Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Interpreting Feedback & Evolving Your Story

Issa Rae

Lesson time 12:11 min

Discover how to present your vision to others, get the most from critical feedback, and find the right partners for your project.

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

Topics include: Maintaining Your Voice Through Feedback · Extract the Best Parts of Every Idea


[MUSIC PLAYING] - (SINGING) Do-do-do-do-do. [MUSIC PLAYING] - So when you go in to pitch a series, you have to have a few things-- who the characters are, what the world is, and why you're the person to tell this particular story. It's optional, but suggested you can give story ideas for future episodes. As you get the green light to make the series, you have to create a pilot breakdown, an outline, and then you go to draft. In the draft process, your show may change, some of your characters may change, because you're starting to get notes from producers, execs, et cetera. And so for me, a lot of changes happened in that pilot stage, while writing the pilot. Initially this was going to be a show about Issa, set in her workplace called Nonprofit, based off of the non-profit world. And the character of Molly was more of a side character, best friend, that she vented to from time to time. But we didn't necessarily follow her world. Then the character of Daniel, formerly Danel, was kind of her love interest. But there was no Lawrence. And it came down to like the seventh draft of being set in this world where the executives were like, we really love this Molly character. And they were like, this is really interesting, and will you consider exploring this relationship a bit more? And I loved that idea. I was like, yeah, I would love to kind of center this friendship, and turned in another draft. And it kind of evolved from there. And so the entire premise of the show-- while We Got Y'all, of course, stayed and was a prominent part of the series, the focus shifted to the Issa and Molly friendship. And I credit HBO with making that suggestion. I had to have done about nine rewrites of the original pilot before it got green-lit. But I think you should not be afraid to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I do think that the pilot got better with each rewrite. I am just a very impatient person, and I'm not a perfectionist. And I thought that the third rewrite to the fifth rewrite-- those were shooting material. But I am very satisfied with the last draft that we turned in. And we were still rewriting even in edit. And so much can change along the way. Lawrence was not going to be in the second or third episode. I didn't see him past the first season. And we discovered certain things in shooting that pilot, and then in writing, in the writers' room and exploring, that made it feel worthwhile to do. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the most exciting opportunities I got was to work with ABC and Shondaland to make my first network comedy series, and it was called "I Hate LA Dudes." And for me, that was just a huge milestone. I was in the midst of the second season of "Awkward Black Girl," and I had never written anything for television before. And as such, I was extremely nervous. I felt like this was my one opportunity with a legend in television that I admire. This extremely successful, talented black woman was taki...

About the Instructor

The Emmy-nominated star and creator of the award-winning HBO series Insecure is here to show you how it’s done. Issa Rae uses her signature do-it-yourself ethos, humor, and voice to offer writers and creators of all types the motivation and tools they’ll need on their journey. Issa shares how she has navigated Hollywood while Black and inspires you to reach your creative dreams and never take no for an answer.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Issa Rae

Emmy-nominated writer, actor, and producer Issa Rae teaches you how to bring your creative vision to life.

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