To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Arts & Entertainment

Discovering Your Process

Martin Scorsese

Lesson time 12:51 min

There is no set process for filmmaking, but in this lesson Martin offers you a glimpse of what his own process looks like. Learn to let your film take on its own life and always remain open to unexpected changes that could add value to a scene.

Martin Scorsese
Teaches Filmmaking
In 30 lessons, learn the art of film from the director of Goodfellas, The Departed, and Taxi Driver.
Get Started


I don't think there's anything that could be deemed a process which covers all the bases, so to speak. I mean, look, yes, there's a process. In order to start shooting it, you put the camera on some sort of device or you want to hand hold it. You have to make a choice there. There are some basic things that are more logistical than anything else-- the use of equipment, knowing what equipment could do, knowing which tool to use. But natural process, you know there are many people who just work it out. And many people who kind of write as they go along. The script for [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, the Voyage Through Italy, Rosselini, I saw it framed on a wall in an apartment in Rome. It was one page, A paragraph. Not saying everybody does that. Fellini, when he would shoot, I was on his set a number of times, but in 1980, '81 doing City of Women, he had five different sets on the same stage. And there was constant talking and shouting and yelling and he was running up and down and people laughing, people arguing. In the meantime, he was shooting. He was shooting. I remember people saying, what's going on. Well, he's shooting over here. It was a very different way of shooting. Of course in Italy, they don't use sync sound. So every body is used to talking loudly, you know. And as it was shooting, we were guests on the set, he would come over and talk to us, and he'd go back to the shot. So it's a very different way of working, a very different process. There are filmmakers who have an editor whom they trust who knows their style and knows what they are, and has worked with them a long time, editing while they're shooting. The film could be put together two weeks after the picture is finished wrapping shooting. I like to wait until I finish shooting and work with my editor, you know. And so what I'm saying is that there is no process. And when people talk to you about a process you might as well open a textbook. Textbook'll give you some basic facts, logistics, facts, that sort of thing. But whether good or bad, it's art. Meaning the quality of it, I don't know, it depends on the person. The quality of your own work, I don't know. You just know you have to do it. So in that doing of it, you are making judgments. Whether the quality of the judgment is something that's going to last to mean something to people 50 years from now, who knows. You know? Do you feel good about it? Very often people feel terrible about some of it and it's quite good to many people. So there really is no process. I mean, yes, to a certain extent, it would be good to talk to the costume person before shooting. OK? I mean, it's common sense. Preparation seems to be good, especially for narrative cinema, that sort of thing. Seems to be, which means you should talk to your director of photography, talk to your locations peopl...

Study with Scorsese

Martin Scorsese drew his first storyboard when he was eight. Today he’s a legendary director whose films from Mean Streets to The Wolf of Wall Street have shaped movie history. In his first-ever online film class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make and watch movies.


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

follow your instincts and believe in your work. Never give up. you have to do what you love. if you don’t your not alive

True lessons of cinematographic art, one of the greatest directors of our time. Love the cinema, like a beat of life. Like the spark of the director's magic, and the movie. The cinema is a mystery to discover that you learn by doing. The cinema is a dream, of shadows and light that is made of time.

Confirmed many ideas I had about film and pointed out things I had never thought of. Wonderful class. Wonderful teacher.

Overall, I learned a ton about the practicality of making a picture. However, it was a bit too technical at times and I was a bit unsure of some of the terms used. Then again, I'm more of a screenwriter than a director ....


Sam G.

I love that Mr Scorsese is such a champion of finding what works for you, and what works for the particular story you are trying to tell. So many other film classes and lessons profess to have all the answers you need, but Mr Scorsese contends that we already have all of the answers, we just need some guidance in unraveling everything around them. A true legend and champion of cinema!

Robert H.

One thing I'm seeing is that passion for a story is vital. The way I write is to see the action in front of me before I write it.

Mimi B.

Ah! I'm remembering my college film courses which I loved and lived intensely. There was a time when I didn't think I could breathe without film. Maybe I haven't since.

Matthew B.

I have thought of a Movie about my High School days, which I am beginning to develop as I re do your class and assignments over again. The link is not a Film yet but Master Class inspired me to put this project together. Not the greatest photos, but proud of so far. They change the theme of Lamp Posts several times a year. Hope OK to share

kenna C.

Its a matter of being lead by your desires and imagination to bring the outcome of the story you're trying to portray.

A fellow student

I love the contrast between finding your own process or planning out the best way to bring an idea to life through cinema and the idea itself taking over.

A fellow student

i would like to see a masterclass on how they shoot masterclass.. the lighting is amazing

Teddy W.

Making film is journey find something new. Human always want to find the shortcut, the easy to success. But filmmaking is an art although shooting it need a lot of money, need a lot a people work together. Making a film not like making a car or something like that, film is more personality. So open mind is really important to a director, you will find new way to tell your story on set or on post. Always try to find the best way to tell story use the elements of the film. Filmmaking have basic elments, but don't have the process. Because everyone have a different brain, use it.

Pétainguy M.

Incredible how great masters like Martin confer us a clear vision of work, full of humanity, truth and respect. Less ego possible for more efficiency !

David C.

This was a very insightful lesson giving a lot of information needed with your process of filmmaking, being open to other ideas and letting certain aspects just flow within a scene and in doing so you can create brilliant moments that work perfectly in context of the story, showing that without a process you can still create and craft a film in an compelling way.