Chapter 18 of 19 from Spike Lee

Storytelling for Documentaries

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Examining his powerful nonfiction films When the Levees Broke and 4 Little Girls, Spike shares insights on how to handle true stories with passion and respect.

Topics include: 4 Little Girls • Personal and Intimate Interviews • Documentary as Activism

Examining his powerful nonfiction films When the Levees Broke and 4 Little Girls, Spike shares insights on how to handle true stories with passion and respect.

Topics include: 4 Little Girls • Personal and Intimate Interviews • Documentary as Activism

Spike Lee

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 class, the visionary behind Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and BlacKkKlansman lets you in on his uncompromising approach to filmmaking. Learn about writing, self-producing, working with actors, and making movies that break down barriers.

Spike Lee opens the doors of his Brooklyn office to teach filmmaking through scripts and storyboards from some of his greatest films.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Spike will answer select student questions.

Reviews

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

I learned about Spike Lee as a filmmaker and have a greater appreciation and respect for him. The course content is excellent from the layout through the execution of material presented. This course is a solid 10+. It is a very useful course in understanding truths in the creative arts.

One of the best! I really felt motivated, and educated at the same time! Ain't nothing to it now but to just do it!

It takes so much more to just write a script and that's what I was doing. Just writing a script, but I stopped In the midst of it to take this class and It was so much that I did not know and over looked. This class and him alone helped me In so many ways and I am very happy that I took this class :)

I just appreciate the way that Spike interweaved stories about life and history into his masterclass. It was more than just a "how to" course. It covered a lot of the "why" we do.

Comments

Jeffrey H.

It has been a minute since I sat in a film school classroom. My introduction to documentary filmmaking was at Temple University. I was introduced to the works of Frederick Wiseman, and the idea of anthropology filmmaking. One of my research papers was on an episode of "Eyes on the Prize" a civil rights series directed by Henry Hampton. Documentaries are more sellable films now than when I got out of college. If I had to choose what my first film would be, it may be a documentary.

CLAU

i had seen 4 little girls on hbo years ago what a great documentary by spike lee

Santiago M.

Thank you very much Spyke! I had seen some of your films but I didn’t know who you were as a person. This course has allowed me to get to learn a lot from you. Very potent information and thank you for teaching from the heart . I appreciate and I’m learning from the way you talk, as it shows how much importance you give to every word that you use. Gracias!!

Steven J.

I can improve my master class doing what I’ve learned and early years of the year 2010 where when you do a documentary you have to let people which is the witnesses of the people that you’re interviewing they’re the ones who is telling the story so there’s no Cheesy narrator could tell the story better than the witnesses or the people that are being interviewed because like the way Martin Scorsese says it editing is writing and writing is editing.

Leslie L.

Please can we have a Spike Lee class on documentaries? I would really love that!

Kathy

Spike's lesson's are so interesting because you absolutely don't know what he is going to say next. And the lesson over before I take all my notes. All this new way to make a documentary I really need to know. Thanks Spike.

Sulondia H.

This lesson has me wanting to do a documentary. I love the realness/ harsh truths of documentaries with the different stories of the ones involved tied down to make one complete story. #Fascinating.

Joseph S.

Good segment, his perspective on the difference between documentaries and feature film was enlightening. I will one day get there, I see it is about the story...