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Arts & Entertainment

Directors: Part 3

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 6:47 min

Hans continues his discussion on what makes a great director and what makes a great relationship between composer and director.

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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If you just look at the Ridley Scott movies, Thelma and Louise is a very different aesthetic musically from Gladiator's is a very different aesthetic from Black Rain is a very different style from Matchstick Men. What else did I do with Rid? Black Hawk Down, Hannibal. I mean they're all, they're completely, stylistically, they're very, very different. And he's very, very different as well in them. Because that's the whole thing. I mean, one of the reasons I think he's such a great director is because he's interested in so many things. And he can get passionate about so many things. There's an underlying aesthetic and a huge amount of knowledge and craftsmanship that goes with being able to, are we going to go and tell the story of Hannibal Lecter, are we going to tell the story of a battle in Mogadishu, are we going to tell the story of some con man in the valley. So, or a gladiator. So, really I know, I just know this about him. I feel this, I've never talked about this. But if I had to sum it all up, as he's genuinely interested in people and he's genuinely interested in stories. And everybody looks at the amazing way he shoots things and the amazing compositions and the amazing eye he has and the amazing artistry. But underneath, underneath, underneath, all that, the foundation for all of that is, he wants to go and tell a good story. I think at the end of the day, the director composer relationship comes down to something. It has to come down to trust, because the director is sort of in charge of everything during the shooting of the movie. He can look through your camera and he can probably adjust a few things here. He can probably do a line reading for an actor if he really has to. But when it comes to a composer, he has to trust me. Because if he says to me, a nice C major chord here would be the perfect thing, it's meaningless. I see it so often that filmmakers find it hard to take the step off the cliff, because that's really what it is. Not, they've been involved in the script, they've been involved in the casting, they've been involved in everything. And by being involved, I mean they had language, and eyes, and whatever, words to control the situation, to control their movie. And then they suddenly get to that bit of we need music. And whatever words they use, whatever it is, how ever articulate they are, it's still not going to get the music written. So they have to go and hand over literally the baton to the composer. And, oh God, the second movie I did over here for Ridley Scott, Black Rain. And I had heard that Ridley had a bit of a reputation of not sticking with the composer sometimes beyond the first session. So I just said to him, Ridley, what will it will take for me not to get fired? He said, simple, don't write me a symphony. I knew exactly what he meant. He said, write, surf the movie, enhance the...

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.

Thank you for this! Thank you for bringing in Hans Zimmer, his class was facinating but he spoke about all creative processes, not just music composition and it is relevant to anyone in a creative field. His music is hauntingly beautiful but it is his need to converse and share and bring to life that makes him so compelling. Thank you very much, truly!

My first deep insight in film scoring. I found a great new way to explore a whole new world. Learned more than I could imagine from this master!

It was wonderfull, thanks Hans and you from Masterclass. Stefan

It has helped me to approach music and composing in new ways. It has also inspired me to do my first complete score for one project.


José Alejandro A.

Anyone here knows the name of the slow piece he was refencing to? I mean the action scene where he wrote a very slow music instead

A fellow student

I recently read book called 7 Habits by Stephen Covey and what Hans is talking about is a great example of what Covey says about working interdependently.

Liam S.

Hans is constantly discussing that music for film is constant experimentation and exploration - this is so interesting but so important in working with directors. You have to trust their judgement and they have to trust yours.

New York C.

I had a feeling Hans started by understanding the directors soul and temperament. I am working with a director who disappears for months at a time and then just shows up at our film society meeting unannounced. It’s going to be a long slog with my friend, but I will try to get into his soul after the directors lesson.

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?


Hans is a great teacher! All of this is not about music, it's about how to pair music to film. You can learn music anywhere, but learning how to apply that knowledge to todays film industry is rare. This is a true Masterclass.

Jay R.

I really wish there were more audio examples of specific pieces that he is referring to. It is frustrating to hear someone refer to this amazing piece of music that he wrote and that everybody discussed how it was different and worked great for the film only to have the lesson continue without letting you hear it.

Dr. Monnie Chan

Probably the best result of the film making and music is, when two of a kind's souls are met: director and composer. Thank you Teacher Zimmer for your inspiration and insights being shared.

Shem D.

I love his lessons! They offer insight that I never thought of. I was just wondering what program I could use to try it out.

Rudy B.

Given my background I can attest that Leadership is an art developed over time and through experience. I'm not a director but I know how I want to tell the story or complete the task. That's when your leadership style becomes important especially when your working with seasoned professionals. Leadership should then take on a less forceful but more inclusive form to obtain the teams willingness & belief in your vision to compete the take. This goes along way to ease stress on budget, time and the team.