Product Review: MasterClass
You’ve probably seen TV commercials or ads on social media for MasterClass and wondered whether those classes were worthwhile. I did, so I decided to watch some of the class trailers. Those are the short promos of the instructors speaking about what their class will cover.
MasterClass is subscription-based, and for $180 plus tax, you receive a one-year subscription to all the classes they offer. The topics include arts and entertainment, writing, home and wellness, food, music, business, community and government, and sports and gaming.
The instructors have all reached the pinnacle of success in their respective careers, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Academy Award-winning actors, writers, and directors, legendary sports figures, and Michelin-star chefs.
Since quite a few top people in the film industry are teaching at MasterClass now, I wanted to check out a few classes to see if they’re worth taking. So I bought a one-year subscription to MasterClass. I figured with so many classes on offer, I was sure to find at least a couple of winners.
Each MasterClass course is broken down into short video segments of about 10-20 minutes each, so I wasn’t struggling to digest a great deal of information at once. This isn’t traditional school with term papers and tests, and it’s a pleasant, stress-free way to explore learning about different areas of interest at your own pace.
The downside is that you don’t have the chance to interact with the instructor, which is a cornerstone of traditional learning. MasterClass is more of a lecture format, with the instructor sharing their knowledge via video on your computer or tablet.
One helpful feature of each MasterClass is a space for taking notes on the right of the screen as you watch each video. I found myself using the note space more than I thought to jot down highlights from each segment.
Since there are a variety of courses in various categories, I decided to start with a few different courses at once.
I’ve nearly completed a directing course taught by Ron Howard, a director whose work I’ve always admired. Howard’s class is about his process from when he first receives a script to when he begins filming, and he uses examples from his past films to explain his techniques.
There’s also a section where Howard works with four actors to read through and stage a scene from the 2008 film Frost/Nixon, the film he made about British talk show host David Frost’s interview with Richard Nixon.
Aspiring directors in particular, will find this class enlightening. I’ve worked with many directors in my career and still learned quite a bit from this class.
Other instructors in the arts and entertainment category include Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Jodie Foster, Steve Martin, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ringo Starr.
Moving on to interior design class with Kelly Wearstler. Wearstler’s fantastic designs appear regularly in top interior design magazines, and her client list includes lots of Hollywood A-listers. Since I adore her work, I wanted to take her MasterClass.
Her class covers finding design inspiration, meeting the client's needs, putting together different design elements, and working on different types of projects, among other things. I’m still working through this course, but I’ve already learned that my home needs more mirrors, and I need to be open to a wider variety of design inspiration.
I also learned how superstar chef Thomas Keller makes omelets, and I was surprised to learn that he puts the eggs through a strainer. I never would have figured that out on my own.
If you’re curious about a wide variety of subjects, consider yourself a lifelong learner, and are interested in how the top people in any particular field approach their work, you’ll probably find MasterClass worth the subscription fee. However, if you believe you’d only take a class or two or prefer interacting with your instructor, MasterClass may not be for you.
Anyone interested in acting, directing, or screenwriting will find actionable tips from the most successful people in our industry to implement in your own industry career.
And you might learn a lot about other subjects, too. As for me, I know I’m going to strain my eggs next time I make an omelet.
If you’d like to try MasterClass free for a week, I have a few passes that they give out when you sign up. Drop your email in the comments section, and I’ll sign you up. First come, first serve.
You can find MasterClass at www.masterclass.com.
Scroll down to see the review summary.
Easy to Understand9.5/10
- Expert instructors
- Short individual sessions
- Wide variety of subjects
- Area for notes on screen
- Excellent production values
- No interaction with instructors
- No lower price subscription option