From David Mamet's MasterClass


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

Topics include: Closing Thoughts


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

Topics include: Closing Thoughts

David Mamet

Teaches 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.

This was the best class I've seen so far and one of the most informative pieces of content I've ever seen. Ever. It was fantastic.

Thank you Mr. Mamet, for helping me become more ambitious and focused! Fantastic class! PS: I highly recommend the following of David Mamet's books: On Directing Film, Writing in Restaurants, Three Uses of the Knife, True and False - Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, A Whore's Profession (compilation of four of his essay books). Best wishes!

Great opportunity to learn from one of the master story teller's of our time.

I learned a lot about dialogue and the way people speak, and to give a person/character an objective even within conversations was something I hadn't thought of before.


Sarah O.

I broke down in tears at the last 2 minutes Go for that other door be fearless and never give up. Thanks Mr.Mamet

Doha I.

THANK YOU David, from all of us at DOHA FILM INSTITUTE (Qatar) striving to create a dynamic, passionate new generation of story-tellers and filmmakers in the middle-east and MENA region. Your final words had me tearing up too....Xx

Carl B.

Thank you, Mr. Mamet. Words of wisdom are easy to come by, but hard to live by. Though living is what we're here for it's not always easy to feel, write, convey those words into the wisdom we've lived. Be well CJRB

john K.

Dear David, The most clear, comprehensive, rhythmical and inevitable masterclass I have ever seen. Wotan talks shop. You quote an anecdote about Hemingway. It wasn't Hemingway. Gene Fowler, the author of The Great Mouthpiece and many other titles was asked how hard it was to write. He replied, "It's easy. All you have to do is sit and stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." I hope that your teeth will always itch. I look forward to anything from your pen. Warm regards, John Spaulding King


Every day, one thing for business and for art, one step closer, pushing forward and inward when that something beyond consciousness drops on to the page. A long aspiration, persevering walk in the same direction, expectant of fruit. Sounds like farming.

Shayne O.

Stop wishing start doing. Thanks David. I'll see you on the other side of the No Entry door.

Antony P.

David, your Master Class is peerless. I had been listening to this class including your summation in the car, and was powerfully moved by your final words. I had no idea the true depth of feeling you infused those words with till just now. I don't know about anyone else, but I feel almost beholden to you for caring so deeply about us as students. I feel like, well, I am all out of excuses now. They're out there waiting to give you there money, are you gonna take it, are you brave enough to take it? I am paraphrasing here of course. " What is stopping you? What's the worst that could happen? You could fail. SO what." It is these Duh moments that hit you sometimes, hit you right between the eyes. Oh ya... I could fail.... so fuking what? When I first started as filmmaker and fashion photographer, courage was my aim. Was what I did, courageous? Did I apply myself to leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of excellence? If yes, then I succeeded in my aim. Somewhere expectations rose to the point were I became a world traveling fashion photographer, and later becoming a commercially succesfull movie director was expected of me, as almost a matter of coarse. My first 16mm film class instructor made me promise to come back and speak to his class, presumably when I was famous. No pressure there. My mentor here in LA, he of 35 feature films, including KICK BOXER and Bronco Billy put it to me before a host of prize winning films, that he could think of 4 name directors that I was better than. Ultimately... the nagging questions, what if I fail, what if this what if that successfully kept me a hired gun and not a director of my own material. That changed in part by letting it all go, and spending a year totally immersed in film, not to get an edge, but simply to fall back in love with the medium, and learn to be grateful that some pretty amazing people seem to think I have enough talent to make a dent in the universe. That is when things started to become more fun again. Then Master Class comes along and it's like a fat pitch out over the plate. My eyes widen, and that holy shit anticipatory realization hits you, I am about to absolutely murder this ball, and just when I least expected to. But isn't that just like life? Here is to going through that door with the NO ADMITTANCE door. Feature Film or Bust. Thanks again David! One last thing, I just love that you can bench press like 9000 pounds. Me too. It is nice to see that artists of your caliber are not ashamed of the of healing powers of heavy ass weights; IRON.


Thank you, David, for a class that clearly came from your heart. It's easy to teach technique. What you taught us was how to connect with our audience in meaningful, human ways - and that is very difficult to teach, but you succeeded. I will definitely go back through this class and make sure your lessons become part of who I am as a writer.

Joe G.

This was definitely the most emotional class I've experienced here. HIs heartfelt and emotional closing was a direct challenge to me and everyone else who witnessed it. So powerful! Thank you for that David Mamet.

Maarten E.

Inspirational closing! Thank you for the series, it's been a delight and it will carry me forward through that door ;-)