Film & TV

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.

It has really put all of the filmmaking process in perspective, especially with my own projects I have been developing and producing. I really enjoyed learning from Martin and would highly recommend it to any aspiring or current filmmaker. There is always more to learn!

It was really inspiring and motivating. Martin is a great filmmaker who teaches me a lot about the importance of set design, costumes and finding the right crew for the project.

It reaffirmed what I already knew. Although, I'm very happy to have heard the Master speak about his own work and influences.

Masterclass helped me not only develop my curiosity, but how to improve and encourage me to go after my dreams and believe in that spark that I know it's in me.


Adham E.

like the only problem I always have is coming up with idea of the film. Any solutions??

Patrick M.

when listening to this I'm trying to work out a screenplay, i have an idea that im passionate about, im just trying to fully realize it.

A fellow student

I'm taking this class and some more to better figure out if this desire I have to become a filmmaker is really something I cannot help but do. Like he said in his intro. I want to make films but I lack confidence yet. I'm a communications undergrad and thinking of going to film school after. how did you guys figure out this was what you're meant to do?

Narvaez J.

this is my research of camera Close up of the sun in the intro of Romeo and Juliet Medium shot three people in the scene Long shot and steady cam for the movie Romeo and Juliet

Narvaez J.

This is the best masterclass ever with Martin Scorsese I feel that i Learn more with him


I was a theatre major. I loved musicals, and I had a great time, but it never occurred to me to take a class in film making. To do it on your own was unheard of if you didn't have funding. This is a great tie to be a young film maker.

Vickie R.

I never heard of Mr S's film "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" And I thought I had seen ALL of his wonderful films. By the way I was born Nov 19, 1963 the year the film came out. Must rent it or read up on it. Sounds like my life frankly.....I was a NICE girl surrounded by a bunch of scoundrels. No matter how nice and funny I was, I was always the girl who was bullied to death all of my life. I even had one guy who is now a famous doctor throw a lit firecracker in my tent which exploded and had me lost about 50% of my hearing. I had another guy call me "PUNK" and I was only 7 yrs old and a very nice kid. This is a sinister neighborhood as far as I'm concerned. But a great story too!!! I love filming in black and white too like Harvey Keitel's movie "Whose that knocking at my door."

Nick F.

It's so interesting that the idea of filmmaking is, in sense, about the nurturing of the creative. I think back on when I went to film school and how it was basically a program encouraging us/preparing to create things. I was young when I attended school, so, I was a bit lost when I graduated simply because I thought that through the career development program, I would be placed where I need to be. But, film school was the spark. It was the push to move yourself where YOU feel like you need to go/need to be. This lesson really resonated with me on all fronts!


It took me a very long time to understand what the value of a shot meant. I didn't really get it until I read David Mamet's On Directing Film where he talks about how to compose every shot in a movie as to make it a story. To my understanding (and please correct me if I'm wrong) the shot is a story by it self and has nothing to do with the movie until you put it together with the rest of the shots and that's what makes the picture?

Nick K.

With every great filmmaker, there's always that big experience that nudges them down the path of filmmaking.