Spike Lee will share his insights and experience from three decades of making movies, for just $90.
The filmmaker, one of the leading voices of modern black cinema, will offer his first online class in partnership with MasterClass. Lee’s class is slated to launch in the summer of 2018 on the platform, which hosts more than two dozen other celebrity-led tutorials.
Lee has been teaching filmmaking — in conventional settings — for nearly 30 years. Currently, Spike Lee is artistic director and professor in New York University’s Graduate Film Program (from which he received an MFA in film production). He first joined the NYU faculty in 1993, after teaching a course on filmmaking at Harvard in 1991.
“There are no absolute truths in filmmaking and no one way to be a filmmaker,” Lee said in a statement. “I’ve learned in 30 years things that I can give back. I’m teaching this MasterClass because very few people get to sit in my classes at NYU, so this is an opportunity for me to share what I’ve learned with as many students as possible, no matter where they are in their film career.”
Lee has written, directed, produced, and acted in films ranging from major studio pictures to micro-budget indie films. His movies have had a lasting cultural impact, starting in 1983 with his graduate thesis film “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.”
Lee’s acclaimed films include “Do The Right Thing,” “4 Little Girls,” “When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” and “Malcolm X.” Other critical and commercial successes have included “Inside Man,” “25th Hour,” “The Original Kings of Comedy,” “Bamboozled,” and “Summer of Sam.” More recently, he helmed the Netflix revival of “She’s Gotta Have It,” which debuted last fall as a series. Lee heads production company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and ad agency Spike DDB (in partnership with DDB Worldwide).
In the online class, Lee will analyze his work both on the page and on the screen, covering the technicalities of writing stories, working with actors, camera angles, financing, and choosing music. He will address the hurdles facing first-time filmmakers, and shares his own experience overcoming obstacles in the film industry. Lee also will discuss how he has tried to affect culture with his movies, and he urges students to be conscious of the relationship between their work and the world.
Pre-registration for Lee’s online class is currently open at the MasterClass website (at masterclass.com/sl). Enrollment for the class is $90 for lifetime access; customers also can pay $180 per year for unlimited access to all existing and upcoming classes.
MasterClass, founded in 2015, also hosts tutorials from Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Steve Martin (comedy), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), and Shonda Rhimes (writing for television). Upcoming classes are scheduled from Martin Scorsese (filmmaking), Ron Howard (directing), Helen Mirren (acting), Samuel L. Jackson (acting), and Judd Apatow (comedy).