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Aaron Sorkin on being nominated for an Emmy

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Aaron Sorkin profile

'West Wing' creator surprised by TV success

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- In his first two years of television, Aaron Sorkin has written 70 scripts -- reams of dialogue -- for the Emmy contender "The West Wing" (NBC) and the recently canceled "Sports Night" (ABC).

His prolific tendencies might make you think he has pages of pent-up prose in his head. That's not usually the case, he says.

"I do fly by the seat of my pants," says Sorkin, who is in his late 30s. "Don't be misled by the fact that I have an idea for something in the future. ... That's an anomaly that I have an idea for anything other than what happens on the next page of the script I'm writing right now."

He admits he didn't know the rules of television writing when he began. He had penned the play and screenplay of "A Few Good Men" (1992). His massive research for "The American President" (1995) inspired "The West Wing."

"My first draft of 'The American President' was 385 pages long," he says. "I delivered it to (director) Rob Reiner in a shopping bag."

The average screenplay typically runs 120 pages.

"I'd really fallen in love with my own voice and went on talking for a while," Sorkin says. "I was also enjoying being the President; I was starting wars, ending wars (and) fixing the economy. I had opinions about everything."

From the coast to coast, Sorkin is receiving praise for his efforts. Many Washington insiders watch the show and send him e-mail. Members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored "West Wing" with 18 Emmy nominations.

"When I write something, it's always a surprise to me that anyone outside my immediate family is interested in it," he says, "so we never expected anything like this."

Until Emmy night on Sunday, Sorkin will be busy writing the words spoken by all the president's men ... and women.




RELATED STORIES:
Emmy nominee Spencer juggles political, personal as 'West Wing' chief of staff
August 29, 2000
A presidential sheen
August 18, 2000
Sorkin still writing on 'Sports Night,' 'West Wing'
March 16, 2000
Allison Janney: Life on 'The West Wing'
February 7, 2000

RELATED SITES:
'The West Wing' (NBC)
Emmy Awards


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