Writing

Closing

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.

Play
David Mamet
Teaches Dramatic Writing
The Pulitzer Prize winner teaches you everything he's learned across 26 video lessons on dramatic writing.
Get All-Access

Preview

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.



Reviews

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

This class has given me a magnifying glass (fundamental principles of craft and story) through which I may better focus rays of light ( my desire to write those things that interest me) so that I can spark a campfire of story that draws people in and warms their hearts, minds, and souls with new discoveries about life and about ourselves.

I have a better understanding of story and scenes and editing and so much more! Thank you David whose name means beloved!

David Mamet is amazing. I have watched the last class 4 times, shown it to my wife and my 15-year-old twins. I will be starting the class again this week.

David hits every nail on every head. Smart and immensely satisfying


Comments

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.

Philip G.

His closing story reminded me about his experience working so hard to be a writer and not have to drive cab or work in boiler rooms anymore. I'm very touched.

Martin E.

His lesson was direct and boiled issues down to their essence. His reference to being mindful of the race you entered, and not to conflate them to fame. The teaching of the root word of Stoics, and connecting it to something we all can connect to and understand, people on porches observing life as it passes by. I love the idea of write for whoever will come. A theatre can be made out of any space, including a garage, where we are left to tinker, and face our audience.

A fellow student

Authentic, entertaining and educational, in that order. He makes some really insightful observations but at times baffles with random brain farts like “there’s not that much to learn for us humans” or “... and that’s because French movies are so f-ing boring” (as if he’s trying to be a character in one of his plays). Enjoyed listening to him very much.

A fellow student

Amazing. David is truly a Doctor in the matter, and not just that, but the way he teaches is just so effective! I am amazed of all the information that I kept JUST LISTENING! There was a point I stop writing notes and I was just so into his conversation that I was like "Screw this writing! I just watch it again later!" Thanks to all the team that made this production! You guys are so worth it! Like we Latinos say: Gracias Totales!

Marcello T.

Hello everyone, I was wondering why David Mamet cried at the end of his last video. He cites a novel by Alfred Bester and comments tearfully on a scene of the novel. Do you understand why he cries? I have an understanding of the metaphor that made him cry, but I wanted to hear your opinion. Thank you!

James I.

Mary put her finger on the class for me as well. I love Mamet's work, glad I took the class but to have him take his classic plays step by step, devoting a lesson to each let's say, would have been very instructive. I would not discourage anyone from spending the time taking it but I do think he could have given the course more depth.

Mary S.

Mamet is certainly a very talented writer/directer and a very interesting human. Unfortunately he is not the best teacher. He offered a lot of his philosophy but not enough of how he makes the sausage. I had the same experience with Martin Scorsese. Would like to have been shown scenes from GG/GR or American Buffalo and have him walk through what he was trying to do. I also got the sense that he was somehow restrained in his language and was trying to hard to be the talmudic scholar. And maybe I am too slow to understand but I was not sure why the mind-reader story was such an emotional climax. But I have been through six classes now in three weeks and despite my whining, griping and complaining about nuanced issues I am getting inspired to become a more creative soul and Mamet has contributed to that feeling. It's also great to spend some time with folks who have a gift who you would never meet in my life.