Thursday, 4 September 2008

Crowdsourcing a feature film: The making of Aaron Sorkin's Facebook the Movie

Now I know the Internet has really arrived.

Aaron Sorkin, the finest writer of his generation, is to write Facebook the movie. This is a very big deal for a man who has pilloried bloggers in the not too distant past, and by his own confession knows little of the way of the web: "My grandmother has more Internet savvy than I do and she's been dead for 33 years."

So the man behind the The West Wing, Charlie Wilson's War, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and a whole host of other feature films and stage plays has plunged himself into Facebook research.

To begin with he's started a Facebook group, Aaron Sorkin and the Facebook Movie, and set himself up a profile page. Trouble is, Mr Sorkin has restricted access to his profile page to close friends only.

I don't think you're really embracing this social networking malarkey, Aaron.

But to be fair, and to be perfectly honest, I don't really get Facebook either. As far as I can see, it is by far the weakest link in the social networking chain.

Ok, I've got my profile up there, with my avatar. I've joined a couple of groups (including Aaron Sorkin and the Facebook Movie). I've added a few friends. I've been poked. And I've had a sheep thrown at me. In the words of Sorkin's President Bartlet: "What's next?"

Mr Sorkin is going to find out, thanks to an inspired piece of crowdsourcing, as he says on Facebook: "I honestly don't know how this works, which is why I'm here. If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them as best I can. If anyone has any comments I'm glad to listen. And if anyone has any Facebook stories I think they might be helpful."

So the master writer may not have all the answers - but he's on the road to find the correct questions. An example to journalists everywhere.

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