If you are a writer, there is one thing that will haunt you in your dreams and will stop you from having any inspiration – writer’s block.
Be it lack of knowledge, trouble moving from line to line, or just fear of not giving your best, there are a ton of reasons to feel this way.
But how do the experts do it? 😉
How do they transition their scenes well, and how do they manage to keep their audience at the edge of their seat?
This is a difficult question to answer if you are not an expert. MasterClass comes to the rescue. A critically proclaimed screenwriter, drama writer, and scriptwriter, David Mamet has his MasterClass on ‘Dramatic writing’ that will help you understand how to cater to your audience, and give you tips for inspiration and encouragement.
But how worth it is this class?
Who is David Mamet?
David Mamet is a world-renowned playwright, author, screenwriter, and filmmaker. He is famous for many of his notable, critic acclaimed plays like The Untouchables, House of Games, and Glengarry Glen Ross. He was born on November 30, 1947, in Chicago, and he has been an industry expert forever. 😚
He had won the Pulitzer prize in 1984 and received Tony nominations for his plays Speed-the-Plow, and Glengarry Glen Ross. Some of his plays, Race and The Penitent also opened on Broadway from 2009 to 2017.
He had founded the ‘Atlantic Theater Company’ with his actor and friend William H. Macy in 1985 and had been involved in New York’s Off-Broadway. His back-to-back plays Sexual Perversity in Chicago and American Buffalo earned him worldwide recognition.
In times when of lesser recognition to more important issues, Mamet dared to write plays about them. In 1994, he wrote ‘Oleanna’, a story of a sexual harassment case between a professor and a female student.
He openly wrote about several compelling issues, that gained the love of critics and he became to be known for his fast-paced dialogues, with a powerful depiction of relationships. He also wrote and directed movies and TV shows like House of Games, State, and Main, and wrote the TV series – The Unit.
David Mamet MasterClass – Overview
David Mamet’s MasterClass comprises 26 lessons, all of the video. His videos come up to 10 minutes each, adding up to a total viewing time of 5 hours. In his master class, Mamet talks about how to create and ideate stories.
He begins with theories on how to understand a topic or issue before writing a play, and the inspiration to start with. He brings his experience to the table and talks about how gaining the right mindset to write the perfect play is the most important that you as a writer will feel satisfied with.
In his lessons, he also teaches Aristotle’s rules for the dramatic plot and the hero. He moves on to the basics – like what drama is truly about, what drama should mean to the writer, and what drama should mean to the audience. 😊
Mamet explains how writers must work through their writing to gain the audience’s attention by keeping the plot relatable, and understandable, but also finding one’s pace.
He teaches about Aristotle’s three unities and takes examples from not just his work but other industry experts’ work as well to bring further creativity to his lessons.
He also uses his two-part lessons to elaborate further on how each scene can be untangled into a larger narrative than itself – he talks about the structure of drama and explains how to tell a story in the best way possible.
Lessons By David Mammet
Here is the course curriculum for Mamet’s class on Dramatic Writing
- Purpose of Drama
- Purpose of Drama (Cont’d)
- Dramatic Rules
- Dramatic Rules (Cont’d)
- Story Ideas
- Structuring the Plot
- Structuring the Plot (Cont’d)
- Case Study: Structuring the Plot – American Buffalo
- Case Study: Structuring the Plot – Glengarry Glen Ross
- Dialogue (Cont’d)
- Narration & Exposition
- Writing Process
- Writing Process (Cont’d)
- The Audience
- Lies & Truth
- Lies & Truth (Cont’d)
- Actors (Cont’d)
- Life of a Dramatist
- Life of a Dramatist (Cont’d)
Who is this MasterClass for, and What can I Expect?
Mamet’s MasterClass is suitable for everyone interested in writing – from a beginner to an expert. Even if you aren’t interested in writing dramas, it is still worthwhile to give his class a try as it explores how writers think behind the screens, and how ideas are generated. 😍
With this class, you can expect not to master the craft of writing dramas, but to get a better understanding of how you can write like a successful filmmaker and writer. You can learn how to write dialogues to cater to a scene, and where to gain inspiration from.
His classes help you understand how to transition from strong scenes, and how to create a better flow. He also teaches how to gain insights into the theory of drama, using Aristotle’s theories.
His lessons revolve around understanding the craft and building better and more engaging plots to write for your actors, the characters, the audience, and most importantly – you.
Pros and Cons
Lessons: The lessons on Mamet’s MasterClass are short and crisp, ranging from 10 minutes to 12 minutes. This allows the viewers to engage in the learnings in their times. His storytelling skills are a replica of his writing, his flow of topics is simple, yet will deliver a complicated theory in the right way.
Learning from the best: Mamet’s MasterClass is special for one reason – David Mamet. Mamet has a long streak of awards, experience, and learnings that he delivers well in his experiences. To know and understand how writers and filmmakers think when writing their masterpieces is already a fantastic experience. Add an expert to the mix, and the result is the best classes ever. This is what David Mamet’s course is.
Price: With the subscription that you take, you not just get Mamet’s class on Dramatic writing, but also many other courses from renowned personalities. With the access pass, you will have access to the catalogue entirely, which you can go back to anytime.
Workbooks: Mamet’s MasterClass comes with a 47-page downloadable workbook, that recaps the class and has materials. Students can take notes, make pointers on the workbooks as well, and generate ideas.
Classes targeted towards plays only: Mamet’s MasterClass is targeted towards those who are more inclined towards writing plays, rather than TV shows, movies, or OTT. His course is confined to just plays, which reduces the spectrum of the classes.
Theory over practice: Mamet theorizes his experiences in the best way possible, to give his students insights on how to write better. However, there is a lack of practical angles. Without being able to write in the real world, the classes are defied to turn null.
#3 Key Lessons from Mamet’s MasterClass
Drama is to entertain, not educate or inform
Mamet addresses a key issue that most writers that go with provocative writing – how can a drama be compelling while also sending across a message. He says that a drama should be entertaining, and not informative. He explains that drama writing comes from situations and not solutions.
The audience walks into a theatre expecting to be entertained, even if it’s a bawling tragic story. They want to take away their burdens for a half hour and just lose themselves in a play – and this is what a writer should aim at, he says.
Aristotle’s structure of drama
Mamet explains how Aristotle’s Poetics can be used to understand how to write simply. He stresses how it is important to understand a drama’s need, its effect and cause, dramatic plot, and Aristotle’s rules of drama. 😇
Dialogues are the heart
Mamet explains that the life of a character comes through the actions and the dialogues that they are given. He cites Shakespear and says that the rhythm of dialogues should come from everyday speech.
He also explains how dialogues should come from what the character wants. Bad dialogues are the ones that don’t justify the character’s wants at the scene.
This class is for you if you would like to tell a story most compellingly. If you are a drama writer, this class is an all-rounder: from dialogues to scene settings, Mamet teaches everything.
For the price that MasterClass comes with, our verdict is to give this class a try and test your knowledge of writing with the workbooks.
David Mamet teaches Dramatic writing in his MasterClass, and how to write plays better. He explains how different elements come together to write the perfect story that you, as a writer, and as an audience would like. He teaches how to capture the attention of the audience by writing better.
Mamet’s MasterClass can be accessed through a pass that you can buy on the website. the pass costs $180 annually, and with the pass, you can access all other classes on the platform.
Mamet’s MasterClass has 26 video lessons, that can be downloaded and can be listened to in the audio mode as well. The total viewing time of the class is 5 hours.
If you do not find your annual pass suitable for you, you can get a full refund of your subscription, provided you inform within 30 days.
Mamet’s lessons are user-oriented, where he sits down and talks to a camera. During the lessons, he also includes case studies and examples, and it feels like he is directly talking to you. His teaching is smooth, and he crafts his stories well to give the viewers the best knowledge in the minimum time.
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