I’m now on the second week of the Werner Herzog Masterclass for filmmaking. This course has really helped me get through the week. I followed some of the lessons during my lunch break and have looked forward to a masterclass binge all week.
The second week of the Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking Masterclass was just as inspiring, invigorating, and educational as the first week. Once again I’m thoroughly convinced that I’m getting full value for money. Anything that propels me to the keyboard and compels me to write even when I’m tired and grumpy is a great investment. What with my new job, I’ve had to start getting up at 4:30 am in order to write my novel before work. I can tell you it’s A LOT easier with Herzog’s motivational words still ringing in my head.
So… What did we learn on the second week of the masterclass?
Werner Herzog Masterclass Review (Week 2)
Along with stunning stories about working with Klaus Kinski, the focus of this week’s Masterclass with Werner Herzog was a very valuable education in some of the following topics:
- Negotiation skills: how to negotiate with producers and with conviction, how to handle lawyers, how to know what you’re getting yourself into, keeping the project urgent, warning signs of bad projects and signs of good working relationships.
- Locations: how quality location scouting leads to quality footage, pre-production advice, how to consider the logistics of shooting, adapting to different locations (from the Sahara to the jungle to icy cold environments), shooting with and without permits, thoughts on CGI vs. the real thing, how to “get away with film”.
- Leading the platoon: how to inspire your crew, maintaining formality and strict working relationships, doing the doable, being the guinea pig for your crew, how to make catastrophes part of your story, how to deal with the unexpected.
There were less assignments this week but still plenty of stuff to do and many of the assignments from the first week are still hanging over my head.
As you can see, there is a lot of stuff here. And every second of time spent with Herzog is worth its weight in gold. I’m in awe at how magically Herzog manages to distill his decades of filmmaking insight into every word he utters.
By the end of this week, my impressions can be summed up in two sentences:
- I would totally turn gay for Werner Herzog.
- Masterclass are a phenomenal company and I will continue following their courses and singing their praises as long as they keep delivering the goods.
I’m not the only one who is impressed with the Werner Herzog Masterclass. Part of the appeal of the class is that you have access to other students who are also following along. You can choose to engage and interact with them or simply follow Herzog’s classes and homework. Every class has a discussion area and every student (all in different stages of their filmmaking careers but all enraptured by the art of film) are as impressed with the class as I am.
And how could you not love the class when you have hands-on, practical advice from a genius of Werner Herzog’s stature mixed in with riotous anecdotes from grinding hard in the field of filmmaking. Anecdotes that result in Herzog saying stuff like this:
We get great insight in how to direct landscapes in much the same way you direct people. Herzog goes deep into how he managed to obtain one of the most iconic and greatest openings in the history of film… In just ONE TAKE. We’re talking about this opening at Machu Pichu for Aguirre:
We get to hear the creative decision that inspired Herzog to go against the raving Kinski and not use the iconic image of Machu Pichu (he calls it “postcard kitsch”) and go in a total different direction.
We get to hear about how Herzog managed to house over 450 extras and crew when there was only one hotel that could accommodate 8 people. You then see how these lessons in location logistics will then inform your own directorial decisions.
We get tremendous stories about forging shooting permits in dangerous locations. We get stories about how to be rogue one moment and honourable the next and how that personality shift will see you through the most dangerous locations from minefields to North Korean volcanoes.
I wish I could gush about every single thing I loved about the Werner Herzog Masterclass. But I don’t want to give everything away. Of course, when you buy the course, we can talk about everything as much as we like. At this stage though, I think it’s sufficient to say that I’m am very happy with my purchase.
I can’t believe I still have another month of lessons left. To appropriate one of the many great Werner Herzog quotes from this Masterclass, I feel like a bandit who has gotten away with loot.
I can’t wait for the next week. I’m trying my hardest to pace myself but I can’t resist. I’m going to peek ahead at week 3. I’ll let you know how I get on with the Masterclass with another update next week. Until then, I encourage you to grab the course if you have any interest in filmmaking.