After being at the forefront of cinema for 30 years, the filmmaker is ready to share some of his hard-earned wisdom.
The legendary Spike Lee has written, directed, produced, and acted in a wide range of films, effortlessly toggling between microbudget independents (She's Gotta Have It) and big studio features (Inside Man). Now the Brooklyn native will offer his first-ever online class through MasterClass, the online education platform.
"There are no absolute truths in filmmaking and no one way to be a filmmaker," said Lee, artistic director and professor of NYU's Graduate Film Program, in a statement. "I've learned in 30 years things that I can give back. I'm teaching this MasterClass because very few people get to sit in my classes at NYU, and so this is an opportunity for me to share what I've learned with as many students as possible, no matter where they are in their film career."
Lee will analyze his own work both on-the-page and on-the-screen, sharing advice on working with actors, finding the right camera angles, financing your projects, choosing music, and creating movies that make a difference. He'll also address the hurdles first-time filmmakers face, sharing his own experiences for overcoming obstacles in the film industry.
"When you're an independent filmmaker and making films outside of Hollywood, that's hard. You have to pray on bended knee at that church of cinema."
From his Student Academy Award-winning graduate thesis film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop:We Cut Heads, to his Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated Do The Right Thing and 4 Little Girls, Emmy winning When The Levees Broke, and more recently, the Netflix revival of She's Gotta Have It, Lee's filmography displays an incredible range. From hard-hitting documentaries to comedies and thrillers, Lee's long list of credits includes 25th Hour, The Original Kings of Comedy, Summer of Sam, Jungle Fever, Bamboozled, Clockers, Crooklyn, Malcolm X, and many more.
In the promo video for his MasterClass, Lee urges filmmakers to "fight to get your vision onscreen....you're gonna do what you have to do to get this thing made." He's one to know: as he points out in the video, for his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It, Lee served as the producer, screenwriter, director, actor, caterer, and first A.D. "We didn't have a first A.D. We didn't have the money. When you're an independent filmmaker and making films outside of Hollywood, that's hard. You have to pray on bended knee at that church of cinema."
"Enrollment for the class is $90 for lifetime access. You can also pay $180 per year for unlimited access to all existing and upcoming classes."
Lee's MasterClass includes 16+ video classes, a downloadable workbook, and the chance to have Lee himself respond to your questions. You can pre-enroll here and receive notification when the class begins later this summer.
Enrollment for the class is $90 for lifetime access. You can also pay $180 per year for unlimited access to all existing and upcoming classes. MasterClass also features filmmaking classes with Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, among other writers and directors.