From Shonda Rhimes's MasterClass

Breaking into the Industry

Shonda reveals her top tips for networking, working entry-level jobs, and her thoughts on film school.

Topics include: Film School • Networking • Writing Programs • Mentors


Shonda reveals her top tips for networking, working entry-level jobs, and her thoughts on film school.

Topics include: Film School • Networking • Writing Programs • Mentors

Shonda Rhimes

Teaches Writing for Television

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It's interesting. I think that USC was really instrumental for me in getting me contacts and getting me acclimated. I came to Los Angeles not knowing a single person. And getting an internship, getting to know people, getting the introductions to things, USC was very helpful for that. Here's what I think, because I think film school is invaluable in that it's an amazing little lab. And I did learn, I did come in knowing a lot about production because of it, and that was really helpful as well. But I think in terms of just financially, if you are hurting for money, if you have to take out a lot of student loans, if there is not a scholarship waiting for you and you are worried about that-- and frankly it's different now. Student loans back when I went to school, because I'm an old lady, and when you might be going to school now are just different. So to me, if you have to make the choice between going to film school and coming out to LA and getting a job as a PA on a set, or getting a job as a PA in some writers office or something like that, get the job, because I think that there is a lot to be done with you writing at night, and getting a job during the day, and working your butt off and making contacts that way. I think it's very, very, very expensive to go to school right now. And while I think that everybody should get a college education, I'm not necessarily sure you need a film school education. A thing that I think can be really helpful for people when they got a job, and people don't seem to know this right now, and it feels very obvious. If you get a job in the industry, making someone coffee, making someone copies, running someone's errands, you better make the best coffee they've ever had. And it better be with a smile. The ones who seem flat out pissed that they're there, or frustrated, or lazy, or entitled, you want them to go away, because you think, man, they're just sucking the air from the room. You better run those errands as cheerfully as you possibly can with the most energy. And the reason is is because the entitled, sort of I can't believe I'm doing this thing gets very old, very fast. Now, I say this, and I can say this, because when I got my first job as an assistant, I was the most spoiled, miserable, pathetic assistant in the world. I had the most sour look on my face all the time. I used to drive around the corner from the studio and cry all lunch hour, because I had to do all these terrible things, like feed the fish. And I was pathetic. I mean, it was embarrassing. I embarrassed myself frankly, all the time. And I cannot believe I didn't get fired really fast. I was very lucky that they were nicer to me than I would have been. But I do think that there's something about this job that-- it's a hard job. You want to get noticed and you want people to notice you, because you have a great attitude. People who have a gr...

Make Great Television

When Shonda Rhimes pitched Grey’s Anatomy she got so nervous she had to start over. Twice. Since then, she has created and produced TV’s biggest hits. In her screenwriting class, Shonda teaches you how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, and stand out in the writers’ room. You’ll also get original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows. Welcome to Shondaland.


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

WOW -- exceptional class! Thank you, Ms. Rhimes, for the information, the inspiration, and your willingness to share. This has been one of the top Masterclass experiences (my 10th!) and yes -- I'll be back. Often. Now, on to my laptop and WIP...

I have always thought of myself as a writer and write something everyday. However, most of what I write is non-linear and seemingly unrelated. This class has inspired me to believe that I can actually produce something of value in spite of a late start and a feeling that I don't belong in the room. Gotta re-claim my swagger. Thank you Shonda.

The idea of creating Master Classes was pure genius! Shonda Rhimes is great at communicating her knowledge and this has helped me tremendously!

Taking this course has inspired me to be more daring to just say yes to not letting obstacles get in the way and to have the confidence to show up without apology. Shonda does not hold back and shares how to become successful - not just in writing, but in the business of putting together a show and the qualities it takes to become successful in life.



Best MasterClass piece I saw so far. Would give a lot to have a coffee with you ^^ kind regards, Pedro

Heather S.

So the link to this lesson- Breaking into the Industry- is broken, error code comes up? What next?

Jessica T.

Writing is the one thing I have maintained over the years. Now I just need to get it seen.

ernest C.

I LOVE TO WRITE!!! a little note about me, in grad school three different occasions occurred when my professors told me they looked forward to READING MY ASSIGNMENTS!!!! As a student those statements "scared the fluid out of me".


I have been through everything Ms. Rhimes is talking about. I moved to New York by myself, got an internship with Playwrights Horizons, William H. Macy and Fisher Stevens told me I was the hardest working person they'd ever met. I am still hopeful. (lol).


I have had so many ups and downs. I have given up so many times. The problem is, I can't stop writing. I thought I was done, then Masterclass pops up. OMG!!!

La'Trisa H.

To me mentor/mentee relationships are organic! Nothing should be forced and learning can take place without mentoring.

George K.

are you kidding me?????????? Here in Greece is the opposite. We have many writers for few series. Our production is 9 series every year and we have more than 1000 writers. And the salary is 1,000 euros per month. And we work about 5 months a year. I have to move to the US.

Rachel T.

Hello everyone, I wrote a spec script for the Tru TV series, “I’m Sorry.” If anyone has watched a couple episodes and is interested in reading it and giving me feedback, please let me know. My spec script episode is called, ‘Karma, Kidneys and Cancer.’ Thanks so much!

Kim L.

Shonda mentioned "If you can write, and people can find your script, they will be thrilled to have it." My question is: Where exactly would you have your scripts available? Besides them being registered with the WGA or something similar, what platforms would you utilize where your scripts could be discovered? Thanks!