Film & TV

Closing Thoughts

Aaron Sorkin

Lesson time 14:46 min

In the final lesson, Aaron offers his parting wisdom and leaves you with one more assignment that will last the rest of your life.

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Aaron Sorkin
Teaches Screenwriting
Aaron Sorkin teaches you the craft of film and television screenwriting in 35 exclusive video lessons.
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Preview

So the good news is that you, none of you, none of the five of you are fooling yourselves. You are all professional writers. You're very good. Even better news is, is that as a writer you get, it's the opposite of being an athlete, you get better as you get older. Not just because you've lived more, but it's practice. You've done it a lot, and you've found your voice. You've found your stride. And you know what works for you and what doesn't. Now, you have to get used to tuning out other voices. OK, as a writer, whether you're writing a 30-minute TV show, a 60-minute TV show, or a screenplay, in this day and age, and I mean because of social media, you're going to hear from a lot of people. And what you don't want to do is to try to write in order to change someone's mind. OK? Let's say this show is on the air, or your show is on the air, and three or four episodes in. And you're reading a critic, whether it's the New York Times or Dumbo at dumbo.com, has a problem with your script. There is a very human instinct to write the next episode trying to address that person's concerns. It's going to be a fool's errand. First of all, it is impossible to try to-- it's impossible to make everybody happy who is watching your thing. Second of all, Dumbo at dumbo.com doesn't know what they're talking about, OK? That's why they write a blog and you write what you write. You've got to have Corey-level of confidence in yourself. Now, that's not to say that you should tune our voices of people you trust. Hopefully, you're working with a director who's a real partner, or a producer who's a real partner. Hopefully, you have friends in your life. You just need one, two, three who you can show the pages to and they'll be encouraging and honest. When you're doing that, it's helpful if you ask them questions, rather than just giving pages and saying, well, what did you think? OK. Ask questions like, did you get it? Did you understand this and this and this? Did you feel anything when this happened? And then the final piece of wisdom I want to impart to you. I know that you guys are living in a tricky area that exists between-- listen. I'm Basically, you guys want to be professional writers, right? You want to pay your bills writing. That is your goal right now. I caught a lucky break. I never had to write anything for someone else. I never had to be a staff writer on a television show I didn't really like. But I could do the work and get a paycheck. And I was a professional writer. My first play was A Few Good Men. Like I said, it was a fluke. It opened on Broadway. I was brought out to Los Angeles to turn it into a movie. That was a hit, and from then on I just got paid to write what I wanted to write. Careers generally don't happen like that. So I don't blame you for if you have-- for tryi...


Your script starts here.

Aaron Sorkin wrote his first movie on cocktail napkins. Those napkins turned into A Few Good Men, starring Jack Nicholson. Now, the Academy Award-winning writer of The West Wing and The Social Network is teaching screenwriting. In this class, you’ll learn his rules of storytelling, dialogue, character development, and what makes a script actually sell. By the end, you’ll write screenplays that capture your audience’s attention.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I already know a fair bit about screenwriting, but it's nice to get the perspective of a successful writer like Aaron Sorkin

The Yo Yo Ma of dialogue...who must tire so from all the flattery. Just 'slip his meal under the door, and let the guy write', as he's said.

After going through these lessons, I declare Mr. Aaron Sorkin my guru of screenwriting. I have replayed many times his lessons just to get back that muse, the drive to write and every time, I would learn something new. Thank You, Mr. A. Sorkin for sharing your knowledge of the craft.

Great introduction and overview of what lies ahead. Looking forward to seeing Aaron in action, teaching what he does so well.


Comments

Bayegnak

Excellent! A lot of the discussion will benefit those who have already tried their hands at writing and experienced some of the difficulties he highlights and explains how he would get out of it. The course could use some 101 to set some foundations.

Nick F.

Loved Aaron's part in all of this. Enjoyed his talent, depth, insight, credibility, and enthusiasm. What I didn't agree with was his assessment of the people he is giving his advice to. These "young" inexperienced people are more influenced by what they have read and the movies they've seen rather than by life itself. The action stuff was hokey garbage that goes more over the top with every sentence. The other stuff was just regurgitated Gen-X garbage. Trying to artificially pull at people's heart strings while being commercial at the same time is at best a dubious feat. The public knows when they're seeing something new and real. I don't believe any of these writers, if in fact they proceed with the stuff they have, will go anywhere. Thank God for that.

Jess J.

Congrats everyone! Message from the MC Community team -- please make sure you join Aaron Sorkin's Class Community! There you can discuss writing techniques and other class material, network with other students, trade tips and reviews, and stay up to date on class contests & activities. Link here: https://community.masterclass.com/c/film-tv/as-workbook Also, FYI! We recently launched a contest to win 2 tix to Sorkin's latest screenplay adaptation on Broadway, To Kill A Mockingbird. Learn more and enter here: https://community.masterclass.com/t/contest-win-tix-to-aaron-sorkin-s-latest-broadway-show-to-kill-a-mockingbird/35249 Contest closes this Sunday, Nov 24th 2019 at 10pm PT. Can't wait to see your submissions!

Melissa S.

What a fabulous MC. Entertaining as well as insightful. Will watch it all over again at some point. Thank you Aaron Sorkin!

Cory

Soooooooo awesome! I create educational courses for a living and this course was absolutely sensational. Amazing insights, entertaining as hell, and so many golden nuggets throughout. Aaron Sorkin, you are my Yoda for screenwriting!

Tatjana A.

Thank you, it was exactly what I was looking for. I thought that ratio between writing and not-writing was an idiosyncrasy of mine, happy to find out that I was wrong. Sharing videos from actual classes was also very educational.

Palmer E.

Thank you Mr. Sorkin, I will repeat the class starting tomorrow to look for any gems I missed this time through.

A fellow student

I just want to say a huge thank you to both MasterClass and Mr. Sorkin for this amazing class. I was seriously blown away by the honesty and detail in which Mr. Sorkin explains the outs and ins of screenwriting and its business. My area is fiction writing (although you never know what the future holds), but I wanted to complete this class to learn more about the techniques used when writing films and TV series. I got much more than I expected and am grateful beyond words, really. Except for the incredible advice, I was astounded by how humble and unpretentious Mr. Sorkin is when sharing his thoughts. I will definitely, as the master urges us in this final lesson, take chances and do my thing going forward. And I’ll think a lot about intention, obstacle and the music of dialog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Jeff D.

Aaron Sorkin, you are an amazing writer, of course, an a wonderful teacher. Thanks for all of the insight and honesty. As a university professor, I'm always looking for anything that can inspire my students...to get that "light" to turn on in their head. (A magical moment and what I love about teaching) You have offered up so many of those inspirational bits of knowledge that really does inspire my students. Thanks for that!

Master B.

Aaron Sorkin Thank U 4 Your Informative NRG, Wisdom and Know-How(Hands On) Guidance of "The Craft"! I'll Continue Studying William Goldman's work and May He Rest N Power. Continued Success to U and Your Impressive Panel of Talented Writers!