Legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Steve Jobs) is partnering with the online education platform MasterClass to offer a course on screenwriting that's being made available later this summer. Over the course of 25 video lessons spanning five hours, Sorkin is going to share "his rules of storytelling, dialogue, [and] character development," critique select student submissions, and work with real-world examples from the decades he's spent writing movies, TV shows, and plays. (A MasterClass press release suggests he'll lead the class through a virtual writer's room session creating a new episode of The West Wing as a means of "demonstrating his process.") The course isn't fully available yet, but MasterClass is accepting preenrollment for $90 and promising early access in exchange.
Your screenplays will be "unforgettable"
Sorkin is a fascinating choice to lead a course like this, if only because he's one of the most distinctive screenwriters on the planet. There are plenty of writers with the ability to find a good story, tell it, and get out of the way; Sorkin is not one of those writers. That isn't always a bad thing: the entertainment world would be a slightly more boring place without his beloved walk-and-talks, and it's hard to imagine movies like The Social Network without his incendiary speeches and rat-a-tat dialogue. With that said, his insistence on inserting himself into his characters and plots has proven occasionally disastrous, and the thought of a legion of young screenwriters entering the world with that kind of ornery heavy-handedness is a little scary. The course promises its students will "write unforgettable screenplays" by the time they're finished. One can only hope they're not unforgettable for the wrong reasons.
"There's a great tradition of writers from one generation giving a hand to the next group coming up — a tradition I got a lot of benefit from," said Sorkin in a statement. "I think new screenwriters will come away from the MasterClass with a new sense of confidence."