One of my favourite shows that is no longer on television (common when you watch Netflix) is called “The West Wing” and one of the reasons is that all of the characters are fully drawn and are chock-full of nuance and erudite dialogue but sometimes their best messages are the simplest ones.
As evidenced by the episode “Hartsfields Landing” and this dialogue as spoken by the Communications Director, Toby Ziegler to the President about how you are already awesome, you don’t need to act like it. Sorkin does dialogue better than I do right now, so here is the dialogue from that scene-
“You’re a good father, you don’t have to act like it. You’re the President,
you don’t have to act like it. You’re a good man, you don’t have to act like it. You’re
not just folks, you’re not plain-spoken… Do not do not do not act like it!”
Substitute the appropriate and specific qualities and then say it about yourself.
Because it bears repeating, you are awesome. Do not, do not, do not ACT like it!
I don’t claim to be a professional writer, but I do enjoy it and I often turn my blogs into speeches which have been very successful. As an actor, I am always looking for wonderful dialogue to say on stage. I am deeply enamored with people who write well and one such writer is Aaron Sorkin. You may know him from a series called, “The West Wing” or “Sports Night” or more recently “Newsroom”. I love the way he writes. It is evocative of the 1940s which is a favourite era of mine characterized by “fast pace” and “rat a tat” ala “His Girl Friday” and “The Philadephia Story”. I love it so much that I was working on a monologue for an audition and in working on it, I wanted to be sure I had all the words right so I went hunting online for the script of the piece I was looking for in “Sports Night” (admittedly being lazy because I didn’t want to have to listen, pause and type) but I found the original uncut script, and while its not bad writing, it has a lot of extraneous words and character choices that serve to diminish the strong character profile as built by Felicity Huffman as Dana Whittaker.. but I digress. The point of this, is that may have been a first draft or a second, but the words that ended up on screen as said by the actor were so strong and concise and I think that is a missed lesson by writers because their “baby” is perfect and they toiled over it, and sweated over it and shed blood to create those stories and characters, but often it takes an outside influence or some distance to see how much better it can be by tweaking the original brilliant concept.
So what’s my takeaway from this? If a wonderful writer, like Aaron Sorkin, has less than majestic phraseology and he has issues getting it “right” the first time, what are you so worried about? If you want to write, get started today! If its bad, it will get better. If you are already a writer, great, keep writing!
This book that I have linked to below is all about abandoning your fear and “STARTING” to go after your dreams. Check it out!