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Arts & Entertainment

Putting Words On Paper

Spike Lee

Lesson time 16:56 min

Spike provides you with a blueprint of his writing process to help you write your script. Learn his index card technique, his disciplined writing practice, and his advice for writing with a partner.

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.

I truly enjoyed not only the cinematic tops but also the philosophy of Spike Lee.

Great class. SL is a great artist and a promotor and master of independent cinema

Spike Lee is a genius and trend setter. I am thankful to have the opportunity to listen to him discuss the intricacies of film making. Thank you. Time to get to work.

I just finished eating a whole box of pineapple pizza extra pine no crust my nigga



i am glad that i can learn from you i always wanted to meet you and now its like possible !

Rose W.

I love the idea of having the time to write so much.. and honouring the process. I am a visual artist, art teacher etc .... and am very firmly based in the material, tactile world... create with clay, metal, paint, hammers...a silversmith however of late more of a wordsmith, writing with my old school fountain pen. Very attached to that one. Keyboards just do not flow... Are there other people out there who prefer handwriting? Loved to hear that Spike handwrites hi books!!. That is unreal!! So much more of the true you flows into handwriting.... Love language, am bi lingual (German and English ) have a little French up my sleeve and a tiny bit of "Timne" a tribal African language from Sierra Leone, the country where my conscious memories begin. intrigued by history and contexts of words.. i think I write more poetry of a kind.. super short stories. I'm finding all I want to do is add moving images to tell a richer story... rhythm and movement of camera, composition of the image in the frame.... The idea of scriptwriting with dialogues is formidable and very intimidating... I have never liked having to read plays with dialogues for school. We did Bertoldt Brecht, Max Frisch, Goethe, Schiller..... I went to school in Germany. in the 70s. . I am wondering if one could not improvise a film's "words between people", after setting the scene with a "normally " written story ? Let the actors find their own words for the moment they are capturing... Since I am very new to the whole filming adventure a small mini film is about all I think I can deal with; a moving vignette so to speak. sparked off by a short tale to give the idea, accompanied by or even solely inspired by a song and it's lyrics...of storytelling with sound and songs.... with a narrated overlay.... hmmm discipline and deadlines ? : a GodsenT! yes please !


"Respect your time; it's special" These empowering words from Spike have "lit a fire" in me. I will be showing up for myself even greater than I have, including following through with self-assigned deadlines. Lastly the tip on immersing yourself in the world of your writing has confirmed and opened me up to new ways of researching such as the music of the times.

Mike E.

I enjoyed this lesson a lot! It gave me more insight to some ways that I could go about organizing my thoughts and ideas. I typically struggle with creating a workflow, so doing something like separating ideas onto index cards and organizing them would help a lot.

Michael P.

Why is Spike Lee's class the only class that is available in English. Every other Teacher has captions in about 3 diferent languages. Fix this Masterclass


Where does one buy the index card holder box Spike Lee has. I am also having trouble finding 5x7 index cards.

Iddo G.

This organising technique with the index cards just saved my life! maybe not my life but my story building and upcoming movie to be told to the world by a messy but clear mind. Thanks Spike!

Chava G.

Thou Shall Not Fake Da Funk; What So And Ever We Do We Got To Be: Funky, Fresh, Fortified And Fantastic. Like the ideas, partnership collaboration, knowing we got to get the job done. Dead lines are a good thang, are that blessing, dead lines put fire o, under and to that "but(t)". Don't miss dead lines, don't mess up the career. Heard and listened to...very much!

Michael U.

Found it interesting that Mr. Lee still writes out so much of his scripts instead of using computers or scriptwriting software. The index card method is great to arrange ideas into a cohesive script.

Alexandria L.

I have been working for a long time as a writer organization is an issue I like this index card method