Arts & Entertainment, Music

Hans' Journey

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 14:40 min

Learn how Hans fell in love with storytelling and switched his career from a "radio star" to film composer.

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

Topics include: Learning • Storytelling • Balancing Family & Work


I grew up in Germany without television. So my parents basically thought television was the end of culture as we know it. I remember roughly at the age of 12 sneaking into the back door of the little local cinema in our little village. And they were playing Once Upon a Time in the West. And it was just the huge Sergio Leone images was the Ennio Morricone music. And I went, that's what I want to do. I've been misled all my life being taken to concerts and operas. This is where it's at. It never occurred to me that I could actually go and do movies. What happened was that my writing of music changed and became more about storytelling. I became more interested in telling a story in music than anything else. I did the usual, was it a pop band. I did a record with a chap called Trevor Horn called "Video Killed the Radio Star," which, really, what we wanted to do, we wanted to make a movie. We didn't really want to make a record. And the record is very much a story. So I became more and more interested and fascinated by the possibilities that music and images had. One of the problems I had in my sort of pop music experience was that it felt very limited in many many, many ways. Partly it was the structure of a pop song was always intro, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus, chorus out. So structure was always the same. And it didn't expand. And it didn't expand on-- you couldn't take emotional risks in a funny way. And you couldn't tell the stories I wanted to tell or I wanted to talk about. And movies let you do that. And I will miss the late nights on the British motorways forever but not really. And exchanged it for late night sitting in front of movie screens and talking to directors. And really part of the thing that happened as well about writing for movies was suddenly you were in a room with people who knew how to tell a story. And I mean, look, the first director I ever met met with was Nick Roeg, Stephen Frears, those sort of English directors in the '80s. They were writing things like My Beautiful Laundrette, which was stories which felt relevant. They felt more relevant than the pop songs we were doing. There was a sort of freedom attached to the way we could structure music and we could-- if today I wanted to write a psychedelic country and western heavy metal song, nobody was stopping me from doing it. While in the record business, which pretended that you had freedom, it was quite the opposite where you're actually put into these narrow little boxes. You are doing electro pop. You are doing whatever you're doing. So the freedom that came with doing movies was enormously attractive. I came to cinema weirdly late. I mean, I told you earlier that the first thing I really saw was Once Upon a Time in the West because I snuck in as a kid. I still owe the money. And it just blew me away because for...

About the Instructor

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.

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Hans Zimmer

From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.

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