Category Archives: Drama what it is

David Mamet’s  Masterclass lesson Point A to Point B

David Mamet Masterclass

David Mamet’s  Masterclass lesson #4 Dramatic Rules

I watched this video, three times before I started taking notes.

Why so many times?

Answer: Because it was that good!

This lesson is –WOW! And I am not exaggerating. I am only on the fourth video and I have taken away something from each of those four videos. In Lesson #3 Mamet talked about how humans have two inclinations, ‘good inclination’—yetzer ha-tov—the ‘evil inclination’—yetzer ha-ra. I have been reading about these inclinations. To me, they are like a  tiny Devil on one shoulder and a tiny Angel on the other.

This video lesson #4 David Mamet is sitting at his desk looking at the camera,  and his first words are:

“Your job is to tell a story. A story a story has a hero, and he or she wants ‘one’ thing and the story begins when something precipitates the event.

From this point, some -not all-  of what he is saying  I have heard or read before.  But never in the way that David Mamet delivers it.
He points us to read, Aristotle Poetics, you can find it HERE.


David Mamet’s delivery, the way he imparts the information, is impressive. This video only lasted eleven minutes and forty-six seconds. I wanted more. I wanted to jump right into the next video lesson. I had to pull myself back. I had this Blog post to put together and I wanted to read Aristotle’s Poetics, first before jumping feet first into lesson #5

A little of what I learned,  was that the audience /reader is the hero of the story.

The Hero’s Journey
“Every play has to have a beginning middle an end – Just like a joke.” ~David Mamet

Inspired by situations

Your hero needs to be inspired from the inside out.

Aristotle’s Unities

David Mamet’s

From Dr. Wheeler’s “UNITIES, THREE (also known as the “three dramatic unities. A good play, according to this doctrine, must have three traits.
The first is unity of action (realistic events following a single plotline and a limited number of characters encompassed by a sense of verisimilitude).
The second is unity of time, meaning that the events should be limited to the two or three hours it takes to view the play, or at most to a single day of twelve or twenty-four hours compressed into those two or three hours.
The third is unity of space, meaning the play must take place in a single setting or location.

*It is notable that Shakespeare often broke the three unities in his plays, which may explain why these rules later were never as dominant in England as they were in French and Italian Neoclassical drama.”

Keep the story simple.

David Mamet’s

You decide where will your story start, and where will it end.


Simple maybe or not, but it is a start.

Drama Happens When your characters try to Achieve Something

David Mamet: #3 Purpose of Drama (Cont”d)

Drama is also, just a form of myth. Myth is a poetic statement of an unverifiable reality. Like, myth is not false it’s just unverifiable. Like, for example, Jesus Christ died for our sins. It’s not false if you are a Christian, that’s the essence of your life. You just can’t point to it on a sheet piece of paper and say, see here. But its none the less true for that. so myth, again, is a statement of a truth that is unverifiable and so is drama, drama evolves us in the quest of a human being to achieve something.” ~David Mamet, Masterclass

“ Yes, I understand how at every step this human being was trying to achieve something and they underwent traumas I can’t even begin to imagine and they doubted themselves and they all wanted to quit every hero and heroine wants to quit…” ~David Mamet, Masterclass

I would love to write out every word David Mamet said in this lesson. I can’t.

The shortened version: “Drama is the stepchild of religion” and “humans are basically insane” and “all drama is the same as a joke the joke frees us from reason.”

What I took away is that I have been looking at ‘drama’ from the wrong end. I was looking at it as a teachable moment when all it really is…. the cause from the effect.

Think of when Lucy got a job in a candy factory and the conveyer belt started to run faster and faster.


Think of a time you over embellished at that family dinner or the time you caught a fish or how many steps you climbed when the elevator wasn’t working. That is drama, you’re telling a story. You are not trying to make a point, and just embellishing those three steps into a hundred or how big that fish really was, gives us the drama we so love to express.

I do wish I could tell you everything David Mamet talks about in this lesson # 03 Purpose of Drama (Cont’d)

If you are interested in checking out this course by Clicking HERE or click on ‘David Mamet’ in the upper left sidebar just above James Patterson.

Other posts different lesson for David Mamet’s Masterclass series

Teach Me, David Mamet You Are My Only Hope 

David Mamet’s 2nd video Purpose of Drama