I hate politics.
Then why oh why oh why oh does watching The West Wing make me want to be a politician? (Yes, I know the show went off the air a few years ago, but I’ve only recently started watching the show over again, starting with episode 1).
I mean I really hate politics. The bureaucracy and the amount of time it takes to get something done makes Broadway look as easy as a game of checkers, played by yourself.
Seriously, the writing is so exceptional and most important, the characters so beloved (even the flawed ones), that the show makes the audience want to get off their couch and join the world that the writer has created. Great characters in dramas of any kind, are just ones you want to hang out with for awhile, aren’t they?
The world of The West Wing seems more interesting than my world. And it seems more fun (even when Pakistan and India are on the brink of a nuclear showdown).
I used to say that powerful writing reached across whatever fourth wall was created and grabbed an audience member by the shirt collar, pulling them into the world of play.
Now, I think great writing is writing that makes the audience member want to get up out of their seat and run straight at the wall so fast, that they’d blast right through it.
Want a real treat? Find a copy of this and don’t watch episodes of The West Wing. Read them. Or read the script of your favorite TV show or movie. Reading these scripts gives you a whole new perspective.
And it teaches you how to make sure your shows are jumping on the page, so producers like me will want other people to see it.