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Arts & Entertainment

Collaborating and Improvising with Actors

Spike Lee

Lesson time 10:14 min

Spike believes that a good director both commands and surrenders to the moment. Using scenes from He Got Game and School Daze, he shares tips on how to harness improvisational moments and adjust to story changes on-the-fly.

Spike Lee
Teaches Independent Filmmaking
Academy Award–winning filmmaker Spike Lee teaches his approach to directing, writing, and producing.
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Make films with an impact

Spike Lee didn’t just direct his award-winning 1986 feature debut, She’s Gotta Have It. He was also the writer, star, truck driver, location scout, electrician, and caterer, because that’s what it took to get his film made. In his first-ever online directing class, the visionary behind Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and 25th Hour lets you in on his uncompromising approach to filmmaking. Learn about writing, self-producing, working with actors, and making movies that break barriers.


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

It has inspired me a lot!!! Congrats to Spike and his outstanding advices and speech about cinema and life!!! thank you man!

Spike Lee continues to inspire, educate and inform. I've been a fan from day one and he does not quit, his class is educational and entertaining.

I'm not a film maker, but I appreciate the way he tells it like it is. I didn't expect to enjoy his class as much as I did. He brought a great deal of truth, insight, and wisdom to what he was saying.

Great class. Thank you Mr Lee for showing us how it is done.



Sharing these personable experiences on actors is great, but I wish the instructor taught a few actors hands-on, i.e. stage reading or rehearsal, so we could understand the director-n-actor chemistry.

Chava G.

In some ways Denzel Washington and Spike Lee seem to be the same person, same spirit, simpatico to the max or maybe alter egos on other days. I saw the animosity/division/petty as hellness in the movie, and actually disliked it because it was divisive when we needed unity. It did bring awareness, to people who didn't know or acted as if they didn't know colorism existed. I have watched it since, and DAZE awakened something akin to the power of and in cohesiveness, that seems to be a part of what we are doing now. It also shows that it is easy to divide and conquer anyone, until it is not. Now you get to be the proverbial, "MR. GOOD LESSON LEE", for this one!

Matt H.

"marlo's selfie artistic flow" my tongue is out like when Micheal Jordan would dunk the basketball and amazing all the little children. made for greatness. From an abstract painter original style of oil paintings. I recorded a speech for you Sir. Using a Marlon Brando acting technique he made up himself in his auto-bio, all CIA style... where you don't look at the speech or writing, monologue, you do not rehearse or know what the words are at all. It's like you are saying the words for the first time, because you are. True spontaneity. Fully in character; Winston Churchill Nobel Peace Prize winning speech : 4!!!epicJusticeNOW!! *** **there must be a way to get this speech to you. "Winston Churchill speech 11.9.54 calmer gentler age" <3

Michael O.

Once again, the trickster supreme got game. The glee with which he creates scenarios on and off set is infectious, exciting, successful. Wise.

Tino T.

Let me tell you, working with well known and professional Actors its much more easier than people may think. The Worst collaborating are often with "just out of the academies actors" (same goes for the Filmstaff)... But i know, that there are some egocentric actors too who are very famous. But normally, their professionalism let them act humble during a shooting day, and dont drain energy from you :p or question every move you do, and also can improve you telling you some point of views from their experiences!

Hubert G.

Holy Jesus! This is awesome! I now have total confidence that my film will be a success.

Janet L.

Spike Lee writes out his scripts, no computer or software programs. I wonder how many drafts of each script? It must be hard to edit/revise, but it seems to work for him.

A fellow student

I find it amazing that Spike was able to crank out a draft of He Got Game in one day. That's dedication. Wish I could do that.


Brilliant. Ability to understand when outsiders go to a strange town, they will cluster together to protect each other. But they would have been useless to your film in the fight scenes, because there would not have been the level for the antagonistic attitudes required. By having them live in real life their character's plight, you revealed their true gut feelings.