All products and services featured by Variety are independently selected by Variety editors. However, Variety may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links, and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
Spike Lee, Aaron Sorkin, Martin Scorsese, and David Lynch are among the industry vets who have signed on to teach writing, acting, and filmmaking courses through MasterClass, an emerging online learning platform that’s making it easy for aspiring actors and directors to perfect their craft. Plus today they’re offering a two for one sale for Black Friday.
Lynch and Disney CEO Bob Iger are among the newer instructors to join MasterClass, along with drummer Sheila E and host and cultural icon, RuPaul, who both signed on to the e-learning site this year. Lynch teaches a class on filmmaking, diving into the process of writing and developing creative stories, while Iger leads a course on “business strategy and leadership.” RuPaul, meantime, teaches a course of “self-expression and authenticity.”
MasterClass joins a number of other sites out there that offer online courses for a nominal fee. LinkedIn recently unveiled their “LinkedIn Learning” platform, which focuses on courses for career advancement, while Udemy has been in the marketplace since 2010, and now offers more than 80,000 course options, ranging from upgrading your technical skills, to courses on personal growth and development. All of the sites allow students to stream video tutorials, download course materials, and take part in interactive exercises, with many also offering the ability to connect with peers and instructors. The hook: an ability for students to learn at their own pace, and on their own time, from the convenience of home.
Unlike traditional continuing education classes, which require in-person attendance and tuition fees, MasterClass courses are available as part of an annual subscription for $180 (for access to all the classes on the site). The fee gets you lifetime access to the course videos and materials, so you can reference the lesson plans and tips at any time.
MasterClass courses focus on film and television, cooking, photography, sports, writing, and science. “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes teaches a course on writing for television, while students can also sign up for a Scorsese-led course on movie-making, which includes 30 video lessons and “office hours,” where the legendary director will respond to select student questions. The site has also added classes more recently from Chris Hadfield (space exploration), and Daniel Negreanu, whose poker class continues to be a hit.
MasterClass says it has a “robust pipeline” of new courses and categories set to launch in the next few months, which will bring its catalog to more than 90 classes, and more than a thousand lessons. Best of all, it makes an awesome gift for the film buff on your list that you send easily and instantly online (which is how most of us will be gifting this year). Prices are $15 per class and $180 for the year.
David Lynch Teaches Creativity & Film Making
Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting
Martin Scorsese Teach Film Making