I do not diminish the incredible symbolic importance of a black man getting elected president. But my euphoria was a smart guy getting elected president. Maybe for the first time in my lifetime we had elected one of the thousand smartest Americans president.
I've never written anything that I haven't wanted to write again. I want to, and still am, writing 'A Few Good Men' again. I didn't know what I was doing then, and I'm still trying to get it right. I would write 'The Social Network' again if they would let me, I'd write 'Moneyball' again. I would write 'The West Wing' again.
I am uncomfortable talking about the things that I write. It seems unseemly to me. I have no problem at all when I see anybody else talking about the same project, but I feel my work should speak for itself.
My parents took me to see plays, starting from when I was very little. Oftentimes, I was too young to understand. I don't know what my parents were thinking - 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' when I was eight years old, that kind of thing. So lots of times, I didn't understand what was going on, but I just loved the sound of dialogue.
I have a lot of respect for people who are great at ad-libbing and for writers and directors who are able to create a scene in which that works. Judd Apatow is fantastic at it. But as an audience member, I like the sound of something that's been written - I like it to sound written.
When a movie is being rolled out, the studio publicists and all our individual publicists get together and come up with bullet points and talking points - 'Make sure you stay away from this,' and 'Don't say that quite that way, because that quote can be taken out of context,' and that kind of thing.
The rules are all in a sixty-four-page pamphlet by Aristotle called 'Poetics.' It was written almost three thousand years ago, but I promise you, if something is wrong with what you're writing, you've probably broken one of Aristotle's rules.
I find television, and particularly live television, very romantic: the idea that there is this small group of people, way up high, in a skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan, beaming this signal out into the night.
I'm more comfortable writing traditional protagonists. But 'Steve Jobs' and 'The Social Network' have antiheroes. I like to write antiheroes as if they're making their case to God about why they should be allowed into heaven. I have to find something in that character that is like me and write to that.
I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white, and it says, 'You may have fooled some of the people some of the time, but those days are over, giftless. I'm not your agent, and I'm not your mommy; I'm a white piece of paper. You wanna dance with me?' and I really, really don't. I'll go peaceable-like.
When we were doing 'The West Wing,' the hardest thing about doing 'The West Wing' was being compared to yourself. You go out there and want every episode to be as good as your best episode. I wrote 88 episodes of 'The West Wing,' and when you do that, one of them is going to be your 88th best, so your 88th best better be pretty good.
You know, one of the things I like about this world, or at least I like about the way we're presenting this world, is these issues are terribly complicated - not nearly as black and white as we're led to believe.
I get the 'The New York Times' and 'Los Angeles Times' thrown at my door every morning. I'll read the front page of 'The New York Times,' then the op-eds, then scan the arts section and then the sports section. Then I do the same with the 'L.A. Times.'
When I write something, I want the best director to direct it. And that's not going to be me. So when David Fincher comes along and wants to direct 'The Social Network,' when Bennett Miller comes along and wants to direct 'Moneyball,' or when Danny Boyle wants to direct 'Jobs'? Hallelujah. I want them directing it.
There are some screw-ups headed your way. I wish I could tell you that there was a trick to avoiding the screw-ups... but they're coming for ya. It's a combination of life being unpredictable, and you being super dumb.
I've loved every minute I've spent in television. And I've had much more failure, as traditionally measured, than success in television. I've done four shows, and only one of them was the 'West Wing.'
I am truly at my happiest not when I am writing an aria for an actor or making a grand political or social point. I am at my happiest when I've figured out a fun way for somebody to slip on a banana peel.
I have all of the Apple products. Everything I've ever written, I've written on a Mac. My first computer, my roommates and I chipped in, and we got that first Macintosh - 128K. It had as much memory as a greeting card that plays music.
There have been times - and not just on 'The Newsroom,' but on 'The West Wing,' 'Sports Night,' 'Studio 60'... - where it was hard to look the cast and crew in the eye, when I put a script on the table that I knew just wasn't good enough.
I've got plenty of quirks. I go to an office early in the morning. Early in the morning is really good writing time. I take anywhere between six to eight showers a day. I'm not exaggerating. I'm not a germaphobe: it's all about a fresh start.