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.

It helped me to think in a different way and approach writing in a different way. Very helpful at times.

He's and excellent teacher and I appreciate his honesty about the craft.

You can already see the intent for writing this and I can see Aaron is a genuine guy - how could you not be when he writes the things he does

very well organized. I enjoyed the screenwriters room when they were working and commenting on each others work . Sorkin is a well developed teacher.


Comments

Wendy J.

Aaron taught a lot during the course and left me much to think about as I work on the final drafts of my screenplays. I wish the Director of this masterclass had thought to structure the filming more like Spike Lee's classes. When discussing a particular scene Spike and the scene could be seen in the same shot - Spike didn't have to repeat what we'd already seen on screen. Aaron's Director cut away and from the scene and had Aaron repeat everything we'd just hear. Spike's Director didn't show him trying to search his memory trying to recall of what he'd written on ten year old scenes. Aaron should have known ahead of time what research material he'd be presenting during the lesson. He could have had notes on his desk so he didn't need to search his mind for the information he needed. As it was set up, at times Aaron looked incompetent. I'm absolutely sure he is a great writer and if he'd been given good direction, he could be a perfect teacher. His warmth, openness and generosity were awesome and that is what made learning from him so precious. It behooved the Director and editor of his lessons to show him in a good light if only to respect the intentions of the MasterClass team and the needs of the students who tuned in to learn from this extraordinarily talented writer. I wish they'd go back and shoot it again or at least edit out the repetitive scenes.

Julianne B.

Some people love to teach and they are good at it, Mr. Sorkin doesn't claim to be that person. I appreciate his self awareness that he is only sharing with us his processes and opinions. There were a few things that I will be looking for in my dialogue and scenes now, plus I feel that I am in good company when it comes to the physical writing style I have while "thinking" about how a scene should go or to find a better transition or dialogue...my pool guy must think I'm a bit psycho sometimes when I am pacing in my living room & acting out scenes to see if they work. LoL Also I won't be afraid to have a really long draft, I will become the sculptor who chips away at the stuff I don't need to find the story. Thank you, Mr. Sorkin

mu U.

Mr. Sorkin, thank you for sharing some of your writing wisdom and real-world experience with us. My only criticism of this course, is summed up with the question: where were the older writers in the group workshop episodes? They may not be as camera pretty as the five young people included, but it didn't feel like a varied enough representation of new or budding writers. The youngins chosen seemed to be bright, and several had acting experience and were, for the most part, well-spoken, but I would have enjoyed some older folks thrown into the mix, to bring more depth of life experience, wisdom and ideas. Did a Millennial cast the group workshop? :) Thanks again.

Steel B.

Sorkin is a genius, he is detailed, gets to the point, and is a fantastic teacher. 10/10

A fellow student

Aaron Sorkin will go down in history as one of America’s greatest story tellers. Thank you

Pamela

To be honest at the beginning I didn't feel that I was getting enough out of it. I felt like it was a review of Aaron lifes' work; not that it isn't fantastic! Then after the group got together and started hashing out different scenes or their individual plans of what they were working on, it then gave me a comparison of some of the things that could happen to develop a script, show or pitch. Now, I was learning something and I could comprehend the points Mr. Sorkin talked about earlier in his discussions. This was the first class I've taken in the Masterclass series and I can say that I think this is going to be so enlightening. Awesome beginning!

dynamikdave

great class. I definitely learned some things that I could add to the way I write, and different ways to look at things.

Dionne L.

I loved this Masterclass, watching Aaron improve the scripts of already good screenwriters was a highlight for me, you see the "master" at work.

Dayal

I really loved Aaron. Your uncertainty in exposition is so lovely and funny. I'd like to be your friend Great masterclass

A fellow student

Wow. I was expecting a 2-3hr class so to be sat in on 7hrs was simply great. Thank you Aaron for your time and energy. Great class.