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.

Many far the best of the Masterclasses. Genuine insight and truth.

I've learned that my love for David Mamet's writing is a direct result of him baring his soul on the page. He's inspiring, encouraging, and brutally honest. Thank you Mr. Mamet for sharing your mind with us.

I think with this class just as any other, there was little bits here and there that I found interesting and applicable to myself. And of course parts that I disagreed with for one reason or another. But as far as his timeline, and showing how controversy is important, I found Mr. Mamet's MasterClass to be very informative and helpful.

Lovee the beaver theory ! It is itching ! :)


Dale U.

Since my goal is to become a novelist I wasn't sure what I would learn from a playwright/screenwriter/director. I have learned that writing can span many genres and you need not pigeonhole yourself into just one category. Many thanks David. This class was truly inspiring.


I didn't agree with everything he said. I didn't laugh at the jokes. I didn't love all the stories. But this masterclass provoked more thought and introspection than any other and that ending just floored me.

A fellow student

Inspiring, honest, heartfelt, encouraging but not misleading. What an amazing course. Thank you David Mamet.

Angelica K.

It was the greatest inspiration I have ever had, God bless you, David Mamet!

Will M.

I haven't been this inspired in a long time. Thank you, David Mamet, you are a gift

Joanna G.

Satisfying. Mamet gives us his all. Learned, natural, insightful. Exactly what you want from a class.


Last 3 or so days I have been engaged with this Masterclass. I'm so glad I signed up despite my wife telling me to take a masterclass in relationships. This was a good way to pass time. What a privilege to hear David's insights on so many things in a business that I have had a love/hate relationship with. I loved the variety of stories David tells to illustrate his lessons. They were so engaging and I look forward to rewatching and doing the workbook, as well as diving in to some of the works of David's that I have yet to see and revisit other works that I want to see again. David employs interesting techniques worth studying and knows how to keep our attention and has a lot to share. I'm grateful for his wisdom and experience. At the end of the day, how do we begin writing our play, our story? Perhaps that's what's so scary or not scary and holds many of us back as we try to figure out whether we are doing it right. This course taught me that the "how" is not as important as actually doing it. But I already knew that and I think many us who are writers know that as well. You have to sit down and do it and figure it out and suffer and all of that other shit that comes along with the territory, including failure. I think one of the things that has held me back as a writer is that I don't like to figure things out. So I get stuck on a part of the story and just quit. But quitting is not going to cut it. You'll never get to the end if you quit. So I hope this course pushes me not to quit on my stories, wherever they lie, however they emerge, when the spirit moves. Now I'm in the Virgin Islands and have no intention or interest going to Hollywood again or even New York to be a writer or actor. My wife wouldn't let me anyway and I'm not leaving balmy weather for hailstorms and fires. I guess I can live with that. I teach kids my version of English and that satisfies me for now. I can say I'm grateful for my life, but there is a part of me that itches for something more... Putting together the perfect story - just one - like several stories that I teach would be an awesome way to spend the rest of my life. Maybe it just doesn't have to be the perfect story. Maybe it just needs a beginning, middle and end. I've decided I'm going to start something and I'm going to end up somewhere. So that's it. Time passes. Time to get on with the show. Thank you for this class.


fabulous class! full of life-enriching experiences and encouragement! David Mamet is a master artiste and a soulful storyteller! From my limited understanding, he bared his soul to share the his inner feelings and struggles with his own process of writing and as a performing artiste. The last lines (that brought tears to his eyes) were prophetic (aka Bach:) )! I want you to walk through that door ... that which says 'no admittance' on it...It kind of sums up life in show business!

Lester P.

I really enjoyed your class. The wealth and breadth of knowledge you imparted about all aspects of dramatic writing was such a joy to listen to. It also was very inspirational. The anecdotes you used from the many great teachers and people you were inspired by helped foment ideas of my own that I am now consumed by. Thank you very much.


What an ending. Beautiful. Thank you for the knowledge and inspiration David. I appreciate your honesty and and willingness to share your life and experience with us.