David Lynch is hands down one of the most unique and iconic filmmakers alive. From Blue Velvet to Twin Peaks, his dreamy scenes are recognizable across the globe, even though they’re not part of commercial Hollywood. Nevertheless, Lynch’s unconventional approach to film changed cinema forever.
Lynch surely has a thing or two to say about filmmaking. But I was drawn to Lynch’s MasterClass for another reason – I wanted to hear what he has to say about creativity.
How to catch an idea and turn vision into film is not an easy thing to explain. But if there’s someone who could talk about these complex, abstract concepts, it’s David Lynch.
So, did the “David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film” Masterclass meet my expectations?
I’ll tell you all about my learning experience and what I liked and didn’t like in this review.
Table of Contents
What is the David Lynch MasterClass?
As one of the most iconic and critically acclaimed film directors of all time, David Lynch is a master of the craft. However, his MasterClass is not focused on filmmaking, at least not in the way you might expect.
In his MasterClass, Lynch primarily focuses on more abstract, emotional, and psychological elements of filmmaking. He talks about catching ideas, the importance of daydreaming, thinking cinematically, staying true to your story, and transcendental meditation.
He also talks about more practical stuff, such as working with actors and production design, but he doesn’t get into details or filmmaking rules. After all, he is more fond of breaking the rules.
The course features 13 lessons with a duration of 2 hours and 52 minutes in total. This may seem short, but considering the style of the course, it’s actually quite enough. I’ll get back to this in a minute.
Who is David Lynch?
David Lynch is a renowned film director, visual artist, and actor. His movies are recognizable by their unique aesthetic, dreamy imagery, and a somewhat dark, surrealist feeling. His style is often described as simply Lynchian – mysterious, suspenseful, and innocent on the surface.
Before he started making short films in the 1960s, Lynch studied painting. He released his first feature-length film, Eraserhead in 1977 and continued to make critically acclaimed films, including The Elephant Man, Dune, Mulholland Drive, and Blue Velvet. He also directed the widely popular TV show Twin Peaks.
Lynch is also known for his practice of transcendental meditation, which he talks about in one of his MasterClass lessons.
What is the target audience for David Lynch’s MasterClass?
To be honest, I wanted to take David Lynch’s MasterClass because I needed a creativity boost. I wanted to learn about his approach to filmmaking and art in general, and I was intrigued to hear more about transcendental meditation. And boy, did I find what I was looking for.
Lynch’s MasterClass is certainly suitable for aspiring filmmakers, whether or not they are working in a surrealist style or not.
I am not a filmmaker or a film student, but Lynch’s advice is applicable to other creative forms, including writing. He talks about ideas, daydreaming, following your intuition, staying true to your authentic vision, negativity as the enemy of creativity… All of these topics are interesting and useful for writers, musicians, actors, painters, and other creatives.
Finally, this MasterClass is a real treat for admirers of Lynch’s work. Apart from offering a glimpse into his brilliant mind, the course provides a closer look at some of his projects. For instance, Twin Peaks fans might be interested in a part where he explains how he came up with Killer Bob.
All things considered, this is an interesting course that can be of interest to a variety of learners. But some of the people who would probably benefit the most include:
- Aspiring filmmakers
- David Lynch fans
What does David Lynch’s MasterClass cover?
Apart from digging deeper into more abstract topics, such as catching ideas and finding your voice, David also shares on-set secrets and tips regarding working with actors, casting, sound design, scoring, and cinematography.
He talks about the importance of educating yourself as well. He believes that the best type of learning is experiential, and that’s perhaps why this course lacks standard terminology and practical filmmaking tips.
In the final bonus lesson, David also talks about transcendental meditation. He explains and demonstrates what it all means and opens up about how this practice helped him become a more grounded and creative person.
At the end of the day, the course is called “David Lynch Teaches Film and Creativity” – so if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to making films or essential film-directing tips, you should look somewhere else.
David Lynch’s teaching style is certainly unconventional, and the topics he covers are somewhat abstract.
Also, bear in mind that the lessons are highly stylized. Lynch fans will love this, while others may find it distracting. Content is versatile and useful nonetheless, although it all comes down to your personal preferences.
In terms of what you’ll learn in this MasterClass, here is a quick overview of all the lessons:
- Lesson 1 is an introductory lesson where David talks about ideas, art, and creativity.
- Lessons 2-4 focus on catching ideas, essential parts of the writing process, and hands-on learning.
- Lessons 5-10 include David’s stories and tips regarding being a director on set. He talks about the director’s relationship with cast and crew, cinematography, production design, sound design, scoring, and casting.
- Lesson 11 is about breaking the rules and distinguishing helpful and stifling restrictions.
- Lesson 12 is about creative decisions and staying true to the ideas.
- Lesson 13 is a bonus chapter based on transcendental meditation.
My favorite lessons from David Lynch’s MasterClass
Although it took me a while to get into Lynch’s world and succumb to the overall vibe of each lesson, I’m glad I took this course. I think it contains some fascinating, thought-provoking ideas and questions.
And it’s not all about Lynch’s inspirations and the development of his quirky, surrealist style (although that’s interesting too.) In a way, this MasterClass offers an authentic cinematic learning experience that could be valuable to any creative soul.
There are many impactful lessons in this course, and here are some of my personal favorites.
According to David Lynch, catching ideas is like fishing. A desire for an idea is like bait on a hook, and if you’re able to pull it out of the water, you’ll be able to see it and examine it.
In this inspiring lesson, David suggests you should always try to focus on your ideas and write them down. He also talks about the importance of intuition and finding time to daydream.
Breaking the rules
As David puts it, rules might be good for driving, but not for cinema. However, it’s important to learn the difference between rules that will prevent you from growing and unleashing your creativity and restrictions that might actually help you think outside the box.
I believe this rule about breaking the rules and knowing the difference stands for every art form.
Make it true to the ideas
This lesson perfectly captures what this MasterClass is all about. David talks about how a different mindset can change the way you make art. In his opinion, artists don’t have to suffer to portray suffering.
In this encouraging lesson, he also talks about the role of the audience. Unlike some other filmmakers, he doesn’t think about the audience that much while making a movie. He focuses on his own vision and ideas instead.
How much does David Lynch’s MasterClass cost?
Since MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, you can’t purchase David Lynch’s course individually; you need to become a subscriber instead.
The annual subscription to Masterclass costs $120 per year. If you subscribe, you’ll gain unlimited access to a catalog of 180+ classes. Therefore, if you’re interested in taking multiple classes throughout the year, MasterClass is definitely worth it. On the other hand, if you want to purchase a single course, it’s rather expensive.
The platform also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.
What I liked about David Lynch’s MasterClass
There are many things I liked about this course. It’s visually stunning, and it’s no less attractive content-wise.
However, you should be familiar with some of Lynch’s work to fully enjoy it. And you need to be fond of his filmmaking (and teaching) style.
Either way, the course provides a fresh perspective on filmmaking. It’s full of David’s compelling stories that encourage you to think more deeply about creativity, ideas, and authenticity in art. There’s even a cool guidebook that accompanies David’s philosophy nicely.
To sum things up, here are some of the things I liked the most about this course:
Learning from a renowned director
You don’t have to have watched and re-watched all of Lynch’s movies to enjoy this course. However, a basic knowledge of his vision and narrative style is an advantage.
In the course, Lynch often gives examples and shares behind-the-scenes stories from his projects. In addition, there are accompanying video clips. All of this portrays David’s creative process in an engaging way.
He is one of the most distinctive directors in the film industry, so getting an opportunity to listen to him speak about his methods, influences, and even life philosophies was really exciting.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most unusual and captivating MasterClasses I’ve taken so far.
First of all, everything is filmed in a very specific way. In some moments, it gets quite Lynchian, and that accompanies David’s stories and teaching perfectly.
Secondly, David Lynch is an abstract creative. Thankfully, the MasterClass team allowed him to be who he is. In the course, he smokes cigarettes, talks about his creative vision, demonstrates transcendent meditation…
While this atypical course style and content might be a disadvantage for some people, I actually liked it. The thing is, learning about the essence of creativity, an unconscious mind, and navigating your way through this field of work in an authentic way is just as important as learning which lens to use. But I guess it all depends on what you expect from the course.
The same goes for the class guidebook – whether you like it or not depends on your expectations.
If you want a file with filmmaking tips and creativity guidelines, you’ll be disappointed. But if you want to find out more about David Lynch’s philosophy and filming methods, the course guidebook will provide you with everything you need and more.
Disadvantages of David Lynch’s MasterClass
Even though I enjoyed the course, and its content equipped me with some inspiration and food for thought, I was actually glad the course didn’t last longer. The reason for this is the peculiar teaching style, which is one of the few potential drawbacks of Lynch’s MasterClass.
Somewhat challenging style of instruction
David Lynch decided to take a different approach to MasterClass than some other instructors I’ve encountered. He talks more broadly, and he doesn’t delve deeper into filming techniques and technicalities like James Cameron does in his filmmaking course.
While I enjoyed the rather unusual and artistic vibe of the whole course, I understand that some learners may find it a bit too abstract. If you’re a filmmaker and you’re looking for more concrete tips and details for execution, Lynch’s MasterClass might feel a bit incomplete.
It’s true that Lynch’s style doesn’t fit everyone, but that’s simply a matter of preference. If you’re a Lynch fan and you’re an aspiring filmmaker interested in hearing more about the emotional and psychological side of being a filmmaker, then this wouldn’t be a drawback.
Review conclusion: Would I recommend David Lynch’s MasterClass?
All things considered, I think taking David Lynch’s MasterClass is time well spent. He is a critically acclaimed director with a brilliantly creative mind, and having a chance to learn from him is truly amazing.
Any movie enthusiast and Lynch fan would enjoy this course. Don’t expect a standard filmmaking course, though. Lynch has an unusual approach to filmmaking, and as he mentioned a few times, he likes to break the rules. He obviously has a similar opinion when it comes to teaching.
The course was very insightful, at times abstract and dreamy, and thanks to Lynch’s life philosophy, it ended up being surprisingly encouraging. In any case, it left me with a sense of wonder, a feeling I can’t really describe, but those who have seen Lynch’s movies probably know what I’m talking about.