To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact support@masterclass.com.

Arts & Entertainment

Storytelling

Spike Lee

Lesson time 11:07 min

Spike teaches you his techniques for writing bold, distinct characters, capturing two sides of a story, and creating stories that react to social injustice.

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

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.



Reviews

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

This class has taught how to examine film and that it is an important tool in telling stories to millions of people.

Spike shared his thought process behind many of his choices, which is something I'm always interested in. He also included a lot of personal stories, which was very cool.

I thought this class made helped break down the process of becoming the filmmaker. I especially loved it when Spike talked about the logistics of what a filmmaker has to do.

The Class made me aware of the injustices of our society and how a film can help strengthen the argument against that...


Comments

Julian D.

yeah, a lot of people do make up rules for storytelling that don't make sense. but there are certain rules that do make sense. the rules of drama, like Aaron Sorkin talks about in his class.

Rose W.

Love the straight talk! Totally agree : Cut the ego... there is a job that needs to get done and without too much ego there is not that much to loose! Helpful to keep in mind, that we are "allowed" to give our creating (writing, image making, singing whatever it is...) the hours they deserve. This can be excruciatingly difficult as a mother (due to our very effective cultural conditioning)......if not to say impossible when also working to make a living...$$$ Great hints in last lesson: Discipline, Routine, Rhythm and I would add Ritual , the 3 R's :)

A fellow student

I'm learning so so much from Spike Lee. I felt overwhelmed by the idea of writing a screenplay but he's demystified so much and made it so doable and less scary. Thank you! I wish you had time to lecture full time. I'd sign up at that university!

Mike E.

The point that Spike made about Buggin'-out and Sal both having valid points, and that being the spark for the conflict of the film.... amazing! It shows another way of looking at the idea of 'conflict', thus impacting the opportunity for greater creativity.

Priscilla A.

When I first started writing, (with no training) I didn't know about scriptwriting rules, and writing in acts either. I just wrote the scenes and let the ups and downs come naturally. I feel him on that, after hearing from so many sources about the screenwriting rules, it's good to hear that it's ok to not feel like you have to in order to write great material.

Lily S.

2:01-2:14 is pure gold...now that is an infectious laugh if I've ever heard one!

Maxim O.

Spike's take on character invention is interesting but it should be common sense. That action is harder to practice than we realize.

Me

Like, is not the right word; I absolutely loved what Spike Lee had to say about storytelling. The information he offered totally resonated with me.

diane K.

I like the idea of both "sides" of a conflict are when both sides are right. It requires some of the conflict to take place in the personal space (ethics, morals, etc.) of the viewer. That's storytelling as it should be. Storytelling should be more than just entertainment.

Chad J.

my really good friend from chicago who writes scripts said it best, you have to get out of your own way in order to write a good script.