Film & TV

Opening Title Sequences

Spike Lee

Lesson time 11:48 min

Analyzing opening title sequences from Mo’ Better Blues, 25th Hour, and BlacKkKlansman, Spike teaches the art of establishing tone in the first few minutes of your film.

Spike Lee
Teaches Independent Filmmaking
Academy Award–winning filmmaker Spike Lee teaches his approach to directing, writing, and producing.
Get All-Access

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 in a very relatable tone. I like his humble approach to teaching his techniques. You can tell he is a very passionate film maker.

This was amazing! Real experiences shared, tips and examples from feature films. The approach was fresh, unique, intelligent, creative and beautiful!

Excellent Masterclass from Spike Lee. Inspiring, educative and funny. I hope I can incorporate what Spike said to my filmmaking. Looking forward to make my film soon. Thank you Spike. My pranams and namaskaram from India.

THE MOBILE APP IS WEIRD. iT JUMPS AROUND AND IS ERRATIC AS TO WHERE YOU LEFT IT LAST WHEN RETURNING. aLSO IT IS CONFUSING with regard to playing the current video but then having the description and title of the next video directly underneath the current video before listing the previews of the next videos. the current video needs to have some kind of identifier rather than being purely visual.


Deborah R.

Hands down it is ABSOLUTELY critical that the openning of a film should establish the mood and personality of the film. I can usually 'feel" what a movie is about in the first 5 seconds if done well. So glad that Spike shows great examples of how this works.

Michael U.

The revelation of how Spike Lee felt the first time he saw "Gone with the Wind" is powerful.

Jim S.

As a screenwriter I have written one screenplay with a scene intended as an opening title sequence. It was inspired by the opening of "The Replacement Killers" with Chow Yun-Fat. Even though my screenplay is a different kind of story, I just loved everything about it.

Michael O.

Focusing on title sequence is not something I've put much energy, thought into. Spike makes a clear and urgent case here, the first impression is so important. Actually makes sense to integrate opening title in the story building process. This is a revelation. Thank you.

Bob Z.

I’ve always liked a good title opening. So many movies show the credits after the movie, when people are leaving. Are the studios just cheap? No imagination like a lot of the movies that are being made? Thanks Spike


I've already said it in another lesson, but I need to repeat it: the passion and enthusiasm with which Spike Lee talks about cinema and his work is amazing. Great lesson. Great Masterclass.

Tino T.

I like what Shelton (Spike Lee) said, about Opening Title Sequences.. I am so against without opening Title Sequences, its what we see today a lot, the movie already begins without a real introduction. I am also a Post Credits Sequence fan :)

A fellow student

The Mo Better opening scene is probably my favorite of all time. Thanks Spike!


Fabulous. Loved hearing Spike analyze and expand on the opening title sequence.

Jaime F.

Thank you for explaining how to get the audience into the right frame of mind right from the start with the opening title credit sequence!