What is the Gone Too Soon Writing Project?
The Gone Too Soon Writing Project is a group writing exercise where students in Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass collaborate on the next episode of a cancelled TV show. The show options include Deadwood, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life, Party Down, Pushing Daisies, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Twin Peaks.
Why should I participate?
The Gone Too Soon Writing Project is an opportunity for students to work on their collaboration, screenwriting, and critique skills in a more structured environment. This is not a required part of the class and intended to be used as an opportunity for students to learn and connect with their classmates. Participating students should be prepared to commit approximately two hours a week for four weeks to the project.
How do I participate?
You can sign up for the Gone Too Soon Writing Project by completing this form by 19 October. Students will be assigned to their groups based on their ranking preference of the cancelled shows. After being assigned to a group, each group will decide how they’d like to work together. Each group will be required to critique another group’s screenplay.
Are there any additional fees to participate?
Nope! The Gone Too Soon Writing Project is a community activity, and there are no additional fees to participate.
I haven’t completed the class. Are there any lessons you suggest watching to prepare for this project?
You do not need to have completed the class to participate in the project. All participating students will have completed various lessons prior to starting this project. We would suggest watching Lessons 25–32, which are the West Wing Writers’ Room lessons. In these lessons, you’ll see Aaron work with a group of writers to break the first episode of Season 4 of The West Wing.
When is the Gone Too Soon Writing Project?
The Gone Too Soon Writing Project will officially begin on 19 October and ends on 19 November. Groups will have 3 weeks to write their episode and 1 week to provide required critiques to other groups. Students are encouraged to critique as many student projects as they’d like.
12 October:Sign-ups open
19 October: Sign-ups close
20 November : Writing Period ends
1 December: Critique Period ends
What is a Group Leader?
Group Leaders are student volunteers who will be responsible for leading their group and organizing how their group will complete the project. Group Leaders will also be the main point of communication with the MasterClass team to get answers to student questions.
How will groups be organized?
Students can create their own group if they have other students they’d like to work with, or they can join as a single participant. Students who enter as a single participant will be organized into groups based on their show selections.
How do we delegate work?
How work is delegated is up to your group. We suggest working with your group to share research and break the episode. From there, you might want to split up writing the script by scenes or acts. This way, everyone can write a little bit and then piece it together. You can review one another’s work as a group and make edits together. That’s just one way to organize the work. Your group can decide what works best for everyone.
How do we know what to write?
Students will be assigned a cancelled show to pick up where the show left off and write the next episode. Students are responsible for conducting their own research on the show they’ve been assigned to propose storylines to their team members.
Do we have to write the show we were assigned?
Students will be assigned groups based on their show preferences. However, if you are interested in writing a different show, you can make the suggestion to your group. If your group agrees to write a different show, you can switch.
Do we start from where the show left off?
No, you don’t have to start right where the show left off. You can do time jump to the modern-day or go back to before the show started or anywhere in between. It’s up to you and your group to figure out what story you want to tell with the show you’ve been assigned.
How long must the screenplay be?
There is no limit to the length of your screenplay. However, we suggest staying within the industry standard for an hour-long show, which is 45–63 pages when formatted for screenwriting. For shows that were originally half-hour comedies, the typical length is 22–32 pages.
Will our work be critiqued?
Students will have the opportunity to submit their work for peer critique. At the end of the project, the Group Moderator will share a link to their group’s project with the MasterClass community team. MasterClass will share each project with one other group for critique. Students are also encouraged to share their work in the Student Group or on the Celtx exchange for additional feedback.
Can I create a group with friends, not in Aaron's MasterClass?
Since this is a community activity, it is only intended for students enrolled in Aaron's MasterClass. If you have a friend who might be interested in participating, they should join Aaron's MasterClass to be a member of your group.
What if I don’t see a show I’d like to write?
The shows selected were chosen to provide a variety of genres and options. If you would like to work on a different show, you will have to form your own group with other students. If you’re looking for group members, I would suggest posting in the Student Group to see if anyone would like to work on the same show.
What is Celtx?
Celtx is screenwriting software that offers a free basic plan. Celtx provides screenwriting software as well as additional features for organizing film projects. We suggest students use Celtx for this project as it has great collaboration features allowing your group to work on a single screenplay together.
Do we have to use Celtx?
No, students are not required to use Celtx. However, we suggest using Celtx for its collaboration tools and accessibility for most students. If you have another program that you prefer using, you can use that.