Mar 22, 2018, 11:00 ET
Lee is an auteur and master storyteller who has written, directed, produced, and acted in films ranging from big studio pictures to micro-budget independents. His work stands as a testament to cinema’s power to entertain, explore, celebrate, and critique American culture and social political issues—starting in 1983 with his Student Academy Award winning graduate thesis film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop – We Cut Heads, to Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated Do The Right Thing and 4 Little Girls, Emmy winning When The Levees Broke, Malcolm X, and more recently, the Netflix revival of She’s Gotta Have It. Lee has also helped integrate what has long been a homogenous industry through his production companies 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and Spike DDB.
“There are no absolute truths in filmmaking and no one way to be a filmmaker,” said Lee, artistic director and professor of NYU’s Graduate Film Program. “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.”
In his MasterClass, Lee teaches students how to tell stories that need to be told. He analyzes his work both on the page and on the screen, and dives into the technicalities of writing stories, working with actors, camera angles, financing, and choosing music. He examines the hurdles facing first-time filmmakers, and shares learnings from his own experiences with overcoming obstacles in the film industry. Lee discusses how he has tried to impact culture with his movies, and urges students to be conscious of the relationship between their work and the world.
“Spike is one of the best in the world at telling stories that provoke and impact. His gift is using storytelling to tap into the heart of critical social and political issues, and still entertain,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “His films have changed American culture. They make us question ourselves and our values. They break rules and help launch careers of some of the world’s best actors and filmmakers. This class is for anyone who feels they have an important story to tell, and we’re honored to capture his mastery to continue to inspire generations to come.”
MasterClass provides online classes that offer a unique learning experience which includes video lessons from the instructor, interactive exercises, course materials, peer interaction, and more. All classes are available online for individual purchase or annual subscription at www.masterclass.com.
Founded in 2015, MasterClass started with the idea that everyone should have “access to genius.” The premier online education platform provides affordable, engaging, and inspirational online classes taught by world-renowned instructors, making it possible for anyone to learn from the best.
MasterClass’ current roster of courses includes:
Culinary Arts: Gordon Ramsay (cooking), Alice Waters (home cooking), Thomas Keller (cooking technique), Wolfgang Puck (cooking)
Film and Television: Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Martin Scorsese (filmmaking), Ron Howard (directing), Helen Mirren (acting), Samuel L. Jackson (acting), Judd Apatow (comedy)
Music & Entertainment: Armin van Buuren (dance music), Christina Aguilera (singing), Usher (performance), Reba McEntire (country music), Herbie Hancock (jazz), Deadmau5 (music production), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Steve Martin (comedy)
Writing: James Patterson (writing), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Shonda Rhimes (writing for television), David Mamet (dramatic writing), Bob Woodward (investigative journalism), Judy Blume (writing), Malcolm Gladwell (writing)
Design, Photography, and Fashion: Annie Leibovitz (photography), Frank Gehry (architecture), Diane von Furstenberg(how to build a fashion brand), Marc Jacobs (fashion design)
Sports and Games: Serena Williams (tennis), Stephen Curry (shooting, ball-handling, and scoring), Garry Kasparov (chess)
Politics & Society: Jane Goodall (conservation)
For more information, please visit www.masterclass.com.
View the trailer for Spike Lee’s MasterClass below:
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