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.

I have been an indie filmmaker for a little while and after a couple short films that have played some smaller festivals, I am close to finishing my feature screenplay. What I can say about Martin’s teachings is that he made me feel like I am in the right place in my story. What I am trying to tell and how it’s coming together

Scorsese proves that he can guide us through the filmmaking process just as magnificently as he guides us through his unique narratives.

This class was like you ran into Martin right before you started shooting and asked "Do you have any advice before I start shooting?"

The Scene discussions were more helpful and gave more practical knowledge. It would be better to include more such discussions in future master classes.


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

Keagan S.

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.

Teddy W.

Learn by Doing, This is the way how I study filmmaking. When I used a DV almost 13years ago, I don't know nothing about filmmaking or film language. But my mentor asked me to shoot, use the image and sound to tell him what I want to say. The Value of a Shot, I really don't understand this meaning. Because it's complicated it's not just one shot, the value of a shot must put together then you will find the value.

A fellow student

I was hoping this would be Martin walking us thru some of his movies; showing scenes from his movies; not just his talking head the whole time.....

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