How I Got Rob Lowe to Play Me on TV

Rob Lowe 2

How @JohnCorcoran got Rob Lowe to play him on TV (Click to tweet)

Have you ever heard anyone say this? When they make a movie about my life, I want to be played by Brad Pitt. Or George Clooney. Or Rob Lowe.

In my case, that actually happened.

Hereís the story. Many years ago, when I was working at the White House, a friend who I had worked with in Hollywood called me up.

She knew a guy who was working on a new TV pilot about the staff at the White House. Would I mind talking to him about what it was like working at the White House?

I said sure.

It turned out the guy was Aaron Sorkin, and the TV pilot was for The West Wing.

Sorkin had a couple movies called The American President and A Few Good Men under his belt so I knew exactly who he was.

I told him what it was like working at 1600 Pennsylvania, which, from my perspective, could be pretty mundane. I wasnít all that high on the food chain so itís not like I was negotiating with the President of Russia on a daily basis.

John Corcoran, small business attorney, small business lawyer, blogger, lawyer, entrepreneur

Definitely Not Rob Lowe

But I told him what I knew and I answered his questions.

(By the way, in case the Secret Service is reading this: itís not like I was giving away state secrets. I didnít have that high a security clearance.)

Of course, The West Wing debuted that fall and it was a huge hit right off the bat.

Pretty soon, Sorkin had a whole host of advisors with serious high-level White House experience on staff to give him story ideas. He didnít have as many questions for me anymore.

Later that fall, I wrote the 1999 Thanksgiving Proclamation.

The Thanksgiving Proclamation is a largely ceremonial essay issued by the President each year.

(Here’s what the LA Times had to say about the 1999 Thanksgiving Proclamation a few years back.)

Back in the ďpony expressĒ days before TV and radio and the interwebs, the Thanksgiving Proclamation used to have more historical significance.

It had been first issued by President George Washington and the Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War had been credited with helping to heal the rift between the north and the south.

Back then, Presidents didnít have a huge staff, and so they didnít have young staffers like me to delegate their writing to.

I remember sitting down to write the Proclamation in my office in the basement of the Old Executive Office Building, picturing Presidents Washington and Lincoln sitting in the White House with a quill pen under candle light writing out their Proclamations.

Talk about some serious pressure.

Anyways, I was pretty proud of the end result so I mailed Sorkin a copy.

I kind of forgot about it.

The next fall, I turned on the Thanksgiving episode of The West Wing. To my amazement, the writing of the Thanksgiving proclamation was a key storyline.

Throughout the episode, the speechwriters are running around the West Wing, talking about how they have to write the Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Then, in the climatic scene, President Bartlett (played by Martin Sheen) turns to read a line from the Thanksgiving Proclamation, right before walking out into the Rose Garden to ďproclaimĒ Thanksgiving.

And he reads the exact first line from my 1999 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Word for word.

I nearly swallowed my drink. How did it feel? In a word: cool.

So who was playing the role of the writer who produced the Thanksgiving proclamation? Rob Lowe.

So thatís how I got to be played by Rob Lowe on TV.

Now what does this have to do with business? The message here is about opportunities and helpfulness.

When my friend asked me if I would talk to Sorkin about what it was like working at the White House, I could have said no.

I could have said Iím too busy. I could have gotten in hot water, even if what I told Sorkin was not all that earth-shattering.

But I didnít. I decided to be helpful.

I didnít know where it would lead but that didnít matter. I could help someone else out. That was what mattered.

Itís kind of like that in business. If someone asks you for help – even if itís unrelated to the product or service you are selling – just do it.

Be helpful. Be useful. It will pay off in the long run.

†If you like this message, please share it!† “How @JohnCorcoran Got Rob Lowe to Play Him on TV (Click to tweet).”



  1. You’ll find it near close to impossible to see well-updated visitors on this theme, fortunately you come across as like you understand the things that you’re talking about! Cheers

  2. Wonderful site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!|

  3. Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any suggestions?|

  4. It really is nearly impossible to come across well-educated parties on this content, although you seem like you understand what exactly you’re preaching about! Bless You

  5. that this} a paid {subject|topic|subject matter|theme} or did you

  6. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!|

  7. It’s actually nearly extremely difficult to encounter well-informed users on this matter, still, you seem like you realize the things you’re posting on! Appreciate It

  8. It’s actually near unthinkable to encounter well-educated individual on this matter, regrettably you come across as like you fully grasp those things you’re indicating! Excellent

  9. bookmarked!!, I like your web site!|

  10. Wonderful site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!|

  11. My Partner And I simply have to inform you that I am fresh to blog posting and clearly enjoyed your article. Quite possibly I am most likely to bookmark your web post . You simply have magnificent article content. Be Thankful For it for telling with us your web information.

  12. Link exchange is nothing else except it is simply placing the other person’s website link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in support of you.|

  13. Outstanding story there. What occurred after? Good luck!|

  14. dgvsedvg says

    method to hack marvel contest of champions for free cheats and hacks

  15. In 2008 I was watching reruns of the West Wing and Rob Lowe’s character was writing a Birthday card and wanted to “nail it” as he put it. At that moment I thought it would be cool to be a White House speechwriter. I watched a lot more episodes and became enamoured with character Sam Seaborn. I didn’t know at the time that he was based on a real person.
    I’m not saying it was entirely due to that instance, but over the next 7 years I completed a marketing degree, a graduate degree in journalism, and I’m planning to start law school in the Fall of 2017. My ultimate goal, white house speechwriter. I’m 43 now and it’s unlikely that it this point I can reach that goal I’m not going to stop trying. For a guy who dropped out of school at 16, I never thought I would have 2 degrees and be considering a third. I also never imagined I would be working at an ad agency as a copywriter either. I guess I can now say thank you to the man who in some way created the moment that started my journey by simply taking a call from Aaron Sorkin.

  16. Though we’ve not yet met in person, I for one can attest to your sncere desire to help others. Keep doing what you’re doing John.


  1. finance app says:

    News info

    I was reading the news and I saw this really interesting topic

  2. click says:


    Wika linked to this place

Speak Your Mind


nine + 8 =