From Aaron Sorkin's MasterClass

Introduction

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

Play

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

Preview

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. Match.com 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.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Aaron Sorkin's talents extend beyond the page: his radar for good ideas is exquisite, and his honesty about the business is refreshing.

Mr. Sorkin is a wonderful teacher and the writer's room lessons were a masterful way of illustrating many of the concepts he talked about. I really enjoyed the class and will be revisiting it again and again.

I am not a pro writer - I am a musician - but I do have a musical theater piece I've written that I continue to polish. Always liked Aaron's work and I'm pretty sure I played his bar mitzvah.

Great start - concise, personal and very motivating! Thank you.

Comments

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!

Angharad

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

A fellow student

Very enthusiastic to start this. I can relate to the fact of being able to communicate on paper. Its the start of a learning and growth process

Matthew C.

I am exciting in learning an idea of a process to screenwriting because most of the time I feel like I am just throwing ideas on paper.

Klancy B.

Loved his honesty with the fact that he struggles with speaking out load. Makes him relatable and makes me trust him more.

Victoria D.

Excited to write in the form of screenwriting, and learning the difference from novel context.

Hugh T.

Intention and obstacle. He got to it right away. So I'm two minutes into this class, and already know this guy is at the top of his game.

Pamela A.

Just a little inspirador. Just a line to star, i hope was just the kick off. I need to write now.

Alex

I've wanted to do this for so long! I can hardly contain my excitement to delve in and learn from you, Aaron!