Arts & Entertainment

Finding Your Personal Story

Jodie Foster

Lesson time 09:06 min

To help you find the story you want to tell, Jodie gets personal. She speaks candidly about failure, identity, and self-knowledge so you can learn her process for authentic filmmaking.

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

Topics include: Figure Out What Moves You · Find Themes in the Stories You’re Drawn To · Bring Your Personal Connection to the Material · Creating a Film Will Be Your Personal Reckoning


Moving you doesn't mean that you have to be in a puddle crying on the floor. "Moving you" means what inspires you, what interests you, what makes you passionate, what makes you obsessed, what makes you stay up all night thinking about something over, and over, and over again. Sometimes I understand what moves me, and sometimes I don't. For example, for some reason-- I don't know why-- when I see two people dancing, it just it brings a tear to my eye. And I'm not really sure why. Why is that? Do I have some kind of childhood trauma -- childhood trauma revolving around dancing? I don't think so. I think as I start pondering it, and I say watch, maybe, you know, two ballet dancers, or as I watch an older couple in a ballroom, you know, learning how to dance the tango, you know, what is it that gets me? And as I start thinking about that, you know-- why am I moved, why am I moved-- I start chipping away at those ideas. I come to understand that it's something about maybe two opposites that come together imperfectly to lean against each other in opposite ways-- this continual movement of two opposites trying to connect and not quite able to connect. So there, I took the personal experience-- something that had its foundation almost in something unconscious. And I was able to chip away at the ideas behind it. As you make a film, you're obsessed and attracted to something emotional. And then you try to chip away at the whys. If you can understand why something moves you, or even without understanding-- if you can experience being moved, then you can move somebody else. That, to me, is the most important role that filmmaking has is connection and making people better instead of worse. And the best way to start that is by hopefully trying to get better instead of worse. Big theme for me is-- is it people in spiritual crisis. I keep coming back to this. You know, every movie I tend to be drawn to, that I want to spend years on is about somebody who's going through a spiritual crisis. And this person-- this man or this woman-- is-- is trying to make sense of their life because they're trying to get better instead of worse. There are some directors that are really interested in behavior and in themselves, and they're not that interested in their character trying to repair themself. Martin Scorsese, for example, is really fascinated by men and violence and how they live this life or this culture of violence. But he's not as interested in how they repair that and become somebody better or become somebody greater. That's not his area of interest. But for me, that really is. And you'll notice that many of my characters are struggling with, you know, how do I become a more realized person? And that-- in many cases, that is the whole object of the film is to take that person from a lost state, from a broken state, to a state where they can suddenly, maybe start to repair themselves, whether it's the little boy in "Little Man Tate," ...

About the Instructor

Go behind the scenes with two-time Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, star of Silence of the Lambs and director of Little Man Tate. In her first online film class, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Jodie discusses her experience on both sides of the camera to guide you through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to casting and camera coverage. Everyone has a story. Learn how to tell yours.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jodie Foster

In her first-ever online class, Jodie Foster teaches you how to bring stories from page to screen with emotion and confidence.

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