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Arts & Entertainment


David Mamet

Lesson time 07:19 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.

David Mamet is an absolute genius. Thank you for making his thoughts on dramatic writing available to us. I learned a great deal that I will surely be mulling over for many years to come. Thank you once again.

Outstanding course . In many I forgot to take notes as I was completely absorbed. Not a list of do this or that like some, just talk from the heart.

I love this guy. Great life experience. Wonderful tips. Thank you.

Beyond technics and through new approach (to me, at least), Mamet helped me to stay in the line of what really matters: self-discipline to complete the work. It is a mix of philosophy, drama, stories and life experience that, at the end of the day, makes us follow the righ path.


A fellow student

I felt empowered to go forth in my writing career. And in a separate lesson, I lo fed Neil Gaiman. Thank you.

Joseph C.

no admittance at the time code at 6 minutes and 51 seconds Mr David Mamet got choked up emotional when he said the words "no admittance" I wonder why that choked him up got emotional I loved his class his has the best writing classes point of view is what I grew up within New York and I identify with that

A fellow student

There is something special about listening to him. Very deep. I'm not sure I understand what choked him up about his last story on mindreaders.... or perhaps its because I'm not a mindreader? Is that what's inferred?

Wesley A.

"You're going to fail. So what?" Mamet has always captivated me because of his explicit use of everything in the toolbox of a screenwriter. Some of the best lessons were to be clinical with the craft, embrace the process with discipline, and make it work.


This entire class has been one of the most interesting and inspiring things I've ever encountered. The fact that much of it was also funny as hell was a bonus. Thanks very much to Mr. Mamet

Jared B.

Yeah I would honestly have paid the membership for this class alone. I'm not saying I'm going to write the next American Buffalo anytime soon, but I am going to write something. And that's what this is all about.

Jacob W.

This class alone was worth the price of the membership, and I have a new answer to the question "who would you most like to invite to a dinner party?" Cheers to both David Mamet and Master Class for this insightful series of lessons!

Matheus R.

David Mamet teaches by his own way and rythm, keeping learners completely absorved and hungry for more. You must digest each and every class slowly. They're overgrown with anecdotes and emotion which anable listeners to create one's own significance of what's being tought. I'd say Mamet's classes are profoundly meaningful.

Tolga C.

Thanks. Learned a lot. It was by the way a nice "take it further" to the masterclass of Joyce Carol Oaetes (short stories), where it´s not so much about drama structure but more about getting started and to be creative. Of course David Mamet is a totally different type of teacher, where you have to be a little bit more patient. But all in all 5 of 5 stars from my side, I jumped over my comfort zone shadow. :)

Ashish T.

A very natural and authentic course for all writers. I appreciate the honesty and truthfulness, I appreciate each little advice, And I love the ending of the course, it feels like an ending of a beautiful story! Thank you David!