimwitted Marine corporal. The actor had been working as a Domino's Pizza delivery boy for 10 months, so the news that he'd just landed his first professional job and that it was in a new movie that Rob Reiner was directing, starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, was met with happiness. But as is often the case in show business, success begets success before you've even done anything, and a week later the actor's agent called. The actor had been offered the lead role in a new, as-yet-untitled Milos Forman film. He was beside himself. He felt loyalty to the first offer, but Forman after all was offering him the lead. We said we understood, no problem, good luck, we'll go with our second choice. Which, we did. And two weeks later, the Milos Forman film was scrapped. Our second choice, who was also making his professional debut, was an actor named Noah Wyle. Noah would go on to become one of the stars of the television series "ER" and hasn't stopped working since. I don't know what the first actor is doing, and I can't remember his name. Sometimes, just when you think you have the ball safely in the end zone, you're back to delivering pizzas for Domino's. Welcome to the NFL."
-Aaron Sorkin

And I also loved this: 

"For the class of 2012, I wish you joy. I wish you health and happiness and success, I wish you a roof, four walls, a floor and someone in your life that you care about more than you care about yourself. Someone who makes you start saying "we" where before you used to say "I" and "us" where you used to say "me." I wish you the quality of friends I have and the quality of colleagues I work with. Baseball players say they don't have to look to see if they hit a home run, they can feel it. So I wish for you a moment—a moment soon—when you really put the bat on the ball, when you really get a hold of one and drive it into the upper deck, when you feel it. When you aim high and hit your target, when just for a moment all else disappears, and you soar with wings as eagles. The moment will end as quickly as it came, and so you'll have to have it back, and so you'll get it back no matter what the obstacles. A lofty prediction, to be sure, but I flat out guarantee it."
-Aaron Sorkin
You can read the whole speech here

Care to share?


  1. What else can be said, man? The guy is a genius. His words are like butter.

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. I actually wanted to read it twice. And I did. Awesome stuff.

  3. Awww. I'm such a sucker for good speeches. Thanks for sharing this and for being a constant source of inspiration to the rest of us.