This is a review of James Cameron’s filmmaking class on Masterclass.
MasterClass had my attention from the day they launched. The premise of having the literal best of the best in their respective industries teaching is something that is extremely appealing for me. I am more than happy to pay for personal development and even happier to learn from those that are veterans of the subject I want to learn about.
So, when I saw that James Cameron (The Terminator, Titanic, Avatar, and more) was teaching a class on filmmaking, my interest was piqued. His specific class is focused on learning his process for developing ideas, storylines, and characters in movies.
How does the course hold up?
James Cameron MasterClass Review Summary
James Cameron’s MasterClass is an energizing, behind-the-scenes peek into the mind of James Cameron. The class feels like you get to hang out and pick the brain of James for a solid 3 hours and 20 minutes, which is a great thing. Through different scene breakdowns from his movies and engaging monologues, you’ll feel amped up with some new tricks to tackle your next narrative adventure.
Pros of James Cameron’s MasterClass
Cons of James Cameron’s MasterClass
Let’s take a deeper look at James Cameron’s MasterClass and see if it’s a good fit for you.
What is MasterClass?
MasterClass is a learning library of classes taught by the best of the best in their industry. From Gordon Ramsey teaching cooking, Serena Williams teaching tennis, and even Stephen Curry teaching basketball, MasterClass has a very interesting approach to learning by literally helping students learn from the best.
If you are reading this review, you probably are already somewhat familiar with who James Cameron is. If not, he’s known for his movies like Avatar, Titantic, and Aliens to name a few.
Here are the benefits you can expect by taking James Cameron’s filmmaking class:
Topics Covered by James Cameron’s MasterClass
James Cameron’s Masterclass, in its ~3 hour runtime, is an easy class to watch in one sitting. I actually wasn’t planning on going through it all in one day, but here we are – well done, MasterClass team and James Cameron!
Here is a breakdown of the different videos:
- Meet Your Instructor: James Cameron
- Purusing and Developing an Idea – Awesome round-up of how James approaches coming up with ideas
- Toying With the Audience: Building and Releasing Tension
- THE TERMINATOR Club Scene Breakdown
- ALIENS Egg Chamber Breakdown
- ALIENS Newt Introduction Scene Breakdown
- The Art of Low-Budget Filmmaking – Very cool to see the ways to make things work with minimal budgets
- THE TERMINATOR Arm and Eye Repair Breakdown
- From Sketch to Spectacle: Creating Set Pieces
- THE TERMINATOR Future World Breakdown: Creating a Set Piece on a Budget
- Crafting and Introducing Compelling Characters
- TITANIC Rose Introduction Breakdown
- Developing Dread Through Adversaries
- AVATAR Creating Technology
- Making Your Way and Leading With Passion – Amazing insights on the dynamic of filmmaking and the importance of positivity
James Cameron MasterClass Course Content Style
James Cameron leads the charge in this course with high energy and a contagious passion for filmmaking. Right from the beginning, you’ll begin feeling the urge to pick up your camera and record or break out a pen and start fleshing out a video idea.
The course goes back and forth between James talking directly about specific topics, like Pursuing and Developing the Idea, to breaking down scenes, explaining how and why he made certain aesthetic decisions on different movies. He talks through why he chose a certain lens, why he cut a scene a certain way, how he makes the audience feel a certain way through his choices, how to help the audience enjoy certain scenes more, and so on.
I enjoyed this format quite a lot. In many ways, this is a VIP ticket to hanging out with James Cameron for a day and getting to talk to him about story, character, and filmmaking, with him tossing in many tricks of the trade as he goes. I particularly enjoyed getting to hear his thought process as he was breaking down the scenes. It was also quite interesting to see how in-depth he goes into how he prepares for his films. After watching this, I feel like I may need to spend more time in pre-production and utilize some of his tricks to make the end result of my client-work videos even better.
Wow – The Downloadable Workbook is Incredible
The MasterClass team has really outdone themselves with this workbook. I mean, it’s seriously incredible. It’s “they could sell this workbook as a physical copy and make money” good.
It includes sections like Cinematic Technology History, Key Terms Every Filmmaker Should Know, Film School 101, Three-Act Structure Case Study, Five-Act Structure Case Study, How to Film in James Cameron’s Signature Style, Tips for Filming on a Budget, and so much more.
If you do enroll in this course, I highly recommend that you download this workbook and read through it. It’s very entertaining, educational, and very well designed. I mean, who designed this? It looks absolutely incredible.
Seriously though – if they released a physical copy version of this book, I would buy it immediately. It would be a great reference book for new filmmakers and veterans alike.
The Power of A Passionate Filmmaker Teaching A Course
Although online courses are typically centered around delivering an education, I find that some classes are able to unlock a spark of passion in the viewer. After watching it, the student is energized, ready to act, and reinvigorated with passion.
James Cameron’s MasterClass was exactly that for me.
Yes, I certainly took notes and have tips & tricks that I will use moving forward. But, I felt it was noteworthy to highlight just how much energy James brings to this course. He makes the filmmaking process feel approachable, passionate, creative, collaborative, and, perhaps most importantly, fun.
Hearing James’s approach to filmmaking was a breath of fresh air and seeing his passion for the craft made me feel excited to go out and shoot.
The Verdict for James Cameron’s MasterClass
If you are a fan of James Cameron, this MasterClass is a no-brainer. For aspiring short film shooters and feature-length movie makers, you will get an inside look into the mind of one of the greats, leaving with an arsenal of new tips and tricks. If you need a boost in energy or a spark in passion for filmmaking, then James has you covered. It’s worth every minute you spend on the course and more.
And, with their 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee, there is no risk to seeing if this course (and other MasterClass offerings) are worth the price.
Are you ready to film and think through movies like James Cameron?
Happy learning and I hope this review was helpful for you!