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Arts & Entertainment

Martin's Education

Martin Scorsese

Lesson time 8:13 min

Martin teaches you to appreciate the value of every shot using the lessons he learned from his tough—but inspirational—professor at NYU.

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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When I went to NYU in the early 60s-- 1960 I think it was-- it certainly wasn't the NYU we know today. It was Washington Square College which I enrolled in. It was quite small, and the introduction to film really wasn't a film school so to speak. There were film departments along with radio and television, but the introduction to film was split into-- the first two semesters, and they were called History of Motion Pictures one and two. This along with all the other required courses for the first two years of the school. Our teacher was a man named Haig Manoogian of Armenian descent. And from the first class he talked very, very, very fast, almost like a drill instructor, and he covered a lot of ground very quickly. And I remember sitting there just taking endless notes, endless notes. He'd show a film, and if he thought a student was just there for-- to waste time, just take it easy and watch movies, he would throw them out basically. So he weeded people out. And in our second year we took an introductory production course. We had 16 millimeter cameras, and it was called sight and sound. And we learned the very basic, the rudiments of film making, the very basic elements of lenses, using 16 millimeter black and white film. We did little exercises. And by the end of the semester, by the end of the year, I think it was, we were able to make a three to four minute film based on what we had learned about the equipment and lighting and that sort of thing. In those classes, more people were weeded out. What Haig focused on ultimately, and he was heavily influenced by the Italian near realism and new wave filmmaking, but he really focused on the individual voice, the individual stories that you felt that you had to tell. And he wouldn't let anyone direct unless they had written the film themselves. Separate from a nonfiction film, I'm talking about. And if you didn't write it yourself, basically you were out of the class. I remember one student telling him, "I want to direct." And he says, "OK. Where's your script?" And he said, "Well, I need a script. I'm a director." He said, "No. Go write your script. Otherwise, you can't do it/" He also-- we found ourselves at odds because, I mean, he hated melodrama. He hated-- he said I don't want to see any of you kids going for a shot where somebody picks up a gun. He was encouraging everyone to express themselves and protect that spark in themselves, and not be influenced by other kinds of filmmaking. If they wanted that sort of thing, then go into television or go into another-- go to Los Angeles was a different situation. It was a little different for me, because I grew up in a world where at times people had access to guns, and that was part of life or a fact of life at times. So melodrama would turn out to be drama to a certain extent. And eventually that led to Mean Streets and other film...

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.

Just an incredible opportunity to have the change to hear from one of the greats in the industry, and get some of his insights and wisdom. I've learned that the fundamentals of film making doesn't really chance, even in Hollywood. An overall motivating class.

Now i am more motivated to follow what i want to do with my life, it's a decision that only i can make and i have to do it, even with the critics and judgements. thank you, from portugal

"Don't be intimidated by what you don't know." -Martin Scorsese

I think I will have to watch this again. It was very in depth and I feel like I need more time with it to absorb all the lessons. Thank you!


Jeshua S.

You can get the opportunity to make films at college but you have to learn filmmaking yourself

Molly M.

I thought it was interesting how he talked about the end of Old Hollywood and its transition into the New Hollywood era. He said that it was unclear at the time whether or not there would be a "New" Hollywood--what it would look like or if it would even exist--they just knew that everything was changing. I feel like that sentiment mirrors what's happing now with coronavirus. Not only Hollywood is changing--with countless movie productions put on hold due to social distancing laws--but our entire world is changing, too. It makes me wonder: what will life be like post-COVID-19? How will this change the world? Society? Psychology? Cinema and filmmaking? As the world is changing, it's only logical that storytelling will be transforming along with it. Now, I am thinking about how I can adapt and make my own impact.

Stephen S.

I thought Marty has a good point. You have to be honest with yourself to really be true to your passion. Watching the old-time filmmakers, and seeing if they speak to you in any way. I think that's a good way of looking at cinema and becoming your own voice.

Antonia T.

"A great teacher can give you confidence & inspiration". True. How wonderful is to found a great teacher who believed on us.

Jorge L.

Well, with only 3 lessons so far, i feel breathless. Especially on how Martin choose every word to make a statement. In this particular lesson, I really think about the life of a shot on its own and the name "motion pictures". I will really start looking carefully to how this work in my shorts, but in a way i could actually still get surprised when it happens.

denis P.

interesting to know his thoughts and what he sees as important. History is important but sometimes it can hold you back. important his idea of belief in yourself and your desires.

A fellow student

I love this lesson! It gets into the smallness of each moment as a student realizes their vocal pallet. The importance of each shot and cut

A fellow student

Go and watch the Short "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" Martin Scorsese did when you are done watching this part. I helps putting things in perspective

Douglas P.

"Do what you feel compelled to do." Why else would anyone choose a life in film? Hardships, struggles, isolation, obsession, failure, and on occasion - you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Being compelled is the only thing that drives a creative....

Bruce W.

I have and endless supply of 'shots' in my head. I've written novels, all the while attempting to 'show' and not tell. The logical next step was film. A great teacher inspires confidence, as Martin said in this class. I've never had a great teacher. That person will arrive at some point.