Monthly Archives: April 2019

Apr 13

Hans Zimmer MasterClass Review – Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Hans Zimmer is an award-winning film score composer and a record producer. He has managed to compose for many famous movies such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, and many others. His list of awards includes four Grammy Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy award. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Lion King.

Zimmer has been recognized as a music genius when he made The Telegraph's list of 100 Living Geniuses. He has put together music for around 150 movies without even watching them. A film's music is what shapes it, and if it’s a movie like The Lion King, then the score plays a significant role in giving it its flavor.

Zimmer joins MasterClass to teach his fans and composing enthusiasts the art of storytelling through music in his first-ever online class.

What is MasterClass?

MasterClass is an online platform where skilled experts, experienced professionals and recognized talents from different fields teach their audience about their related fields and what they know about it. These instructors have worked for years in their fields and share their insights that can only be gained through years of experience.

MasterClass offers lessons for fields like poker, cooking, photography, scriptwriting etc. Some of the other famous instructors on MasterClass include Gordon Ramsay, Herbie Hancock and Natalie Portman.

These instructors teach through a series of pre-recorded videos, workbooks and assignments. Since this is an online class, it is easy for everyone to manage time for these lessons. You can either binge-watch it or take one lesson at a time, but it is advised not to rush it and try to finish the workbooks and assignments along with the lessons.

The assignments are engaging and the online community makes it easy to make the most out of the experience. Learning through MasterClass is easy, accessible and unlike anything else.

Learn About Hans Zimmer's MasterClass:

Hans Zimmer is known for his innovative sounds and how he combines electrical music with old beats. He enjoyed his time as a pop artist before he moved on to working in the film industry. He first collaborated with his mentor, then he moved on to scoring music for movies by himself.

In his MasterClass, Hans shares his insights and experiences as a film score composer with his pupils. He teaches them how he learned to create a character’s story through music.

Lesson Plan:

Zimmer’s MasterClass has 31 lessons, and through these he walks us through the process of scoring a movie and finding a character’s theme.

In his introductory lesson, he introduces himself and talks about the significance of his class and how he plans to conduct it.

Moving forward, he tells his students the importance of a theme and how complicated themes are not necessarily good themes. He emphasizes the importance of simplicity here.

Hans shares his rules of composing a song or score a theme when the film is still in the works. He talks about how he puts together his music and the story with little to go on with.

For Hans, it is important to understand the director and their thought process because sometimes the director’s ideas are the only thing that’s clear when the movie hasn’t even been shot yet. The director's perspective tells you about the direction of the movie and how they plan to shoot it. It is important to have a good relationship with the director and discuss with them your writing process in order to produce something close to his line of vision. Discussions and more discussions with the director is the most essential part of effective composing.

We also learn about the unique sound palettes Zimmer has created over the years. His ability to create something extraordinary out of ordinary sounds is astounding. That’s why in one of his lessons, he composes a new song using synthesizers. He doesn’t hesitate to showcase his talents in order to invoke interest from his viewers and show them his composing process.

Later in his lessons, Hans tells his audience how important it is to score a scene as well as the significance of knowing when a scene is fine without any score. It is not necessary to give every scene in the movie a score just because you can. Similarly, scoring and dialogue has a delicate relationship and a composer must know when to quit otherwise you won’t be hearing any dialogues over the score.

Just like your relationship with the director, your equation with the editor also matters. The editor’s editing is what will challenge your musical talents. Hans takes an example from his own works and explains how he scored an extremely well-edited Sherlock Holmes scene.

Twelve lessons into his class, Hans shares a trick that helps him with the process of scoring. He creates music libraries for each of his projects that he visits often as he works on the project.

Hans further tells us how he tries to understand his characters to give them themes befitting their vibe. Here, he again visits his notable works, like Batman and Jack Sparrow, and explains the process with examples.

His lessons also include case studies where he dissects his own work and explains his creative thought process.

In the end, he doesn’t forget to mention the musicians that play important roles in a film's scoring. Just like the editor and the director, knowing how your musicians work is also very important.

Access to MasterClass:

There are two passes available on MasterClass. One is a single-access pass worth $90 and the other is an all-access pass worth $180.

Many of you might wonder if it really is worth spending $90 for an online class. Let me remind you again who is teaching this MasterClass. Hans Zimmer is known for his genius musical capabilities and innovative sounds. No matter which institute you join to learn film composing, you will never have the opportunity to learn first-hand from someone as skilled as Hans Zimmer. Learning from the best should be your priority no matter the price.

Apr 03

Aaron Sorkin MasterClass Review – Is it Worth it?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Aaron Sorkin is a remarkable writer, producer, director and screenwriter who has not only worked for cinema and TV but is also an excellent playwright.

He has won many awards including an academy award for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for his film ‘The Social Network’. Some of his notable works for theatre are ‘The Farnsworth Invention’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, both of which are Broadway plays. As mentioned above, he has also worked for television and has famous series like ‘The Newsroom’ and ‘Sports Night’ under his name. Sorkin's talents are varied from plays to television to cinema. He has challenged his writing capabilities according to different mediums.

Aaron has launched his online classes on MasterClass where he teaches his audience screenwriting and the art of writing a gripping story.

What is MasterClass?

It is an online class program where successful celebrities, skilled professionals and experienced recognized people from different fields come forward to share some insight about their related field. These classes are a series of prerecorded video lessons which are facilitated with online workbooks and engaging assignments. Though it is not mandatory to finish these assignments and workbooks with the lessons, but it is recommended to do so if you want the best learning experience and command.

MasterClass offers classes for a variety of fields that are photography, filmmaking, acting, singing, performing, business and many more. There are more 35+ instructors' classes available on MasterClass including names like Natalie Portman, David Lynch, Usher and others.

All About Aaron Sorkin’s Class:

Through this class, Aaron aims to teach his pupils the craft if writing a good story. He elaborates that every story begins with predetermined intentions and goes through many hurdles before coming together in the end.

During all this, it is important to know the driving force that pushes your plot forward. A story without intention and purpose is good for nothing and its struggles are the elements that keep it going.

Sorkin’s intention with this class is clear from the start. He tells you the rules he follows while writing a script, how he develops his characters and create engaging conversations through dialogues. He doesn’t forget to share all the necessary details he knows about scriptwriting.

Lesson Plan:

The Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass is extensive with 35 lessons that can last for hours. In his introductory lesson, Aaron introduces himself as your instructor and mentions some of his notable work. His conversation style is yet he retains the flexibility that is essential for an online class.

Later in his lessons, he talks about knowing which one of your story ideas have the potential to be a great script that guarantees praises from movie audience. In addition to this he also talks about how he created some of his most impressive characters like The Social Network's Mark Zuckerbergand Steve Jobs.

As we move forward, Sorkin emphasizes the significance of research in the scriptwriting process. A through research will give your script the depth and background it needs while a bad research will leave loopholes in your script. Not only is the process of research but knowing how to use this research just as important. You don’t want to make your script look like just a load of information that has no use in your script.

While explaining the process of research, Sorkin yet again visits his own works, Malice and The Social Network as an example. Throughout this one trait in the class remains constant. He takes examples from his own work dissect it to give his viewers better understanding of what he wants to convey.

Aaron further talks about the rules of story that have not changed over the years and are the same from Aristotle’s days. He highlights the importance of knowing your audience and what they expect from you. Admittedly, it is important to write what you want but most of the times it is better if your thoughts are aligned with the audience's expectations.

No matter how well you write and how impressive your idea is, writer’s block is a problem that every writer faces once in a while. Sorkin shares his tips on how to get move pass it. He further explains how he tracks his film's ‘act structure’ and pacing by page numbers.

His lessons include workshops in which he dissects different plays and explains the pacing of selected scenes such as action. There are six group workshops; each workshop focuses on a different aspect of screenwriting. In one of his lessons, he explains how to make sense of off-beat characters and scene and in another workshop the art of writing a gripping opening scene is explained.

Not only through these workshops, Aaron challenges his students by creating an imaginary writer’s room. Lastly he asks them to write with him to give them ideas and in the end asks them to come up with their own story idea.

How to Access Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass?

MasterClass is easy to access compared to other online classes. You just need to sign up and choose between the two access passes offered by the site. One of these pass is single access pass worth $90 that allows you to access only one of the instructor's class. The other one is an all-access pass that lets you access all the classes available on MasterClass and costs $180 per year.

Is it worth spending $90 on an online class?

The answer is a big time yes. It is no ordinary class as it is taught by the most skilled and experienced professional instructor from the screenwriters' faculty. If you sign up for a filmmaking class, you’ll be paying more and even then, you won’t learn from the best.

So, if you want to learn from an expert who can share real insights from the work he has done so far as well as push to your boundaries with the assignments then signing up for Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass is the best decision you’ll ever make for your career as a screenwriter.