Aaron Sorkin teaches you the craft of film and television screenwriting in 35 exclusive video lessons.
In his first ever online class, learn from Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Only available through MasterClass.
Watch, listen, and learn as Aaron teaches the essentials of writing for television and film.
A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.
Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Aaron will also critique select student work.
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.Take the class
Every great story is born from intentions and obstacles. Learn how to build the "drive shaft" that will set your script in motion.Take the class
How do you know if your idea is good enough to turn into a script? Aaron walks you through the steps every writer should take to test an idea—and decide whether it will work best in TV or film.Take the class
Aaron shares some of the decisions he made to develop some of his most unforgettable characters—like The Social Network's Mark Zuckerberg and The West Wing's Toby and Leo.Take the class
Your characters don't have to be like you—or even likeable. Drawing on examples from A Few Good Men and Steve Jobs, Aaron explains why he always empathizes with his characters even if he disagrees with them.Take the class
Good research is the key to a great script. Bad research is a waste of time. How can you tell the difference? Aaron shares lessons from Malice and The Social Network to help you gather the information you really need.Take the class
You have pages of research—now what? Avoid clunky exposition and learn how to seamlessly weave research into your story.Take the class
Aaron knows that the audience isn't just watching his work. They're participating in it, too. Learn how to write stories that will keep them engaged and entertained.Take the class
The rules of great drama aren't new. Here, Aaron explains how most of them were laid out more than 2,000 years ago by Aristotle in his Poetics, and how to use those lessons to become a diagnostician for your own story ideas.Take the class
Page numbers don't sound exciting, but they're a great tool for tracking the act-structure and pacing of your story.Take the class
Even Aaron gets writer's block. Learn how he gets unstuck and what writing tools he uses to make sure he's ready when inspiration strikes.Take the class
While workshopping J.J.'s script, Aaron shares his tips on writing action scenes that move as fast on the page as they will on the screen.Take the class
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).Take the class
Discussing Roland's script, Aaron reveals a simple trick that writers can use to justify improbable events in their stories.Take the class
Evelyn's TV pilot kicks off a conversation about opening scenes and the importance of showing your audience something they've never seen before.Take the class
After workshopping Corey's script and learning about his background, Aaron discusses the importance of having confidence as a writer, and shares his own origin story, starting with his days as a struggling New York actor.Take the class
A great story is more than just a collection of great scenes. Learn how to give your script momentum from one beat to the next.Take the class
Your script only has one opening scene. Make it memorable by introducing your theme, grabbing the audience, and setting up your characters' intentions and obstacles.Take the class
In a study of a scene from Steve Jobs, Aaron explains how high stakes, strong intentions & obstacles, and competing tactics make for an exciting scene to write.Take the class
Aaron analyzes a classic scene from The West Wing: the scathing confrontation between President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and Governor Robert Ritchie (James Brolin).Take the class
If you want to write Aaron Sorkin-worthy dialogue, learn from the master himself on how to make music with your words and put them to the test by performing your own scenes out loud.Take the class
Aaron does a deep dive into the musical nuances of dialogue in the Bartlet–Ritchie scene.Take the class
Rewrites aren't a sign of a bad script; they're a sign of a good writer. Hear how Aaron reworks and strengthens his screenplays during the rewriting process.Take the class
Rewrites aren't a sign of a bad script; they're a sign of a good writer. Hear how Aaron reworks and strengthens his screenplays with help from trusted advisors.Take the class
Aaron creates a virtual writers’ room to “break” part of the Season 5 premiere—an episode he's never seen.Take the class
Aaron discusses what is needed in the teaser of the show and how to reverse engineer a plot.Take the class
Aaron and the students continue to work together to break episode 501 of The West Wing.Take the class
How can research drive the plot forward? Aaron and the students discuss the limitations of the 25th Amendment as a plot point.Take the class
Take Aaron's advice: When you have great characters, use them. Learn how to keep your protagonists active.Take the class
Who's got a bad idea? Aaron and the students run through various plot ideas as the writers' room continues.Take the class
As Aaron says, "You don't have to assault the audience with plot." The writers discuss the value of pacing—plus the limits of reality within fiction.Take the class
Aaron and the students wrap up the virtual writers' room and discuss lessons learned.Take the class
You've got a screenplay—now it's time to pitch. Learn what questions Hollywood's decision makers will ask you during a pitch and how to effectively answer them.Take the class
Aaron turns the tables on his writers and pitches them his idea for a brand-new TV series called Mission to Mars.Take the class
In the final lesson, Aaron offers his parting wisdom and leaves you with one more assignment that will last the rest of your life.Take the class
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