Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Life of a Dramatist (Cont'd)

David Mamet

Lesson time 8:20 min

David experiences the self-doubt common amongst writers. Learn how he overcomes it and the one thing you should avoid in order to forge a path towards becoming a writer.

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Topics include: Self-Doubt • Inaction • Figuring it Out


You know, it's an odd life. And it takes a lot of the ability to put up with uncertainty. And many, many people would rather put up with lethargy and would rather put up with failure rather than put up with uncertainty. It drives some people nuts. What do I do today? How do I start? How do I blah, blah, blah? And a lot of you guys are asking that question of how do I start. The answer is figure it out. Figure it out. You know, don't forget that you're human beings. When you've got something that you really, really want to do-- anyone-- you'll figure it out. Oh, well, I like writing. You know, it's been working out pretty well so far. I like writing as I do it for money. And if you've got trouble being motivated, do something else. You don't got to be a writer. Maybe you're not cut out to be a writer. Find out. You're entitled to find out. People-- there are all these novels written over-- used to be written for 100 years of a young person who said, I'm going to go to Paris to paint. And I'm just going to give it two years. And if at the end of those two years-- well, you're already done. Right? Like somebody who's got something to fall back on will fall back on it. Of course they will. It's like saying about young kids living together, they say they're living together. They're practicing being married. Well, they aren't. They're practicing being not married. Right? Because you're living with somebody, and so now, oh, she burned the toast. I thought she was the love my life, but she burned the toast. Obviously she's not the one. Thank you, honey. And so they get-- we get involved in serial monogamy, which is a practice for not me being married. And being married is OK, we took an oath. We're going to work it out. You know, so usually one person-- and that usually one person is always the wife-- saying don't you dare walk out that door. You know, we're going to stay right here until we work it out. It's just like with writing. Right? If you took that oath-- say, I'm a writer, I'm going to work it out. Stay in that chair until you work it out. [TYPEWRITER CLICKING] I did a few things with the great Jack Lemmon. And we were talking one day about growing up. He grew up in-- he went to Harvard. Grew up in Cambridge. And his dad was a baker. And he said, you know, my dad always said when I get up in the morning and there's no romance in a loaf of bread, I'm going to quit. I thought that was kind of cute. But I always feel that about-- I've been working on stages all my life. I was a kid actor in Chicago. I've been doing this for over 60 years. And I never come onto a sound stage or the back stage-- I'm sure you guys all feel the same-- without a feeling of being privileged and without a feeling of being grateful to be able to come in through the stage door or be able to come through...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

David Mamet

The Pulitzer Prize winner teaches you everything he's learned across 26 video lessons on dramatic writing.

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