They say “write what you know.” And for Aaron Sorkin, that means writing from a privileged (and often self-righteous) perspective, focusing on how genius and principles collide. With all that in mind, consider this fun fact: Steve Jobs once asked Sorkin to write a Pixar movie.
On one level, that makes sense. Sorkin’s an acclaimed and popular writer, thanks to
The West Wing, Moneyball, Sports Night, The Newsroom and The Social Network. He’s got a gift for brisk and compelling dialogue. But if you have a hard time imagining what a Sorkin family-friendly cartoon would look like, you’re not alone. The screenwriter confessed he never managed to get his Pixar pitch beyond the first act. Still, Sorkin shared what he did have with Digital Spy:
“You cannot imagine how limited my imagination is. It’s really remarkable that I’m able to earn a living in a business where your imagination is everything. What I was thinking about was everything we use to write: papers, laptops, those things. The writer, he’d be a secondary character. All these objects you’d find in an office [would come to life]… And it all stems from this old joke about a screenwriter who is experiencing terrible writers’ block, and it’s been going on for a year and he hasn’t been able to write anything.One day he comes down to his kitchen and right there on the table is a screenplay, and it’s got his name on it. He reads the screenplay, and it’s fantastic, and he takes it to the studio, and they really like it, and straight away say, ‘We’re going to make this movie! Here’s your cheque!’
The next morning, the writer goes down to his kitchen and there’s another screenplay with his name on it. He reads it and it’s also fantastic, so he takes it to the studio, and the same thing happens. So finally, the next night, the writer decides to tip toe downstairs in the middle of the night to see what is going on. Sure enough, there’s a little leprechaun in his house, typing away, and the writer says, ‘I don’t know how to thank you! You’ve saved my life! You’ve revived my career! I’m celebrated! I can pay my mortgage! I’m so happy - is there anything I can do to repay you?’ And the leprechaun says, ‘Well, it would be great if you could share screenwriting credit with me…’ So the writer says, ‘Go f**k yourself.’ So my Pixar idea is that instead of it being a leprechaun, it’s all the objects in his office. What if all the objects in his office are trying to help him out?”
Instead of cars, toys, or emotions being anthropomorphized, it’d be office supplies. (Like a female paperclip who cries on the job, because Sorkin.) So, It’s about a guy who has a whole team rallying around him to make him look great even though he doesn’t deserve all the credit. So, Steve Jobs for kids? Hm. I guess there’s something satisfying in knowing that even a writer as successful as Sorkin has some seriously shit ideas sometimes.
For bonus Pixar that could have (not should have) been, check out this video about the abandoned emotions of Inside Out.