Film & TV


Aaron Sorkin

Lesson time 4:30 min

Meet Aaron. He's an Oscar winner, a TV hitmaker, and the writer of some of the smartest dramas ever to hit the screen. And now, he's your instructor.

Aaron Sorkin
Teaches Screenwriting
Aaron Sorkin teaches you the craft of film and television screenwriting.
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You wouldn't be Sidney Ellen Wade by any chance, would you? There's always bit of concern about the two Bartlets. You want answers. I think I'm entitled to it. You want answers? I want the truth. You can't handle the truth. This is the voice demo. The voice demo is flaky. I've been telling you that. This thing is overbuilt. It worked last night. It worked the night before that. It worked three hours ago. It's not working now, so just skip over the voice demo. Fuck you! Everything else is working. In future, if you're wondering, crime, boy, I don't know is when I decided to kick your ass. for hard luck guys. May I continue with my deposition? You know, you really don't need a forensics team to get to the bottom of this? If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook. Writing, like any other artform, there are chunks of it that can be taught, and there are chunks of it that can't be taught. So we're here for the parts that can be taught. The way you're going to be taught these things is, there are teachers. You can be a playwriting major or screenwriting major. There are books of varying quality that you can read. You can listen to schmucks like me talking. Every writer is different, so it's entirely possible that the way I work and the way I approach it, another person would not be able to relate to at all, and they're going to do their thing. But my hope is that I'm able to say something in here that will be meaningful to some writer, and will allow them to do what they want to do and get better. Here's what we're going to talk about. Unfortunately, and I apologize for this in advance, when I'm speaking out loud as opposed to writing, I swerve all over the road. I can't go in a straight line from the beginning of the sentence to the end of the sentence. And I would much rather communicate with the world on paper, where I have an opportunity just to be alone in my room and get it right. I communicate much better on paper than I do when I open my mouth. So I apologize in advance. But we're going to talk about intention and obstacle, which is the most important thing in drama. Without that, you're screwed blue. Without a strong, clear intention and a formidable obstacle, you don't have drama. We're going to talk about success and failure and the importance of failure. I'm going to try to give some examples from things that I've written that you might be familiar with. There are mechanics. And then there's, as a golfer would say, there is the grip it and rip it part. What golfers mean by that is, a golf swing has a zillion different components. And if you're learning how to play golf, you're going to be told, well, your hips have to be here, and your left arm has to turn here, but this has to swivel through first. This has to go to-- it's...

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 love to imagine and I have ideas but to Penn it down I need to know how to write. .I am learning and will start writing.

Still early days however as a golf lover, the 'grip it 'n rip it' analogy puts us on the right track :-)

I learned how the mind of a genius works. It's so interesting to me that Aaron's presentation is slowed down, somewhat calculated while his characters speak like locomotives. I kept wondering whether his compliments to his students were genuine. I loved getting to know Aaron

Aaron letting us into the writing room was amazing. This lesson was extremely helpful.



Hello from Canada! I already like the class with it being a video format and it is already much easier to listen to than some of the lectures I've had to listen through in the past elsewhere.

Oona L.

Really love the way this entire class is structured and the lesson plan. (I'm a swerver when I try to tell a story as well, too many details ...)

A fellow student

Hello, All-- How do I get Aaron's screenplays? I'd like to study the format. Thank you!


Greetings from DC. I feel like I have all these ideas but no method put them on paper, or how to keep developing them. I'm looking forward to this class.

Anna-Maria B.

Hi, I am at the beginning of a ten-month-gap-period, where I want to focus on my fictional writing (I am a journalist). I so much enjoyed the intro, very much looking forward to this class!

Beverly (Eve) S.

I had a fantastic after-life recall after having cardiac arrest due to a unique DNA trigger in my heart (without disease). I lucid dream constantly, so I would like to release all the wild stories in my head. Some are Dramas that build and having the ability to constantly change the script I feel like there might be a way to dump this constructively onto paper. Alan, your swerving from start to finish follows the way my brain delineates content each night.


this class is excellent for writers as well as those would want to experience behind the scenes process.

Rohit S.

Nice to join you all. I'm an Attorney and write as part of my work. However, this is a completely different beast. Love to connect with you all.

Śmigły .

Hello - After informing my son that I was writing a stage play, and sent him an early copy to review, he generously enrolled me in this class. Over time, I will be listening and re-listening to each of these classes.

tuphr N.

Hi guys! As someone who's been writing prior to taking this class, I understand how sometimes keeping one's thinking focused on the thread of a story is tough. Screenwriting is hard work, I find the story construction being the hardest part. I hope to learn how to go about it more comfortably from Aaron!