David Mamet

Lesson time 7:28 min

David leaves you with parting words and an emotional story from one of his favorite science fiction novels.

David Mamet
Teaches Dramatic Writing
The Pulitzer Prize winner teaches you everything he's learned across 26 video lessons on dramatic writing.
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The people watching us pay me a great compliment to turn it in. I'm not giving you any advice I don't give myself. I'm not giving you any advice I don't give my kids, who are writers. What I'm telling you is the way I live my life, other people might-- certainly-- are going to live their lives differently and so are you guys watching because you have to come to it on your own. It occurred to me there's a verse in Proverbs, which is pretty wise stuff in the Bible. It says that the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. And this verse came home to me very strongly once. I lived for many, many years up in very rural Vermont and I was laying a stone wall. I used to lay stone wall. And what happens when you lay stone wall is there's some stones which just won't fit, right? You want the stone to fit in a certain way. You say, oh I get it, this will fit here with that. I get it. That will fit here with this. Oh, there's a stone over there that I remember. But there's one stone that looks fascinating but it's never going to fit any place. It's just got the wrong angles and it's just wrong and it nags you. And at some point, you're going to get to some point in the wall where that's the only stone that will fit. So the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, the most important stone. So artists are in effect the stone that the builders rejected. If you look at Winston Churchill-- he was out of office, he was disgraced from World War I. Everybody thought he was an old. Buffoon he was just good for one thing, which was saving Western civilization. Or Ulysses S Grant. Was last in his class at West Point. He was a drunkard. He was indigent when they found him at the beginning of the Civil War. He was selling firewood and starving to death. After the Civil War, he was a dreadful drunken president. The only thing he was good at was at winning the Civil War. He was just good at that one thing. So I'm a guy who got very, very, very, very lucky. And I grew up in Chicago in a time when the people around me were creating their own theaters in garages. William H Macy and Laurie Metcalf and John Malkovich and John Cusack-- Annie Cusack and John Cusack. And Joey Montana. William Petersen, Dennis Franz. Andre de Shields. All these people all creating little garage theaters and I walked into the middle of it and I said, well, didn't I get lucky. And I started writing plays. And I never stopped. And you can do it too. Or if you want to try, you can certainly try to do it too. What's stopping you? That's the question. That's the question of stoical philosophy. Stoa is Greek for porch. And the Stoics were the guys who sat out on the porch. So when you say the Stoics, it sounds like a very heavy term. But it means the porch guys. So the porch g...

Write great drama

David Mamet sat in on a poker game full of thieves and left with the inspiration for American Buffalo. Now, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Glengarry Glen Ross takes you through his process for turning life’s strangest moments into dramatic art. In his writing class, he’ll teach you the rules of drama, the nuances of dialogue, and the skills to develop your own voice and create your masterpiece.


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

Loved it! Raw and to the point. Will be coming back again to these lessons.

This masterclass was up and down for me. It didn't hold my attention as raptly as some of the other ones. But the things he had to say about story writing were still worth the watch.

David's whole masterclass is quotable and highly inspirational.

Reinforced lessons, beliefs and rules I know. And stressed the importance of action and discipline.


Roy S.

Thank you David, this was one of the best classes I've taken, It feels like 50 years of knowledge, cutting through most of the BS that is usually told in these type of classes. P.S. when I found you wrote one of my favorite shows (The Unit) I was just blown away and yet it makes so much sense now. Thanks again!!

Vera D.

This is the BEST COURSE I have taken in Masterclass! Listening to the lectures made me cry, just from seeing how deep my mind had travelled, and how beautiful it was what I saw. I have learned more here than in all of the courses on writing combined, I am in a different world now--on the other side of the door that says "No Admittance." Thank you, David Mamet! You changed my life!


Thank you, David. I am a poet and have already taken Billy Collins class but I've seen some of your plays and I love the theater so thought I'd try your class. I continue to mull over your lessons. Now I'm going to check-out Ruth Draper. Thanks for the lead.

Mary-Anne P.

Inspiring, very funny, story teller, extensive knowledge of his art - I looked forward to hitting the play button everyday. He has given me honest direction for my script writing with some great insight into human behaviour thrown in. This is a masterclass I will come back to again and again and never forget.

laura J.

What is it that almost made his cry, the door had more symbolic meaning than explained, touching moment, meaningful. Could he had been on the other side of the door and opened it not by chance but inside himself, he heard the voice. Okay, I will bite, it is true that we can hear from the other side, it is inside of each of us, some stronger than others. In the world of science, it is called Epi-Genetics where we are only beginning to understand the meaning of it.

Master B.

Multi-Dimensional Talent, Experience, Training and Works! Thank U David Mamet!

Antonio L.

Mamet's "No BS" way of thinking and teaching is just wonderful. the reason he writes in the style he does, and why he's so successful doing it, is obvious once he starts talking and you hear his philosophy. I love that he talks about technique, some of which a writer might not think is all that important, but can be the difference between mediocrity and brilliance. He also reinforces the most important part of any craft...just sitting down and doing it. What's stopping you?!

Jaume M.

One of the best lessons I ever heard. It is true that one of the hardest job of a writer is to accept himself as an artist. You have teach me this. So I just thank you very much David.

ivis P.

I love this class. What I enjoyed the most was the "incidents". I was riding my bike today, thinking about some "incidents" in a story I created, and it was a fun exercise. Thanks, David Mamet for sharing all your knowledge and experience. You are one of the best!

Allen K.

I get the opportunity to take classes at work as an Electronics engineer... Having gone through a couple and realized I was doing graduate level work without getting graduate level credit, I've made it a policy to decline a rigorous approach. Consequently, I decided to try to just listen and enjoy David. His class is the first I audited end to end and I binge-watched the whole thing in two or three nights... I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and at the end of the whole thing, I knew as I started, I will never write drama... His closing lecture gave us an important parable of reality by which to measure our desires, capabilities and drive. I will make sure to credit David when I find a way to effectively reconstruct and offer that parable to others I care about.