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Arts & Entertainment

Directing Actors

Spike Lee

Lesson time 10:44 min

How can you inspire the best performance from your actor? Spike teaches his techniques for directing your actors with sensitivity and respect, including how to communicate and establish trust.

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.

Spike spoke a lot of truth. He was straightforward, frank, and honest. One thing I took away was to enlist help from your community.

Listening to Spike Lee, teach the art of film making was is truly a gift to cherish.

Process and Perspective and a little inspiration.

As a scrappy filmmaker, I found his tips on commanding your team incredibly useful, and his drive to promote diversity behind the camera inspirational


Kerry W.

Great insight Spike. Feels somewhat intuitive also for those that desire to be effective communicators in life. Safety and trust is paramount for that process to become organic.

Chava G.

Have patience, give them the "Takes", read through, break down into groups, talk about it, review together; make it like family, all in this together! The secret to the success, Spike Lee is the best student thus the best teacher.

Sophia E.

Finding interns and young crews helps as well. With a little training, they are great for running a set.


For every film I have directed, we've done table reads and we always changed things in the script. Some characters got bigger because of what the actor brought, Some scenes were cut completely and in the end it makes it a better movie.

Tino T.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.... In my first years i was always angry hahahaha and yes, i not only loose actors, also staff lol I always loved rehearse but I also know that sometimes, fresh confrontation gives more edge, and so actors arent stuck in their already known part. I also need to leave the actors so they can build their own characters. I only give them my idea. it was hard to let go, but on the end it is the better way :)

Gonzalo G.

Rehearse and you'll find that your script comes alive, dialogues improved and some interesting ideas will be brought in by those who make the movie come alive: the actors.

R.G. R.

Seem likes common sense, but in this business, it isn't. Respect and the way one says something can make a fundamental difference in how things fall in place. A great lesson because it is from a director who walks the walk and has proven it.

A fellow student

Nine times out of 10, actors will receive no feedback of any kind on the set and he shouldn't expect it. But if you're sucking hard, you'll hear all about it and it's crushing.

Gwendolyn C.

Can't you see this whole situation was handled wrong, I spoke you read the last version.


Probably the best lesson yet. I like the analogy to coaching sports. Just like a bandleader, too.