September 22, 2015

MUSE, Stillmotion's Storytelling Course, Is Back with New Features & Limited Enrollment

MUSE Pilot Program
Earlier this year, we covered MUSE, an online course specifically designed to help non-fiction filmmakers tell incredible stories. Now our friends at Stillmotion have added new features to the course, and are opening up another round of enrollment to their pilot program, although spots are limited.

In case you need a refresher on MUSE, it's both an interactive online course and a physical set of tools (custom notebooks, a poster, and story blueprints) that are designed to guide you through the same step-by-step process that Stillmotion uses every time they set out to tell a story. That same process has helped the company win five Emmys (and land some incredibly prestigious corporate clients), and it was instrumental to them when they crafted their first feature documentary.

Here's the new introduction video for the MUSE pilot program:

The MUSE pilot program officially launched in June of this year, and over 1000 people have joined. Since that time, Stillmotion have culled feedback from this original group, done additional research, and have added several new features and enhancements to the course. Here's what you can expect from the current version of MUSE, in addition to everything else that is already included.

  • Guided Challenges. A way to practice all of the core storytelling concepts, one challenge for each Pillar of story, and then get personalized feedback when you complete a challenge
  • Muser Community. The biggest thing those inside the course wanted was a way to connect with other Musers, people who share the same language and have the same understanding of story. We’ve custom developed a forum that is integrated throughout the course as a way to discuss and connect with others Musers globally.
    MUSE
  • New Content. A handful of meticulously crafted tutorials are also being added. New videos about the importance of listening in storytelling (and how to do it  better), the history of story, the 6 Essential Plot Points, and more.

There have also been some hints from Patrick and the Stillmotion team about where MUSE is headed in the future. While nothing is set in stone yet, a version of MUSE specifically-designed for narrative screenwriters is in the works — the team is collaborating with a world-renowned screenwriter to help produce this content — as is an interactive app that guides you through the entire storytelling process from start to finish. No word yet on when these will be released, but they're definitely in the works.

The MUSE pilot program still costs $497 for two full years of membership, and it is currently open through September 30th, or whenever the roughly 250 remaining spots sell out (probably less when you actually read this). This is the last time that MUSE will be open for registration in 2015, so if you're interested, head on over to learnstory.org and get signed up. And if you want to learn more about the type of content that you'll get access to by joining, check out the exclusive excerpt we posted in June.     

Your Comment

18 Comments

Cool concept, has anyone given this a shot?

September 22, 2015 at 7:59PM

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KC
85

I joined during their last open enrollment. I have a B.A. in Creative Writing but my storytelling skills weren't good enough to translate to video. I signed up for the course in June and am happy to recommend it. MUSE is designed to teach storytelling in a way that is easy to remember and use. It's well organized and practical. The producers are generous with their knowledge and skills and they've done a great job on the course. The course costs much less than a standard 4-year (state) college course and they give so much more, in terms of practical information that you can use right away to increase the impact and value of your projects. I'm on my second pass through the course and I highly recommend it. ~ Laura

September 23, 2015 at 1:50AM, Edited September 23, 2:01AM

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We're now in a few Universities and Colleges as their official film curriculum too Laura.

So happy to hear your feedback :)

P.

September 23, 2015 at 1:24PM

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Patrick Moreau
Director at Stillmotion, Lead Developer of Muse
220

I joined in june,started but got sidetracked by loads of work. (Which is a good thing :-p )
The first 'chapter' looked good, solid content, interesting examples.
Last night I decided to pick up where I left (had to wait for a render anyway), but decided to start all over again.
They really improved it.
So I can tell they do listen to the feedback they were given.
And they added more content plus a forum for the Muse community.

This time I'll make time every week, although I'm still very busy.

September 23, 2015 at 6:10AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9082

Hey Walter,
so awesome to hear. We also have a really robust plan to keep yup with everybody and help keep you on track. That starts next Monday :)

P.

September 23, 2015 at 1:14PM

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Patrick Moreau
Director at Stillmotion, Lead Developer of Muse
220

Lets ALL wave our arms around :)

September 23, 2015 at 5:08AM

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Well, add least they wave their hands in a more controlled fashion than Micheal Stipes or Alanis Morissette :-p

(And the waving doesn't make the content any less interesting or valuable.)

September 23, 2015 at 6:12AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9082

To me it does detract. It makes them look cheesy.

It they resort to gimmicks like that in just a 2 min clip without even realising that when they all do it its a comment on their "Story telling ability"

A lot of talking about stort telling ability without the ability to clearly communicate. They said the word story 17 times...

Story!

September 23, 2015 at 8:15AM

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I watched 30 seconds of their new video and bailed out for exactly that reason:

CHEESY!

Which is a shame, cause if I'd go by the people who actually did the course, they seem to have their s. together.

September 23, 2015 at 9:12AM

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Terrence Klaverweide
Art Director
166

Hey TK,

You can go by people who have been in the course, or you can go by some leading authors and experts in story who have reviewed the course and have amazing things to say.

While we may use our hands too much, what's certain;y true is the amount of thought, time, and effort that went into crafting every part of Muse to really make a difference for folks.

Imagine spending years and years building something you can't wait to share with the world—then the moment you do—you sit there with your hands at your side. We deeply care about what we do. Apologies if the hands are taking away from your experience,

P.

September 23, 2015 at 1:20PM

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Patrick Moreau
Director at Stillmotion, Lead Developer of Muse
220

I see what the both of you mean.
It actually looks like they all are coached about what to do with your hands by the same person, lol, and overdose it.
As a student I've had stranger professors and teachers, including a Woody Allen dobbelgänger who always lost his notes and a grey old man walking up and down, staring at the ground mumbling in a kind of dreamspeak logic (about i.e. Chaplin, Metroplois, Star Wars, Mon Oncle in less than 2 minutes), a teacher who would use 'you could say/let's say/it's said' in almost every sentence. But guess what: they had very interesting things to say.

Whatever you give your attention grows.
Paying attention to what annoys you makes it more annoying...

And yes, it looks cheesy and overdone, but for me it's not about the arms at all.

A little bit of focus does help :-p
And mistaking presentation skills with knowledge about storytelling, is like saying Eddy Van Halen was a bad guitarist in his early days, because he played with his back to the audience to hide his techniques from the competition.

September 23, 2015 at 9:56AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9082

I like your choice of words "Whatever you give your attention grows." So true.

They have nice pictures tho.

September 23, 2015 at 10:09AM

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Expectations truly shape our perception. A classic film example is the Kuleshov Effect. The first frame affects our perception of the next frame because of the power of expectations. There is simply too much information for our brains to process at any given moment, so we create schemes or blueprints—maps of how to see the world—and its our expectations that guide what we see, what we pay attention too.

Sadly, for us, that means you focusing on our hands waving in the air :)

P.

September 23, 2015 at 1:28PM

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Patrick Moreau
Director at Stillmotion, Lead Developer of Muse
220

Apologies Simon. What can I say, we're passionate about story.

:)

P.

September 23, 2015 at 1:13PM

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Patrick Moreau
Director at Stillmotion, Lead Developer of Muse
220

Your lip-sync is out by the way throughout the video.

September 24, 2015 at 4:36AM

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I hear you guys about the hands being a bit distracting but Patrick and his team really are that enthusiastic about what they do. I had the pleasure of taking a course in person from him and his team a few years ago and they really love what they do. That experience I had made me want to get MUSE and put it to good use. I have to say the program is great and has helped shape my teams understanding of story from the very beginning stages. It also helps our clients understand why we do the things we do and has cut down on our review time and changes tenfold. I think everyone here could benefit from what they put together in some way. Say what you want but they put a TON of energy into this project and it shows! Kudos Stillmotion!

September 23, 2015 at 4:54PM

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Justin Miller
Director/DP/Editor
350

Any writer worth his salt would rather not write anything than rely on some "storytelling" procedure. If you have something to express, do so, however crude the result may be, if you haven't, please don't. We have too much bullshit in the world today wrapped in a smooth celophane. It's banal and empty. Nobody is thinking anymore, except for people who want to sell something - and they are thinking about all the wrong things. Worthy content is at an all-time low, and this is propagated by the same people who spout "story" in every third sentence. Please people, quit making movies if you have nothing to say or are brainwashed enough to not even dare to use your authentic voice to express your ideas.

September 24, 2015 at 6:38AM, Edited September 24, 6:48AM

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Is Stillmotion's MUSE program really worth the cost? A 'pilot' asks Patrick Moreau some tough questions: http://lintelfilm.uk/blog/muse-vs-muser

October 2, 2015 at 1:08PM

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Matt James Smith
Founder, Lintelfilm Video Production
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