Music & Entertainment

Audience Feedback

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 11:38 min

The true test - learn how Hans approaches showing a score to an audience and how he determines if it's working or not.

Hans Zimmer
Teaches Film Scoring
From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.
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The first and selfish truth is I write for myself. Because the seconds of my life are ticking by, and I want to have a good life. And I want to write music that I like or that I'm interested in. But-- and this goes back 40-odd years, when I was in a band and I was touring in the '80s in England. And times were tough. Margaret Thatcher was in power. And if you went outside London, you went into the working class. You went up into the north, and you saw people working hard and trying to make ends meet. And so weirdly, every night playing in these pubs, you knew you were creating an escape for people. And so somehow over the years, in my mind, I have this fictitious character. She's called Doris. She lives in Bradford. She's of a certain age. She's got two boys, doesn't have a husband. She works really hard every week. Those boys are impossible, by the way. I mean, they're a real pain. She works really hard to try to make ends meet. And at the weekend, she's got a choice. She can either watch the television, or she can go to the cinema. And she plunks down her hard-earned money. And it really is hard-earned money. And life is tough. And she wants to have an experience. Just for two hours, she wants to have an experience that she wouldn't have in her normal life. And I am part of the responsibility of giving her that experience and not short-changing her on her hard-earned money. So yeah, most of it's written for Doris, who doesn't really exist, but completely and utterly exists. I like to do a temp dub. And I like to preview the movie. I like to put the music in front of an audience. And it's got to be a sizable audience. Because if it's just 15 of your best friends, you're never going to learn anything. They're just coming for the free drinks. But if you have 600 people in a room, you know pretty quickly if you overstepped the mark. Gladiator is a good example where when we started out and I had Lisa Gerrard, and her voice, I mean, the studio really didn't like the idea of the voice, just thought, what is a female voice doing in a gladiator movie? And Ridley and I had a very specific point of view about it. So we would literally go-- and we had many screenings where we would test, see-- because the audience really liked it. An audience is-- they just feel things differently. They're there for an experience. I noticed it, of course, most in Inception, that idea of shared dreaming that you get in a cinema. So we would preview it just to see how far we could push it. And there came a point, as well where even I went, hang on a second, OK? We've got to go and pull back a bit. You feel them getting a bit restless. It's not like you just sit there amongst them and-- you know, you've broken some sort of agreement you had with them to stay within the reality of whatever world you cre...

Tell a story with music

Hans Zimmer didn’t see a film until he was 12 years old. Since then, he’s scored over 150 films, including Inception, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight. In his MasterClass, the self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start film scoring.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

It's always a pleasure to hear Hans talk about his work...

This class has been inspiring and enlightening.

My goal was to try to understand the principles and how to communicate with a composer on a score. I am in post production of my first feature film, and realize how important the score is, so hoped to gain some insights into the process, which I most certainly did.

Hans is inspiring. His message is clear. You get better by practicing your craft and putting yourself in situations where you have to stretch your ability and perform at your best. Lose yourself in the work. It's important!


Larissa R.

The lesson provides the approach which is truly original. I wouldn't guess how to use the feedback, especially subtle. As for me, teaming is a puzzle. People have expectations; not only they don't clearly define them , but they are not entirely aware of how the sound may play its role for each scene. There are notions of leadership explained in the lesson - very new to me.

Matt G.

"I have no idea why we're going to Phoenix (to screen the movie)." I'll tell you why they're going to Phoenix: 1) Phoenix is a marketing research mecca. Nobody is from there. Everybody comes from somewhere else. So when you screen a movie or conduct product market researchin Phoenix, you are researching the response of the entire USA for a fraction of the cost. 2) Compared to L.A., Phoenix is a backwater. Your screening in L.A. would accidentally pull in actors, members of the trade press, employees of competing studios; none of which would likely attend a screening in Phoenix.

Ethan F.

This one was clearly the best episode ! The Doris thing reminds you that part of your job is to do this for the others, as well as you do this for yourself in a certain way. I just love the story about putting Sherlock in front of the audience in Phoenix, shows that even at the highest professional level people can still doubt on the quality of your job, and that you constantly have to stay confident in what you are doing.

Dr. Monnie Chan

Our maestro teacher Hans Zimmer live concert in Hong Kong is coming on 26th September 2019. Just 12 days to go. I am going and wonder if there are any classmates I can meet?

Greg U.

admiring mr. zimmer‘s approach (Doris!) and his ability of transforming ideas into high class working entertainment whilst simultaneously convincing the economy driven film business and producers with his outstandig work/perspective and personality - guessing that it was a long journey through HnHell to become such a stellar music innovator

Anthony V.

Yeah, Hanz Zimmer is all class! I’m following his work even closer after following his MasterClass. Fan for life.

Arek Z.

Fantastic class! “You have to have a courage to put it in front of the audience”.

Kenneth S.

That is the best reminder ever... take it in front of an audience, that's how you'll know if you're on-point with THE story. Sounds simple enough, but it's also easy to get comfortable being in the booth... I'm a jazz musician, and when I put something out there, a teaser track, I'm always surprised at what the public reaction is, whichever way it goes, I'm always surprised. A race car might do well at the test track, but you'll never know how good it is until you take it to the race!

Kori C.

I LOVE this. Why I have not thought about getting audience feedback... FACEPALM! Brilliant idea!

Judith M.

There's a moment after explosions of any type, when you just can't hear normally. There is only your heart racing, and quick flashes as scenes go by and your fight or flight instinct cuts in. The continuing explosions are almost not there other than as a muffled sound as you run for cover. Inside you are out of control of the situation. Just as Nero was when he watched Rome burn because the fire was too vast to stop. The fiddle perfectly matches this. Why would that occur to an audience rather than the suits? Some of it is ambience and the rest is instinct for story. Many suits are judging the movie on sales rather than would they personally enjoy it. Now take them out of the screening room, out of the suits. Get then to take their own family along to an anonymous screening at a real movie theatre with good acoustics and the classic darkness that makes all the colours and sound pop. Just as Hans says, there you find the real answers from people like his Doris and from family like my grandmother. The people who instilled a love of the theatre, of music and story into their day to day lives, there you will find the true power of your music or words and if you made a difference to them. Did you hear laughter or sniffles, gasps of dismay or watch people lean forward in their seats egging the heroes on, so enraptured in the movie that for a short amount of time it was real for them. If you did...pat yourself on the back. And if you heard them continuing to hum parts of the music on their way out the door - you've got a winner! The Thatcher years...something remembered through rose tinted glasses by many Brits, but which were actually the beginning of the fall of the Trade Unions and their influence in the UK, huge rises in house prices, high taxation rates, low pay rises, and many other items now swept under the carpet. Culminating in the crippling interest rates on mortgages that led to the house market crash, and negative equity. A hole that took many years for working class Brits to dig themselves out of. The moment when it crosses your mind that you may actually have met Hans and didn't know it...