Shonda Rhimes Masterclass Review:
Is It the Best TV Scriptwriting Class?

Last updated on: June 30, 2023, Written by:

Bill Tremlon

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You have probably enjoyed watching top American television shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice, Station 19, or Queen Charlotte. All these shows have one thing in common. Shonda Rhimes is the scriptwriter behind these masterpieces.

So, how does she create compelling television series? I took Shonda Rhimes Masterclass to try and get some enligtment.

I enjoy good storytelling, and if you’re anything like me, you should be thrilled over this Masterclass. That’s the reason I compiled this review of Shonda Rhimes Masterclass. I will give my view on the whole subscription, and you can decide whether to get it.

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Overview

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass covers all the essential areas you need to know about writing a TV show. Rhimes takes you step by step from the time you formulate the TV show, create the characters, pitch the show, start writing the script, and finally break into the TV series industry.

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass review

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Review Summary

⭐ Rating:9.2 ★★★★★
🥇 Category of class:Writing
📈 Suits best for:Aspiring Television Writers
🕒 Lenght:6 hours 25 minutes
⏳ Avg. Lesson Duration13 minutes
🛍️ Course Essentials:Data plan, Pen, paper, and a passion for TV writing
💼 Complementary material:Class Guide
📚 No. of Lessons:30 lessons
🛒 Payment options:Individual / Duo / Family
💵 Price:10 – 20 $ (billed annually)
🔄 Refund policy:30-day satisfaction guarantee
🎁 Free trial:

2.Teach Yourself TV Writing;
3.Finding an Idea;
4.Developing the Concept;
5.Researching Your Story;
6.Creating Memorable Characters: Part 1;
7.Creating Memorable Characters: Part 2;
8.Pitching Your Show;
9.Writing a Script: Structure;
10.Writing a Script: Process;
11.Writing a Script: Effective Habits;
12.Writing a Script: The Pilot;
13.Writing Authentic Dialogue;
14.Case Study: Grey’s Anatomy Pilot – Part 1;
15.Case Study: Grey’s Anatomy Pilot – Part 2;
16.Case Study: Scandal Pilot – Act One;
17.Case Study: Scandal Pilot – Act Two;
18.Case Study: Scandal Pilot – Act Three;
19.Case Study: Scandal Pilot – Act Four;
20.Case Study: Scandal Pilot – Act Five;
21.Editing Your Script;
22.Beyond the Pilot;
23.Scandal Case Study: “It’s Handled”;
24.Breaking into the Industry;
25.Working in a Writers’ Room;
26.Working in TV Production;
28.Life of a Writer;
29.Shonda’s Journey;

Key Skills You’ll Learn

  • Analyzing your story;
  • How to create memorable characters;
  • Writing programs for television;
  • Writing the pilot episode;
  • Marketing your TV show;
  • Making changes to your script;
  • Working with other writers.

Who is Shonda Rhimes MasterClass for

Shonda Rhimes Masterclass targets aspiring TV writers. These are usually recent graduates looking to make it in the television industry. However, seasoned scriptwriters can also benefit from fresh writing advice. This class benefits screenwriters and those transitioning from movies to writing for television.

Our Evaluation

Total score: 9.2

Shonda Rhimes as an Instructor
Uniqueness and Freshness
Structure and Quality
Student Engagement and Retention
Value for the Money


  • Learn from an acknowledged head writer
  • Well-structured content
  • Instructor’s great personality
  • Useful class workbook


  • Some lessons are too long
  • Shonda speaks fast

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Instructor Review

About Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is well known for her hit TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She has been an executive producer and has written many shows that air on Thursday night television. The shows have made her an iconic figure in the American television scene for the last 18 years.

Shonda Rhimes - teacher at MasterClass

She has won honors like the Peabody Award and a Golden Globe in this period. She also has a lifetime achievement award from the Writers Guild of America.

Shonda Rhimes as an Instructor

There’s no doubt that Shonda is an exemplary personality when it comes to TV writing and producing hit television shows. However, when it comes to instruction, I found that she is a bit weaker at some lessons, and you need to put some effort into the learning process.

Where she lacks instructor skills, she compensates with her inviting tone that makes you want to hear what she has to say until the end of the video lessons. You can tell from her videos that she has a passion for writing.

About MasterClass

Since 2015, MasterClass brings 180+ top rated online classes from top-tier instructors in almost any field. It includes pre-recorded video lessons from masters such as Richard Branson, Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin, Gordon Ramsay, and many others.

The video quality equals Hollywood movies, and every MasterClass course is carefully structured. But that’s not all. There are interactive assignments, MasterClass community activities, and an ever-growing video library to enjoy. The sheer amount of content can make it hard to begin. Cursums will help you to choose wisely.

Uniqueness and Freshness of the Content

MasterClass is not the only place where you can find Shonda’s writing routine and knowledge of writing in the TV industry. She has a production company called Shondaland that produces films and nurtures young screenwriters. Though there is a website, it’s not comprehensive enough to make you a better writer.

MasterClass provides a practical solution by offering a well-structured course of video lessons taught by Shonda Rhimes herself. Additionally, the MasterClass team has developed an audio option, allowing you to listen to the lessons while on the go.

MasterClass is home to a diverse range of writers, including novelists like Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman, alongside the accomplished Author James Patterson and Dan Brown’s MasterClass. These accomplished writers excel in different genres. However, if you’re interested in delving into the specific niche of television writing, Shonda Rhimes’ MasterClass is an excellent choice.

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Content and Structure Review

Most of Shonda Rhime’s lesson videos aren’t that long, which is good as long videos tend to bore the audience. However, a few have passed the 10-minute mark.

The longest video is Editing Your Script, which lasts 19:02 minutes. However, the lessons have an average play time of 13 minutes which is quite okay. To complete all the lessons, a learner will take 6hrs 25 minutes to cover all 30 lessons.

Planning and Starting

1-8 Lessons Summary

These video lessons cover what you must do at the beginning of writing every script. It involves lessons on idea formulation and turning it into a concept complete with show titles, a story bible, tone, and structure.

Shonda Rhimes shares tricks and tips for beginning new script writing

You get to learn about research, which is one of the most important writing skills. Shonda takes you through the process of effectively gathering data to create characters and stories. She also discusses how your character must execute the script to bring the show alive.

At the end of this chapter, you will also learn how to pitch your show to network operatives and get you into television writing.

Writing a Script

9-13 Lessons Summary

In this group of lessons, Shonda dives into the scriptwriting process. You’ll learn writing skills, especially how to write an authentic dialogue that captivates. You’ll also learn how to manage common writer’s problems like writers’ block.

Shonda Rhimes explains script writing process at MasterClass lesson

For script writing, Shonda shares the 5-act structure of television and how they intertwine to create a 1-hour drama. She also includes her craft of creating outlines and beat sheets.

You’ll also learn what it means to write a compelling pilot that sets the pace for the whole show.

Case Study

14-23 Lessons Summary

Shonda goes into the details of writing shows by sharing her experiences with two of her most critically acclaimed television series. She goes into detail about how she came up with the pilots of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

A chapter in which Shonda Rhimes shares her thoughts on how to get audience hooked

In this group of lessons, you’ll learn how to edit your script so that you write a great pilot, which acts as a basis for further character development. Editing skills will show you what is best to cut off and what is best to leave to make your show memorable and get the audience hooked.

Breaking Into the Industry

24-30 Lessons Summary

In this final group of lessons, you’ll learn how to tune your creative process for the writing industry and television show production. She explains this using her life lessons and real-life examples from when she got entry-level jobs up to the big-time TV writer she is today.

Lesson in which Shonda teaches about television and show production writing

You’ll learn important skills that every storyteller must have. For example, networking will help you work well in a writer’s room and in TV production. She also shares insights about show running and the immense responsibility that comes with being an executive producer.

Fast-Track Lesson Plan

Finish Shonda Rhimes MasterClass in 2 hours and 3 minutes.

2.Teach Yourself TV Writing11:16
3.Finding an Idea14:15
4.Developing the Concept12:21
8.Pitching Your Show17:33
10.Writing a Script: Process08:29
21.Editing Your Script19:02
24.Breaking into the Industry13:06
25.Working in a Writers’Room11:35

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Student Engagement and Retention

MasterClass offers informative and visually appealing videos. Shonda Rhimes MasterClass is no exception, as the general outlook of the course is well-defined. The dark interface of the platform makes you focus on the content itself, limiting distractions.

When it comes to the instructor, Shonda does a great job of engaging you to learn writing for television. Her lively character keeps you wanting to know more about what she is saying because of her passion for writing good stories.

Using relatable case studies from Grey’s Anatomy and other shows, her advice goes a long way to keep the audience hooked from start to finish.

My Personal Experience With Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

Things I Liked About the Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

Instruction From the best television Writer

I liked how the instructor is an established television writer. As a result, you can be sure of quality tips based on Shonda’s experience and knowledge of writing TV scripts. Her lesson on Breaking into the Industry and Shonda’s Journey shed more light on her writing career.

Well-Structured Content

The content in the MasterClass takes you step by step into the details of writing a TV script for a show. I particularly liked how the lesson plan flows from formulating an idea and concept for a show to writing the script and finally working in the television industry. The flow of the lesson plan is smooth if you follow it as it is.

A Useful Class Guide

The course also comes with a useful Shonda Rhimes MasterClass workbook PDF. It has overviews of the 30 lessons, including detailed notes and assignments in every chapter. It reminds me of the traditional classroom content. It’s beneficial to advanced learners who want to learn in detail about writing TV scripts.

Things I Didn’t Like About the Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

Some Lessons are too Long

Some of the lessons may be too long, which reduced my concentration a bit. For example, lesson 21 on editing process is 19 minutes long, which is a 6-minute difference on the average of all the lessons.

Shonda speaks fast

While Shonda is a great writer, sometimes her mode of speech is fast-paced. There is a possibility that you’ll miss out on some points. I had to pause and rewind several times to get some key points in some video lessons.

Is Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Worth the Money

Cost of Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

The cost of this course is similar to other courses on the MasterClass platform. You can choose either of the three plans. They include Individual at $10, Duo at $15, and Family at $20 per month.

Individual$10 per month
Duo$15 per month
Family$20 per month

The benefit of learning television writing skills from a seasoned professional and getting plenty of other additional resources makes it a worthy purchase.

Does the Class Keep Its Promises

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass keeps its promise of giving the audience a playbook for writing and creating hit television shows. I would recommend it to anyone new to the writers room and wanting to make a breakthrough in the film and TV industry. Applying Shonda’sstrategy for writing scripts and breaking into the industry will give you an edge over others.

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass: What Others Have Said

Shonda Rhimes is a US household name, having curved up a spot as the queen of Thursday night Television. As a result, if you’re an aspiring writer, there’s a good chance she’s one of your role models.

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Review on Twitter
Students comment on Shonda Rhimes MasterClass on Twitter

In fact, many writers get the Shonda Rhimes MasterClass to learn how to make it in a competitive film industry. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to find a writer who is disappointed with this course. Most beginner, seasoned and aspiring writers agree that the course offers immense value.

Positive comment on Shonda Rhimes MasterClass  on Facebook

Essentials Used in the Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

Like most other lessons on the platform, Shonda Rhimes MasterClass only needs you to watch videos. You’ll also need a pen and paper to write down all the key points.

However, you may benefit from the course more if you familiarize yourself with some other works of Shonda Rhimes. For example;

  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person
  • Shondaland website
  • It’s better if you watched Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal TV shows. She talks about making the Pilots for these two shows in depth.

Alternatives to Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

Other Film and Writing Courses Available on Masterclass

Alternatives to MasterClass


Udemy is one of the most popular online learning providers, with a massive choice of writing classes. I recommend looking into Udemy’s Creative Writing Masterclass is a great practical guide on writers’ motivations, grammar, style, publishing, and more.


Coursera is another big name in the online courses market, with quite a few on writing. Their Creative Writing Specialization delivered by professors from Wesleyan University even includes a certificate of completion.


Skillshare usually focuses on more practical courses, but their Storytelling 101 course is really compelling and conveniently breaks down storytelling into “4 C’s”. The material is as enjoyable as it is useful.

Q&A about Shonda Rhimes MasterClass

You need a subscription to access Shonda Rhimes MasterClass. Either of the three-year plans will give you access. However, the family option is the best as it gives you more options for watching her authentic dialogues on up to six devices, including a computer, TV, phone, and tablet.

It’s recommended that you finish the course in 6 hours and 25 minutes to cover all the Shonda Rhimes writing and character design tips. You can take breaks in between to remain fresh every time you sit down to listen to or view her chapter summaries.

The Shonda Rhimes MasterClass instills knowledge on different aspects of TV show writing. For example, you get skills in research, writing and editing your script, networking, and managing your time as a writer.

The Shonda Rhimes Masterclass will cost you around $120 to $240 annually. The yearly subscription opens up all MasterClass writing courses. If you’re unsatisfied with the subscription, MasterClass gives a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon

I’ve spent the last ten years passionately studying various online learning platforms. Udemy, MasterClass, Coursera, and Skillshare are the main ones, but I review lesser-known study tools as well. I test and analyze each course and lesson thoroughly before sharing my research.



A perfect course for aspiring television writers.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon