Martin Scorsese’s Masterclass: Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking


I’ve been a fan of Martin Scorsese since the television show, Amazing Stories, and the episode he directed, Mirror, Mirror. It’s a short piece about a horror writer that claims (on television) to never be scared; then sees a phantasm only visible to himself in the mirror intent —  he believes — upon killing him. Initially set in his modern, chrome-on-white decorated home, the shadows soon lengthen and deepen to keep pace with not-so-gradual descent into madness.


This is my takeaway, my gift from Mr. Scorsese.


“So if you are intrigued by movie making as a career, this isn’t the class for you. But if you need to make movies — a movie — if you feel like you can’t rest until you’ve told this particular story that you’re burning to tell in moving images and sounds, then I could be speaking to you … I’m going to give you some practical advice along the way, but the most important thing I can convey to you is that you always have to find your own way.”


My biggest challenge in writing for this Masterclass was remembering to stop and take notes — I was captivated by Mr. Scorsese and found myself enthralled. He is a wise man, with a razor-sharp memory — he recounts the smallest details from his childhood, quotes and expands on Socratic Method, tosses out a plethora of names of people he has worked with, effortlessly recalls the details that first captured his attention in a film from years ago. His stories are engaging, entertaining, and he has very little issue with chuckling on-camera if he finds something amusing. He is down-to-earth, practical, and his creative passion for his work and the history of cinema is right there for all to see.


“The point is that the creativity with cinema, like any real art form, is you really should know the old work that has gone before, the old masters. And I do think you should know it, meaning you should be exposed to it.  You should see and experience them, as best you can. Do not look at them to learn from them. Look at them to see if it speaks to you, if you’re interested at all, if you’re curious. It’s not a matter of, I’m going to learn something from watching all the Max Ophuls. I’m going to learn — it’s a matter of your response to it. You’re aware that that is out there. You’re aware that’s part of the medium you are using. And so, in a way, even if you reject it, you have to know what you’re rejecting, I think. And it’s to learn from the old masters… So all of this is about understanding the value of cinema itself and recreating it constantly, recreating constantly from yourself, okay?”


Some time is devoted to his childhood, and the beginnings of his love for film, and continues on with his own education at NYU and how they began to make films.


“The filmmaking that I tried to do, particularly when I first started out, was stories that came from my own experience, or subject matters that interested me only, or solely, I should say. And that slowly developed into other projects or stories — scripts, even — that I was able to work with interests or concepts from other writers. But primarily, really the story has to come from me.”


In one lesson, Mr. Scorsese describes how he essentially wrote storyboards as a child, then tried to explain them to his friends. They complained that they were incomplete, that they jumped. He didn’t have words to express at that time that the action was taking place between these shots and that you had to imagine the work produced by equipment that wasn’t there. It wasn’t until many years later that he got his hands on that equipment, got to work with and experience that trial and error that so often happens.


“I wanted to see what that equipment gives me, but I still have to direct the equipment and know what the equipment is capable of and what I can use it for. So this is a very important point… The shot is a value in and of itself. No matter what you shot it for, it may not matter. It may not matter ultimately. It takes on its own life. It takes on its own intention, and it takes on its own essence in a way. And this is something that you can’t teach. You have to just do it.”


Mr. Scorsese talks at length about color, and the impact it had on him growing up, watching the progression from black and white to three-color and so on. He learns to use it to create drama, which I think is most aptly expressed (in brief form) in Michael Jackson’s music video Bad, which Mr. Scorcese directed.


Several lessons are devoted to walking the viewer through his progression in learning what worked and what didn’t, and along the way, he consistently emphasizes that if you have this passion to tell this story, you find a way.


“And so this is something I think can be, if not learned, can coexist with the necessity of making the film. You deal with it. You — if you don’t know something, ask. Try it. You know, learn as much — you may forget it afterward, but you learn a little bit each time a little more. But it’s something that shouldn’t stop you. If there are certain elements of the actual production, or how to get an image on screen or how to tell a story, you’ll find your way through.”


He credits the audience as a teaching medium, as well as a major motivator to do good and thorough research on a subject, but warns not to get too hung up on the ‘rules’ or the tangents that research can lead you off on.


“The rules of the world of the picture reveal themselves as you develop it. So your research into the way of life for the period, or the particular customs and habits of a particular part of the world, are going to be something that you must feel comfortable with, something that you can rely on, something that gives you the bedrock of the picture. But again, it’s really important not to let the research lead you away from what sparked you making the film in the first place.”


Mr. Scorsese recounts needing to find a balance between pure research and the instinct of actors as well. When the right actor is found for a part, he has found that they can give an unexpected dimension to a character and that their contributions can be critical to the success of a film.


“And I always say that casting is 85% to 90% of the picture for me. So all of you who are just starting out, I want to repeat, again, insist on what you want. And don’t settle for close enough or second best. And don’t imagine there’s a shortcut. It’s meeting the people, spending time with them, talking with them, then putting them together with the other actors. That’s a key thing. And see how the other actors respond.”


And then that chemistry is there, he encourages directors to let things often evolve from spontaneity, if the time can be afforded. Some of his most memorable work, he says, comes from the most unusual happenstances, and even if it takes a while to get there.


“Sometimes you think something is dreadfully wrong and later when you look at it in the context of a cut, it might work. There are things I know don’t work immediately, but you shoot them. You just shoot them, because it’s a process for the actor to go through that.”


And that didn’t only apply to work with actors. Often, the same rules applied to a specific location and advised to take the challenges head-on as positively as possible.


“This happens a great deal — constantly being surprised by the actual location itself and the limitations. Then you have to figure out how the limitations can become advantages, become something else. So it’s always best — if you’re not building a set — to go to a location and spend time there. The only important thing, the only thing that really matters, is what it’s going to look like on the screen.”


And once you have something to put on the screen, what then? How do you promote it? How to make sure it is seen and acknowledged? I found his anecdotes amusing and was surprised at what he sometimes had to go through to get his work known.


“You had to let the audience know that the picture is out there, so you find that particularly at that time, you could have input in the trailers, coming attractions. You certainly could have input in the posters, in the publicity campaign. You’ve got to be part of all of it… So the key is you have to let people — if you want people to see it, you’ve got to let them know it’s there.”


Mr. Scorsese’s best advice on how to know if making films is what you should be doing and how you should do it, delivered in his own tongue-in-cheek:


“So there are different ways to — everybody has a different process. Ultimately, though, you do have to look at it when it’s finished, or you think it’s finished, and it’s never finished, right? It’s never finished.”


Martin Scorsese’s Masterclass: Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking is comprised of 30 lessons that span over 4.5 hours and includes workbooks to download in pdf format.


Martin Scorsese is an award-winning filmmaker that has been working in the industry for over 60 years. His credits include feature films such as: The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo, The Departed, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Casino, The Age of Innocence, Cape Fear, The Grifters, Goodfellas, New York Stories, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Color of Money, Raging Bull, and Taxi Driver. His documentaries include: The 50 Year Argument, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Public Speaking, A Letter to Elia, Shine a Light, Life Itself, Surviving Progress, Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies, Lightning in a Bottle, Lady by the Sea: The Statue of Liberty, The Soul of a Man, Michael Jackson: Number Ones, and The Last Waltz.  He has also produced and/or directed a number of TV shows, including Vinyl, Boardwalk Empire, The Blues, and Amazing Stories.

Mira Nair’s Masterclass on Independent Filmmaking


Mira Nair is a vital, vibrant woman that is very passionate about filmmaking, people, culture, and life itself. Her body language and gestures are that of a natural storyteller, every movement a crucial part of her narrative. She is riveting and has such a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of filmmaking, that no matter your role on a set, there is something to be learned from her.


This is my takeaway, my gift from Mira Nair.


[A director must have] The heart of a poet and the skin of an elephant… there is power in the poetry of your own language, your own skin, your own story.”


This is true regardless of your genre or style, I think, because rejection is part of any craft, not once or twice, or even just once in a while, but all the time.  Anyone looking for a job, a role, funds, permission, accolades, acceptance — more often than not, you’ll receive a hundred ‘nos’ for every ‘yes’.


“I always say arm yourself with craft because craft is vital, and however you find your craft, that’s vital.”


Mira is has a film school in Uganda and reiterates often the importance of having an open mind, to keep accepting new techniques, new perspectives, and to use the instruction that can be found everywhere, in order to make the best possible film.


“We make movies to transport you, to uplift you, and I hope, sometimes, to give one hope, you know, of how to see something that you had closed your mind on, or you never knew existed, but how that can give you a way to look at the world anew.”


This is one of the main reasons why I watch a film. I always hope to leave the theatre with a sense of having come off a roller coaster of emotion, but I tend to choose the films for myself that will evoke either a deep train of thought or visceral response. Even the most convoluted of plots can do this, but those that can retain a balance are particularly interesting to me. I appreciate the director that takes the time to look not just at the main thread, but the whole tapestry and makes it coherent.


“Well, the only question when I hand out the script to my inner circle of friends and colleagues is, basically, tell me what you think. Where do you get confused? Where do you get bored? You know, where do you not understand? And what do you not understand?


This really resonated with me as a creative, and I find I take this attitude when giving my own writing to others as well. I always want to be better, do better, and in order to do that, you must have feedback on where you can improve. You cast your net as wide as you can, to reach as far as possible, and only keep the best.


“There is nothing more valuable than prep for a film.”


Three of the lessons are actual footage from rehearsal for a scene from Queen of Katwe, where she runs through the prep for the scene and takes us through the whole process. From before the script is even walked through by the actors, they set up the entrances, how the cinematographer would follow the actor, the body language Mira is looking for, and direction. Through several takes, while rehearsing the scene, you can see the path of progression from a first take to the final shot that ended up in the film.


“So even though I know several of the rules — that you’re not supposed to speak behind the camera once you say “action” as the director — I don’t really obey them. If something is helped, I call it out.”


Constructive direction seems to be Mira’s style. She seldom says, “don’t do that,” but “do this at this time, instead of now. She works hands-on with the actors to understand the timing of a scene, and when to dredge up the emotion at play behind the words so the energy can be used to its greatest effect.


“- How do you share that energy in the trenches? … Can you keep each other going on? … And of course, getting the work done in an exciting way, never in a compromised way. That’s key.”


Mira works on building trust and looks for people that not only will perform well, but will play well with others. She has no set criteria, and will often build story onto a character that displays unexpected dimension, and she can instinctively tell will add depth to the story.


“Listen to your instinct, because it is what you possess that makes you distinct.”


Like Ken Burns, throughout the film, Mira Nair stresses the importance of self-confidence and listening to that inner voice that tells you whether or not you are on the right track. And when things go badly on set, you sometimes need to just call it a day, give yourself time to regroup and recharge.


“Energy is not limitless, and creative energy is absolutely limited. It’s not something that has an endless flow. Preserve that creative energy. Do not lose your cool, because even losing your cool takes so much energy. You feel terrible afterwards. You have to recover yourself. You’re embarrassed that you did this in front of everybody. Whatever it takes, save yourself from that. Swallow it.”


Mira also goes over some of her personal routines for getting back on track, and some of the steps she has taken to assure that the cast and crew perform at their best, including hiring a yoga teacher for everyone. She has found it to be very useful and helps build trust in each other, making her a very popular director to work for. However…


“Making a film, you do not have to be constantly popular. Once you achieve your work and once you inspire people to come and give you the work that you want from them, that is when you get their respect.”


When people have your respect, she has found that they perform at their best, and give their all. This leads to unexpected outcomes, all of which she is glad to get on film, to add to her bank of imagery…


“… throughout the shooting of the film, you know, how can we create this bank of imagery that will really be a huge resource when you’re editing the film.”


I thought this was very interesting, running parallel to what Ken Burns taught in his class about gathering everything. You never know when you might need it. If you find yourself with the wherewithal to do so, keep it all so that the editor may have the most material to work with.


“You create a tapestry of background action that could either pay off as the story goes on or may not even pay off and just add a great layer of life and actually would illuminate what the culture is like.”


From the setting to the background activity, Mira explains how she achieved much of this culture, even when her budget was extremely limited. There are choices, and you can get what you want if you just ask for it.


“… we chose a very particular palette, so that everyone wouldn’t come in in their gaudiest, blingiest best… We created a palette of indigo, of ochre, of burgundy of colors that are also very specific to India that I absolutely love…. And it all reflects in your own aesthetics, and what you want, and what you’re asking your costume designer to give you, or your people to give you. You know, you have to ask for it. You have to say this, not that.”


What is here that might help? Can you bring this? Can we use this? Can we shoot here? All you can do is ask. It might be something as simple as a photograph of the mosque in a shot overlooking the city, or using the footage taken of children decorating a car for someone’s wedding with marigolds.


“So locations inspire me, you know, and they can come from life, they can come from photographs I’ve loved, they can come from somebody’s suggestion. But how you use a location, you know, for your character is what is key.”


Mira takes us through a homecoming scene she added in for a character in Monsoon Wedding, and while there was nothing particularly remarkable about his apartment, at the end he steps out onto this terrace with an incredible view. You can see that the character is far from alone, but the twilight expanse of the sky, the gathering shadows, and even the waist-high balcony wall provide the illusion of a sanctuary, where the character is finally free to drop his stoic facade and weep.


“That is the — the key for me — is to work with people who take me much further, you know, and who share the sensibility, but introduce me to horizons that I would not thought of.”


Working with people new to the industry is nothing new for Mira. However, she takes time to cultivate her relationships with her crew and works best not with people that challenge her authority, but people that challenge her world-view.


“Do not surround yourself with yes people, because yes people are going to keep you in a stasis that you will never get out of, you know? So surround yourself with people that take you further.”


Mira’s philosophy has worked well for her, and has this to say about key crew roles in independent filmmaking:


“The writer is possibly the most important collaborator with the director.”


“And if anything else someone can do for me, like the first assistant director or someone that is close to me, I send that out. I don’t fritter away my concentration, because the concentration is vital. What you have in front of you is a precious moment, and you have to achieve it.”


“… That’s what I love about the cinematographers I work with, it is that they are poets of light.  We have — we share that sensibility, and then they run away with it and create the light.”


“I think musical rhythm in an editor — for me — says a lot. How somebody responds to music and how some editors cut images to music. Rhythm is the essence of editing in cinema. And rhythm is ineffable. You can’t quite put your finger on it. But rhythm is the essence really, of how a story is told.”


When you put together this kind of a stellar crew, you get these amazing films that surround you and take you along on their journey.


“You know, it’s that kind of interplay, which, of course, is done in the editing, but is conceived of initially in the shooting, and in the lighting.  So it’s a beautiful sort of mating dance really when you achieve what you want to in this interplay of light, and camera, and performance, and music. That is cinema. That’s what cinema can give you is literally using everything that excites you into the creation of a frame or a sequence that transports you.”


But how does that translate for scenes that aren’t necessarily about the beauty and the joy of life?


“When you’re making a film that is an ensemble or that is as several characters, several subplots that blend, it’s even more important to know not just that every scene has an intention, but how the pieces of the story interlock and how you can also keep the through line of a story going without — with clarity and with even some sense of suspense.”


“And it’s like building a whole world of actually incredible refined culture, music, exaltation to the god, et cetera, with a danger, and a mystery, and a foreboding. Actually, the scene is critical to be seen as a play of light and sound. And things are in shadows. Things are revealed which are disturbing. You don’t quite know. And yet, the atmosphere is built very carefully to evoke both refinement and terror.”


“I don’t want to hold a flag and signal that something terrible is to come. I’d rather it steal upon you from behind, and then, oh my god, he’s gone.”


While Mira loves music and has found composers with incredible talent, she also expounds on when to use the music, that the timing of sound, or absence of it, can add just as much emotion to a scene as the action in it.


“So you can use sound design to great effect. And the sound design itself can be both based on a reality or completely, you know, about nature. Often, nature teaches me a lot about sound… and I love to just submit to the sound, of nature especially, because it’s an enormous teacher, you know. And it’s filled with a newness, actually, each time, you know.”


That newness, the unique — those are key concepts that are seen time and time again through Mira’s work.


“The key to making films is to have something to see. Something that is distinctive, preferably never seen before. And something that only you can bring.”


Even if you have no budget, and are doing all of the work yourself, don’t let that stop you.


“So basically, my advice to you is to stop at nothing… So make every challenge actually an opportunity. That is the key. Never apologize, but find a way.”


“And remember that if you don’t tell your own story, no one else will. And if they will, it will never be as good as you telling your own story.”


Mira Nair’s Masterclass on Independent Filmmaking is comprised of 17 lessons that span over 4.5 hours. The perks and extras that come with the class include being able to download the transcript to “read along” with the class, and workbooks you can download.


Mira Nair is a veteran director of nearly 40 years of experience, creating many award-winning films, including Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair, The Namesake, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Queen of Katwe.

Ken Burns’ MasterClass on Documentary Filmmaking


My first words after watching the last of the lessons were, “Wow. Just, wow.” I was completely and utterly hooked from the first lesson.

I cursed every hiccup in my bandwidth, had to breathe deep every time my daughter called my name and I needed to stop watching the class. I was so drawn in by Ken Burns’ ability to tell a story while giving instruction, I found myself covering my earbuds, straining to hear him, to hear every word of what he had to say. I did not want to pause to take notes.

This is my takeaway, my gift from Mr. Burns.


“You have to have faith in yourself.”

As with any endeavor that we take on that has real meaning, we must believe in our ability to complete the task that has been laid before us. Ideas are fraught with maybes, successes are replete with I will’s.

You have to be able to say to yourself: “This is what I want to do.”

Sometimes we are not cognizant of the gift of choice, but it is always there. If you do not choose to do a thing, to subsequently take that first step, you will never succeed at it. Period.

You have to believe that: “I will persevere.”

Then comes the second step. And the next, and the next. This is not to say that there will not be huge steps backward, nor sideways slips through the mud, nor graceless leaps on the diagonal. Your course is likely to resemble a path through a set designed by M.C. Escher. But survival, perseverance, is a goal that you must never lose sight of, no matter what jumps up to bar your way.

“…figure out how to anticipate and then welcome the unanticipated problems that will inevitably occur and permit that to be an exercise in transcendence and you know, not the sometimes tragedy that we make of these things.”

These are not trite clichés, but truths that apply to every single one of us going through the human experience, and this absolutely applies to filmmaking.

“What are you willing to do for your art?”

Mr. Burns tells of his decision to move out of NYC and to Vermont in order to be able to afford to live, while he pursued his passion for filmmaking. He makes the point, however, that what you are willing to do for your art is completely up to you

And you need to remember to budget enough for yourself to live on while you are making a film. Often people, especially when they are first starting out, completely overlook this point. Instead, they ask, ‘Should I work a regular job? Will I starve for my art? Or… should I get out there and fundraise?” Do what works best for you, make the choices you can live with.  

Speaking of fundraising… how do you land investors anyway?’

“You have to take an ignorant but potentially curious person, make them curious, and make them no longer want to be ignorant.”

How do we do this? With research. Hours upon hours, months and months, you dig and you pursue your subject with dogged persistence and relentless gluttony for details.

“You collect as much as you can, and see what’s talking to you.”

Mr. Burns tells of digging through boxes of photos from archives for the Civil War documentary, and why it is is so important to be thorough.  He discovers a photograph, possibly the only one in existence, of Robert E. Lee displaying an emotion. He credits his determination to gather all the information he can, his insistence on leaving no cardboard-box-flap-unlifted to the discovery.

“If you are corrigible to the end, then you have the possibility for serendipity and surprise, and that’s what life is about, too.”

Mr. Burns frequently mentions the amazing coincidences that he has experienced over the course of more than 40 years in filmmaking and conveys such awe and reverence, it is both inspiring and contemplative. Upon reflection, it is easier to see that this too is true and that I would not be where I am, with my amazing family, without such moments of serendipity having occurred in my own life.

“Keeping that investigative curiosity going delivers you stuff you never thought you’d get.”

While at some point you have to say, ‘enough is enough,’ Mr. Burns does make the argument that the majority of the work you put into a film, those shots that you think are perfect and will definitely be in the end product, a vast percentage of what you find will end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak.

So you talk to person after person, gather fact after fact. Great interviews inject the first-person narrative into your story, making it more personal and drawing your viewer in. And what kind of equipment do you need for a great interview?

“You need a camera kit, a sound kit, and a lighting kit. That’s it.”

There are facts and footage what simply do not fit anywhere in the structure you have built, that do not contribute to the smooth line of the arc of your segments or story. But a good interview can bridge the span between past and present, and add continuity to a segment where there was none before.

“Chronology is the king.”

This does not mean that flashbacks cannot occur! It simply means to that when you have a solid beginning and a strong conclusion bookending your documentary, the timeline of your story must make sense. Sometimes the end of one segment fits better as the beginning of another, but always, always, keep your facts in order.

“How far can you go with art before you begin to mess with the truth?”

“It’s complicated.”

“If you don’t have a strong structure based on fact, then, then you’re lost.”

The area that lies between the realms of artistic license and a factual recounting of an event is often hazy and is where every documentary filmmaker needs to work. Mr. Burns refers often to the scaffolding around your story, which is maintained with a critical eye, and a great crew.

Essentials for every documentary: “…you need a good cinematographer, a good writer (or be one), and finally, it’s editing.”

“It’s not a singular exercise; it’s the first law of filmmaking. Nobody, no matter how great the auteur, not Orson Welles, not anybody does it alone.”

Without a great crew, even the greatest story can turn out mediocre. Surrounding yourself with yes-men helps no one. You want opposing views, you want people that challenge your perspective.

“Storytelling is about conflict, it’s about not knowing how something is going to turn out.”

That’s why we all have a stake in stories. Whether it is a book or film, a story around a campfire or a movie in 3D on the big screen, when seen and heard for the first time, we all want to be transported from the here and now to some other time, some other place, even if only for a moment, and be surprised and delighted by the new.

“How do I transit your from your incredibly busy and compelling life … and bring you to this moment?”

And that is the goal of all great storytellers. This is what you want to ask yourself when you stumble across moments of uncertainty and wonder which direction to take.

“Everybody knows what quick and dirty means. Let’s not do that.”

Take the time you need to do the work! If you think you have uncovered everything you think you know about a subject, think again. Take a look at the other side. Has it been represented? What does it have to offer? How has your narrator covered the opposition? Is your narrator neutral or biased?

“The narrator [God’s stenographer] is one of the most important forces in the film and, and you hope one of the most invisible. That person has to be really good, and so confident that they’ve earned your trust early on and so they’re just guiding you through. They’re the ones that allow you to put on your blinders and they’re going to make sure that you don’t trip and fall.”

Your narrator can be no one or a celebrity, but their talent should be such that after a sentence or two, you don’t think about who they are anymore.

“It’s gotta be perfect. They have to be perfect. They have to inhabit the words and they also have to say it in a way in which they find the right voice so they’re not advertising it.”

Mr. Burns states, in many different ways, that your ultimate goal should not be about your fiscal ROI. Save your advertising — evangelizing, as he says it — for the end, for when after the project is done. Focus on the details first, every little detail you can put in that transforms a recording of a story into a great film.

“You want to use everything at your disposal to ask people to let go of the compelling narrative that is their life and to submit to the narrative we think will add to their life. And among the many tools in the toolbox to do that is to have sounds so realistic that it can be startling.”

Don’t have the right sound? Can’t afford to buy it? Go out and make it. Just make sure that regardless of what is going on in your scene, you keep the balance between sight and sound.

“And if you in some way set up oppositions where you’re kind of forcing the viewer to choose listening over watching or choose watching over listening, you’ve failed.”

As long as that balance is maintained, you can say everything you need to say, without limitations.

“The great gift of cinema is its ability to cross geographical, to cross linguistic, and to, more importantly, cross political boundaries.”

A great story will resonate with anyone who hears it. Even if they think they know the story, even if it is diametrically opposed to their political viewpoint, it should be told in such a way that the viewer is changed by the experience. Retaining objectivity is not necessary, nor essential to the filmmaking process, Mr.Burns explains.

“You can’t not be influenced by who you are, you bring that to the moment, the baggage you carry, the pain, the broken places in you, and you carry the experience of how others have negotiated those pains and broken places.”

I wept at this. If this is true for you as well, how much do you bring with you, and how much do you leave behind in your film?

What are you, as a filmmaker, ultimately responsible for?

“I believe it is the artist’s responsibility to lead people into Hell, but I also believe it’s important to lead the way out.”

And that, my friends, is the beginning of what you need to know about making a documentary film. But don’t take my word for it — take the class, and let Ken Burns change and inspire you, as he has changed and inspired me.


Ken Burns’ MasterClass on Documentary Filmmaking is comprised of 26 lessons that span over 6.5 hours. The perks and extras that come with the class include being able to download the transcript to “read along” with the class, and workbooks you can download.

Ken Burns is a veteran director with over 35 years of experience in creating documentaries. His credits include Huey Long, The Civil War, The West, Jazz, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, The War, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, Jackie Robinson, and The Vietnam War.