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Opinions On MasterClass?


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#1 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 11:23 PM

Someone linked me this last month and I'm debating whether or not to drop $90 on one.

 

https://www.mastercl...es-filmmaking#/

 

A lot of them teach things going into the big picture of filmmaking as well as filmmaking itself. Overpriced fluff or worth it?


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 30 August 2016 - 11:23 PM.

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#2 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:22 AM

$90 for 6 hours of Herzog strikes me as a bargain whichever way you look at it.


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#3 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 03:07 AM

I'm personally in it for Sorkin's class.


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:48 AM

Yea, I'd totally do the Sorkin class. Tho I have a feeling, the level of education is probably low. Nobody is going to give away their trade secrets.
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#5 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:18 PM

Sorkin? But hasn’t Sorkin been a yesteryear writer since, I don’t know, at least The West Wing? :blink:


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#6 Justin Hayward

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:42 PM

My only issue with these types of things is the filmmakers tend to teach their personal preferences as the one way to work.  In that promo Herzog says, "storyboards are the instruments of cowards".  Some poor student will listen to that and show up totally unprepared on their student film set (or worse their family funded feature) armed with that philosophy, but with none of the talent, skill, artistry, or experience of Werner Herzog and fail miserably.  

 

I've never actually watched one though and I'm sure there's plenty to gain if you do.


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#7 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:30 PM

I actually found his "no storyboards" point extremely true and was waiting for someone big in the industry to say it for a while. Storyboards limit a filmmakers vision if they lack geometric drawing capability. Sure they can deviate from their scribbles, but the film classes I've been to seem overly strict about planning the shapes in shots. Handwriting what the shot will be rather than drawing it out seems a better route for camera creativity.

 

Also didn't Sorkin just cut scripts for The Social Network and Moneyball? Both modern works of genius.


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 31 August 2016 - 02:31 PM.

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#8 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:48 PM

My only issue with these types of things is the filmmakers tend to teach their personal preferences as the one way to work.  In that promo Herzog says, "storyboards are the instruments of cowards".  Some poor student will listen to that and show up totally unprepared on their student film set (or worse their family funded feature) armed with that philosophy, but with none of the talent, skill, artistry, or experience of Werner Herzog and fail miserably.  

 

I've never actually watched one though and I'm sure there's plenty to gain if you do.

 

Adding on to Jason's point, I've never put much faith in online classes of any type.  I need classroom interaction between the teacher and my fellow students, and I think that makes for a better dynamic.

 

I actually found his "no storyboards" point extremely true and was waiting for someone big in the industry to say it for a while. Storyboards limit a filmmakers vision if they lack geometric drawing capability. Sure they can deviate from their scribbles, but the film classes I've been to seem overly strict about planning the shapes in shots. Handwriting what the shot will be rather than drawing it out seems a better route for camera creativity.

 

Also didn't Sorkin just cut scripts for The Social Network and Moneyball? Both modern works of genius.

 

We'll have to agree to disagree on that last point.  Regarding the storyboards, it's whatever process that works best for you.  What are you taking the class for?  Is it be a better director, cinematographer, writer, etc.?  Is it geared towards a specific project?...


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#9 Rakesh Malik

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:50 PM

I don't agree that storyboards inhibit creativity on the part of the camera; on the contrary, I at least end up using them as a springboard. More importantly though, they enable me to go in with a plan so that we end up having more time to experiment with ideas on set, so the result ends up being MORE creativity.

 

 

That said, some directors I work with don't storyboard either; often I watch the blocking rehearsal and then tweak the lighting and decide how to shoot it based on the director's blocking and what the director is asking for from the actors.


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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 03:09 PM

Storyboards are great if you're an artist. If you aren't, then it's almost better to have extremely detailed notes of each shot so when you get to set, you understand how things are going to flow.
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#11 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 03:12 PM

In my opinion, PreViz is the new storyboards.


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:37 PM

Sorkin? But hasn’t Sorkin been a yesteryear writer since, I don’t know, at least The West Wing? :blink:

 

You've forgotten about "Steve Jobs", not to mention "Moneyball"?


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#13 Justin Hayward

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:38 PM

Storyboards are great if you're an artist. If you aren't, then it's almost better to have extremely detailed notes of each shot

 

Storyboards can be stick figures, but still lay out a plan.  Without watching the whole thing (just that promo), I assumed he meant some sort of preplanned shot list, not necessarily high quality drawings.

 

I don't care if someone wants to use storyboards, shot lists, or come up with everything on the day.  Whatever works.  It just rubs me wrong when a "teacher" draws the line in the sand with a statement like, "Storyboards are the instruments of cowards." Of course nobody is forcing me to take that class either.  


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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:42 PM

Storyboards are a pre-visualization tool and like any other tool, it can be useful or it can be misused.  I think anything that gets a filmmaker to learn to pre-visualize a shot is useful -- it can be time-consuming when a filmmaker doesn't know what they want until they see it, when sometimes that's too late.  

 

There's no law saying you have to follow your storyboards or shot lists any more than there's a rule that a writer has to keep to his first draft.

 

Being unprepared before you shoot a scene is an indulgence that most schedules and budgets can't support. But all filmmakers have to learn to be flexible and to work with what's in front of them, and to be open to inspiration at any time.  Having some initial idea for a shot dreamed up in prep doesn't negate that.

 

Herzog just likes the make strong statements to shake people up and to question conventional thinking, which is fine.  But the thing is that some directors are better at designing interesting shots on the fly than others.  Maybe Herzog thinks that pre-designing a shot will make it harder for a director to learn to design a shot on the actual day of shooting, but I don't think that's a given, it just depends on the personality of the director.  To me, it's like any skill, you learn by doing -- a beginner has to develop the skill of designing shots and creating a sequence that can be edited.  If storyboards or shot lists help them learn, then it's fine -- eventually they'll learn to live without them because they'll have experience shooting.

 

It's a bit like learning to cook -- at first you follow recipes precisely and then you understand your ingredients well enough to improvise.


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#15 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:40 PM

We'll have to agree to disagree on that last point.  Regarding the storyboards, it's whatever process that works best for you.  What are you taking the class for?  Is it be a better director, cinematographer, writer, etc.?  Is it geared towards a specific project?...

General film studies courses where they would have you do a quick shoot a couple times in a year. And while we have different definitions for "genius", I'd still like to see anyone on this forum (or any forum) write a script as good as Moneyball.

 

 

I think anything that gets a filmmaker to learn to pre-visualize a shot is useful -- it can be time-consuming when a filmmaker doesn't know what they want until they see it, when sometimes that's too late. 

 

Can one really be taught pre-visualization though? I understand teaching methods help with consistency, but it seems unrealistic that one can go from a director who lacks the ability to formulate creative vision to James Cameron. That's a major part of a director's talent, right? Perhaps we mean two different things.


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#16 Rakesh Malik

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:59 PM

Can one really be taught pre-visualization though? I understand teaching methods help with consistency, but it seems unrealistic that one can go from a director who lacks the ability to formulate creative vision to James Cameron. That's a major part of a director's talent, right? Perhaps we mean two different things.

 

Yes, one can. It just takes less time and effort for some people than it does for others.


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#17 Justin Hayward

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:30 PM

 

Can one really be taught pre-visualization though? 

 

When I was a little kid my grandpa occasionally let me borrow his video camera.  Knowing nothing about wide compositions (or anything about composition), it suddenly occurred to me that if I got far away and zoomed in on someone that it somehow looked more like a real movie.  Of course I eventually learned why I thought that.  If little things like that don't occur to you after watching hundreds of movies in your lifetime and having an intense desire to make a movie of your own, then you probably can't be taught pre-visualization.  But when something like that does occur to you, the learning never stops. So I think there's an evolution, but you have to start somewhere.


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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:10 PM

Can one really be taught pre-visualization though? I understand teaching methods help with consistency, but it seems unrealistic that one can go from a director who lacks the ability to formulate creative vision to James Cameron. That's a major part of a director's talent, right? Perhaps we mean two different things.


So there's nothing inbetween talentless hack and genius? That's like saying there's nothing to be gained in studying musical composition because you're never going to be as good as Mozart.

Creating art involves talent and craft -- the first may be inherent but the second can be learned. Honestly, do you think a child is born with the ability to imagine staging a scene with a 200mm lens on a dolly?
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#19 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:21 PM

Tyler..?  

 

sorry couldn't resist.. only a joke.. 


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#20 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:47 PM

So there's nothing inbetween talentless hack and genius? That's like saying there's nothing to be gained in studying musical composition because you're never going to be as good as Mozart.

Creating art involves talent and craft -- the first may be inherent but the second can be learned. Honestly, do you think a child is born with the ability to imagine staging a scene with a 200mm lens on a dolly?

The craft aspect I understand and agree with, but as far as the RAW essence of talent, that's just something people are either born with or pick up through life experience (not necessarily a filmmaking experience). In this scenario; raw talent is vividly visualizing that shot/scene before any piece of production is assembled.

 

Visualization is a very crucial part of the director's chair, so I suppose that's why I went with the Cameron generalization.

 

Whether you're talented or a hack we ALL need to study Mozart, Scorsese, Jordan, Picasso. My only disagreement was of the notion that one can go from literally talentless to great through reading a book or taking a class. I think we've heard a few users go with the analogy of "short guys playing in the NBA"?


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