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.

Greatful to Aaron Sorkin. Thank you for sharing your knowlege and experience with me. Valuable. I just love masterclass!

The classroom setting was very helpful. I do think it could have been truncated a bit, but overall very informative.

It's great to see the process of a writer's room as well as a professional writer like Aaron's just-like-a-normal-person anecdotes and musings on what seems like a mystical career. Who knew he was human?

I have learned invaluable information from Mr. Sorkin. I'm grateful to the Masterclass company for putting this together.


Comments

Maria S.

I loved each single session and I am grateful for all the valuable and helpful hints, ideas and advices, and - for your powerful encouragement! Thank you from my heart! It's all of great help for me. There is only one little thing that I would have loved to be offered, as a sort of topping on the ice cream so to say (I hope that this metaphor does not look too poor): a brief summary of the issues, that you dealt with in the chapters, on a meta level. I am totally satisfied and grateful for this wonderful and inspiring masterclass at therefore would rate it wit 9,999 of 10. Again, thank you. Maria from Germany (I will be delighted and it would be an honor, if I might let you know, as soon as I finished my screenplay, that is based on a true story - my story. I am working hard on it. A famous commentator of a large worldwide broadcaster put it into the following words: A touching, gripping story. About love, life, suffering, illness, dying and dead - something to be envious about. I laughed and I cried, but I could not put this book down (yes, the book is published, in two languages by now, the third is coming soon, additional following). Maria Elisabeth Schmidt from Germany

George B.

There are practical bits of advice throughout. Interestingly, I am aware of the need to organize my thoughts while keeping the awareness that we writing for a very different end=product. AND, you've got to get through THIS before you get to THAT.

ABDEL-MOUNIM E.

What are the main recommendations that would be helpful for a novice writer to get started on the right track

Eric W.

It's awesome, realizing that the top writers are just bright, hard-working people, and not Gods who float way above our level of talent.

Vicki D.

As a confirmed Sorkinite, I have to say that I am, perhaps, more impressed with Aaron the teacher than with Aaron the writer, which is insane. Time to start this over!

A fellow student

"Add world class actors, world class directors, world class technicians.... [sic] you will feel no pain" Except that's the hardest part. Getting actors attached is a $30k development fund. Getting a director attached without a budget is near impossible. It's a catch 22 in this business and as much as writing is a fun hobby, converting it into a job while competing against every single person aged 20-75 who also considers it to be their right of passage for happiness, is a truly miserable experience. Best of luck to you all, as it is indeed luck that we all need to pray to.

RAAJ S. K.

It's been an amazing experience to hear from the master storyteller! Inspiring and insightful on many levels. Aaron Sorkin obviously scores high for his writing and teaching skills but even higher for his humility and candor! I'm confident this class will help me as a new screenwriter and also as a producer and showrunner!

Wayne J M.

Aaron Sorkin and Ron Howard were enough to make Masterclass worth it all. It is interesting to note there similar interest in space and I sincerely hope that they get a chance to work together on a project that takes them there (and back, of course).

Denis O.

Aaron Sorkin presents his knowledge of Screen and Teleplay Writing in an easily understood fashion. He has also inspired me to write "A Mission To Mars." Will a simple 'Thank You, Aaron' in the credits be sufficient? :-)

Damien F.

A gracious man with excellent people skills. What’s not to like, about this very gifted human being.