From Aaron Sorkin's MasterClass

Closing Thoughts

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

Topics include: Aaron's final advice


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

Topics include: Aaron's final advice

Aaron Sorkin

Teaches Screenwriting

Learn More


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, 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 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.


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

I loved virtually sitting in a writers room, the collaboration and the students' pitches.

As a huge Sorkin fan, I was always going to love this course. For $90 it's a bargain, because it would cost far more to take him to lunch!

I have learned that I'm not alone when I get stuck on something in a story. That 90% of writing is banging your head against a wall, and to really capitalize on the 10% of the fun, writing aspect. I learned not to be so hard on myself and to write in my own voice and not to give a shit about what other think.

I really enjoyed this master class. However, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of the logistics or mechanics of going from episode idea to the complete set of scene index cards, to the actual script. Throughout all of the West Wing writers room segments, they never really got passed just a few general ideas for the teaser.


Jerry B.

Great class; by an incredible writer with great vision and vast industry wisdom. I Learned many things; and thought provoking- and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

glenn B.

My bad idea: A vote is taken to launch a strike(against whomever). It's unaminous. An agent walk in an whispers in the interim presidents ear. Seems a couple of loser hoods got lucky and kidnapped the daughter and held her in the back of a muffler shop. Figured they could make an easy 25 million ransom. A jailhouse snitch gave them up for a get out of hsil free card.

glenn B.

Best class I've taken so far. The effort put into this is obvious. I see why he's successful. Glenn

Keiran G.

Excellent class. He took the time to teach, as if he actually cares about us - the faceless students- learning new skills, and to show his concepts in real world application at the writing table. I learned and I enjoyed it! Thank you Aaron Sorkin.

Jorge B.

Just amazing class, Aaron is a really good teacher ,loved the class, the tips, all the info and the worth in failure. He gives you the confidence to try and do things outside the box, don´t do what is easy, don´t do only the things you think are your safe zone. Get out, go out, don´t try to impress do your stuff your style. Really motivated and thankful! bravo!!!

Vicki S.

As an instructor, Aaron Sorkin was approachable, humble, humorous, and knowledge of his craft. I particularly liked the Writer's Table sessions with the young writers. It was so interesting to see the different styles and approaches to the creative process, and the breakdown of a West Wing script provided valuable insight. Overall, this MasterClass was perfection from beginning to end.

Charles T.

First of all, Excellent. Got many insights into the strengths and weaknesses of my writing. I do wish he had talked about tempo. Everything from music to theater, to speech writing, to screenwriting needs to have tempo. By that I mean the juxtaposition of seriousness and comedy, from fast pace dialogue to quiet scenes, from daylight lighting to nighttime. It doesn't matter what medium is used, If there is a constant speed of dialogue or notes in a piece of music the ear gets tired. If there is a constant heavy drama or a constant series of minor chords the emotional impact gets tiring. I wish he had talked about the timing of these different elements.

A fellow student

G. M. THOMAS, WA Sorrkin has the group interested in flyinjhg into outer space. Stephen Spielberg has challenged him to write screenplay that will help NASA raise 25 billion .

A fellow student

Well, I'm off to not make 'McDonald's Hamburgers'. Fare thee well, fellow writers.

Devin H.

Sorkin is, obviously, a great writer, but what will stick with me is how genuine and caring he comes across. He seems to be a superstar without the ego who genuinely wants the best for people around him. We need more Sorkins in the world, and I'll do my best to be one of them.