From Aaron Sorkin's MasterClass

Group Workshop: E is for Edie by Jeanie Bergen

The offbeat characters in Jeanie's script are a hit with Aaron, who warns about the dangers of getting feedback from close-minded studio execs. (Warning: explicit content).

Topics include: Table read • Script feedback


The offbeat characters in Jeanie's script are a hit with Aaron, who warns about the dangers of getting feedback from close-minded studio execs. (Warning: explicit content).

Topics include: Table read • Script feedback

Aaron Sorkin

Teaches Screenwriting

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"E is for Edie," written by our own Jeannie Bergen. This is a half hour pilot. All right. Out of curiosity, because I don't know what you kids are doing these days. OK, I don't know what's down with the kids these days. I try to keep my finger on the pulse of the kids, but what's this internet thing, you guys? Internet? Is that what it's called? OK. Your 60 minute pilot. Is it 60 minutes or 42 minutes? Do you know what I'm asking? It's 60. OK. Your 30 minute pilot, is it 30 minutes or 22 minutes? 30. Streaming or cable network. OK. I'm Sorry. Your show again. Go ahead. All right. Exterior Wisconsin backroad, day. A wood paneled station wagon swerves wildly down the road blasting Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," Super 1994. Rylie Barnes, 9, drives, not well, considering she can barely see over the steering wheel. She's plucky, selfish, determined, blonde, with a chipped front tooth. Edie Barnes, 10, intellectually disabled, stubborn, sits in the passenger seat smiling. She taps her foot to the music. Her shoes are Velcro, the easiest kind. Barney, a small, stuffed, purple dinosaur sits in the back. Rylie veers off the road, screeching to a halt. She gets out, unbuckles Edie's seat belt, tightens the Velcro on her shoe, and leads her into the corn. Interior station wagon later, Rylie peels away, happy. Interior cornfield, day. Edie stands in the middle of the cornfield alone. Interior station wagon, day. Rylie looks in the rear view mirror. Barney is still in the backseat, a smile plastered on his dumb little face. Rylie sighs. Guilty. Interior cornfield day. Edie sits in the corn, scared. A rustling. Rylie stands above her, blocking the sun. Here. Rylie hands Barney to Edie. Edie smiles. Then Rylie runs. Over the cornfield with the station wagon speeding away, and Edie alone, helpless, the title card, "E is for Edie." OK. And let's hang on there for just one second. I just want to make sure that I'm right in this cold open that when you say, "and leads her into the corn." OK, Rylie veers off the road, screeching to a halt. She gets out, unbuckles Edie's seat belt, tightens the Velcro on her shoe, and leads her into the corn. That's the very first mention of corn, right? OK. Got it. That's kind of a surprise. I would just, in the description, a wood paneled station wagon swerves wildly down the road with cornfields on either side. Is flanked by cornfields, or something. On each side the corn is as high as an elephant's eye. A reference to the musical "Oklahoma" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, 1944. Boom. [INAUDIBLE] OK. It's very good. That was the only note on the cold open. Great. Go ahead. Exterior the Grove, Los Angeles, night. Barbershop quartet sings-- Here co...

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.

Started good but got lost in the application with students. could learn more from his process

SO great , I just wish it was more longer , more details in some parts like complete process to write a movie , but in total so great :D

I like his directness. In the 80's my first husband enrolled in NYU's Dramatic Writing Program, compared to that this is a bargain of a lifetime!

Fantastic class! Loved Aaron's teaching style! Highly recommend!


Sophie C.

This has been my favourite part of the lessons so far! So cool to see him in action - learning heaps


I have tried to download the PDF attachment for this lesson, but I keep getting an error message. Anyone else having this issue?

Eric G.

Powerful seeing Aaron in action...if this is him, his success is incredibly unavoidable. Work with him? Wow...I'd like to absorb half that marvelous power and intelligence. He works logically illogically. I love it. Rules, what rules? Rules are for beginners to find a core structure and build their own rules afterward. I also love the 'Jewish jokes," and love working with Hebrews in my film work...just finished two very big projects with two separate Hebrew director/producer/screenwriters and loved working with them...demanding in incredibly professional ways, honest, hardworking, and wonderfully talented. My last film with Israeli director/writer is premiering at this years CANNES Film Festival for the Palm d'Or as Best Short Film. It is brilliantly written, and superbly shot....looking forward to seeing it at the premiere.

Tara Jade B.

This was a really nice episode, very open and honest. And it was really nice to hear Aaron´s feedback, giving Jeanie the encouragement to fight through even though it won't be an easy sell. Also, it was great to hear "Rainman" anecdote!

Philip C.

I took the cornfield scene to be a thought that had crossed Riley's mind, but that she hadn't actually acted upon it. I assume we'd see that revealed in the coming pages. I didn't care for Riley at all during the reading. She came across as simply annoying. I think it might be better if Jeannie wrote it as a memoir and someone else wrote the screenplay. That way there's some objectivity as Aaron suggested. I do think Jeannie will succeed in her mission - it's a great cause and her determination is inspiring.

Carla C.

The lessons are nice, but I can't seem to add attachment, even after converting it from docx to pdf, so... I can't share.

Jorge B.

How awesome is a teacher that recognizes his or her mistakes before the students. Not trying to be perfect all the time, what makes us human is we doubt and we make mistakes. Loved the 70s anecdote about the cbs exec. telling what you will never see on tv. Jaw dropping masterclass.

Judith M.

My personal take on the script is that I wouldn't watch it because the opening was too disjointed from the following scenes. It felt like Jeannie had made an error in judging where her screenplay should start in the overall story. Whilst the second series that she described was full of drama, the opening suggested comedy, and comedy in a very difficult field - that of disability. In 10 pages Riley came across to me as a selfish sister who dumped her sibling, thought nothing of casual sex, was hyper sensitive about her weight - which was never indicated as being excessive by description, and anti-semitic. None of which convince me that she is a character that I want to watch on screen. Which is a shame because Jeannie had a very good idea about raising awareness drawn from her own experiences. I too would like to know what a crowd of Jews look like, unless you place the band as directly outside a synagogue or kosher restaurant, and that in itself also raises questions.

A fellow student

I think Aaron latched onto a major problem-area: Jeanie can't be trusted to write a neutral autobiography, or to punish her characters like a writer should, because she literally loves them. Writing from her own experiences lends a degree of authenticity and sincerely that I certainly admire, but she needs to "thread the needle" between real and realistic-fiction to arrive at the best outcome. As Aaron points out, "Steve Jobs" was his Steve Jobs, so Riley needs to be Jeanie's...well, Jeanie.

Dex D.

Agreed with Aaron's notes; however, I did not think the dialogue between Riley and sexual partner rang true. While those might be the things women think ("barbecue me later"), I don't think a woman would say those things on a first (or second?) date. Also, why does the song need to be "I will always love you?" Music is generally not a writer's call, but a director's (and producer, given the music budget.) Unless it is specific to the plot, leave the direction to the directors (my 2 cents as a director). The opening sequence was spot on amazing and so visual. Wish the rest had lived up.