Chapter 2 of 18 from Jodie Foster

Finding Your Personal Story


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.

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

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.

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

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking

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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Storytelling in action

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 class, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Jodie brings 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.

From storyboarding your vision to collaborating with actors, learn filmmaking from an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and access to exclusive supplemental materials from Jodie’s archive.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Jodie will also critique select student work.


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

It's just so very interesting to listen and watch people that have reached for their Bliss. Seeing that there are those that just get up and do it; to go for it, no matter how scary it is. It gives me courage and motivation to chase my Dreams overtime I turn on Master Class.

This is the best class on filmmaking I've seen. Very useful information.

Happy to have learnt so much from Jodie's experiences!

This was my top filmmaking class. Jodie went into detail on key aspects of filmmaking and working with actors.


Jordan K.

Resonate with what she says so much. Loving the class so far. Thank you Jodie.

Myron T.

I get an error when I try to download the lesson workbook for this chapter. Anyone else have this issue? Thank you.

A fellow student

Self actualization, spiritual solution...such important topics to address in movies and real lives. So nice of Jodi to speak about this.

Jeff A.

How does one find their inner story through film? This makes me wonder are the best story tellers those who see others for what they are or themselves?


Ms Foster profoundly inspiring. Would be humbly would imagine being her 1st AD on a production on my selection of this Master Class a second time


Ms Foster is remarkably a gifted creative artist with awesome awareness of human emotions that move an audience.

Vic A.

So much in this to process. Making a film based on your personal passion would easily lead to a work of art. I prefer that over the mindless violence but it seems the trade off is that one of these appeals to the masses. Just something to consider.


She is so passionate about her work, it really does show. She is such a brilliant artist!

Chris / @the_invisible_a

Very good. I have been focused on the artistic and social challenges for writers and only recently did I start learning how hard it is for directors and actors. In this lesson I was interested in Jodie's emphasis on finding an emotional language to discuss one's central personal connection to the material. How does one do that with genres such as horror? I feel we should not invent a fictitious connection to the material. Leave that for advertising copywriters. On the other hand, maybe we don't know the connection until we invent it? But I ramble -- I am very happy to take this class with my enthusiastic classmates.

Alonna S.

Notes: Wow! Talk about getting to the heart of things! "continual movement of two opposites" Mine. Horses thundering to the finish line will fill my heart and bring tears. I don't follow thoroughbred racing as an adult. (Horse racing was a childhood interest. I was a barrel racer who wanted to be Alec Ramsay in The Black Stallion books. It remains my metaphorical engine. It's about the obstacles, heart, underdog, life...I'll work on going deeper so I can condense my personal story. Find my underlying truth. It's probably something about engagement. I "run" with intent. "Intention" fuels me. I am haunted by those things which hobble.) "Hopefully, get better instead of worse" This lesson's honesty deeply touched me. Inspiring. Embrace risk and problem solve with integrity. A reckoning through character transformation. "All these thoughts and feelings [...] hone in on something true." (My life's recipe, too.)


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," ...