Film & TV

Locations

Werner Herzog

Lesson time 18:15 min

Jungles, oceans, and volcanic craters—Werner has shot movies in them all. Learn how to find spectacular locations and turn them into functional sets for your own films.

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Werner Herzog
Teaches Filmmaking
In 6 hours of video lessons, Werner Herzog teaches his uncompromising approach to documentary and feature filmmaking.
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Not only would I direct actors or human beings, I would also direct landscapes. In a way, opening of Aguirre is directed landscape. It's somehow understanding the essence and doing the right thing in this landscape and incorporate it into a dynamic that you do not normally see in a movie. [MUSIC PLAYING] Sometimes I have spent many weeks scouting like Aguirre rafting down on Amazon tributaries. [MUSIC PLAYING] Yes, this is near Machu Piccu near Urubamba. And here you see this zigzag path. It's almost vertical and slippery. And many of the native people who come from the highlands came from very high up, were frightened. Some of them altitude sick. Some of them had vertigo, vertigo, more than anything. And I would run up and down the zigzag path to exhaustion and tie some of them onto bushes so they wouldn't slip down, and I said stay where you are. We'll get you out later. [MUSIC PLAYING] It was filmed only once. and those are moments where I had the feeling I was blessed. Something fell into my lap. That in a way, I knew I deserved it, but you have to be lucky as well. And it's a really wonderful moment when you see how stupid is this chick in the llamas. Everything. It really was a location that I loved and I had great disputes with Kinski about it. He wanted the entire ensemble because you see the ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the most photographed sites on our planet. And I said no, this is postcard kitsch. I want a detail of it, and he started to scream and yell and kick at the camera and so I took him out of the shot. [MUSIC PLAYING] So of course, the quality of pre-production location scouting made the quality of what you see on screen. And it's not that you can organize it quickly and you say ah, let's go there. You just can't go there and start shooting. [MUSIC PLAYING] When it comes to location, it is not only the location that you see on screen. Yes that's the key to all. That overwhelms every other consideration. But at the same time, you have to consider logistics. Where M you have there were no hotels at that time. There was a tiny hotel eight rooms. Up near Machu Piccu. Nothing else at that time. So where do you house your 450 extras? Where does the crew stay? Crew was very small, but still. So we went into a tea plantation down at the river which had a huge barn, which we emptied out and filled it with sort of hammocks and beds on top of each other for 450 people. So we had to organize that. At the same time, where the crew stay. We were very provisionally housed. I stayed in a mud hut of a woman who was actually-- she had a hunchback. A very, very sweet woman, and she had six children and something like over 200 Guinea pigs. And at night, the Guinea pigs would run around and run over me. I had to learn how to sleep with Guinea pigs running over me. There's ...


Capture the spectacular

When the legendary director Werner Herzog was 19, he stole a camera and made his first movie. 70 films and 50 awards later, Werner is teaching documentary and feature filmmaking. In this film class, you’ll learn storytelling, cinematography, location scouting, self-financing, documentary interview techniques, and how to bring your ideas to life. By the end, you’ll make uncompromising movies.



Reviews

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

Loved the intro, got very excited watching it. I eagerly anticipate the classes. His being self taught gives me hopes of success, this is new to me,

Quite interesting to know a bit about his background and childhood. I am quite eager to learn even more

A very interesting way of looking at film making, the entire process, and your life's journey. Thank You, Werner.

My favorite class so far but Sorkin's is right up there too!


Comments

Kacee D.

Always scout all your own locations. Don't hire a location scout as only you know your vision. You do not have to pay for any locations. I have used over 1,000 locations and have never paid for one as the majority of them were donated. Exciting to find the right location for your vision

Michael R.

As I watch Werner describe his work, I resonate with the sense that I am listening to an artist. The immersion in the medium, the living in the moment, the saying/doing what needs to be done. The stories themselves are entertaining, but I feel the overall message is "play all out" or the results will be mediocre. I especially like his principle to "speak the language of the locals" – this seems to be sound advice on multiple levels.

Kevin B.

"I ate live maggots, I mean big white crawling maggots" I think what he is calling "maggots" are large grubs. Maggots are fly offspring. :D

Kevin B.

The assignment says to upload our a 3 minute film to the "Rate & Review Tool" Is this part of the App on our phones? I can't seem to find anything on the website for this.

Ketzal M.

Hahaha! Forge permits when necessary. I suppose you can get away with it in the third world. But in the good old USA, not likely.

Isaac R.

I found myself conflicted with his choice to use a forged permit, but I was able to absolve that feeling with the thought that nobody was harmed. Very brave of him to press forward with these locations.

Sydne H.

I love how much he emphasizes the importance of location and all the logistics behind what's outside the screen. Herzog has a strong understanding regarding creating art and even more so, he's a great instructor.

Eric G.

Great lesson. Locations are sometimes a challenge as he described and require "creative" solutions to "pull off the robbery," even when filming one. I am looking at sound stage work for my next two films in preproduction, but only because of costs and shooting controls...most parts, however, will be on location, one being a big bank robbery...

Manuel B.

I absolutely love this lesson! Sometimes you are not able to scout the location but you make the best out of it

David K.

I've had situations where the camera is rolling and the security guard comes up to tell me I can't shoot there -- engaging the guard in a conversation can let the camera keep rolling and you get your footage before you shut it down.