When it comes to famous playwrights, David Mamet is a name that you will hear again and again, and one of the best writing masterclasses to offer.
For five decades, David Mamet has written acclaimed and well-known plays, such as “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “American Buffalo”. However, he has also had a career as a successful screenwriter and film director.
It’s fair to say that there would be few better teachers for dramatic writing than David Mamet, but how could you learn from him and his decades of experience?
The answer is MasterClass. An online courses platform that offers subscribers an enormous library of masterclass courses, covering all kinds of skills and taught by famous experts in those fields.
It has a range of courses on different kinds of writing, and David Mamet himself hosts one of them.
But what does David Mamet’s MasterClass offer? And David Mamet’s masterclass worth the money?
We’ve got all the answers in our detailed review below. In it, we’re going to break down the contents of David Mamet MasterClass and look at the positives and negatives of the course. Read on!
Who Is David Mamet?
David Mamet is most well-known as a playwright, with his first play opening over five decades ago in 1971.
Since then, he’s written dozens of plays. “Glengarry Glen Ross” from 1984 is perhaps his most famous and critically-acclaimed, with it even winning Mamet the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
It was also adapted into a 1992 film of the same name with an all-star cast, including Al Pacino, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin.
Speaking of film, Mamet has also enjoyed a long and successful career as a screenwriter and film director.
This isn’t just in the case of adapting his own plays for the screen, because he has actually written films solely for the screen too. Fantastic films like “House of Games” and “Homicide” mark a few of the films he has written and directed.
With that being said, he has also written scripts for famous films that he didn’t direct. For example, he wrote the script for famous films like “Wag the Dog”, “Hannibal”, and “The Edge”.
Additionally, he has also written a wide range of books.
As a result, you can clearly see that David Mamet has had extensive experience in dramatic writing in many forms, making him the perfect teacher to educate on such a topic.
What Does David Mamet’s MasterClass Offer?
The MasterClass course “David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing” consists of 26 video lessons hosted by Mamet, running a total of 4 hours and 51 minutes long.
Each lesson has its own focus, all helping to teach users how to craft and write dramatic plots.
The Reason For Drama
After an introductory video, Lessons 2 and 3 both see Mamet explaining the purpose of drama. If you’re going to be writing drama, you need to know what its function is in the world.
David Mamet’s lesson stresses that drama is at its best when it’s supposed to entertain, rather than teach, and reminds you that you should be studying everyday life to recognize the dramas all around you.
Additionally, Mamet also explains that drama can be a way for us to express our thoughts and issues, allowing us to talk through them and explore them with other people.
David teaches that Drama is a tool that shows humans for what they are, in all their difficulty and positivity.
The Rules Of Drama
Though there is room to experiment, there are certain dramatic rules you need to follow in drama.
In Lesson 4, Mamet explains that your hero’s journey needs to continually be the focus of your story, and he uses Aristotle’s Poetics to illustrate his ideas of a simple, solid narrative.
In Lesson 5, he continues by telling you to get rid of parts that aren’t plotted: everything needs to have a point. This will make your writing tighter and your drama leaner and more effective.
Story & Character
You need a good story. Inspiration can be difficult, so Lesson 6 sees Mamet recommend that you look for stories in the most unexpected place. This will make them unique, too.
Additionally, Lesson 7 explains that character is actually active, and characters are defined by the decisions they make in your drama.
Lessons 8 to 12 cover the plot in great depth because it’s very important. Mamet explains the elements you will need for a successful plot, teaching you how to structure all the plot points properly while following the three-act formula.
Then, to illustrate his teaching, Mamet uses examples from his plays “American Buffalo” and “Glengarry Glen Ross”. These are really helpful because you can see the theory in action.
Dialogue & Scenes
Mamet is most famous for his punchy dialogue, “Mamet-speak”. As a result, Lessons 13 and 14 cover rhythm in the writing, as well as the motivations behind the speech.
Lesson 15 then teaches you about narration and exposition, with Mamet explaining how to know when you need to cut it. Speaking of cutting, Lesson 16 explains how to know when you’ve got unnecessary scenes.
Getting a writing process that works is difficult, so Lessons 17 and 18 see Mamet explain his own ways and inspirations.
Lessons 24 and 25 continue the story ideas but focus on a dramatist’s life. Here, Mamet emphasizes the importance of self-belief and passion.
In Lesson 19, Mamet reminds you that the audience is key to your success, and how you can learn from them. Additionally, Lesson 20 stresses that you shouldn’t lie to the audience. They want the truth, and drama requires it.
If you’re going to direct your play, then you’ll need to know how to work with actors. Lessons 22 and 23 explain how to find the best ones for the part.
How Much Does David Mamet’s MasterClass Cost?
The only way to access David Mamet’s MasterClass is by getting an annual subscription to MasterClass. This costs $180 but gives you access to their enormous library of other writing courses.
Unfortunately, there is no way to only purchase David Mamet’s course. However, there is a 30-day refund guarantee.
David Mamet has decades of experience when it comes to writing successful dramas, whether they’re plays, film scripts, or books.
He draws all his knowledge together in this thriller writing course and covers the essentials to writing poetry or successful drama: following the rules of structure, cutting needless scenes, and finding story inspiration in unexpected places.
It’s also great that Mamet spends a couple of lessons on the audience because it can be easy for writers to forget the people who will ultimately be receiving their work.
The course is especially useful for its lessons on dialogue. Mamet is famous for his dialogue, which has often been imitated, so it’s very helpful to hear him explain it and why it succeeds.
Additionally, a workbook offers exercises for the users.
Almost none! Admittedly, some of Mamet’s examples might not be as helpful as they can be if you’re not familiar with them first.
- Decades of experience in drama
- Covers rules
- Helps with writing routines
- Workbook included
- First-hand guidance on famous dialogue
- Examples might need prior knowledge
David Mamet MasterClass review is on dramatic writing thrillers and provides users with essential advice on writing propulsive, engaging material.