Werner Herzog’s MasterClass is the best creative course I’ve taken in a long time. I’m always careful to moderate my enthusiasm when writing reviews. I don’t want to overhype things and I know raving about this sort of thing can make people seem skeptical (case in point: my Wim Hof Method review, which has tons of skeptical comments/questions). But I can’t hold back any longer…
The Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking MasterClass is freaking awesome. I literally can’t believe how lucky we are to have courses like this on the market. The amount of value packed into this course, with so much rich face time with one of film’s greatest creative geniuses, is staggering.
Let me put it as simply as this, without a single shred of hyperbole:
If you can’t afford film school – this is your film school.
You will know so much by the end of this course – thanks to the homework and lessons – that it will probably be better than film school.
How much is 4 years of film school? 100 grand?
The Werner Herzog MasterClass is 90 bucks and the knowledge you get is crazily extensive.
I started the Werner Herzog MasterClass in November of last year. That’s over four months ago now. And I still haven’t finished the course.
MasterClass lays out a proposed lesson plan that has the course taking 7 weeks. But I’m 20 weeks in and I still have “2 weeks” left on the syllabus…. And have barely made a dent in the homework.
I am definitely not one of those people that equates money with time. Just because I fork over 90 bucks doesn’t mean I expect hours and hours of material. You can spend a hundred bucks on a course and if it’s only 20 minutes and provides you with massive value, it’s worth it. But Werner Herzog’s MasterClass is a rare example of a course that is crammed with tons of quality and is super lengthy.
When you sign up to Werner Herzog’s MasterClass, be prepared that you are going to be living with Werner himself, his words, and his advice for quite a considerable chunk of your life.
Anyways, massive fanboy stuff out of the way… What did week five of Werner Herzog’s MasterClass actually entail?
Werner Herzog MasterClass Review (Week 5)
Week 5 of the Werner Herzog MasterClass took me the longest to complete. And, technically speaking, I still haven’t fully completed it yet. I’ve watched all of Werner’s video lessons. They are superb and his enthusiasm is so infectious that I find myself foregoing my typically morning espresso when I watch one. But I am only halfway through the homework, which has a lot of filmmaking exercises (one of which is a realise challenge and requires you to utilise public domain footage to make your own documentary).
Week 5 touched upon some of the following filmmaking topics:
- Sound: the basic principles, troubleshooting sound problems, blending and distorting sound for stylisation, how to listen for the remarkable.
- Music: finding the perfect mood, communicating exactly what you want, a guide to music placement.
- Editing: how to “sensitise” your audience, advice on how to watch and remember, how to be ruthless with your footage, understanding audience and ideas of universality, getting the right feedback, using footage you can’t ignore.
- Images and ideas: “Valley of 10,000 windmills case study”, how to let inspiration mature, how to recognise inspiration and seize the opportunities, how to let ideas combine in unexpected ways.
This week of the MasterClass was extremely in-depth, really hands-on, with tons of case-studies and applicable advice, a boatload of tasks for you to complete, and all of it was wrapped up in Werner Herzog’s wonderful wit, genius, and humour.
The thing I really love about the Werner Herzog MasterClass is that it will force you out of your comfort zone.
Werner’s advice is radical. It’s grounded in his “School of Life” philosophy and not derived from years spent sitting in dusty lecture halls. Werner’s advice about art and creativity is grounded in living.
This might put some people off the course. You might be the type of person who only wishes to study film examples and analyse what they do right. Well, there is plenty of that. The lessons often have Werner sitting in front of a big movie screen and he takes you through exactly what is happening and why. But much of his most valuable advice is extremely eccentric, especially in this day and age.
Well, if you wanted to learn about how to capture sound on film, would you spend hours analysing the great sound editors? Or would you buy a microphone and spend a night in a forest, listening to the sounds and recording the moments that are wonderful (like the birds waking up in the morning?).
If your gut pulled you to the second one, you will love the Werner Herzog MasterClass.
If you felt uneasy about the second one, you might really need the MasterClass.
Often the thing we resist the strongest, is the thing we most need.
Listen to your inner commentary. If you hear thoughts like “that’s stupid” or “I can’t do that”, then you might just need to do the very thing you are resisting.
The thing you are resisting is pure, untapped creativity of the mad genius kind. The kind of creativity that results in cinematic masterpieces such as the following:
If you wanted to learn about editing and choice of subjects, would you study the great editors and directors? You could. Werner himself has endless recommendations from the Taviani Brothers to Satyajit Ray.
Or you could walk a thousand miles in a random direction and film whatever you see with whatever means necessary.
It’s that kind of thinking, blended with a deep appreciation and knowledge of the great filmmakers, that results in masterpieces like this:
It’s hard to go super in-depth about exactly what you get when you invest in the Werner Herzog MasterClass. Mainly because I’ve already written a bunch of reviews for week one, week two, week three, and week four, and I still have more to write and I don’t want to give the course away. But I’m looking at my reams of notes and trying to figure out how best to convey the huge amount of value currently congealing in my psyche…. but words fail me.
All I can say is that if you’re serious about film and storytelling and you want to make a career out of this (or even if you just love it as a hobby), don’t deprive yourself of this MasterClass.
You’re reading this review so you’re obviously interested. Don’t hesitate any longer. Seriously, just go for it and see for yourself. MasterClass are great because they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you really have nothing to lose. They offer that guarantee because they know they have a world-class product.
So what are you waiting for?
Be sure to say “hello” to me in the “hub”, the MasterClass student area.
Read my other Werner Herzog MasterClass Reviews:
- Werner Herzog MasterClass Week 1
- Werner Herzog MasterClass Week 2
- Werner Herzog MasterClass Week 3
- Werner Herzog MasterClass Week 4
November 2017 Update: Now, for $180, you can get access to the entire MasterClass course library with the All Access Pass. This is a total non-brainer and incredible value for money. Just check out their line-up.