Arts & Entertainment

Writing Habits

Judd Apatow

Lesson time 05:57 min

The prospect of filling the blank page is scary—even for Judd. Learn Judd's personal habits for finding his flow and allowing his creative mind to take the reins.

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

Topics include: Find the Habits That Support Your Flow • Give Your Brain Time to Work • Read Your Script Out Loud


I think that everybody writes differently. I was just talking to somebody. And they said when John Hughes had an idea, his approach was to force himself to write the entire screenplay immediately. Sometimes in a weekend, maybe it's sometimes in two weeks. So some of those movies that we all love, he wrote really fast. Because he felt like, if I have a notion, if I force myself to get an all out of me, when I'm done, I'll know if there's something there and if it's worth pursuing. So he would try to write the full script as his opening volley of his process. And you get in that flow alone. You can get in it with other people. I like rooms and rooms of TV shows. And there are definitely moments where everyone just starts laughing and the room takes off and cracks a problem and people start pitching jokes. And it feels like Cream playing live. And suddenly, it's happening. It also can happen alone. The problem sometimes is you start typing, and you feel it coming, and there's a part of you that just wants to go watch TV. Because it's almost scary. And you're afraid it'll stop. And you really have to learn how you push through. I feel like people like Stephen King, who write a lot, they really understand how to access that place where their mind is creating stories. And they don't ruin it somehow. You know, one of my heroes is David Milch, who co-created "NYPD Blue" and created "Deadwood." And he's of the belief that you should try to write at the same time everyday. And that when you're not writing, you should not think about writing. That if you write at the same time every day, when you hit the chair, you're mind knows, oh, this is the moment when we do this. And he said there's no reason to think about writing when you're not writing. Because it's like thinking about going to the gym. If you're not at the gym, you're not doing it. So why talk about And although that is not how I work, because I never can get the same hours going, I do think it's probably helpful. - It's worth thinking about how you can create the environment for those moments to happen. And then there are other times where you realize, it's not happening today. And you just got to shut it down. A lot of writing is about tooling around and cleaning up your room and taking a walk. And that's why, I think, we tend to come up with a lot of our best ideas in the shower or in spaces where we're doing something else. Because when our mind is clear, sometimes those ideas just suddenly bubble up. Because we're not on Twitter reading about Donald Trump. But I really think that your mind is unconsciously outlining for you. And there is an aspect to writing, which is when you're asleep, it's working out problems. So in the same way that you go to sleep and you dream and some part of your brain is making up a story, that is happening with your movie and TV story ideas. So if you trust that your brain is working on it, then when you finally sit do...

About the Instructor

No joke: at age 15, Judd Apatow took a dishwashing job at a comedy club to watch the acts. Today, he’s the comedic genius behind hits including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, and Freaks and Geeks. In his first-ever online comedy class, the Emmy Award winner teaches you how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct movies that leave audiences laughing.

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Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow teaches you how to write, direct, produce, and perform comedy for film and television.

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