From Werner Herzog's MasterClass


Werner leaves you with the words of a medieval mystic and wishes you luck on your journey.

Topics include: Advice from a medieval mystic


Werner leaves you with the words of a medieval mystic and wishes you luck on your journey.

Topics include: Advice from a medieval mystic

Werner Herzog

Teaches Filmmaking

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I have a text I'd like to read for you. And the text is from the late medieval mystic, Thomas a Kempis-- a very important figure in deep thinking. A mystic. And it's in a film of mine. "It is only the pilgrims who in the travails of their earthly voyage do not lose their way. Whether our planet be frozen or scorched, they are guided by the same prayers, and suffering, and fervor, and woe." [MUSIC PLAYING] You may have guessed, meanwhile, that it is not Thomas a Kempis. I wrote this text. I did this. In a way, we have to leave things incomplete. Lots of things we haven't covered, but it would be ad nauseam just to have me there and trying to explain my craft. Thank you, and best of luck to all of you.

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.


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

You would be hard pressed to find the calibre, depth and practical approach to filmmaking across the spectrum. Thank you Werner.

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

I learned that being a disciplined storyteller is harder than I ever imagined it to be.

I especially loved how Werner did his metaphors at the beginning or ending of the films. This made the viewer experience and think more deeply. I now have to see this powerful films, they have staying power. I will never forget this. Thank you.


Lynn C.

Regarding deep fake...I was in the middle of lessons when I took a break and went to the lake where my 80 year old mother foisted her cell phone into my hand with a command to read [a chain] email she rec'd from an intelligent neighbor of my childhood. The email included an mp4 clip of supposedly US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib claiming to take over the world...I said "Mom this is fake" and pointed out the fake You Tube logo. This did not exonerate my ignorance in her I simply did search that quickly led to Ted Nugent's facebook page post (a second posting) making fake social media spreading fear and hate. Because of Herzog's questions and craft of truth, I was conscious and disciplined enough to be in a conversation with my mom that dispelled fear and hate. I did not let her off the hook for claiming age as an excuse for unknowingly spreading racist, bigoted, misogynistic propaganda. She learned. I found the dialogue. Thank you Master Teacher Werner Herzog. Your humor, discipline, doggedness and good humaness to make truth makes a difference.

Lynn C.

I want to be his every Kinski. Herzog's sense of humor off the charts. He is way cooooool.

Selin S.

In terms of technical knowledge and the understanding of the profession as a film-maker, the best Masterclass. It is worth its weight in gold.

A fellow student

Excellent. Great advice, thought provoking. I was disturbed by the attitude of Werner toward truth. I don't think good for the world to create false quotes in a documentary. However, given Herzog's brilliance, I will further consider whether my discomfort relates to his error, or my own, regarding my notions of truth and the role of documentary as a medium of factuality.

A fellow student

Really really interesting and some very useful and practical advice. Danke Herr Herzog!

Bob S.

I really enjoyed this class with Werner Herzog. I great insightful teacher who really shared invaluable experience and knowledge about film making. I am planing to go to costa rica to start filming my project on the rain forests. Thank You.

Hugh T.

Werner is a philosopher that just happens to be making films. His fundamental view is that ideas, concepts and one’s humanity matter most, the rest is ancillary baggage. Thanks very much.

Patrick P.

This has been quite a journey in 26 Chapters following the meanders of a great genius. I loved the human side of the filmmaking process that is more problem solving than expressing yourself in the middle of adversity. I liked Werner's description of the essentials in filmmaking, that is your dreams, the only things you have, by the end of the day. I am not sure about his documentary concept of scripting and conning people to make a documentary. Fake facts are like fake news that are creating a world that does not exists. It is therefore fiction. I hated this permanent tension Werner establishes between the idea of the script and ther craft of filmmaking, particularly the editing of what has been effectively filmed of it. Werner is a great teacher and pedagogue as his words lay upon an extra-ordinary experience of one of the best filmmakers still alive. Many, many thanks for such a great opportunity. Werner, you are forever in my heart, whatever, wherever, whenever I feel sorry for myself to have chosen to make films as part of my pilgrimage on this planet Earth.

A fellow student

Thank you Mr. Hertzog. This course, if nothing else, has impressed on me how a little bit insane you are. I mean that as the highest compliment. I have followed your work since Fitzcaraldo and Aquirre the Wrath of God and have always kept those films as part of my collection. I have been a big follower of the New German Cinema movement - you, Rainer Fassbinder and Wim Wenders. What really impressed me is that you undertook such insanely gigantic projects such as Fitzcaraldo, that even with time passed, seem highly impossible, and yet you did them. And taking on Klaus Kinski - a truly clinically insane man whose talent you moulded into cinema legend. There is definitely a film to be made of his life. One cannot imagine someone whose life begins in war, mass murder and chaos that is channeled into a career of manic expression . I must admit that the documentary part of your class was very perplexing and your admittance to inventing dialogue and situations I found disturbing and am still trying to find the rationale for. It seemed almost twisted and gratuitous - as if you really could not let go of fiction and felt compelled to let it contaminate reality. But if you are honest about your deceptions, then maybe it is okay. I am not a documentary maker so I guess I cannot judge. Finally your uncompromising stance on not being a 'work for hire' Director really shows that you take on projects without compromise - even now. Bravo. You are part of a generation of filmmakers that we will one day look back on and wish we stil had.

Janos V.

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