From Hans Zimmer's MasterClass

Feedback & Revisions

Not every score is perfect on the first try. Learn how Hans asks for feedback on his scores and how he approaches rewrites when it's not quite working.

Topics include: Revising Early • Getting Feedback • Notes from Director


Not every score is perfect on the first try. Learn how Hans asks for feedback on his scores and how he approaches rewrites when it's not quite working.

Topics include: Revising Early • Getting Feedback • Notes from Director

Hans Zimmer

Teaches Film Scoring

Learn More


When I'm sitting next to a director and we're watching the piece of music up against the screen, and we're watching it together, he doesn't have to say anything to me, you know? I'm usually the first one to go, yes, I know, it's completely wrong. And I know what to do. And what was interesting, for instance, when I was working on Batman Begins in this collaboration between James Newton Howard, myself, and Chris Nolan-- because I was watching-- sort of slightly out-of-body experience, you know-- I was watching how tough it is on the director to actually go-- and he knows how hard you worked on it. And he doesn't-- you know, he doesn't want to go and be rude about it or whatever. But if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. And it's very hard to have to look somebody in the eye and go, I know you sweated bullets over this thing, but it's just not working for me. It's tough. And so when it was the three of us-- when it was James, Chris, and I-- if there was something that Chris didn't like about an approach, or if there was a better idea to be had, or whatever, it was a conversation. He didn't have to just look me straight in the eye. Because as I'm going, oh my god, what am I going to do, James was also really coming up with, you know, hey, what about if we do this and try this. So revisions are just about getting it to be better. And better isn't necessarily the quality of the music. But it's understanding what we are trying to say in this scene and just getting better at executing it. The first revision really happens as I write this musical diary, which is just my way of figuring myself into the story, into the material, into the director's brain, into the style we're going to be presenting this thing in. And it's really me learning the movie. So there is a revision process that goes on all the time. Even though I don't go backwards, as I move forwards, I am, you know, revising my aim. I mean I'm getting more precise about what it is-- you know, what the thing itself is-- that I'm trying to say. And music is indefensible in a funny way. I mean, one of the problems with music is it's indefensible. You cannot argue about music. You either like it or you don't. It either moves you or it doesn't. So sometimes, if it literally becomes-- doesn't do anything for me, great. OK, chuck it out. Start again. But usually, by the time I play something to a director, I know why those notes are there, just as he knows why that scene is there, or why that shot is there, or why the camera is at a certain angle, and why this is a night scene as opposed to some breakfast scene even though the light would've been better at 5 o'clock in the morning, et cetera. But we sort of intellectually can defend the thing. The only thing we can't do is-- I will never be able to talk you into liking a certain piece of music, and I will not ever attempt it. Because I just-- what's the point? W...

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.

I think that the amazing things that I have learned from Hans is not how to write music for films, but rather how to be the kind of person who can be a composer of film music as compared to other types of music and that can be extremely successful.

Absolutely awesome and inspiring. This is what it's all about and to have Hans, speak from his heart is a gift. His candid and genuine approach was wonderful. I took a lot of notes during this time and will be going back through the lessons. One of the best online classes I've taken. Thanks!

This class has been inspiring and enlightening.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this class. It has inspired me to write more, and has changed my perspective on writing. My music sounds differently than it did before, and I hope I continue to grow. . . and learn.


Jessie Y.

This is really important, and it's essential. Everyone should be able to accept in getting feedbacks from the directors because they are also storytellers aside you.

Bev H.

Big lesson here. Learn to separate your work from yourself when accepting feedback. Our job as composers is to serve the project, not ourselves.

Alina D.

Re: Revisions and considering the expense of the orchestra ----Do you do a 'draft' using the computer, agree with the director and team that this is what everyone wants, and then proceed to the orchestra which is more expensive?

Kori C.

Yeah, you just can't drop a score and say, yup this is IT... yeah no. Revisions and discussion!


I believe in making lots of revisions to create the best final cut or score too. It's almost impossible to create the first original as the best and final copy. It's truly a conversation and a process to get it right at the end.

Marcus M.

You break fix it. Sometimes you fix it and you haven't broke it. LOL....

Bruno D.

Fragile, that's the key word here. A human word. What's great with this masterclass is that Hans always mixes sensations, how he feels, with tips, how he proceeds, as to prove how fragile the composition can be, even after weeks and weeks of work.

Judith M.

A pretty frank discussion about showing your creative children to 'family' first, the people that you really trust to tell you the truth and not some BS, whilst at the same time taking your feelings into account. That honest wake up call to writers and musicians, that the editor or director is either going to love or hate your work and they may not be as considerate about it as your creative 'family'. That apple moment, you know that most of us have them fall on the noggin and unlike Newton we get knocked for six. Though an apple in the hand reminds me a little of Steve Jobs. I also appreciated the 3 phases of binary, no, yes but timing wrong (warming up, electricity isn't instantaneous) and yes works perfectly. What I found most helpful was Hans insight into how personal creativity actually is, and that each time we share ourselves in our creations we expose some of our soul to be seen or potentially seen by others. In that moment we are at our most vulnerable to each other.

Jonathan S.

What I'm unclear about here is whether he's playing it for the director as a recording from his synthesizers or if it's the orchestra. If it hasn't been to the orchestra yet, it's a much less expensive to come up with something else.

Catherine M.

Realizing this might be one of the most important lessons. It's so hard to share your soul through music in the first place. But when working with a director, you really are trying to meet their needs and not yours. In fact, it is a disservice for a director (or even a friend, honestly) to give accolades when you really just need to know the truth of what they are thinking! Such good insight.