Monday, September 12, 2016

What does a filmmaking class from Werner Herzog look like?

We just love this picture so much. Credit to sarkos on Tumblr.

Last year, the startup company MasterClass began offering six-hour online video lectures hosted by luminaries in their fields. You can learn about acting from Kevin Spacey or signing from Christina Aguilera, complete with assignments to complete on your own. We don't know how genuinely useful these courses are, but our eyes were caught by a filmmaking class led by Werner Herzog. What on earth would that be like?

Jesse Andrews at The Awl took the leap and watched Herzog's class, and if it wasn't completely instructive, it was at least, in his own words, "frankly insane." He recommends "spend[ing] a night in the forest" and takes his screenwriting advice from a drunken bus ride where he wrote Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Still, Andrews says he offers solid advice, such as how to be close with your actors (or control them?) and the importance of reading.

It's certainly not a traditional film course, though, with section titles like "Disorient Your Audience." Herzog's film skills were self-taught, and this sounds like an honest-to-goodness reflection of his approach to filmmaking – helpful or otherwise.

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