Arts & Entertainment

Meet Your Instructors: The Duffer Brothers

The Duffer Brothers

Lesson time 06:39 min

Matt and Ross Duffer share highlights from their journey to creating the hit TV series "Stranger Things" and provide an overview of their class.

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Topics include: Meet Your Instructor


[MUSIC PLAYING] MATT DUFFER: We're from Durham, North Carolina. Growing up we were just nerdy kids playing Dungeons and Dragons with our friends. ROSS DUFFER: We always loved films and we wanted to do that for a living, but we had no idea how to make that possible. How do you get from the suburbs of North Carolina to where we are now in Hollywood, making a show for Netflix? MATT DUFFER: So around third grade, our parents for Christmas gave us a Hi8 video camera. We were really excited about this. Starting in the summer of the fourth grade, that's kind of when everything changed. We made our first full length movie. - We will fight honorably. And one more thing, onward to battle! ROSS DUFFER: Then when we moved in to high school, we said, is there a way to make these movies even better? So what we would do is every summer we would actually start to write some scripts down and this was our first instance of us writing scripts. - I made it. MATT DUFFER: And that continued all the way into college. We went to Film School at Chapman University. We were still mostly focused on directing. We realized at a certain point that no one was going to let us direct anything if we didn't have a script that we could attach ourselves to. - Forget about it. MATT DUFFER: So we took some screenwriting classes, we learned the basics of screenwriting. - Structure, inciting incident. We started to learn some big ideas about how to write a screenplay. - But father, you're a man of science. - And a man of reason. MATT DUFFER: So there was a big turning point for us and that was after we had struggled for a while in a couple of scripts, we weren't getting anywhere with them. And a lot of this was because we were focused on what we thought the industry wanted. What was selling in the moment, what people were excited about. We just cut out all the noise and we just wrote something that was really personal to us. The story was called "Hidden," and it was about a family that was hiding in a bomb shelter from some mysterious threat above the surface. And we did something which we hadn't really been doing, which because of the time crunch, because of the financial pressures, we just sat down and we're like, we better figure out this story before we go into writing it. And we outlined it. And when we outlined it, the outline worked and then we wrote the script incredibly fast. It just fell into place and "Hidden," was born. It sold in a bidding war to Warner Brothers and we were suddenly back on our feet and feeling confident again. ROSS DUFFER: There are many ups and downs over that, but that was a huge hurdle. We didn't even know how to write a screenplay to suddenly we had sold a screenplay and we had made money with just words that we have written on paper. That night we went to get a meal and I remember it was such a big moment for us that we were able to order soda with our meals, bec...

About the Instructor

Before they turned our world upside down with "Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer honed their scare tactics on Wayward Pines and their debut thriller, Hidden. Now, the acclaimed showrunners reveal the dark science of creating a monster hit. Craft gripping story arcs, conjure unforgettable characters—like Eleven or Jim Hopper—and turn your raw idea into a pitch for the next big thing to cross over from the other side.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

The Duffer Brothers

Matt and Ross Duffer—the "Stranger Things" masterminds—teach you how they plotted the series from beginning to end, and how you can bring your own idea to life.

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