David Lynch Masterclass Review

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Whether you are a filmmaker, a David Lynch fan, a writer or just curious about the film-making process, you will find this masterclass engaging and entertaining.

An insight into the mind of a legendary film-maker

There is no doubt that David Lynch has an unusual way of looking at the world. He has a unique mind and is clearly very creative. Getting the chance to take a peek into the world of this remarkable filmmaker was a real treat.

You quickly understand how he was able to come up with the convoluted and, often bizarre, Twin Peaks world and storyline. Seeing how he came up with and developed fictional characters like Henry Spencer, from Eraserhead, or Frank Booth, from Blue Velvet, was also fascinating.

How David Lynch catches ideas

Without ideas, you cannot create a story. This is the case whether you are writing a movie, book or short story.

Ideas are everything. I go where the ideas lead.

David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film Masterclass.com

I enjoyed this video and can see that David’s way of coming up with ideas will work for most people. His fishing analogy is a good one.

Initially, you may think that David’s method is very similar to what you have heard before. But, you soon realize that, like his films, David’s methods are different. Here is just a taste of some of the approaches he recommends.

  • Tap into your hopper
  • Take the time to daydream
  • Use your intuition
  • Go where the magic is
  • Focus in on the idea to complete the puzzle

Tapping into your intuition is very important. Yet, it is something that very few of us know how to do.

There are millions of ideas out there, we just don’t notice most of them. Learning how to use your intuition will enable you to see things most others miss. David shows you how to spot these ideas so that you can write something new and fresh.

Always write down your ideas

This sounds obvious, but it is still worth saying, nonetheless. When you get an idea, write it down. Even David Lynch has let some great ideas slip away from him by not committing them to paper quickly enough.

Creativity and the Writing Process

This is another important part of the course. Putting your ideas into written form is, for many people, a difficult process. But, David makes it seem doable. Interestingly, he does not type and cannot spell. Yet, this has not stopped him from creating wonderful stories.

For a feature film, you need 70 scenes. In this section of the course, David also explains how to come up with those scenes and organize them. He also briefly covers character development.

David is a very visual person. He can see things clearly in his mind’s eye. I can never quite do that, so am not really sure I can use much of what he taught me in this lesson, but I do plan to try using his method. Hopefully, doing so will improve my ability to visualize.

Educating Yourself about Filmmaking

In this section of the course, David encourages his students to learn film making by doing. Even if you do not want to be the person behind the camera shooting a few scenes will still teach you a lot. It enables you to better understand what is possible and how to write for the screen.

Unsurprisingly, David learned a lot about his craft from watching movies. His suggestion about forming a film analysis club is a simple, yet brilliant one. This sort of club gives you the chance to network, share your observations and learn from others who dabble with filmmaking or work in the industry.

Casting for Characters and Working with Actors

To bring your story alive you need to find the right actors. David does not really go into enough detail in this part of the course. He can clearly see the potential of an actor and understand which of his characters they can play. But, he does not really explain how he knows this or how he finds the right actors to play his characters.

The same is true of the section about working with actors. From the sounds of things, it is mostly a case of patiently explaining things to them. Then letting them rehearse again and again until the actor understands and recreates your character in the way you had in mind.

It is clear that David believes that you need to respect people. He does not run his set or business using fear. Instead, he creates a calm, safe environment for his team and actors to work in. He finds that this approach encourages people to go the extra mile and produce exceptional results.

Production Design: Building Unique Worlds

Being able to convey your ideas to designers is a critical skill. This means adapting what you say to fit in with your audience. For example, when speaking to a set designer you need to focus on the items in the room. But, for a makeup artist or costume designer, you will spend more time talking about the lifestyle and personality of the characters.

David Lynch was an artist before he was a filmmaker. So, when he said he uses drawings when talking to designers I was expecting to see intricate sketches. In reality, David uses line drawings to take them through each scene. A style of drawing virtually anyone is capable of replicating.

This was an interesting part of the course. But, after a few minutes, David drifts into telling you stories. They are there as examples to help you to understand the design process. But, the way they are delivered makes it hard to identify what exactly he is trying to teach you.

I liked this course, but really wish David had delivered things in a more focused way. If he had, I am convinced I would have learned far more.

How to Think Cinematically

There is no doubt that many of David Lynch’s films have a unique look and feel. In this section of the course, he briefly explains how he created the special ambiance of cinematic masterpieces like The Elephant Man, Dune and Eraserhead. The best part of this video comes at the end when David shows us his storyboard technique.

Sound Design and Score

The way David’s films sound is also very special. He uses the pace of the soundtrack to carry the story along and create the right ambiance for each scene.

I was surprised to learn that David was so closely involved in creating the soundtrack for his films. His story about he and Al (Alan R. Splet) created a special sound effect for Eraserhead using a bathtub perfectly demonstrates his dedication to his art.

When and How to Break the Rules

I can’t say I learned anything from this section of the course. But, it was interesting to hear David’s take on rule breaking. He is clearly not as much of a maverick as he used to be, but will still push the boundaries when needed.

Restrictions sometimes conjure up really great ideas that provide solutions. It is really true – necessity is the mother of invention.

David Lynch Masterclass.com – Creativity and Film-making Course

Dealing with Failure and Staying True to Your Ideas

It surprised me a little to hear that David viewed Dune as a failure. But, what was really interesting was the fact that one of his biggest successes, Blue Velvet, came out of it. If you know you have a good idea sticking to it usually results in success. The key is to find your own way, find your own voice and not compromise.

How to Use Transcendental Meditation to Improve Creativity

This is a bonus class. I nearly skipped it because I could not see what transcendental meditation has to do with film making.

However, this class is relevant in that David has found that transcendental meditation has helped him to become more creative. As a result, he recommends that creators learn how to practice this form of meditation. He also points out that it helped him to become more self-assured, which enabled him to let go of anger. Both of which he feels made it easier for him to succeed.

I am not sure if transcendental meditation is for me, but it is certainly worth watching this bonus video and opening up your mind to the idea of trying it.

Read David Lynch’s Masterclass Workbook

The workbooks that are provided for every Masterclass are great resources. This is certainly true of David’s.

He has packed his workbook full of fascinating snippets and stories that teach as well as entertain. Reading it is definitely worthwhile. But, don’t expect it to be a reflection of what is in the course. In this case, you should use the workbook as a supplementary source of information rather than as a guide to what is in each video.

Who is this course for?

If you are a fan of David’s work you will find this course interesting. The same is true if you are looking for some insight into the art of filmmaking. But, if you are someone who is starting out in the industry this course may not go into enough detail for you. In particular, if you are interested in the production side of things. This course is too short to enable David to cover things in-depth.

Hopefully, David will do what people like Gordon Ramsay have and make a 2nd course that covers the production processes in more detail. If he does, I plan to use my Masterclass.com all-access pass to take that course too. My pass enables me to enjoy all 50+ Masterclass.com courses for a price that is equal to the cost of just two masterclass courses.

In fairness to David, he does not claim that this course explains the production process in full. It is more about the process of coming up with a story idea and developing it into a script. A subject that he more than covers and does so in an entertaining, if a slightly rambling, way.

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