Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.
It's important to remember that, first and foremost, if not only, this is entertainment. ""The West Wing"" isn't meant to be good for you.
Any time you get two people in a room who disagree about anything, the time of day, there is a scene to be written. That's what I look for.
I grew up in the theatre. It's where I got my start. Writing a television drama with theatrical dialogue about the theatre is beyond perfection.
Well, I must tell you I write the scripts very close to the bone. So I'm writing episode seven now and couldn't tell you what happens in episode eight.
Certainly, last year we did an episode about the census and sampling versus a direct statistic. You just said the word ""census,"" and people fall asleep.
There's a great tradition in storytelling that's thousands of years old, telling stories about kings and their palaces, and that's really what I wanted to do.
There really isn't a story that you can't tell inside of it. It's very much a clearinghouse for anything that goes on in the world. So you're not at all limited.
It's populated by people who, by and large, have terrific communication skills. Every day is an extraordinary day. For me, it was just a great area for storytelling.
A news organization has a much different responsibility. I might not be telling you the whole story. I might not be telling you a story in a manner that is properly sophisticated.