Werner Herzog Teaches His First Online Course on Filmmaking

FYI: If you sign up for a Mas­ter­Class course by click­ing on the affil­i­ate links in this post, Open Cul­ture will receive a small fee that helps sup­port our oper­a­tion.

One hears much, these days, about the mis­sions of new tech com­pa­nies to “dis­rupt” exist­ing indus­tries, from retail to pub­lish­ing to taxi cabs to edu­ca­tion. We’ve regard­ed that as pri­mar­i­ly the domain of Sil­i­con Val­ley twen­tysome­things, but why can’t a Ger­man film­mak­er with a near­ly 55-year career under his belt get in on the action? Wern­er Her­zog, hav­ing already done much to dis­rupt film as we know it, has in recent years turned his atten­tion toward dis­rupt­ing film schools, which com­pose an indus­try not espe­cial­ly com­pat­i­ble with his own vision of the hon­est and rig­or­ous craft of cin­e­ma.

We’ve fea­tured Her­zog’s in-per­son Rogue Film School work­shops before, but now, accord­ing to Enter­tain­ment Week­ly’s Derek Lawrence, “online edu­ca­tion plat­form Mas­ter­Class announced that Her­zog is teach­ing an online class on fea­ture and doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing, where the var­i­ous lessons will include sto­ry­telling, cin­e­matog­ra­phy, inter­view tech­niques, and how to work with actors.” The arti­cle quotes the mak­er of fea­tures like Fitz­car­ral­do and Aguirre, the Wrath of God and doc­u­men­taries like Lit­tle Dieter Needs to Fly and Griz­zly Man offer­ing some­thing like a mis­sion state­ment: “Ulti­mate­ly, my own goal is to be a good sol­dier of cin­e­ma and if I can inspire one or two of you out there, to become a good sol­dier, then I have done every­thing I should do here.”

You can learn more about Mas­ter­class from the New York Times’ Lau­ra M. Hol­son, who describes the enter­prise, the brain­child of Los Ange­les-raised Sil­i­con Val­ley entre­pre­neur David Rogi­er, as “a series of online cours­es taught by peo­ple who are the best in the world at what they do,” includ­ing Annie Lei­bovitz on Pho­tog­ra­phy, Her­bie Han­cock on Jazz, Jane Goodall on Con­serv­ing the Envi­ron­ment and Wern­er Her­zog on film­mak­ing. Her­zog’s course can be tak­en by sign­ing up for an All Access Pass, which gives you access to every course in the Mas­ter­class course cat­a­logue, includ­ing cours­es from many oth­er film­mak­ers.

“You spend way too much time in the film school, it costs way too much mon­ey,” says the self-taught film­mak­er in the course’s trail­er above. “You can learn the essen­tials of film­mak­ing on your own with­in two weeks.” Or, in the for­mat that Mas­ter­Class has devel­oped as they go along just like Her­zog did when he first began mak­ing movies (and, giv­en his endur­ing inven­tive­ness, con­tin­ues to do today), you can osten­si­bly learn it in five hours of online video. You may not cap­ture any of Her­zog’s beloved “ecsta­t­ic truth” imme­di­ate­ly after­ward, but you’ll sure­ly get your fee’s worth of thrilling sto­ries of the film­mak­ing life along the way. Sign up for Her­zog’s class here.

You can take this class by sign­ing up for a Mas­ter­Class’ All Access Pass. The All Access Pass will give you instant access to this course and 85 oth­ers for a 12-month peri­od.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Wern­er Her­zog Cre­ates Required Read­ing & Movie View­ing Lists for Enrolling in His Film School

Wern­er Herzog’s Rogue Film School: Apply & Learn the Art of Gueril­la Film­mak­ing & Lock-Pick­ing

Wern­er Her­zog Picks His 5 Favorite Films

Por­trait Wern­er Her­zog: The Director’s Auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Short Film from 1986

Wern­er Her­zog Gets Shot Dur­ing Inter­view, Doesn’t Miss a Beat

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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