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Top 10 Screenwriting & Writing Masterclass
Over the years I’ve taken many of Masterclass’ remarkable online courses. They have had and continue to get remarkable filmmakers and storytellers to teach masterclass’. Just a few of the legends they have had are Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Werner Herzog, Ken Burn, and Judd Apatow just to name a few. I decided to put together my Top 10 list for the best screenwriting and writing Masterclass has to offer.
Also, check out my Top 10 Filmmaking and Storytelling Masterclass.
Whether she’s writing for children or grown-ups, Judy Blume Masterclass is a master at creating timeless stories, including Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. And now, for the first time, you can learn how she does it. In her class, Judy shows how she finds inspiration, develops vivid characters, and writes realistic dialogue. Most importantly, she’ll help you craft stories that your readers will love.
Set out to write a best-selling book. James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, reveals his tricks of the trade for the very first time. In this course, he guides you through every part of the book writing process.
In James Patterson Master Class you’ll get 22 lessons totaling 3+ hours of video from James covering everything from starting your outline to getting published. Each video lesson is paired with notes, reading materials, and assignments to make sure you get the most out of your class.
In his first-ever online class, award-winning director, writer, producer, and comedian Judd Apatow teaches his process for creating great comedy. You’ll learn how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct comedies that leave audiences laughing.
Judd Apatow is one of the most successful, influential, and respected comedic minds of our time. He has spent his entire life in pursuit of comedy—starting with his first job washing dishes at a local comedy club, just so he could be close to the action. Since then, Apatow has built an empire of “funny” as a writer, director, producer, and stand-up act.
From Bridesmaids to Knocked Up to Freaks and Geeks, his work has been nominated for numerous awards and set box office records. In addition to his signature brand of comedy, which marries gut-busting raunchiness with relatable characters and heartfelt emotion, he is known for his uncanny ability to identify up-and-coming talent.
At his core, Apatow is a champion of the underdog and this is reflected in his work, as well as his activism and his philanthropy. Judd Apatow’s MasterClass teaches you a new way to think about comedy. Through case studies, scene breakdowns, and candid stories, you’ll learn everything he knows about the art of making people laugh.
In her first-ever online class, the author of the Handmaid’s Tale teaches you her approach to crafting vivid prose and hooking readers with her timeless approach to storytelling. Margaret Atwood Masterclass, arguably one of the world’s best fictional writers, is an award-winning and prolific author of more than fifty novels, books of poetry, and critical essays. Her 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, was adapted into the Emmy-winning TV series on Hulu, now in its second season, and was the best-selling book on Amazon in 2017.
Named one of the Dictionary of Literary Biography’s top ten living post-modern writers, Neil Gaiman may be one of the most awarded and prolific writers alive. He has received the Newbery and Carnegie Medals, and his writing has been awarded four Hugos, two Nebulas, one World Fantasy Award, and nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, among many other honors. Not constrained by genre or medium, Neil’s work includes poetry, short stories, journalism, novels, graphic novels, screenplays, and books for young readers.
In Neil Gaiman MasterClass, the author of Coraline, American Gods, Stardust, and The Sandman series teaches his approach to the art and craft of storytelling. In his MasterClass, Neil Gaiman will teach you his creative process for generating original ideas and building those ideas into stories, worlds, and characters that engage and fascinate. Using some of his most celebrated work as case studies, he’ll teach you how he crafts convincing characters and stories driven by essential truths.
In R.L. Stine Masterclass, the best-selling children’s author of Goosebumps and Fear Street breaks down his complete process for crafting page-turning thrillers. A master of the horror genre, R.L. Stine is a prolific author of more than 300 books for middle graders and young adults, which have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have garnered numerous awards. In his first-ever online class, Stine teaches his approach to write for young audiences and dives into how he creates the thrills in his page-turner books, which he compares to a roller coaster ride—fast-paced, exciting, and full of twists and turns, but always with a happy ending.
R.L. Stine Masterclass is rooted in his belief that breaking the process down into manageable steps is the key to making writing achievable and fun. Students will learn the nuances of writing for different age groups, how to create terrifying monsters and build suspense, and how to surprise readers and keep them engaged—all while bringing his distinct sense of humor to his lessons.
“I have written a lot of scary books, but the process of writing those books wasn’t scary,” said R.L. Stine. “You can create your own universe, and control people in that universe—you can make them funny or you can scare them. In my MasterClass, I hope to show students that writing doesn’t have to be scary; and in fact, it can be a lot of fun.”
In R.L. Stine Masterclass, you’ll learn about:
- Generating Ideas
- Creating Monsters
- Conquering Writer’s Block
- Outlining: Surprise Endings and Cliffhangers
- Outlining: Plot Twists and Tricks
- Writing for Different Age Levels Dialogue
- Prose Style Mixing Horror and Humor
- Creating Middle-Grade Characters
- Creating YA Characters
- Revising and Getting Feedback
- Developing a Book Series
- Writing as a Career
In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell teaches you how to transform big ideas into simple, powerful narratives. Known for his nonfiction writing that captivates readers, Malcolm has been a staff writer at the New Yorker for over two decades and has authored five New York Times Best Sellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath.
Malcolm’s unique style of making unexpected connections across ordinary ideas has compelled millions of readers to devour complex topics like behavioral economics and performance prediction. In his MasterClass, Malcolm shares the research and writing techniques that have made him a prolific nonfiction writer and master storyteller.
You’ll learn his approach to finding ideas in unusual places, structuring compelling narratives, and keeping readers engaged through every detail—including the art of the title and the role of semicolons. He also shares career tips for writers amassed over years in the industry—dealing with bad reviews, differentiating yourself as a writer, and identifying your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer.
“Writing has a higher purpose. It’s part of the way in which we fulfill ourselves as human beings, both in the words that we write and the words that we read,” says Malcolm. “This class is a chance for me to reflect on my career and share the insights I’ve gleaned in a form that my students can use.”
In this online writing class, you’ll learn about:
- Developing the story
- Titles Drafts and revisions
- Writing about big ideas
- Profiles and interview subjects
- Crafting compelling characters
- Presenting data to readers in an interesting way
- Differentiating yourself as a professional writer
David Mamet sat in on a poker game full of thieves and left with the inspiration for American Buffalo. Now, the Pulitzer Prize winner of Glengarry Glen Ross takes you through his process for turning life’s strangest moments into dramatic art. He’ll teach you the rules of drama, the nuances of dialogue, and the skills to develop your own voice and create your masterpiece.
40 years of writing experience condensed into 5+ hours of video lessons on dramatic writing. Learn from the Pulitzer Prize winner in his first-ever online class.
When Shonda Rhimes pitched Grey’s Anatomy she was so nervous she had to start over, twice. Since then Shonda has created and produced television’s biggest hits. In this class, Shonda teaches you how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, be a showrunner, and build your career. You’ll also get her pilot scripts, pitch notes, and story bibles. Welcome to Shondaland.
The internationally respected Shonda Rhimes, whose TV credits include ABC Studios’ Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice, How to Get Away with Murder, and The Catch.
In 5+ hours of video lessons, Shonda teaches you her playbook for writing and creating hit television. Watch, listen and learn as Shonda teaches you how to write, pitch, and create a hit TV show.
Learn how to write incredible screenplays from Aaron Sorkin in the most comprehensive screenwriting course he’s ever taught. In addition to both improving your storytelling skills and outlining what it takes to write incredible scripts, Aaron invites you into his writer’s room for an eight-part screenwriting case study where he and his team will script, rewrite, and break down a new Season 5 premiere of The West Wing.
Aaron Sorkin first broke out with his Broadway play (and the film adaptation of) “A Few Good Men” starring Tom Cruise before creating “The West Wing” and the remarkable HBO show “Newsroom“. He won an Oscar for writing “The Social Network” and was nominated again for “Moneyball”; more recently, he wrote “Steve Jobs.”
Diving deep into screenwriting fundamentals, Aaron offers detailed lessons on narrative structure, character development, generating new ideas, and his signature style of dialogue. Aaron knows that great screenwriting requires intention and obstacle. He dedicates several lessons to explaining how to create conflict, raise dramatic stakes, and keep audiences watching.
Designed to offer useful lessons to seasoned and emerging screenwriters, Aaron’s class can be enjoyed by writers of all skill levels.
Over the course of 25 video lessons spanning five hours, as well as a 30-page workbook and interactive assignments. His workbook includes an entire lecture devoted exclusively to the walk-and-talk. 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.
From The Terminator and Titanic to Avatar, James Cameron has directed some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Now, for the first time in his 40-year career, he opens up about his process. Through behind-the-scenes breakdowns, James shares his approach to developing ideas, storylines, and characters; harnessing technology; and worldbuilding on any budget. Explore the innovation and imagination behind epic moviemaking.
Using specific scene breakdowns from his renowned films, including Aliens, The Terminator, Titanic and Avatar, Cameron teaches members how to identify stories that demand telling, build tension, create compelling characters—whether man, machine or alien—and harness technology to fully immerse audiences in imagined worlds. Cameron also offers practical advice that applies to all levels of film production, no matter the budget, big or small. Interlaced with intimate insights from his storied career, from how dreams inspire his work to lessons on leadership, Cameron’s class will leave members inspired to share the insider knowledge they’ve learned with others and empowered to make their own movies.
Cameron then surpassed his own record with the 2009 sci-fi blockbuster hit Avatar, which blended live-action sequences with digitally captured performances in a 3D-generated world that blazed a trail for innovation in film technology and visual effects. As a three-time Academy Award winner and a six-time nominee, he’s earned the rare achievement of having directed the first two of the five films in history to gross more than $2 billion worldwide.
Cameron most recently executive-produced the National Geographic docu-series Secrets of the Whales, and will release the long-awaited sequel Avatar 2 in December 2022.
One of Steve Martin’s first gigs was at the drive-in movies. When the audience liked a joke, they honked. In this class, Steve shares insights from performing for cars and humans over a 50-year career spanning sold-out arenas and blockbuster films. Learn how to find your voice, gather material, develop an act, and take your comedy to the next level.
As the saying goes,
“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”
But it’s about to get a little easier thanks to Steve Martin. In his first-ever online Masterclass course, the 15 time SNL host will distill comedy lessons he’s learned during five decades of making millions of people laugh in hit movies (Father of the Bride, Cheaper By the Dozen), concerts, and stand-up shows.
You’ll learn how to find your comic voice, build hilarious characters, perform confidently in front of crowds, and even deal with the occasional bomb.
Learn from the legendary comedian, actor, and writer in his first-ever online class. Click here to gain access
If this class is anything like past Masterclass’ you are in for a treat.
- David Lynch Creativity and Filmmaking Masterclass
- Jodie Foster Filmmaking/Working with Actors Masterclass
- Martin Scorsese Film Directing Masterclass
- Ron Howard Film Directing Masterclass
- Spike Lee Film Directing Masterclass
- Werner Herzog Filmmaking MasterClass
- Aaron Sorkin Screenwriting MasterClass
- Mira Nair Independent Filmmaking Masterclass
- David Mamet Dramatic Writing MasterClass
- Shonda Rhimes Masterclass: Learn Television Writing from the Creator of Scandal
- Steve Martin Teaches Comedy Writing & Acting MasterClass
- Annie Leibovitz Masterclass: Learn Photography from the Legend
- Jimmy Chin Masterclass: Learn Adventure Photography
- Judd Apatow Comedy Writing/Directing Masterclass
- Samual L. Jackson Acting MasterClass
- Dustin Hoffman Acting Masterclass
- Helen Mirren Masterclass Teaches Acting
- Neil Gaiman MasterClass: The Art of Storytelling
- Dan Brown Masterclass: Learn How to Write Thrillers from the Best Selling Author
- Malcolm Gladwell Masterclass: Learn Writing from the Best Selling Author
- R.L. Stine Masterclass: Teaches Writing for Young Audiences
- Margaret Atwood Masterclass: Teaches Creative Writing
- David Mamet Dramatic Writing MasterClass
- James Patterson’s MasterClass: Teaching Fiction Writing
- Steve Martin Masterclass Teaches Comedy Writing
- Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
- Judd Apatow Masterclass Teaches Comedy Writing
Music / Performing MasterClasses:
- Carlos Santana Masterclass: Learn the Art and Soul of Guitar
- Tom Morello Masterclass – Electric Guitar
- Reba McEntire Country Music MasterClass
- Herbie Hancock Masterclass: [WATCH] & Learn Jazz from the Legend
- Christina Aguilera’s Singing MasterClass
- Hans Zimmer Film Scoring MasterClass
- deadmau5 Electronic Music Production (EDM) MasterClass
- Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
- Gordon Ramsey Cooking MasterClass
- Gordon Ramsay Masterclass – Learning Cooking II: Restaurant Recipes at Home
- Thomas Keller Masterclass Teaches Cooking Techniques
- Wolfgang Puck Masterclass Teaches Cooking
- Alice Waters Masterclass Teaches Home Cooking
- Howard Schultz Masterclass: Leading a Values-Based Business
- Will Wright Masterclass: Learn Game Design and Theory
- David Axelrod and Karl Rove Masterclass: Campaign Strategy and Message
- Garry Kasparov Masterclass: Learn Chess for a GrandMaster
- Chris Hadfield Masterclass Teaches Space Exploration
- Diane von Furstenberg Masterclass: Learn How to Build a Fashion Brand
- Marc Jacobs Masterclass Teaches Fashion Design
- Serena Williams Tennis MasterClass
- Frank Gehry Design & Architecture MasterClass
- Dr. Jane Goodall Masterclass: Learn Conservation from a Legend
- Stephen Curry Masterclass: Teaches Basketball