I was apprehensive about week 3 of Aaron Sorkin’s Screenwriting Masterclass. I looked at the modules before I started and was excited about one of them and concerned the other five would be a drag. The modules were:
- Writing habits: bulking up to write, starting with the first scene, tools to organise your writing, writing what you like and writing like yourself, writer’s block, how to get inspired with music, focusing on progress.
- Group workshop: A table read and script feedback for J. J. Braider’s “Untitled”.
- Group workshop: A table read and script feedback for Jeanie Bergen’s “E is for Edie”.
- Group workshop: A table read and script feedback for Roland Zaleski’s “Chronic”.
- Group workshop: A table read and script feedback for Evelyn Yves’ “The Merc”.
- Group workshop: A table read and script feedback for Corey Wright’s “Here to Alli”.
As you can see, most of week 3 is comprised of table reads and script feedback for up-and-coming writers.
I was having a blast and learning a lot from the one-on-one sessions with Aaron Sorkin in the first two weeks so I was worried that this would be a “filler” week without much value.
I was so wrong.
Week 3 of the Aaron Sorkin Screenwriting Masterclass is my favourite week so far.
This week is worth the price of course admission alone.
This is the week where everything from the previous 2 weeks clicked into place.
This is the week that made me say:
I am not a novelist. I am a screenwriter.
I’ve always had it in my head that I was a novelist that was slowly building his way towards writing for the stage and screen.
But after a very illuminating discussion between Aaron Sorkin and Corey Wright, and identifying completely with their backgrounds and philosophy towards the arts, I knew I needed to make the transition from novelist to screenwriter sooner than planned.
This was the most motivating week out of the entire course.
One of the biggest reasons for this week being so inspiring is because of the writers sitting at the table.
These writers are tremendous.
No one knows who they are now. But they are all going to make it. You’re going to see each of their names on the screen within the next 3-10 years. I guarantee it.
It was motivating reading through their scripts, hearing their rationale for crafting their scenes in certain ways, and hearing about how they began their journeys towards screenwriting.
It was also super motivating because these people have been grinding for a long time. If you’re anything like me, you will relate completely to their stories. You’ll know that there’s no such thing as overnight success but, if you put in the work, you can get really damn good.
After we read through the scripts, Aaron Sorkin weighed in with words worth their weight in gold. He talked about writing actions vs. writing dialogue, knowing what rules to follow and what rules to break, how a “probable impossibility” is preferable to a “possible improbability”, how to surprise the audience by not writing easy scenes, and much more.
The homework for this week was to form a writers’ group of 5-7 Masterclass writers to workshop each other’s scripts. I haven’t done this yet but I will certainly get around to it. In fact, if you take the class, drop me a line when you finish week 3 and we’ll put together a small focus group.
Have fun! I hope to see you in there.
I’ll give you another update when I finish week 4.