I have taken courses on filmmaking earlier, but nothing seemed to provide impressive level content until I discovered Ron Howard MasterClass.
Ron Howard is an Academy-award-winning director and an aspiring actor. In Ron Howard MasterClass, he covered various aspects outside the direction spectrum, which is not usually taught in other courses.
I took Ron Howard’s MasterClass and learned to write scripts, edit films, and direct scenes.
In this article, I have done the review of Ron Howard’s MasterClass and share my experience of taking his course, how the lessons are, who it is for, what can be improved, and so on.
The ultimate verdict – “Is Ron Howard’s MasterClass worth it?” is answered in the end. Watch out!
A Short Summary:
No time? Here is a short summary of Ron Howard’s MasterClass:
You’ll get to learn the following:
- How to write and refine scripts
- Finding the right editor for films
- Coordinating with cinematographers
- Enhancing a movie by adding sounds
- Collaborating with other directions
The number of lessons: 32 lessons
Duration: 7 hours
Suitable for: Intermediate filmmakers, anyone who would like to know the process behind the direction, and even fans of Ron Howard can take his course to know more about his story.
Quick verdict: In the course, the balance of theory and practical knowledge was mind-blowing. Also, the use of relevant examples and movie suggestions for observation were great. Ron Howard nicely did the breakdown of the filmmaking process. Overall, it was a great experience to learn from him. To know more, read complete Ron Howard MasterClass review below.
Ron Howard’s MasterClass Review: An Overview
Ron Howard is a course that is wholly confined to the subject of direction, where he talks about all the various aspects of directing a film from scratch.
His MasterClass is divided into 32 detailed lessons, which take around 7 hours to complete.
Note: MasterClass is filled with many courses which belongs to different genres as well. To cover all information of MasterClass, we have done a thorough review of MasterClass.
Like every other course in MasterClass, you also get resourceful workbooks in PDF formats to enhance your learning experience even better. Trust me. They are accommodating to follow along.
The workbooks also provide fun tasks and assignments to get going with the course.
Lastly, a student-dedicated community forum is programmed to share feedback, ask questions, or even discuss the course.
Ron Howard: Who is he?
Ron Howard is a prolific filmmaker based in America.
From playing child roles in Opie in The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham in Happy Days to directing extraordinary films like A Beautiful Mind, Splash, and Apollo 13, he has mastered both sides of working in the film industry.
He was awarded prestigious awards like two Academy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, one Grammy Award, and several other accolades that testify to his exceptional work.
Ron Howard’s MasterClass Lessons Explained
The MasterClass handed by Ron Howard is an excellent experience in learning various aspects of directing a film. I mean, everything related to direction, including cinematography, production, and even acting.
Since Ron is also an actor (he was a child artist who starred in Happy Days as Richie), he covers few techniques that can be helpful to upcoming actors. Now, let’s dive into the lessons taught by him.
Wrapping up the entire 32 lessons can take forever, so let me quickly skim through the course, highlight the best takeaways, and all the crucial tips that Ron had shared in his MasterClass.
1. Introduction to directing
The introduction was quite intriguing to watch as it was subtle and absorbing. Ron introduces himself by narrating how he grew up to be a director from playing kids’ roles, his love for directing films he calls the “creative problem solving” technique.
"One of the great things about being a director as a life choice is that it can never be mastered. Every story is its own kind of expedition, with its own set of challenges."
He emphasizes how essential it is to tell a story through a department. In this case, it is filmmaking. After that, he shows gestures using his hands in the shape of a film lens and says that a film is inside the frame lines and is not about the crew, the set, or even the production.
Later, he questions who is the keeper of the story? with an answer to himself, “The director.”
2. How to choose a story
Right at the beginning, Ron tells his students that it is a smart move to offer what is fresh in the market and which will be worthy of the audience’s time and money. I mean, he is not wrong.
"It was always my dream to be a director. A lot of it had to do with controlling my own destiny, because as a young actor you feel at everyone's disposal. But I wanted to become a leader in the business."
Looking from the audience’s perspective, you’d want to watch something new, not repetitive, and obviously, worth the time and money invested into it.
Followed by which he goes onto explain the importance of freshness in a movie. He points out some critical points of a good story and shares tips on grabbing the audience’s attention.
He says that from his acting experience, he had learned how to understand the audience in Lesson 2.
In this lesson, he also shares some hit films and dissects the factors that made them successful.
3. Scripting, developing and working with the crew
Ron goes in-depth about the fundamentals of writing a script. You also get tips on writing scripts related to the story with the audience’s expectations in mind, which I felt was a fantastic way to write.
“screenplays are blueprints for movies.”
He talks about a film’s development process, which takes time to be let out. Also, he lists the things that go behind developing a film.
I repeat, the development of a film, not the direction. It was well-explained. Then Ron talks about working with cinematographers and how important it is to have a connection with them.
He says that the relationship between the director and cinematographer is essential for the success of a film because the director’s vision and the cinematographer’s take on the film will be final.
I was surprised to know this because I thought only the director plays the leading role in making a film, but I was wrong. It was great to learn new things as I was going further into the course.
An assignment in Lesson 4 was helpful where he suggests choosing a screenplay for a movie that you have not seen earlier and evaluate the story from it, which was a fun assignment to try.
4. Collaboration & Research
Ron shares some of his experiences in collaborating with other directors for the betterment of a film. He talked about the collaboration involving creative thinking, the use of an extra hand, and contribution.
"I think it's in our nature to try to get beyond that next horizon. I think that when we as a species are scratching that itch we're actually following an evolutionary compulsion that is wired into us. I think good things come of it. That's the philosophical side."
I mean, he was trying to say that even if a director is approaching another director for a film, the collaboration need not require the same thoughts but a different understanding of the film.
He concludes Lesson 8 by saying that you can hear others but should listen to yourself, which was touching and motivating at the same time. Like this, there are numerous tips throughout the course.
Like any other department, even in films, research plays a vital role. Ron takes you through research for a film and suggests using research to reinforce your vision, which was insightful.
5. Editing, Designing, and Scoring
After shooting, the actual transformation of a film is the editing, which Ron urges to be raw.
"Humor is unavoidable. It might not feel funny in the moment, but more often than not there's a light at the end of the tunnel."
He differentiates between a good editor and a great editor where he says that a good editor does the basic stuff and delivers it to you. In contrast, a great editor steps ahead and implements new ideas.
If I were the director, I’d go for the great editor for apparent reasons. Likewise, Howard suggests finding a great editor who discovers new possibilities while editing a film, which I quickly noted down.
A significant tip he spills in the course is to make the movie incredibly long and slow to watch and eventually enhance the editing process. This way, you get to grab the audience with a thrill.
In Lesson 30, Ron takes designing sound for a film, including pitch, volume, and even speed. He dissects and talks about every detail of sound designing, which was great.
In conclusion, he says that mixing, adding sound effects, and editing music is the final touch of a film, which means that a film is considered incomplete without these.
Next, scoring takes place where a composer plays his vision into enhancing film using background scores. For this, Ron shares his experience in working with Hans Zimmer in Lesson 31.
He recommends talking to composers like screenwriters or even actors to listen, understand, visualize, and finally, transform it into beautiful tones and rhythms.
NOTE: In Ron Howard’s MasterClass, there are several case studies on his movies like Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more. I’d suggest paying the utmost attention to these because you get to learn a lot about how each of these masterpieces was created by him.
What Did I Like About Ron Howard’s MasterClass?
Taking the MasterClass by Ron Howard was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Few things about the course I loved are:
It is something that you’d obviously expect in a course, especially in an online course. In Ron Howard’s MasterClass, such practical examples, case studies, and film sequences are broken down frame-by-frame for a complete analysis of the subject.
For example, the re-staging of Frost/Nixon was something to look for in the course.
Also, instead of learning only from workbooks and listening to typical lectures on direction, Ron shows how it is done, which was exciting.
As the course is broken down into several parts comprising diverse knowledge and learnings about the direction in general, all the 32 lessons did justice to the topic. The structuring from Lesson 1 was immaculate, and there was no confusion about the study flow. I was able to understand easily.
Even if I felt that the lessons are a bit too technical for me, I’d take the workbook provided along with Ron Howard’s MasterClass and skim through it for an in-depth insight about the subject.
The best part about taking film courses on MasterClass is that you get several movies to binge-watching, which was my favorite task to do. In this case, Ron suggests some of his best works like Rush, Apollo 13, and Splash to watch.
He also suggests brilliant movies directed by other incredible directors like La La Land by Damien Chazelle, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope by George Lucas, and David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin, which was terrific.
- Learn 🎬 Filmmaking With World’s Finest
- Find Out Every Little Detail Related To Directing
- Easy To Understand Lessons
Is The Content in Ron Howard’s MasterClass Unique?
As I took the course, I found out that this was Ron Howard’s first-ever course handling, which was a total surprise because it did not seem like that. In Ron Howard’s MasterClass, the lessons were properly arranged, workbooks provided great value, and assignments were insightful.
So, I was not entirely convinced that MasterClass was his first. You can say that Ron Howard’s MasterClass is 100% authentic with no irrelevant content posted for the sake of it.
The part that makes it stand apart would definitely be the instructor himself because of his teaching, advice, and perception of films, production, and direction.
What is the Cost of Ron Howard’s MasterClass?
The only platform where you can get the most prominent- perks would be MasterClass for sure because of the exciting pricing plan that it has to offer. I mean, you can literally take 100+ courses with it.
The subscription plan, named All-Access Pass, is priced at $180/- per year (is cut down to $15/- per month). Now, let me tell you all the fantastic things you can do with it.
You can take multiple courses from 10+ niches, from writing to acting to magic, all the same time. Unbelievable, right? There’s more. Even if you are not taking other courses, you can simply download the workbooks with each course and take those assignments for fun.
For example, I’ll share my experience of taking the courses in MasterClass where I took Ron Howard’s MasterClass on direction alongside Hans Zimmer’s MasterClass on Film Scoring.
Let me share the hack I used. While gaining knowledge about directing a film, I was also able to learn the process of background scoring for a film. Additionally, I also took Werner Herzog’s MasterClass on Filmmaking which gave new perspectives about it. You can see the pattern of the identical niche.
What are you waiting for? Buy the All-Access Pass and take 100+ courses on 10+ niches right away!
Who is Ron Howard’s MasterClass Best Suited to?
Although Ron Howard’s MasterClass labels itself as an online course for directing, I’d say that it offers much more than that from an experience of taking the course.
I mean, you get insights on acting in a set, writing a script for a film, and even some production values; hence it is evident that it is a complete package for learning filmmaking.
Though the course teaches in-depth about the subject frequently, I noticed that Ron uses specific “cinematic terms” which are not familiar to a laymen’s ear, so I’d say that the course is suitable to:
- If you are an intermediate filmmaker
- Someone who knows a thing or two about filmmaking
- Anyone who would like to know the process behind the direction
- Fans of Ron Howard can take his course to know more about his story
Since you’ll be exposed to learn about coordinating with actors, producers, and cinematographers, Ron Howard’s MasterClass is also recommended to anyone working in the film industry already.
I am sure you’ll benefit a lot more than what you have signed up for.
How Long Does It Take To Finish This Course?
Compared to other MasterClass courses, Ron Howard’s MasterClass is quite lengthy, and it has more lessons than most of the courses. The complete run time of Ron Howard MasterClass is seven hours and 48 minutes, and it is divided into 32 lessons. The length of a video can reach up to 30 minutes, so it would be best for you to finish this course at your own pace to understand this course completely.
It also has a workbook with some amazing exercises that can help you understand the course completely. It also has further reading that gives you additional materials on directing, filmmaking, and writing.
What I Feel Can Be Improved in Ron Howard’s MasterClass?
Though I found a few things quite engaging and interesting in learning from Ron Howard, some downsides came along with it from my experience.
It is brilliant to use examples to teach a specific concept or a subject (which I loved). Still, at the same time, if the examples were similar to each other and followed a pattern, it would be of great help in having a proper flow of learning the lessons. At least I liked it that way.
A bit hard for beginners
The course aims to benefit users in all levels of understanding, but specific terms seem to be a bit complicated, and I’ll have to check on the workbook if there is a glossary section.
Even that seems to be absent in the workbook that was provided along with the course. A glossary section would be of great help.
Alternatives to Ron Howard’s MasterClass?
Still not convinced with everything that is included in Ron Howard’s MasterClass? I got you.
Here are few alternatives to Ron Howard’s MasterClass, which are effective and impactful. They are:
- Werner Herzog MasterClass “Teaches Filmmaking.”
- Martin Scorsese MasterClass “Teaches Filmmaking.”
- Jodie Foster MasterClass “Teaches Filmmaking.”
- Mira Nair MasterClass “Teaches Independent Filmmaking.”
- Spike Lee MasterClass “Teaches Independent Filmmaking.”
- Ken Burns MasterClass “Teaches Documentary Filmmaking.”
You don’t have to another day and go through research to find the next alternative course for Ron Howard’s MasterClass. The course listed above can be found on the same platform, MasterClass.
The best part about taking courses in MasterClass is that you don’t have to pay extra money.
I mean, the All-Access Pass that you already purchase for a specific course can be used again to take the next set of courses on 10+ niches.
That is why I love MasterClass. Even if you purchase for once, you don’t have to buy again for the rest of that year. I took Werner Herzog’s MasterClass on Filmmaking and even wrote a review of it.
In my opinion, all the above are brilliant courses, but I loved Werner Herzog’s MasterClass. Apart from that, I’d strongly recommend Martin Scorsese’s MasterClass, which was pretty good.
You can check the reviews I wrote for the courses handled by Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese.
Final Verdict On — Ron Howard MasterClass Review (2023)
The balance of theory and practical knowledge was mind-blowing. It is rare to see courses that produce valuable content as equal to the theoretical lessons covered in the course.
Also, the use of relevant examples and movie suggestions for observation were great. Ron Howard nicely did the filmmaking process’s breakdown. I loved that he spoke about his films during the course without slipping any spoilers yet taught valuable lessons from it.
However, certain chapters required prior knowledge of filmmaking which was the only major downside. Apart from that, Ron Howard’s MasterClass is a great choice and is worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete Ron Howard’s MasterClass?
It takes around 7 hours to complete Ron Howard’s MasterClass.
How much does Ron Howard’s MasterClass cost?
Any course taken in MasterClass comes with an annual plan of $180/- per year, which is billed as $15/- per month.
Is it possible to get Ron Howard’s MasterClass for free?
Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get Ron Howard’s MasterClass for free.
What can you learn in Ron Howard’s MasterClass?
You can learn a lot about filmmaking in Ron Howard’s MasterClass, from choosing a story to refining scripts to directing a scene to score a background.
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