The Masterclass series is soon to drop a collection of lessons from James Cameron to add to its service, it’s been revealed.

There’s a lot to like about Masterclass, the VOD streaming school. Compared to Netflix, it’s pricey – you’d likely count the amount of content on there in tens of hours and not geological periods – but that’s the nature of it being so specialised.

I had a subscription for one year – which is the shortest available option – and absolutely rinsed it of every last course I was interested in, which is to say the film and writing ones, within just a few weeks. Thankfully, new stuff popped up pretty regularly. And so it still goes.

Already on the service are courses from, for example, Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, RL Stine, Spike Lee, Natalie Portman David Mamet, Werner Herzog… credible names, if not always accomplished teachers. Some of these courses are pretty good, balancing insight and the benefit of experience with charisma and good company. I really enjoyed Stine, for example, and his advice genuinely did re-focus my mind on what is important in storytelling.

And now Masterclass is announcing that James Cameron has recorded a course for it, and that it’s coming soon. He presumably found the time to sit and talk to a camera about his craft for hours on end when the pandemic hit his Avatar schedule. 

This is one I wish I’d been able to see during my sub window. Indeed, this one makes me wish I could afford to sign up again. Cameron really knows his craft – and is certainly articulate enough to impart some genuine wisdom and knowledge.

Of course, he may choose not to. Masterclass is a touch more on the ‘beginner’ end of the spectrum than I’d find absolutely ideal, with at least 75% of the content being a bit light for people who already practice in the field they’re studying. Still… James Cameron! Big Jim talking about staging and editing and camera movements and the structure of action and all that good stuff!

What we don’t know yet is what Cameron’s focus is. Martin Scorsese, the service says, “Teaches Filmmaking”, while Ron Howard “Teaches Directing”, Spike Lee “Teaches Independent Filmmaking” and Issa Rae “Teaches Creating Outside the Lines.”

And we don’t know how long Cameron’s course will be either. Scorsese rattles on for about four and a half hours; Ron Howard gets close to eight; Spike Lee’s videos run for over 14 hours before wrapping up. Not that the content of a course should be measured in how long it takes to roll out, of course.

Anyway, Cameron’s no dummy, he has a lot to teach and – hopefully – he’ll use this platform to teach it.

 

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