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Has anyone here used the Masterclass online learning site?

The website with top professionals lecturing, with worksheets and video clips? It covers many areas including film and TV with Aaron Sorkin, Warner Herzog, Shonda Rhimes, David Mamet ready now and Ron Howard, Judd Apatow and Martin Scorcese coming soon.

Is it any good? Can you learn effectively like this? They charge £70 a course.

  • How about asking did they need masterclasses like this to develop their distinctive approaches?

    1 year ago
  • I haven't tried masterclass. I've tried Stage32 webinars, and they were a waste of money. Literally some producer talking into a webcam from their living room.

    I think it depends on how you learn. And the topic, I don't think writing, directing or acting can be taught by distance, but maybe editing can.

    If you know where to look, you can find mini-masterclasses for free online, like Bafta guru. Those can help you see if that kind of learning works for you.

    There are also some great interviews on soundcloud.

    Also, Werner Herzog and others have some of their masterclasses shown free online. (especially those they did at universities or film festivals.)

    Personally, I'm a fan of the interactive model at futurelearn. NFTS had one that featured a lot of working filmmakers, including Mike Figgis and
    Destiny Ekaragha. But, it's the other learners on those courses that make a difference.

    1 year ago
    • I've done the futurelearn course, and it's great. Masterclass has a similar format encouraging discussion amongst participants.

      1 year ago
  • I was intrigued enough by the James Patterson thriller writing one to give it a go.

    There were a few interesting bits in there, but the videos were a bit fluffy. I've got far more out of other books I've read, and in person training.

    I wouldn't rule out trying another one, as it's interesting to hear that particular person talk, but I think you can spend £70 more effectively elsewhere.


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    1 year ago
  • I'd agree with Gavin & Vasco - those three alternatives combined would cost less than one Masterclass -
    - FutureLearn: that course with Mike Figgis is fantastic value for money,
    - BAFTA Guru: "inspirational career advice", free,
    - Books: Walter Murch book on editing and Robert Rodriguez's book Rebel Without a Crew are great reads.

    1 year ago
  • It depends what you are trying to achieve. I'm a practising filmmaker and media teacher and I can tell you that no online course will ever be a substitute for individual practical work with one-on-one tuition or intensive group work with feedback.

    Having said that, I'd recommend Masterclass - with some caveats. I'm currently completing an MA in Film and I'm interested in a variety of approaches to writing and directing and found the all-access pass (£140) to be best value. So for my purposes it suits me, but I don't think buying one course for £70 would be particularly useful.

    As others have pointed out, there are plenty of free and cheaper resources online. But that's not really the point. You are paying to get advice and insights from some of the most successful people in their respective professions.

    1 year ago
  • I started Masterclass now, they have an all access pass, and a one week trial. See if they still offer the one week free trial when you have some time.

    I'm on the trial. It's fun. I might even go for the all access pass.

    I think if you're one of those people who learn from celebrities its great. I usually learn better from full-time teachers (some of the instructors admit not being great teachers), but I've been self taught in quite a few things.

    Herzog's, Sorkin's and Steve Martin's courses are aimed at beginners, and kind of assume that you're between 18 and 30. That said, there are some great features. (I reviewed three other student's scripts, and three films so far.)

    The music courses I've tried assume a degree of music theory, and tend to be at a higher level. (At the stage when you have to throw the theory away and let the chords and scales become instinctive.)

    I think that if you need guidance, or a push to get you going, then it's worth it, much better than the webinars I did at Stage 32. I usually learn this stuff with books and through trial and error, and have heard a lot of it before, but I like the community aspect, especially seeing what other students produce.

    And, it's always fun to hear someone like Aaron Sorkin or Steve Martin say the same thing you've been saying. :)

    10 months ago
  • I did the one week trial and I did the full Hans Zimmer Masterclass... It was interesting but not to pay 70 pounds...

    9 months ago
  • I've looked into these but haven't bought one. I've also heard the James Patterson was interesting but a bit light. I wanted to buy a couple of these for my younger actors and the cost was prohibitive as they weren't willing to bend for multiple buys for different people.

    9 months ago
  • I enjoyed the Hans Zimmer class, and I like structured courses like this. Youtube can be very hit and miss. Obviously the best option is mentoring but it can be really difficult to find.

    8 months ago
  • A friend and myself did the screenwriting Masterclass with Aaron Sorkin which was okay and certainly opened my eyes to him as a writer as (previous to it) I hadn't been taken with West Wing etc. Since then, the format has changed and although you have access to all classes for your fee (I think), you only have a year to complete as after that you need to renew with the same fee again (presumably). This could have been a problem for my friend and myself as it probably took us near on 2 years to finish as arranging a date/time was not always easy. That said, I'd be keen to do it again to gain an insight into TV/film directing. Actually, I forked out £150 yesterday to do a weekend course on directing but I could have had access to some of the great directors all year for the same price.

    8 months ago
  • I have done a few of them and find them quite enjoying, sometimes inspirational. I really liked the Ron Howard one, but there were a few other good ones too, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, I did the Aaron Sorkin one as well, but did not like that as much as it went into his tv series a lot, which I found hard to understand as I did not know the show or characters. Where as with a film, you can watch most a couple of hours if desired. I recommend them!

    8 months ago
  • It's worth concidering that many great masters of film making, including some who are presented by film schools and master classes, never attended film schools or master classes themselves. As has often been iterated here, great film makers are often more born than taught.

    8 months ago