To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact support@masterclass.com.

Writing

Introduction

Shonda Rhimes

Lesson time 4:49 min

Welcome to Shondaland. Meet Shonda, the woman behind some of television's biggest and most talked about hits, and learn what she'll teach you about the craft of writing for television.

Play
Shonda Rhimes
Teaches Writing for Television
In 6+ hours of video lessons, Shonda teaches you her playbook for writing and creating hit television.
Get Started

Preview

I think the moment that I first really knew I wanted to be a writer was probably almost before I can even remember. I've always been a person who was a storyteller. I don't think I knew I wanted to be a television writer or a screenwriter, but I've always been a storyteller. It's how I was made. I feel like I was born a writer. Me, on the other hand, I'm kinda screwed. We're going to get killed. Did you propose? Weren't you going to ask her tonight? I was doing this tonight-- Liv, we're going to get killed, we're short $3 million. Dr. Grey? Are you listening to me? --blowback you'll get for rushing to judgment on a patriot? The blowback you'll create? Well, yeah. That's my job. I want to be a gladiator in a suit. The discovery that you can make a living writing is like--I don't know it's like your birthday every day or something for me. Because I was a person who, I was writing endlessly in my journal every day. I was also writing stories every day. I was writing every day, no matter what. It was what sustained me. It's my air, it's my food. So then to discover that I could make a living at it felt fantastic, and that I can make a living at it in a way that I enjoyed felt fantastic. I wasn't writing stuff that I hated, I was telling my own stories. And how lucky am I to get to do that? And even when I was writing movies and not necessarily a movie that I was thinking to myself, this is my life's work, I still was telling stories that I felt strongly about. There's a heart in the center of every story you're telling that has to be true, or else I don't know why you're writing. So for me, every story was a story I felt really good about telling. I feel like I'm at a stage in my career where honestly, I'm interested in building the next group of showrunners and the next group of writers and really making it possible for people to have better careers and know more and learn from any mistakes that I have already made, because A, I'm not going to do this forever, but B, what's the point if you're not passing it on to somebody else, frankly? And it's exciting to get to do that. It's also about the fact that at a certain point you start to have perspective and can really look back and see everything from a different angle and sort of start to understand what works and what doesn't. And the minute that starts to happen and it stops being about you, and it starts speaking about what you can give back, that's when you really want to do something like this. I'm fairly sure I have never gone into this much detail about my process. It's really interesting to get to tell all of this stuff. It's kind of the stuff I really wish that everyone knew, because I feel like it's so helpful. It's the stuff I wish someone had told me a long time ago. It probably would have made a bigger difference. I mean. It wou...


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.



Reviews

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

This is my first sit through the class. I'm so glad that I completed it. I learned above all else the importance and power of practice, consistent and disciplined writing, on-the-job training, power-sharing, and high self-esteem. Thank you, Shonda and Masterclass for this generous gift of empowerment!

I'm a novelist, not a screenwriter, but I thought this class was very interesting and I learned a lot about character development/arc that I will come back and refer to. I also love the show Scandal, so it was interesting seeing how the pilot was developed and seeing Shonda and the students analyze what's going on and what needed to happen.

Its intensive and coming from a 'someone who has created Grey's and Scandal - I want to listen to her. Tips like knw your TV is so important .

I was inspired from lesson 1 all of the way to lesson 30 and I remain inspired. I picked up my pilot episode, I read it over and then I revised it. I saw what worked and what didn’t and what didn’t even need to be in there. I got a lot from this and I would recommend this class to everyone. It was a awesome experience!


Comments

Elena O.

I loved learning from this Master Professor!!! I am new to this art medium, writing, and I learned so much about the process of writing for a television show. Also, she provides great history about her adventure of becoming the CEO of Shondaland!!!

Robert H.

My name is Robert Hardin. I have one book out and I just finished my screenplay. It is an adaptation of the book 'Subtle Possession'. I have a good idea for a television pilot But not really sure where to begin.

Hunter T.

From as long as I can remember, I've always been a storyteller or a creative person so to speak. Ironic as it is because English was one of my worst subjects in school. I know for a fact that I'm not a very talented person but I really hope I can make it one day. So far I've written four TV shows and a movie. Excited to be taking this class!

Anita C.

I knew for a fact I was not born a writer. English was never my best subject as a kid; however, I always loved telling stories. I remembered when I was in elementary school I was struggling so hard in grammar. I just didn't get it. So my teacher was like, "Ok. Well write whatever you want and then we can grade it from there." So I wrote a short scary story. It ended up being like three pages long and my teacher was mortified. All she can think of was how much grammar error will be in my writing and now she will have to grade all three pages of it. Instead, she was shocked by how little grammar error was there. From that point on, I knew I wanted to do something creative. I am so excited to be taking this class.

Starla B.

I also agree with the rest of the comments, I felt like I was never born to write, but I love storytelling. Every career I've wanted to pursue and everything I want to do always links with storytelling, finding the right medium to do this is great. I'm excited to take this class!

Paul T.

I don't think I was born to write, but I am a storyteller by nature. I just feel as though there are a thousand stories I can share a day, none of them are meant for tv. Yet, collectively, my experiences can help shape another story I have in mind. Thansk for the intro

D T.

Like Shonda Rimes, I feel like I was born to write, but have felt fearful about putting my ideas and narrative out in the world. This lesson inspired me to put my thoughts, my narrative, and heart out there. Thank you for sharing what you have learned and wish someone shared with you before you got into showbiz.

Anahid H.

I think Shonda has wonderful lessons and great energy and i love to have a cup of earl grey and some story's

Alecia

I stumbled upon this course several months ago and told myself I would enroll. I didn't. Many excuses later while knowing I'm need to be creating and writing, I enrolled. I've been following Shonda for a while and I was happy to see her face in the trailer because I had been wondering if she offered a course like this.

J. G.

Re-watching lesson during quarantine in EU. While watching EU Netflix's, I have discovered that "TV Series" is the replacing "Movies." Call it ADHD or whatever. My writings are controversial and pertains to my experiences in the Middle East, Therefore, its not produce-able in America's hypo-sensitive atmosphere. Yet, I see there is a home for it in EU. So, I am readjusting my seat belt and am rounding the corner on two wheels, to make my script EU television worthy. On with the show!