This article (James Cameron Masterclass Review) will provide you with the opportunity to read an in-depth evaluation of James Cameron’s Masterclass, including information on how the lessons are presented, who the course is best suited for, the cost, and what I enjoyed about it, etc.
During a break from filming the Avatar sequels, legendary filmmaker James Cameron taught a new MasterClass of the craft of James Cameron on filmmaking. What will happen if you watch James Cameron’s, MasterClass? Without a doubt, no.
In addition, if you’re already familiar with the craft of filmmaking, much of what Cameron shares will be second nature to you. Even said, Cameron is a talented storyteller who excels at discussing both himself and his work in a positive light.
Throughout the 15 movies (which clock in at 3 hours and 20 minutes in total), Cameron focuses on how he acquired and altered his talents as a filmmaker over the course of his career.
When asked about his reputation as a tough taskmaster on set, the notoriously irritable director sounds downright embarrassed in the MasterClass. If you’re a fan of Cameron’s work or filmmaking in general, this MasterClass is a must-see for anyone interested in learning more.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned from Cameron’s MasterClass. You’ll need to sign up for the class to get the complete image, though.
About James Cameron
James Cameron is one of the most successful directors in Hollywood history, having helmed many of the genre’s biggest hits and raking in record-breaking box office receipts.
Aliens (1986), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (1990) are among his most popular works (2009).
In order to answer the question, “Is James Cameron the Greatest Director?” Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. Despite this, James Cameron’s status at the top of the box office has remained almost unchanged. Avatar has reclaimed its position as the most grossing film of all time as of early 2021.
It’s not like Cameron hasn’t been to awards shows before. To name just one, Titanic got fourteen Oscar nominations and won eleven, including Best Picture and Best Director, at the 1998 Academy Awards.
In addition, James Cameron may be found on Twitter, where he has over 769k followers and where he regularly offers interesting content.
What Is MasterClass?
MasterClass is an organization that offers online classes taught by a number of famous people. These seminars cover a wide variety of subject areas and aim to either instruct students on how to better their skills or just inspire them.
The instruction is presented in a series of brief movies, each of which may be accessed quickly and is capable of being resumed at any moment. You have the option of watching them all at once or picking and choosing which ones to view.
They are interesting to use and simple to comprehend, and the website keeps track of your progress to make sure they are accessible at all times. Workbooks are also provided, in addition to videos, in order to promote participation and expand upon the information presented in the courses.
Course Overview: James Cameron Masterclass Review
There are a total of fifteen lessons included in the James Cameron MasterClass. The duration of each lesson ranges anywhere from eight to nineteen minutes.
The overall length of time that the class meets is three hours and twenty minutes. It is lengthy, but you may take things at your own pace, which, given how intense the experience is, is probably a good idea. You have this freedom.
Lesson 1 – Meet Your Instructor: James Cameron
During the first class, an empty chair is placed in the middle of a green screen. As Cameron begins to talk in VO, the drama increases. An action-packed movie clip will then play to set the tone for the remainder of the courses.
In VO, Cameron continues to explore the concept of a “dream world” or “alternative reality” as a fertile ground for new ideas. Throughout the course, he refers to this idea.
During his brief appearance on screen, Cameron discusses his earliest fascination with the cinema:
- Cameron was profoundly influenced by the 1961 film Mysterious Island when he was a kid. Based on the characters, he would create his own comics at home (in a fan-fiction style).
- In these comics, Cameron claims that he began to sketch wide shots, closeups, and reverse angles, all of which were completely unrelated to filmmaking.
- A “visceral” impact on a fourteen-year-old Cameron, the picture was the first time he considered the film to be a form of art.
- As a teenager, Cameron purchased the book The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 to learn more about the film’s history.
- To develop a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey, he studied the book in depth, taking notes and pondering his creative options.
- This triggered his interest in filmmaking.
Lesson 2 – Pursuing and Developing The Idea
Lesson 2 of the James Cameron MasterClass covers a number of significant subjects, including: Go After the Idea That Won’t Go Away, Your “Zero-Cost Subscription Service” can help you save money. Three-Act Structure: Develop the Story Yourself Authenticity is your anchor; your principles are your compass, and your point of view should be expressed thematically.
What drives a person to create a tale, whether it be a character, a setting, a problem, or inspiration from the work of others, is explored in Cameron’s new book, Pursue the Idea That Won’t Go Away. Next, he looks at how we might work with diverse ideas in a “who, what and where, and when” scenario by using characters as an example.
Work on the factor until it begins to resonate with you. Resonating with the outside environment is where the factor gets its energy, which it then channels back into the system. The best moment to write is right now.
To learn more about how James Cameron came up with The Terminator from a strange dream vision, check to see Harness Your “Zero-Cost Subscription Service.”
Lesson 3 – Toying with the Audience: Building and Releasing Tension
You’ll learn how to honor your relationship with the audience in Lesson 3, as well as how to build and prolong tension in a film through a technique called Increasing Jeopardy. By far, the most interesting of the James Cameron MasterClass lessons to date is Lesson 3.
The audience and the filmmaker form a social compact. As a result of this agreement, the film’s experience takes precedence over the audience’s thoughts and feelings. So the filmmaker should abide by the terms of the contract. Content that is neither too simple nor too complicated is produced by the filmmaker to respect the audience’s passive consciousness.
The setup and payoff in Aliens, where Ellen Ripley faces the Alien Queen, demonstrate how a surprise can provide enjoyment through a well-laid reward. This tension and promise to the audience are created when a writer/filmmaker delivers great setups and payoffs.
The audience is compelled to participate in the action because of the tense atmosphere. In this approach, the viewer is able to participate in the film’s narrative by imagining how it can conclude.
Lesson 4 – The Terminator Club Scene Breakdown: Converging Storylines and Relentless Tension
It’s one of the more lengthy lectures that focuses on one topic: converging storylines. Structural patterns and film techniques can be used to generate a sense of unrelenting tension, as seen in the film The Terminator.
The Terminator’s first act:
- Three parallel stories are told from the perspective of the third person, omniscient.
- Convergence is shown in the plot: “Sarah Connor: The Last Hope” opens with Kyle Reese acting much like the Terminator, arriving in the same manner from another time and place to collect weapons and stalk Sarah Connor in her daily routine.
Cameron deconstructs The Terminator club scene to its bare essentials, much like he did with Ginger Ventura’s death scene.
This is a sampling of the best of the nightlife:
- A new level of suspense and peril is ratcheted up when the Terminator shows up at the same club as Sarah.
- The audience is frightened by all of the film techniques, such as slow-motion, music, crosscuts, and so on.
- Cameron’s goal was to keep the viewers “continuing to experience that grit” by suspending them in suspense.
- The audience appreciates experiencing a strong emotional response, such as fear or amusement.
- When Sarah learns that Kyle Reese is a member of the club, things take a turn for the worst.
- Suddenly, in a flurry of split-second cuts, all of the characters are gathered together.
- Kyle’s 12-gauge gun blows the Terminator to smithereens in the nick of time.
- The low angle utilized to depict the Terminator standing gives the impression that he is enormous, powerful, and unstoppable.
Lesson 5 – Aliens Egg Chamber Breakdown
There is only one subject covered in this lesson: Delivering on a Nightmare’s Promises.
An audience wants to see how you feel, but you don’t know how to express it. The following is a fascinating and enlightening method:
- Cameron had a vision of a wasp-infested chamber in which he walked.
- The only way out of the dimly lit room was to die.
- The initial encounter between Ripley and the Alien Queen was modeled off Ripley’s wasp-dark room experience.
- Slow motion, shaky cameras, special effects, and crosscuts are all discussed in the lecture on Aliens. Violent cinematic emotion can be explained in a visceral way here.
Lesson 6 – Aliens Newt Introduction Scene Breakdown
It’s another scene breakdown lesson that’s worth the time. It focuses on one thing: how to turn suspense into interest. Ripley’s internal mental state is externalized and conveyed to the spectator through Cameron’s description.
- The action moves through a “haunted house” setting.
- Ripley reacted in a jittery manner when a flask was knocked over by a Marine.
- This allows the audience to experience the character’s point of view.
Students learn more about classic suspense strategies and meet the fictional character Newt in this week’s lesson.
Cameron sums up the lesson by saying:
- In filmmaking, every shot is crucial.
- When the audience realizes they are learning, they are more receptive to what is being spoken.
Lesson 7 – The Art of Low-Budget Filmmaking
This course covers four topics: 117 Setups in a Day on a Low Budget, Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck, Building Around Your Strengths, and Using Every Trick in the Book and Inventing New Ones.
The first part of the lecture focuses on the craft of producing films on a limited budget. It provides an overview of the essential aspects…
- Make some concessions.
- Get yourself ready.
- using the potential of the locations rather than erecting elaborate sets.
- Finding a cast and staff that can put together a movie of good quality.
- Working with unknown talent compels the filmmaker to exert more effort in order to win the interest of the public, which ultimately results in the development of their skill.
- Pick a topic that can be executed on a shoestring if you want to save money.
Lesson 8 – The Terminator Arm and Eye Repair Breakdown
Realism and low-cost practical effects feature prominently in this James Cameron MasterClass course. For the arm and eye restoration sequences, the Terminator special effects team used in-house puppeteer effects.
This is a fascinating look at how director James Cameron works and how movies are made. For authors, in particular, it may not provide useful skills to put into practice. As a fascinating look into the script-to-screen process, it’s worth checking out.
It’s a rare glimpse into the creative process that cinema buffs will appreciate. It has the sensation of a vintage DVD extra because of the look and feel of the production. In terms of creative applications, this is more of a starting point than something you’ll want to get into immediately.
Lesson 9 – From Sketch to Spectacle: Creating Set Pieces
Previsualize to Trigger Important Questions, Battle for a Few Memorable Set Pieces and Plan a Low-Budget Set Piece: The Future World in The Terminator are all included in this session.
A set-function piece in the story is unclear. The future of Kyle in The Terminator depicts how he is traumatized and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Now it’s time to start drawing and making storyboards. In filmmaking, previsualization is a vital part of the process. The storyboard is easier to create when you have a previs plan (be it a character wearing a trenchcoat or a loincloth). For set designers and model makers, Previs can help them visualize a pre-cut of a scene.
Lesson 10 – The Terminator Future World Breakdown: Creating a Set Piece on a Budget
Build Your Effects Knowledge, Use Rear Projection and Miniatures, and Learn How to See Through an Artist’s Eye are all covered in this session.
We begin this session by taking a look at how The Terminator travels from the current day to the future. In the future, a Hunter Killer is seen driving over and smashing human heads as Kyle observes construction vehicles.
After Kyle has fallen asleep in the original storyboard, the future is shown. This implies that you are under no obligation to follow the storyboard. Miniatures and projections were utilized by the effects crew in the future of The Terminator.
Before beginning filming on The Terminator, director James Cameron spent almost a year developing concepts and refining designs. The forty-two days of shooting were made easier because of his thorough preparation, as he was familiar with every shot.
Lesson 11 – Crafting and Introducing Compelling Characters
Six subjects are covered in James Cameron MasterClass Lesson 11: Create a Thrilling Sketch, and Present a Huge Challenge to the Average Person. Do Your Research for Historical Characters, and Help Actors Influence Their Characters by Introducing Your Characters with a Creative Synecdoche.
How to construct fully developed characters is the first step in this session. When it comes to finding common ground with your audience, you must look for universal themes.
At the beginning of the writing process, a character is only a scribble. The director has a vision in her or his head. A face, a voice, movement, etc. are added by the actor. When a character is well-developed, the viewer is able to feel for them.
Lesson 12 – Titanic Rose Introduction Breakdown
There is only one thing on the agenda for today’s lesson: Introducing Your Character in the Movies.
Such example is the introduction of Rose in Titanic
- Suddenly, Rose’s flashy automobile appears in the middle of a crowd.
- Rose’s huge hat and gloved hand emerge from the car when the door is opened (synecdoche).
- These layers of contrast serve as a reminder of a simple, elderly woman we met in the film’s prequel.
- At this point, the viewer has no idea how miserable young Rose truly is.
Lesson 13 – Developing Dread Through Adversaries
Sections in this lesson include the development of a rationale for the antagonists you’ll face, the creation of a worthy, powerful, and unique adversary, and placing your audience in the antagonist’s subjective reality.
Because criminals have logic for what they do, they don’t think of themselves as villains. The term “adversary” rather than “villain” is preferred by Cameron.
“They don’t think they’re villains, for the most part.”
The character of the Alien Queen is given depth in the film Aliens because to the trait of “mother” being mapped onto her.
The “introduction of the adversary is … as important as the introduction of the protagonist.”
- For an adversary to be honorable, they must have the right qualities.
- There needs to be a threat from the opponent.
- The audience must go with the antagonist in order to become invested in the story.
Lesson 14 – Avatar, Creating Technology
There are four parts to this section of the James Cameron MasterClass: Observe, Observe, Observe, Technology Development, Actor Performance Capturing, and One Take, Full Coverage. It wasn’t until 1995 that the technology was ready to move Avatar ahead. Ten years later, the film’s development began.
“It’s not animation, it’s performance capture.”
Cameron’s effects team worked on developing the technique.
- Close-up images were examined in various lighting conditions.
- Observed that the lower eyelid was wet and reflected in the light.
- By illuminating the upper eyelids with this light, computer-generated eyes appeared to be real.
- Further difficulties, such as the movement of the mouth, were addressed in the study.
Lesson 15 – Making Your Way and Leading With Passion
The final eight topics of the class are: the Thermodynamics of Creativity Law, Immerse yourself in a dualistic view of technology and humanity. Learn the Vocabulary of Visual Effects, When it comes to luck, it’s all about preparation, therefore lead with humanity, inspire others, vow to bring it into focus, and battle entropy.
It’s time to wrap up the James Cameron MasterClass with a few essential points discussed… Filmmakers are encouraged to be curious in order to find their own tales, engage with and study the world around them, and develop enough experience to express meaningful stories through their work.
To excel as a filmmaker, you must become a Swiss Army knife by mastering every aspect of the craft. So be familiar with your camera lenses and shots, as well as your story’s flow, how the performers feel on the set, and so forth.
James Cameron MasterClass Pros
The James Cameron MasterClass is an exceptional resource, and it comes with the extra benefit of having a cost that is not prohibitively expensive.
The classes are easy to get into given that Cameron begins with a history and then sails into the heavier course work which encompasses story and filmmaking. This makes it possible for students to have a head start on the material.
You are free to see the lessons whenever and whenever you like. Both online and on mobile devices, the content can be accessed by users. In addition, there will be assignments; however, if you decide to complete them, you can do so whenever it is convenient for you to do so.
James Cameron MasterClass Cons
This MasterClass left a significant impression on us. Any disadvantages associated with it feel like unnecessary nitpicking to me. However…
The one topic that the MasterClass doesn’t truly cover is the importance of sound in movies and how it should be used.
A more in-depth overview of the James Cameron MasterClass is something that is missing from the Workbook, and as a result, it feels a little disconnected from the MasterClass itself, despite the fact that the Workbook is interesting and offers more material.
And if you’re a screenwriter, the amount of information available regarding the production of a movie could make you feel a little out of place. It definitely leans more toward the craft of filmmaking rather than the craft of screenwriting.
Who Should Take This Course?
The James Cameron MasterClass is one that, in my opinion, would be beneficial for anyone who is one of the following:
- Movie fan
- A supporter of Cameron’s creative endeavors
- Someone who is just starting out in filmmaking and is searching for some pointers to help them along the way
- Filmmaker with experience who is interested in the development of Cameron’s cinematic processes
- Or perhaps he or she is simply intellectually interested.
To tell you the truth, due to the high standard of production values upheld by this MasterClass, absolutely anyone might stand to benefit from it.
Course Pricing – James Cameron Masterclass Review
At the time this article was written, MasterClass had three different subscription plans available. This is how much it will set you back (per month):
- Individual (1 user) $15
- Duo (2 users) $20
- Family (6 users) $23
All of them are billed on an annual basis, which could seem expensive at first glance. But if you sign up for as many classes as you possibly can, you can save your expenses by a significant amount.
With more than 150 different classes to choose from, there is a good chance that at least some of them will pique your interest.
Even if you purchase an individual membership and only find ten percent of the courses to be of interest, you will still only spend twelve dollars on each course at this rate: The annual individual membership price is $180, and 15 classes are equal to $12.
James Cameron Masterclass Review: Is It Worth It?
It’s a resounding “yes” from me.
To begin, I should point out that learning is inherently subjective, especially when it comes to the arts. To be honest, I think this course could be ideal if you’re interested in cinema or filmmaking in general.
No one becomes an Oscar-winning actor or actress overnight. Also, I believe there are more resources available for those interested in learning the technical aspects of filmmaking.
It’s a terrific course if you’re looking to learn about the evolution of a Hollywood legend, as well as pick up some useful tips, methods, and shortcuts. A new respect and comprehension of films have been added thanks to the scene analysis.
Getting to speak with James Cameron face-to-face and witnessing his energy and love for his work was an unforgettable experience.
You’ll be able to take this course as well as many others taught by the world’s greatest teachers when you purchase a MasterClass all-access pass. Apart from this one, you can save a lot of money if you can identify two or three more that pique your interest.
Thank you for reading this article “James Cameron Masterclass Review.” If you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions regarding this article, please write them in the comment section below. And don’t be hesitant about passing on this piece of knowledge to others.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the James Cameron MasterClass?
There are 15 video lessons in James Cameron’s MasterClass, which lasts for 3 hours and 20 minutes.
How much does the James Cameron MasterClass cost?
It costs $180 a year for an individual MasterClass all-access pass. The James Cameron MasterClass is included, as well as 150+ other courses.
Can you get James Cameron MasterClass for free?
The James Cameron MasterClass isn’t free, and there’s no way around that. MasterClass, on the other hand, provides a variety of purchase alternatives and a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Can I get a refund if I don’t like the James Cameron MasterClass?
Definitely, MasterClass provides a 30-day money-back guarantee if you buy directly from the company. If you buy from a third-party vendor, their return policy may apply to your situation.
Is James Cameron MasterClass good?
With its high quality and affordable price, the James Cameron MasterClass is a great buy. Since Cameron eases students into the material by providing context, they may confidently dive into the more advanced coursework of plot and filmmaking without feeling overwhelmed. The lessons are available for viewing at your convenience.