From Aaron Sorkin's MasterClass


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.

Topics include: Introduction to the class


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.

Topics include: Introduction to the class

Aaron Sorkin

Teaches Screenwriting

Learn More


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 loved this class. I was taught a great deal of new things, and I got Aaron's take on a lot of stuff I already knew. This was the reason I signed up.

My goal in taking this Master Class was to peer into the mind of someone I consider a master screenwriter. I wanted to unlearn bad habits in my writing. And, Mr. Sorkin provided several useful and valuable nuggets of information and techniques which are helping me. I believe I will be a better writer because of this class. Much appreciated.

I love this class the most of all the ones I’ve taken so far.

Amazing insight and instruction from Mr. Sorkin.


Malcolm W.

Hi, Aaron. thanks for the Lesson. I love how you mention having a foundation of what a characters intention are in the story and what the obstacles are in his way. Best regards, Malcolm


Hello everyone. I am pretty sure only 14 people enrolled in this class before me. I have taken and reviewed this class several times. I am going through it again after taking many of the other writing, directing and film-making courses in Masterclass. All the courses I took were pretty impressive. Because I tend to write the way Aaron does (not his genius, but the tendency to be more comfortable on paper than in person), I thought I would go through the course again testing the knowledge acquired from other courses and personal experiences (including a bad down that left me nearing paralyze that set me back a full year, but I am grateful for my recovery).

Joseph B.

Lesson 1 was slow . . . but necessarily so, in my opinion. This pulled us in to being thoughtful, not expecting too much, too soon--which is how writing goes! He--intentionally or not!--showed us dif between speaking off the cuff and carefully polished prose. He's a real person here, not some writer perfecto. if this guy, who stumbles along a little as he formulates his thoughts as we all do, can do it, so can we. Lesson 2 will, I am sure, get more down to specifics.

Darryl B.

I can totally relate. So much more comfortable writing than speaking extemporaneously. I can think of a million reasons while this might be so, all irrelevant. What is important is Grip It and Rip It. Got it!

Victoria B.

Loved this course so much I'm retaking it. Quick question. Aaron joked in one of the lessons to always include a baby in a pilot, as though it was good luck! Does anyone know which lesson this was in?

Jay R.

Along with the key take-aways of obstacle and intention, I loved the authenticity.

Frank J.

Retaking this courses again. Looking forward to getting over a case of writers block.

Noah H.

I really liked the cadence of how he speaks. It connects and is straightforward while also using similes to relate it in a semi-understandable way. Let's grip it and rip it baby!

Nina T.

I immediately felt comfortable when I heard Mr. Sorkin explain how when he speaks, he's all over the road, but when he writes, he is able to get it right - to communicate clearly what he's endeavoring to say. As a public speaker I feel I am not as proficient in communicating as I am a writer. Thank you for sharing that side of you, it helps to be able to engage in your teachings, knowing you're, in a sense, one of us!


Mr. Sorkin's candor and authenticity made it clear that perfection isn't a prerequisite for screenwriting. I feel at home already.