Kevin T. Porter’s “Sorkinisms: A Supercut” video on YouTube shows how Aaron Sorkin recycles his favorite phrases — and chicken-clucking — in his various projects.
“Jaw-dropping,” says syracuse.com’s Geoff Herbert .
“Creepy,” declares “Sports Night” star Josh Charles.
But “Sorkinisms” isn’t supposed to be damning (or creepy), says its creator; instead, it’s “a tribute to the work of Aaron Sorkin: the recycled dialogue, recurring phrases, and familiar plot lines.”
I got Porter on the phone this afternoon and the 22-year-old Los Angeles-based video producer told Romenesko readers:
“I started this project back in 2010, but I started it in my head a long time ago, probably when I was getting into ‘The West Wing’ and ‘Sports Night’ in 2004 or 2005.”
Porter was just 14 at the time.
“The first TV show I really loved was ‘Sports Night.’ My mom bought me the DVD box set when it came out and it was an eye-opening experience.” Young Porter was surprised to see that TV and actors’ dialogue could be so good.
“I remember I used to take the DVD audio and make MP3s and CDs out of them and fall asleep listening to them.
“West Wing” was extra special to Porter because “my first TV crush was Allison Janney.”
The University of Texas Radio-Television-Film graduate says he’s noticed for years that Sorkin has favorite phrases that he recycles. Highlighting them on YouTube wasn’t “an insanely original idea” because “within Aaron Sorkin fandom it’s a known thing.”
He was just the first to document it in one video.
“I realized two or three months ago that ‘The Newsroom’ was premiering this summer. That’s when I got my act together” and set a deadline. He wanted “Sorkinisms” online when “The Newsroom” debuted.
Porter finally finished his video on Monday morning — Sorkin’s HBO series aired the night before — and put it on YouTube. It went viral almost instantly.
“I definitely underestimated people’s interest in it,” he says. “I estimated it would get probably a couple of thousand view the first week. But the reaction has been larger than I ever imagined. Did I think the LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, Grantland and the Huffington Post would pick it up? I didn’t.”
“Sorkinisms” has over 287,000 views in just three days. Friends, family and strangers are congratulating him on his fame.
“My dad sent me an email that was just a collection of Sorkinisms. There wasn’t an original word [from his father] in it, but it still made sense.”
And what did he think of “The Newsroom”?
“With all the stuff going on, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch it,” he says.