One of the most established and well-recognized actresses of the modern era, Jodie Foster, a well-recognized and critically appreciated American actress who has received widespread acclaim for her work throughout her acting career during the 80s and 90s.
From receiving her first Oscar nomination at age 12 for her role in Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver (1976) to winning her first Oscar and Golden Globe award (best actress) for The accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Foster has reached the peak of her acting career and has also now established herself as an excellent film director and producer, willingly ready to share her knowledge and career experiences with the world by teaching them the art of acting through her filmmaking Masterclass!
A quick Intro about your filmmaking guru – Jodie Foster!
Counted under the list of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Jodie Foster is an academy award-winning actor well-known for her roles within the films Taxi Driver, The accused, and therefore the Silence of the Lambs, as well as an excellent film director and producer, who has established herself as one of Hollywood’s most esteemed serious actresses.
Having appeared in acclaimed roles of rape survivor Sarah Tobias in The Accused (1988) and an FBI agent Clarice Starling in the blockbuster hit The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Foster won both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress, in the process, firmly cementing her legacy. Foster has enjoyed the skilled and money freedom in the line of acting enough to then follow a unique path and turning her attention to directing movies and shows.
Welcome to Jodie Foster Masterclass Review 2020
Her Masterclass has some really cool and interesting modules that will allow you to explore aspects of filmmaking that you won’t get to read or hear from on any other platform. For example, Jodie shares different approaches to constructing a scene from what you’re probably used to. Her different approaches for various professional aspects of filmmaking comes from her background growing up in front of the camera.
5 points you need to know about Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking Masterclass!
Clearly, I won’t be able to go through anything that’s in the Jodie Foster Teaches Masterclass in Filmmaking. Second, I cannot. It’s just too heavy. But also, because what I take from the class is going to be different from what you are taking away. Now, I will be sharing the most important and fascinating aspects of her Masterclass, along with the things I really enjoyed.
Here are 5 things you should know before getting onboard Jodie’s Masterclass!
- 4+ hours of video content and 18 modules covering Jodie’s approach to filmmaking
- A class workbook with a filmmaking assignment to see you through the course, crammed with creative exercises and extra information about everything Jodie covers
- Script first drafts, film vision creation guide, scene case studies, short films, shot lists, sample filmmaking schedule
- Office Hours where you can submit a video question to Jodie Foster and get a video answer back
- A great filmmaking student community where you can interact with other students and find project collaborators
Jodie Foster Masterclass Lesson Plan
The Masterclass courses are all well produced and presented. There are fewer lessons in the Jodie Foster Masterclass (18) than in others. However, they vary in length, with the more in-depth ones running up to 20 minutes, so the overall class time evens out.
- The exercises can take as much time as you’re willing to give them, but the more dedicated will find it the most rewarding.
- The first few lessons in the Jodie Foster Masterclass cover the big picture of directing:
- Finding your personal story
- Exploring the big idea in the film
- Creating the vision for your film
The Jodie Foster Masterclass then takes a slightly more practical focus, tracking the development of a short film to show how a director works. Jodie Foster explains how the inspiration for the idea came from her personal experience.
Several lessons then show the process of transforming this inspiration into an actual film. Two lessons show how Jodie Foster workshops the script with a screenwriter, and further lessons show how she would prepare a shortlist, storyboard, and schedule.
The downside is that, after seeing all the preparation, we don’t see this short film actually being made. It would have been useful to see the same example used for lessons on casting, shooting and editing.
The insight into collaboration, especially the relationship between writers and directors, is useful, but following this project from script to screen could have also brought in cinematographers, actors, producers, editors, and so on. She also backs up her advice with examples from the better-known films she’s acted in.
The role of a director on TV is often different from their role in the film. Jodie Foster has directed episodes of HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, and BLACK MIRROR.
There are a few behind the scenes images showing her directing them, but it would have been interesting for the Jodie Foster Masterclass to touch on these experiences and how they differ from the film.
5 Highlight sections of Jodie’s filmmaking Masterclass!
Jodie Foster’s Masterclass is a really joyful experience for any person who has a passion for learning the art of professional filmmaking or for anyone who is simply an admirer of Foster. Though I never considered filmmaking as my passion or hobby, the subject itself seems really enticing. So, Jodie’s Masterclass was a great resource for me to explore how things are done behind the camera, and what all goes into creating the perfect script!
Here are 5 important sections of Jodie’s filmmaking Masterclass which you should know about.
A fascinating insight into the world of filmmaking
I’m not a filmmaker but I really enjoyed this course and was able to learn a few things. It was highly entertaining and well-presented. Following the course was tricky in places, as Jodie Foster’s Masterclass’s key target audience is filmmaking students. Yet I really believe most of you are going to find this course fascinating and insightful.
She worked in the industry for 50 years. Before and behind the camera. She has been nominated for nearly 60 films and awards to direct during that time. Some of them winning. Four of those nominations were for Oscars, and she won 2 of them. She does have plenty of experience, no doubt. So, it’s a perfect Masterclass for you if you’re a filmmaker or just a film fan.
Finding your personal story
An idea comes up as the first step in making a film. Jodie Foster brings you to the cycle of seeking motivation very easily. She does so by tapping into her own thoughts and experiences. Her suggestion is to give consideration to:
- Whatever inspires you
- Items that attract and catch your attention
- Things you feel excited about
- All that makes you crazy
You must believe in what you do and have an emotional connection to your film. If you do not, it would be hard to stand out from the crowd and get support.
Turning your story into a screenplay
I’ve done a lot of writing but never wrote a screenplay. So, I thought this portion of the course was particularly interesting. The segment is a long one. So, I recommend you set aside an hour or so to go through the material and do some of the exercises that the workbook contains.
Jodie can show you how the inspiration for stories and scenes will come from locations of all kinds. It’s evident many of her best ideas come from her own experience.
For this section of the course, I really liked the way Jodie drew on the screenwriter Scott Frank’s experience. In real-time, she goes through a couple of ideas with him. An approach that offers much more insight into the creative process than it would have been having she had kept talking to the camera. She also shows the handwritten notes to the audience, which she has annotated and edited.
She gives you an insider’s view of the writing process in a way I’ve never seen done before. No doubt Jodie Foster is an excellent teacher. What surprised me most was how transparent Jodie Foster was. She is reputed to be quite a private citizen. So, I didn’t expect her to ‘let her students in’ to the degree she does. You get to see the real Jodie Foster when you take this course.
At this point in the course, the workbook is invaluable to reinforce your understanding. This provides basic descriptions, some activities, and some additional resources to help you create your screenplay. Jodie’s character sketches had made me smile, but I can see that it would be useful to use them.
Creating and communicating your vision
Having the movie look perfect is a big part of the creative process. Jodie isn’t going through as much depth as she did when she discussed how to write a screenplay. But she does provide a fairly long list of techniques that you can use to give the right look and feel to your film.
Taking photos, for example, and printing them out to help you and your team make things visual. Or explain the ambiance you’re trying to create for a scene instead of simply listing cold facts. Again, she uses samples from her own films to illustrate every single point. That includes how she uses music to help her create her own vision.
Make sure you watch the 2nd video, too. Jodie takes a big scene from The Beaver in this episode and deconstructs it for you. It includes the sketched storyboard and descriptions of how Jodie would time the shots and movies to build the right suspense level.
It would be great to see one of the Masterclass moviemakers taking a full course on this aspect of filmmaking. I know what a storyboard is like most people but have no clear understanding of how to put one together. So, I want to see that clarified in a lot more detail.
Several key lessons specifically focus on the director-actor relationship:
- The acting process
- Directing actors
- Performance case study
It’s in this area that the Jodie Foster Masterclass shines. Like other actors turned directors, Jodie Foster has decades of relevant experience behind her. She knows first-hand, what actors want to and needs to hear. Her first piece of advice – that directors should try acting themselves – is spot on.
She also likens directing actors to parents. It might sound patronizing, but coming from an acclaimed, award-winning actress, one who’s directed George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Downey Jr., et al, it’s worth trusting her on this one.
Jodie’s Masterclass Workbook
Jodie Foster Masterclass workbook is available to download in individual chapters, one for each lesson. It’s also available in one solid PDF document, which makes it a bit easier to navigate and go between lessons. Exercises will often refer back to previous exercises so it’s best to go in order.
The most interesting exercises revolve around creativity. In one lesson, Jodie Foster explains how she would have made the film THE MARTIAN personal to her – keeping the same premise but changing the tone and emphasis of the story. This exercise is a great way to draw inspiration from films around you without being derivative, and important for working in the industry, being diplomatic about whether you liked other people’s work!
As the Jodie Foster Masterclass goes on, the exercises focus more on how to apply what you’ve learned from studying other films to your own work. Making that jump from theory into practice is a difficult one, and it’s one inevitable downside of the Masterclass format that it’s entirely up to the class participant to carry it out.
Other resources in the Jodie Foster Masterclass relate to the short film that she works on. Included are two versions of the script with Jodie Foster’s annotations, an example of a storyboard and floor plan for a scene, and an example of a schedule. These extras really need to be consulted alongside their respective lessons in order to make sense. Her storyboard, in particular, is hard to decipher without her accompanying explanations. (Again, this is part of the lesson, that it doesn’t matter how well you can draw when creating storyboards just for your own use.)
Interact with people through the Masterclass Community
As with the Martin Scorsese Masterclass, participants are encouraged to comment below each lesson and participate in the “Hub”, a community forum. However, while they begin with enthusiasm the comments definitely trail off as the class goes on. A few people share their responses to the exercises, but these can be quite personal so it’s understandable to keep them private.
Instead, most comments are just expressing simple enthusiasm or are self-promotion. Similarly, some class participants to share their work on the Hub, but it’s mostly a general discussion forum and not particularly active. Masterclass is not a substitute for building a real-life network and community around you, especially as course participants come from all over the world and take the class at different times.
Value for money!
It’s a one-time purchase for lifetime access to the Jodie Foster Masterclass, or an annual subscription for access to every Masterclass. If you’re planning to do multiple classes, the annual subscription would work out cheaper.
There’s an ‘Office Hours’ feature for Jodie Foster to view student work and questions and offer feedback, but it’s not clear if or when there’ll be content added there.
Pros and Cons
As good Jodie’s Masterclass might be as an overall filmmaking Masterclass, it still does have its fair share of advantages and disadvantages that cannot be ignored. Here are some pros and cons of her Masterclass which I personally noticed. These might vary from person to person!
- The background actor-director provides a unique perspective
- Concentrate heavily on the way writers and directors work together
- Extra level materials and off-camera looks offer a great background
- Short film example is not monitored all the way from script to screen
- Examples are from Foster’s own films, not the most famous or acclaimed ones
- Not a technical director, lessons focus more on collaboration and skills of the people
Final thoughts: Is Jodie Foster Masterclass Worth It?
In the Jodie Foster Masterclass review, we already said that it offers a different perspective on directing. As you might expect, there’s a great focus on actors and how to work with them. Structuring many of the lessons around developing a short film, even though it’s never made, is a great conceit.
What’s new about the course given to Jodie Foster is her perspective as an actor/director. One of the subjects she discusses in the trailer is the misunderstandings that can arise between producers, who have to concentrate on the “big picture,” and actors, who are mainly concerned with the moment in the scene.
However, it should be remembered that you need to access the accompanying workbook and make an effort to complete the exercises if you wish to get the most out of these courses. The realistic advice comes from the workbook rather than from the photos.
What is Masterclass?
Entrepreneur Aaron Rasmussen and film editor and director David Rogier started Masterclass in 2015. Based in San Francisco, it’s an online education platform for creative professionals.
You can watch Masterclass courses using your computer or phone and consume the materials at your own pace. As a student, you can learn the art of filmmaking from a growing list of courses for filmmakers, including directors like David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Ron Howard, and Ken Burns, just to name a few.
It is a great way of learning online from top creators you would not normally have access to.
Masterclass Pricing Plans
There are two ways by which you can purchase a Masterclass, a single Masterclass, and an All-Access Pass for any of the gurus on the platform.
- Single Masterclass: ₹7,775
- All-Access Pass: ₹15,550 per year
The All-Access Pass comes in real handy when you wish to take more than one Masterclass, so this means that there is no limit on the number of Masterclasses on the All-Access Pass.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is also available for any of the Masterclass packages you purchase, and you will get a complete refund of the amount in case you are not satisfied with their services.
Who is Masterclass For?
The Masterclass is for writers, photographers, artists, musicians, painters, and creative professionals. The masterclass isn’t ideal for people who thrive in classroom environments and prefer a more hands-on approach from teachers. It’s ideal for students who are happy to learn at their own pace using a computer.
Many of the opposite online courses I’ve taken facilitate students to learn business skills like promoting or additional sensible skills like writing or internet development basics. Unlike Lynda or Treehouse, Masterclass is suitable for writers, musicians, artists, and creative professionals.