“Being famous doesn’t mean that you know how to teach.” That’s one of the things I was told by my friends when thinking about getting the masterclass…Then came the lockdown in Italy where I temporarily happen to be on a project… And eventually, I was like: “YOU KNOW WHAT, I can either watch Netflix or I can watch something that looks like Netflix, but that might be more educational. Either way, I wasn’t going to lose anything.”
Well, minus the 200 euros I spent on it.
Is Masterclass worth it? Or is it just great marketing mixed with a high quality looking production?
The Way of Teaching
I’ll just right away say this.
From the perspective of collecting information, Masterclass is what I wish school was like.
Regardless of what the class is on, whether of interest to me or not, I’m fully engaged, because of how the teaching is done.
If classes in school were done in such an engaging way with storytelling, with engaging projects to do, the entire planet would be better off.
If looking to know is Masterclass worth it in that aspect, this is where Masterclass does an incredible job.
The key to teaching someone is to keep them engaged into what you are doing. That’s why there are so many bad teachers out there. They read something and that’s it.
In school, the best teachers were the ones that just told stories instead of teaching.
And while you might say that just because you are famous doesn’t mean you know how to teach, if you are giving a class on filmmaking, you know how to tell a story. If you are a world-known chef, people remember you over so many other chefs for how you do things. Salt bar isn’t on Masterclass, but we all know of him because of how he tells his cooking. Slow-mo chopping of meat isn’t anything you couldn’t do, but because of that slow-mo being used to tell the story of cooking, it just makes it so much more engaging.
Masterclass? It knows how to tell stories.
And that’s the key component to keeping people engaged.
The classes itself are structured in an easy to follow way, with classes ranging from just a few minutes to over 20 minutes, making them relatively easy to do, even if you don’t have time.
Some classes like for instance Annie Leibovitz classes also come with assignments meaning you don’t just learn, but you also get to do.
For instance, one of them was to go the same during different times of the day to see how the lighting changes would drastically change how your photos in that one spot look, and that’s such a simple thing, yet it makes so much sense.
Each class also comes with a workbook so that if you missed something or want more details on something in the text, that’s there. For instance, Ken Burns’s workbook is 156 pages. That’s an entire book.
Who is Masterclass Worth it for Though?
The fact that Masterclass classes are great to watch to is great, but is Masterclass worth it for everyone?
If you are looking for a course that will right away make you money, this isn’t one of these courses.
In fact, it’s kind of hard to describe who exactly is Masterclass for.
Gardening and filmmaking don’t exactly go together.
Perhaps the way to describe Masterclass? As a form of inspiration into anything you do.
I got many many notes from the Masterclass, and most of them weren’t about the class itself, but the ideas that were sparked by something that was said or shown in the class. And that’s perhaps the best way to describe masterclass. It’s where you collect new ideas and inspirations.
My favorite class? That of Ken Burns.
It provided tremendous value as far as documentary filmmaking whether it’s on how to deal with interviews or how to go about archives.
But with said, the Masterclass lacks a lot on some practical classes as while a class from a director is great, how about a class from someone who specializes in lighting or a camera operator.
That’s something that Masterclass doesn’t currently deliver on.
If you are a coder or looking to learn how to do something specific in Premiere or Illustrator, Masterclass also isn’t for you.
Masterclass does offer a ton of acting likes like from Samuel Jackson, and then singing courses like from Christina Aguilera, but the classes aren’t concentrated on one topic.
That’s why there’s also the likes of Gordon Ramsey on it.
In many ways, that’s perhaps the selling point of Masterclass.
That you can dive into plenty of aspects that you perhaps wouldn’t invest in otherwise.
I for sure wouldn’t invest in cooking or gardening classes in the past, but now that I have them, I do actually enjoy them, and those, they are actually super practical.
The Quality of Classes
There’s no class in the world right now that’s shot on the level of quality that Masterclass brings.
Ken Burns stating in his class that Masterclass had more crew in his home than he himself uses when filming documentaries sums that up pretty well.
That doesn’t mean that other courses aren’t useful because some of the best courses I took simply consisted of voice and a PowerPoint, but it does help a lot when it comes to watching when a class is well done and that for sure helps Masterclass sell.
Masterclass is like the Netflix of learning when it comes to that for sure.
The Masterclass Choices
Great quality is great though, but if Masterclass took the wrong approach, it could have ended badly for them.
Let’s face it. Just because you are famous doesn’t mean you know things.
Some do, most don’t.
There’s a lot of stupid people around the world, and some of them get famous.
With that said, there is also a set of people that are incredible at what they do, and some that are also good at talking about it.
And Masterclass, they do actually pick people that know what they are doing, but that can also show this to people.
That’s why you find certain personalities on the Masterclass, while you don’t find others.
This is nitpicking, but it’s worth mentioning.
There are a few little things that I wish Masterclass did better.
When you play the next video, the captions turn off and you have to re-enable them.
And there’s no offline mode on a phone, making it hard to learn while on the go.
The big factor to consider when getting Masterclass is pricing.
The truth is that it’s much cheaper than a lot of courses out there.
At the same time, Masterclass does target a wider audience that’s more on a budget.
Right now there are over 89 classes on Masterclass, for €200. That’s around €2.5 for several hours of footage per class.
Considering most of the time you can get a 2 for 1 subscription meaning it’s a free gift for someone else, that’s even cheaper.
Will you take all the 89 classes?
Maybe not all 89, but even some classes that are not relevant to what you do, can be beneficial. For instance, like already mentioned, I would never invest in a course about cooking, but if Garden Ramsey is here in this package teaching me some interesting cooking stuff, I will for sure take it.
And if you break it down like that, Masterclass, it’s not badly priced at all. In fact, it’s a pretty damn great deal, even if half of the courses were to be of no interest to you at all.
Is Masterclass Worth it in 2020?
Is Masterclass worth it in 2020?
If you are looking for inspiration and have the funds to pay for everything in one go, Masterclass is great.
Seeing slow-mo closeups of food made by Gordon Ramsey and then making it yourself, it’s great.
But if you are looking for specific knowledge in a specific industry whether that be filmmaking, while the Masterclass has a bunch of great classes from filmmakers, it just doesn’t provide enough knowledge from people that are experts in what they do.