Chapter 8 of 30 from Martin Scorsese

Finding the Story

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Martin teaches you how to see the inherently cinematic elements of your daily life and how to identify the themes and stories you are most drawn to.

Topics include: Life Is Cinematic • The Story Has to Be Close to You • The Theme Should Be Important to You • The Desire, the Passion, and the Need

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking

In 30 lessons, learn the art of film from the director of Goodfellas, The Departed, and Taxi Driver.

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I don't think there's anything more inherently cinematic about one way of life versus another. If you're inclined towards cinema then you see what is cinematic within that way of life. I mean everything is cinematic. All of life is cinematic, depends on how you perceive it. I can only talk about my own life, I mean my own case, and what I know. I grew up in a certain part of the world. And because I had a very particular place, and because I had asthma from the age of three on, I observed a lot. I wasn't allowed to participate in anything that was over-exciting in terms of physical activity, sports and that sort of thing. So I observed a lot. And I found I was absorbing it, really. And then later, you know, I found I was interpreting it. And translating it, I think. And trying to transmit or express it, and find different ways to tell stories about things that I observed or was immersed in around me-- whether it was outside the apartment or in the family. And what I observed and absorbed at home, out in the street, as I said, in the church-- these are things that formed me, just as the very different worlds in which, say, Michael Powell or Stanley Kubrick or Don Siegel grew up formed them. So I can only speak from that world. [THEME MUSIC] The filmmaking that I tried to do, particularly when I first started out, was stories came from my own experience, or subject matters that interested me only, or solely I should say. And that slowly developed into other projects or stories-- scripts, even-- that I was able to work with interests or concepts from other writers. But primarily, really the story has to come from me. Or at least I'm interested in this particular character, idea, in some cases actors. In the case of Nick Pileggi, for example, he wrote that wonderful book Wiseguy, which became Goodfellas. And you know he has such a-- the book itself spoke to me immediately. And the structure of the book, too. I found a way, along with Nick, to be able to pull together a representation of that world that was depicted in the book. But also from my own experience. Because Nick has an extraordinary knowledge of the world he's chronicling. But beyond that it's not a very dry-- how should one put it? A systematic, didactic way of talking about that world, or depicting that world, or representing that world. He has a philosophical point of view with a great sense of humor and irony about that part of us, or that part of human nature, which is eminently, for many people, corruptible. And the thinking that goes into that, and how one step leads to another, and eventually is a complete chain of events-- a disastrous chain of events. And so he has this point of view about it. And a way of presenting it. And so we would have a great deal of enjoyment working on that. [THEME MUSIC] Taxi Driver, really the script was so strong. And it ...

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 class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach to filmmaking, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make—and watch—movies.

Watch, listen, and learn as Martin teaches his first-ever online class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Martin will also answer select student questions.

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Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking