My interest in writing pushed me into taking David Mamet’s MasterClass, where I learned various writing styles, explicitly writing for drama.
Also, the fact that David Mamet is an Academy-award winner doubled my excitement in choosing his MasterClass.
I was exposed to learn the ultimate rules of dramatic writing and its process.
In this article, you’ll get to see a complete review of David Mamet’s MasterClass, which includes the categorization of lessons, the pros, the cons, the cost, etc.
Towards the end, I also share my verdict of “Is David Mamet’s MasterClass worth it or not?”
A short summary:
Here is a short summary of David Mamet’s MasterClass if you have no time.
You’ll get to learn the following:
- Fundamentals of writing drama
- The purpose of drama
- Building a character
- The truth behind drama
- Life of a dramatist
Number of lessons: 26 lessons
Duration: 5 hours
Suitable for: Anyone with standard knowledge of writing in general and experienced writers willing to gain insights into improvement
Quick verdict: David Mamet’s MasterClass had in-depth explanations, helpful examples, easy assignments, etc. Taking up David Mamet’s MasterClass was an excellent decision to enhance my writing skills and get insight into the process of playwriting.
A sneak peek into David Mamet’s MasterClass:
I’d say that David Mamet’s MasterClass is a well-curated writing kit rather than a course. You get to see insight into exclusive scripts written by David Mamet, which is something incredible.
The lessons are brilliantly scripted in 26 detailed lessons which have a watch-time of 5 hours only.
Note: There are plenty of writing courses available on MasterClass along with many other categories. To explain in detail we have done a review of this platform.
You get a practical printable workbook provided along with the course, which can also be downloaded and viewed as a PDF while taking the lessons in David Mamet’s MasterClass.
The workbook offers multiple benefits like fun assignments, story ideas, dramatic rules, etc.
An exclusive student-only community forum is available, which is a great way to connect with fellow students, share feedback on the knowledge you have gained, or even raise a question.
David Mamet’s MasterClass Lessons Explained
The MasterClass handled by David Mamet carries every essence of writing for plays specifically. I was able to learn insightful knowledge about it in a straightforward way.
Let me quickly skim through the course and highlight the key takeaways from David Mamet’s MasterClass. Shall we begin?
1. A drama’s purpose
The introduction starts with loads of theoretical elements, calling out various aspects in dramatic writing where David uses specific examples to simplify his teaching, which was helpful to start.
“Always tell the truth. It's the easiest thing to remember.”
In Lesson 2, he talks about the importance of drama in our lives and emphasizes the fact that the sole purpose of drama is to entertain, to which I instantly agreed. I mean, it is true, though.
A fun assignment that David suggests is to share a myth with another writer, which was easy.
2. Fundamentals of Writing Drama
In the following lesson, David discusses ideas and how to incorporate them into a story.
He breaks down the storytelling process and suggests that his students be simple because the audience should follow up, which was an insightful tip.
“Solutions do not inspire the perspective of a dramatist, but situations.”
This line by David Mamet stuck in my mind and kept me wondering how authentic it is.
You get to learn about what drama is all about, mastering rules by writing, and Aristotle’s unities.
3. Taking Inspirations
In Lesson 6, he talks about the various processes that a writer goes through to find inspiration.
“Though ideas are everywhere, we cannot pick a random idea and try to get inspired; instead, we’d want to analyze the after-effects of an idea and how smooth it can be placed in a story.”
That’s what David advises his students too. He spills some secrets on effectively writing a story.
4. Building a character
David has a unique way of building a character.
You get an in-depth explanation of how to define a character based on dialogue and story.
“Every scene should be able to answer three questions: "Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?”
He breaks down the complexity of writing for characters into simpler forms so that you get to understand it and shares a theory about characters.
Apparently, he often uses those theories in his subjects, which were excellent tips to note.
I would say that Lesson 7 helped me understand a character from a writer’s perspective.
5. Usage of narration
Later, David spills the importance of narration, where to use it, and how to use it in writing.
He also points out some examples from his previous work where he forgot to include narration to a story and its impact. That is why he urges his students to understand it better.
“People may or may not say what they mean... but they always say something designed to get what they want.”
Mamet drops some tips on analyzing movies and how to learn from them.
He also suggests remembering the audience while working because you will deliver the written piece to the audience. Hence, he stresses that it should be worth the audience’s time.
6. The Truth Behind Drama
In the end, David focuses on being authentic in his writing and recommends that his students be transparent and truthful with the writing.
I immediately noted this because nobody wants to be a liar.
“We're all put to the test... but it never comes in the form or at the point we would prefer, does it?”
He says that drama can help in finding the truth, which was surprisingly accurate. He also reminds us to neglect the lies unless or until it enhances the story, which in most cases does not.
You are told to be informed about the takeaways from your work because if there is nothing to be taken from your story, then no one would want to watch it, he adds. It was a serious motivation.
7. A Dramatist’s Life
You don’t literally get to see life but some insights on reaching the goals in the right way.
“Everybody makes their own fun. If you don't make it yourself, it isn't fun. It's entertainment.”
Like, understanding errors and improvising in the next piece. The final lesson was indeed an inspirational class where a lot of tips being thrown at you. I had my notes right by the side for this.
David tells his students to be conscious of writing and not add something fancy for the sake of it.
Overall, it ended on an inspiring note, with him being super supportive and encouraging.
What Did I Like About David Mamet’s MasterClass?
There were some significant points that I loved about David Mamet’s MasterClass. They are:
Detailed Explanation 📝
Being an amateur, I know a thing or two about writing, but how David taught the lessons in his MasterClass was top-notch, which was easily understandable. In one of the lessons, he even used charts to describe his point in a better way. This way, anyone can comprehend the concept quickly.
Though some topics seemed heavy and lengthy, I concentrated on the teaching with effective humor and an engaging tone without getting bored.
Appropriate Viewing Time ⌛
I am not the kind of person who sits for a course for hours. I mean, I don’t listen to lectures either.
David Mamet’s MasterClass has programmed that a lesson on average is only for 10 minutes which was great news because I literally completed half the course within an hour.
I completed the entire course in a day where I took the first half in the morning and the remaining during the evening. Alongside learning from the workbook, I’d say one day is enough.
Resourceful Workbook 📘
The best part about taking courses in MasterClass is the workbook that comes along with each course. I was able to follow up on the course with the help of the workbook.
Though David’s teaching was excellent, the knowledge that I gained from the workbook enhanced my learning throughout the course.
There is also a note-taking tab in the workbook, which allows students to add points, prepare notes or even pen down valuable tips offered by David Mamet.
You also get exclusive writing ideas from David Mamet mentioned in the workbook and creative assignments like sharing a myth with another writer, writing an outline of a random person, etc.
Online Forum Availability 🟢
I felt the community forum in MasterClass was necessary because people usually prefer to share their work to feel validated. I mean, at least I would like to receive feedback.
Using the community tab, you can share your work with fellow ongoing students and interact with them about the topics you have learned or debate something that interests you.
I was able to discuss various lessons from David Mamet, which was fun to do.
- Learn Dramatic 📝 Writing From One Of the Best Drama Writer
- Learn How To Build A Character From Scratch
- Easy To Grasp Lessons
What I felt can be improved in David Mamet’s MasterClass?
Although I liked David Mamet’s MasterClass, few downsides were questionable.
Constrained to plays only
Writing is a broad spectrum broken down into various fields like television, movies, shows, and even series, but the writing lessons that David teaches in his MasterClass are play-oriented.
Since the title read as “Dramatic writing,” obviously we’d think it lies somewhere between screenwriting and scriptwriting, but Mamet constrains his teaching to plays, which I felt was not okay.
Less practical knowledge
The thing I found less appreciative about David Mamet’s MasterClass was the preference given to theoretical lessons rather than practical knowledge, which was quite disappointing.
You can take lessons anywhere, but if you are going to pay for a course on learning something professional, you’d expect something practical in return. I had some expectations for sure.
That was missing in his MasterClass, which can be improvised in future updates.
Who is David Mamet’s MasterClass Best Suited to?
The first thing I want to put forth before recommending the course to anyone is that while taking up David Mamet’s MasterClass, I realized that the course helped enhance writing skills better than practically teaching from scratch. That being said, it is not suitable for beginners.
Hence, the MasterClass by David Mamet is best suited to:
- Anyone with standard knowledge of writing in general
- Experienced writers willing to gain insights into improvement
- People who are passionate about writing for plays specifically
You might be wondering why I would say that I cannot recommend the course to beginners because I noticed that David assumes his viewers/students as someone with prior experience.
What Will You Need For This MasterClass?
You don’t need any kind of equipment to learn with David Mamet’s MasterClass. However, it would be great if you keep a pen & paper or a typewriter close by to write down your ideas when you’re learning from this course. You should also print out the workbook of this MasterClass to do the exercises physically. But if you want, you can also finish the workbook online.
Apart from the course, I think it would be best for you to check out some of David’s best work. You can watch the films he has written, such as Heist, Redbelt, Hannibal, About Last Night, The Edge, The Untouchables, and so on. This will help you improve your write much better dramatic stories.
David Mamet’s MasterClass Cost:
I am excited to talk about the pricing plan of MasterClass because there are exclusive benefits that come along by subscribing to a course in MasterClass. I swear, there’s more to the plan.
MasterClass offers a subscription plan, named All-Access Pass, priced at $180/- per year ($15/- monthly). That’s it. Now, let me explain everything you can do with the plan.
With an All-Access Pass, you get access to 100+ courses in 10+ niches of all creative fields. What else, you ask? Well, all the courses are handled by recognized celebrities worldwide. YES! CELEBRITIES.
Let me suggest a quick hack to experience the best use of MasterClass courses using All-Access Pass. Since you are getting access to the entire course library, you can schedule a course per week on various niches, from writing to gardening to cooking to many more.
This way, you can learn and enhance multiple skills simultaneously without paying extra money.
For example, you can take a cooking course by Gordon Ramsay, a writing course by James Patterson, and a singing course by Alicia Keys. Also, all the courses are self-paced, so there is no need to worry about the duration of a course getting expired.
Are you not satisfied with the courses? No issues. You can still request a refund using the 30-day refund policy. I don’t think you’d want to use this because the courses are immaculate.
Learn Dramatic Writing With David Mamet
Alternatives to David Mamet’s MasterClass:
If you are facing issues with David Mamet’s MasterClass, don’t worry, I got better options for you.
Below are some of the most outstanding courses offered by MasterClass, which are excellent alternatives:
- Salman Rlushdie MasterClass “Teaches Storytelling and Writing.”
- James Patterson MasterClass “Teaches Writing.”
- Aaron Sorkin MasterClass “Teaches Screenwriting.”
- Shonda Rhimes MasterClass “Teaches Writing for Television.”
- Dan Brown MasterClass “Teaches Writing Thrillers.”
You can either take an additional alternative to David Mamet’s MasterClass or take all the courses listed above altogether using the All-Access Pass. I’d say that it’s a win-win situation.
Pros & Cons of David Mamet’s MasterClass:
David Mamet’s MasterClass has some serious reasons why you should take the course right away. There are also few downsides on why you should reconsider it.
- Learning from a renowned writer
- Usage of relevant examples
- Effective workbook
- Less practical teaching
Final Verdict Of David Mamet MasterClass Review (2023)
To sum up the entire MasterClass, I’d say yes for various reasons like an in-depth explanation, helpful examples, easy assignments, etc. Taking up David Mamet’s MasterClass was an excellent decision to enhance my writing skills and get insight into the process of playwriting.
Explore David Mamet MasterClass
Although I was expecting practical teaching throughout the course, it seemed to be very little. That was disappointing, yet the perks exceeded it all with exclusive content by David Mamet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get David Mamet’s MasterClass for free?
Unfortunately, you cannot get any courses in MasterClass for free.
What is David Mamet’s MasterClass about?
David Mamet’s MasterClass is about writing for plays that involve dramatic elements.
Is there a refund policy in MasterClass?
Yes, there is a 30-day refund policy in MasterClass, which you can request if you are not satisfied with the course.
Is David Mamet’s MasterClass worth it?
Yes, David Mamet’s MasterClass is worth it for various reasons like an in-depth explanation, helpful examples, easy assignments, etc.
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