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Film & TV


Jodie Foster

Lesson time 06:47 min

Jodie uses music as a tool bind the seams of a movie together. With examples from her own films, Jodie teaches you how music selection can enhance your film.

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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There is an unending amount of things to talk about about the film business, the world that I am completely fascinated by. The one thing that we haven't touched on is music and what music brings to the film. For me, it's my favorite part of the process, because it's the place where you're finally at the end of all of your trials and tribulations, and you finally created this monster made with glue and scotch tape, and that has all of these sewing marks on it and scars. The music is the thing that erases all the seams. It's that's the thing that turns-- that allows this organic being, this movie that you've created, to suddenly have lifeblood, that it walks and talks away from you and becomes its own entity. I've used music differently in many of my movies. I tend to be drawn to music that is really grounded and that feels real. That being said, "Money Monster," a film that deals a lot with technology, and digital age, and computer high-frequency trading, and things that are very modern, fast, fast, fast, we did use a much more computer heavy feeling to it. Sometimes the music comes out of the character's deeper processes. If you're making a movie about an organ grinder, you don't necessarily have to have an organ grinder be the music. You can choose something different. In fact, it might be more interesting if you chose something different. It doesn't need to be a direct, literal communication with the character. But there's something inwardly evocative about the music. I do like the music to erase the seams. Perhaps for a prologue, we might use something bold like the tango or the Ella Fitzgerald song in "Little Man Tate." But for the rest of the movie, I really like the music to not just stand out and say, look at me. I like the music to really form the edges and to use the character's own momentum and not to over overshadow them or overplay them. [MUSIC PLAYING] In some cases, the musical arc, the arc of the music, is really a reflection of the character's arc and where they've come from. I think a little bit about the score for "Little Man Tate," one that I'm very proud of. It was Mark Isham, the great jazz trumpeter and composer. When I think of the character of Fred Tate, I think of a lonely piano. He is a piano prodigy in the movie, and so we knew that there was going to be a lot of piano in it. It also has a feeling of a young, lonely person, but it also has a classical edge to it, so it's somewhat cerebral-- cerebral and of the heart at the same time. The character of Dianne Wiest, she was a violinist in the film, and she had been a violinist as a child. And so that brought the violin into it. And there is a very strained and classical, structured quality to her, almost atonal and cerebral to her. And then there's Dede, the character that I play, the mom. She's a dancer, and that's really-- she's somebody who loves to dance, and she dances with her son. And as you know, I have this emotional relationship to dance....

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 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.


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

When I finished Aaron Sorkin's class, I completed my first script and I determined I wanted to direct it. When I finished Ron Howard's class, I knew that I could. When I finished Jodi Foster's class I realized how I would direct the film. Now I am looking forward to more Master Classes. Every one I've taken has been more than I imagined.

Excellent road map for how to make a movie. Details and case studies were invaluable. Ms. Foster is an excellent teacher.

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

Wonderfully familiar and comfortable as if we'd had these conversations many times.


Leonardo Z.

Hi guys, I'm a film composer. Let's get in touch!

Steph F.

I think music is the hardest, I wish I had an unlimited budget when choosing music, for an amazing composer and for copy written songs.

Luc S.

Being a composer, I like tu use music (score) ONLY, when the subtext of the scripts is either missing or subdued. I like Jodie's use of music as it does elegantly stitch together the cuts. Unfortunately, many directors do not know how to use music as they sometimes spread it like ambience perfume or because they became insecure with the overall outcome of the movie and they use music to save the day. Music is radioactive in a movie, please handle with care. ;o)

Frank L.

Love the tango music idea! The man with himself, in the dance of tangle, together.))


WOW, who knew MUSIC / SOUND will be so technical and complicated with very DEEP meaning in every scene... :)

Jerry R.

The music can be so loud, it completely takes over the scene, and if you can't hear what the actor is saying, you become very frustarated.

Jerry R.

What irritates me very often is that the sound is so loud, you can't hear the actors words, and then I'm displeased that I don't know what they said. I hate that. Too loud sound just irritates me. I'm not hard of hearing. So, sometimes I don't like a movie, not because of the movie itself, but because of the music. So, yes, the music is very important, and it should compliment and enhance the feeling of the scene, not just completely overcome it.




The Beaver was a lot to take in emotionally for the general story and secondary. I love music...And didn’t pickup on it. Maybe it got me through the movie.

Carlos S.

I think the use of music should be taken very seriously. Depending of who are your characters, then you should consider what the feel of the movie is and therefore, what music or sounds are the right ones. Take the films of David Lynch and his use of music or sounds, opposite to the pictures of Martin Scorsese. Compare the two. An interesting exercise: watch films from the early 50´s and try some scenes with the music and then with the sound off. Don't judge them, just feel them out.