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Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass: Learning with an Oscar-Winning Mentor

Embark on a cinematic odyssey with the legendary actress Jodie Foster! Join the two-time Oscar-winner in her groundbreaking MasterClass and learn filmmaking techniques to bring your stories to life. Ready to discover what it truly takes to make an authentic film?

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Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking: Our Verdict (2023)


4.5 / 5

Get ready to go on a cinematic journey with Jodie Foster in her filmmaking MasterClass, where the Silence of the Lambs star and acclaimed director shares her knowledge of the filmmaking industry. From finding your style to mastering the essentials of directing and acting, Jodie’s expertise transforms her masterclass into a detailed filmmaking guide suitable for beginners and professionals alike. It is especially helpful for filmmakers, actors, storytellers, film students, and cinema enthusiasts.


  • Passionate and expert guidance that inspires creativity
  • Engaging exercises applicable to diverse filmmaking scenarios
  • Accessible techniques and tools suitable for everyone
  • Useful resources, including annotated samples from Jodie’s filmmaking process


  • Lacks thorough explanations of filmmaking structures
  • Limited depth on the reasoning behind some approaches
  • Assumes familiarity with filmmaking terms

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As a cinephile and aspiring storyteller, the prospect of learning from Jodie Foster, an Oscar-winning actress and acclaimed director, was an exciting and unique opportunity to dive into the complexities of filmmaking through the eyes of an iconic figure. The blend of her captivating performances, directorial expertise, and the idea of witnessing the filmmaking process step-by-step fueled my enthusiasm to acquire the knowledge she had to share. I stepped into Jodie Foster’s MasterClass with high expectations and a question lingering in my mind: Can this course truly teach me the secrets of filmmaking and improve my storytelling skills?

To answer this, the review ahead looks at the course’s content and the professional advice Jodie Foster imparts through her lessons. Join me in this exploration of storytelling and film, and let’s discover the captivating process of Jodie’s filmmaking together. Are you prepared to develop your filmmaking skills under Jodie’s guidance?

Table of Contents

What is Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass?

Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking” is a course hosted on Masterclass, a subscription-based platform renowned for its video lesson format and the opportunity to learn from experts across different fields. In this class, you’ll get to explore the art of filmmaking with Jodie Foster, two-time Oscar-winner and acclaimed actress and director. This 4-hour and 7-minute MasterClass, consisting of 18 video lessons, takes you behind the scenes of Jodie’s experience on both sides of the camera. The course will guide you through every step of filmmaking while helping you bring your unique vision to the process.

Actress and director Jodie Foster
Actress and director Jodie Foster

Who is Jodie Foster?

Jodie Foster is an iconic figure in the film industry. Since her early debut as an actress at age three, she has starred in several classic movies and made award-winning performances in movies like “The Accused” and “Silence of the Lambs.” Beyond her iconic roles, she founded Egg Pictures and directed critically acclaimed films like “Little Man Tate” and “Money Monster.” Her unique perspective and her passion for filmmaking make her an exceptional mentor when it comes to filmmaking.

Who is this course’s target audience?

Ideal for aspiring filmmakers, actors, storytellers, film students, and cinema aficionados, Jodie Foster’s MasterClass is designed to inspire and educate. While no specific prerequisites are mentioned, a love for storytelling and a desire to explore the filmmaking process is a must-have.

What topics does Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass cover?

Here is an overview of what to expect from Jodie’s MasterClass:

1. Introduction

Meet your new instructor, Oscar-winning actor and director Jodie Foster. Jodie talks about her perspective from both sides of the camera, what you’ll learn in her class, and why filmmaking means so much to her.

2. Finding Your Personal Story

To help you find the story you want to tell, Jodie speaks about failure, identity, and self-knowledge so you can learn her process for authentic filmmaking.

3. Exploring the Big Idea in Film

Jodie breaks down the concept of the “big idea” in film. You’ll discover how you can use it as a tool to improve your storytelling skills.

4. Jodie's Short Film: Building Your Story Into a Screenplay, Part 1

Jodie shows how to transform a real-life experience into a dramatic scene with the help of Scott Frank, the screenwriter of her first film, Little Man Tate.

5. Creating the Vision for Your Film

As a director, your job is to communicate with your collaborators to create the vision for your film. Jodie discusses the tools she uses so you can effectively communicate and bring your ideas to life.

6. Deconstructing Visual Choices: The Beaver

Jodie breaks down a storyboard sequence from her movie The Beaver to explain how she chose shots that help convey the emotional message of the scene.

7. Jodie's Short Film: Building Your Story into a Screenplay, Part 2

Learn how Jodie collaborates with writers to help build character, tension, and realism into a scene.

8. Jodie's Short Film: The Screenwriter-Director Collaboration

Jodie and Scott explore the collaborative process between a director and a screenwriter.

9. Jodie's Short Film: Constructing a Scene

Using the short scene she wrote with Scott, Jodie demonstrates how you can begin to visualize your story by making a shot list.

10. Prepping and Scheduling

Prepping and scheduling are critical to your film’s success. Learn the tools and methods that Jodie uses in her films and how you can apply them to your own.

11. Casting

Jodie argues that casting is one of the most important decisions you can make as a filmmaker and teaches you how she approaches the casting process.

12. The Acting Process

Jodie teaches you how to inspire a powerful and honest performance from actors.

13. Directing Actors

Jodie teaches you techniques for working with actors on set.

14. Shooting Your Film

Learn about the tools Jodie uses to track her film while shooting, including set notes and reaction shots

15. Selecting a Performance Case Study: Jack O'Connell in Money Monster

Using Jack O’Connell’s performance in Money Monster, Jodie shows you what she considers when selecting a performance from multiple takes.

16. Editing

Learn how Jodie approaches the editing process as she breaks down a scene put together from raw footage for Money Monster.

17. Music

With examples from her films, Jodie teaches you how music selection can improve your film.

18. Conclusion

Jodie concludes her class with a note on the future of filmmaking and female filmmakers and encourages you to start making films.

My favorite parts of Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass

This MasterClass blends practical exercises with passionate lessons and anecdotes from Jodie Foster’s extensive film career.  Here are some of my favorite lessons:

Exploring how one can use their medium to navigate and express feelings and emotions
You can use your medium to know how to work your feelings and emotions out
  • Dealing with imposter syndrome: Jodie talks about overcoming feelings of inadequacy and the importance of self-worth. You might not expect that feeling from Jodie, as she is an accomplished actress and filmmaker, but she talks about how sometimes our foundation of belief in ourselves is constructed on sand, and at some point, you have to learn again to appreciate and understand what’s worthy of yourself without relying on the eyes of others. We all experience these feelings, and I think a lot of people can relate to Jodie’s experience.
Clarifying that the big idea is the core message or point one is trying to convey
Your big idea is what you are trying to say
  • The Big Idea” in film: Jodie helps you understand that the big idea is about fascination. You don’t need to know the big idea of your movie before you make it or even while you’re making it. What you need to know is that you love it, and it keeps you up at night. The obsession, says Jodie, is an indicator that it is something worth exploring.
Encouraging to watch a film and analyze personal satisfaction or dissatisfaction with it
Go see a film that you’re either satisfied or unsatisfied with
  • Reimagining films: Jodie encourages you to reimagine movies as if they were created by you, to go see a movie and reimagine it as if it was coming from you as a filmmaker. As you watch it, Jodie suggests reimagining every part of it and embracing it as if the film had your signature. What would you change or add to make the film distinctly yours?
Emphasizing the importance of protecting one's ability to be creative
Protect your ability to be creative
  • Flexible decision-making and tight scheduling: Jodie discusses the importance of flexibility in filmmaking and being open to surprises, but she also likes to have lists and have everything written down. It is about balance, meaning that if things are not going the way that you hoped, you can move to plan B, knowing you had plan A. Always being aware of scheduling doesn’t mean you are not being creative; on the contrary, you’re protecting your ability to be creative.
Stating that this is the essence of filmmaking
That is really what filmmaking is about

Just do it: Jodie encourages you to overcome anxiety and self-doubt by simply diving into the filmmaking process. Sometimes the result works, sometimes it doesn’t, but the most important thing is to just do it, to get it out. Get it on screen, on tape, or even on YouTube. “Do whatever it takes to have experience with making stories come from you to the screen.”

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I Liked about Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass

Passionate and expert guidance: Jodie Foster’s passion and expert guidance is inspiring. Her personal anecdotes and experiences, both as an actress and director, provide a unique perspective into the filmmaking process.

Practical and fun exercises: The course offers numerous practical and enjoyable exercises that allow you to apply what you learn, and these exercises make the learning experience interactive and engaging.

Useful resources: The many useful resources included, such as a class guide and samples from Jodie’s filmmaking process (scripts, schedules, storyboards), include lots of examples, making it easier to understand how theoretical concepts apply in real filmmaking scenarios.

Approachable techniques for everyone: Jodie focuses on approachable techniques and tools designed for everyone. This is especially beneficial for students or independent filmmakers who may not have access to high-budget equipment or locations. I loved how she made sure to emphasize storytelling and filmmaking techniques over expensive equipment.

Learning through application: Jodie shares her filmmaking techniques while planning a movie. This approach allows you to see how each aspect of the filmmaking process contributes to the final cinematic result.

Case studies: I  liked the inclusion of case studies, where Jodie analyzes scripts, storyboards, and scenes from her movies. It helps you deconstruct and understand the practical application of the concepts taught in the course, and getting to see the behind-the-scenes process of Jodie’s films is a really interesting experience.

Dynamic class: Jodie’s acting experience shows through her dynamic teaching style. She comfortably moved around the set during the lessons and case studies, keeping the class engaging. Her ease in front of the camera adds a distinctive touch to her MasterClass and helps you immerse yourself in the lessons.

Drawbacks of Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass

Lack of thorough explanations on filmmaking structures: Jodie follows a more empirical filmmaking approach, favoring emotions over classic structures. This might be a challenge if you are looking for in-depth explanations of filmmaking structures or technical approaches.

Limited explanation of actor thinking:  Jodie goes into the importance of the actor’s contribution, but there are moments where the reasoning behind certain approaches is not entirely explained. This could be challenging for learners without prior acting experience.

Assumes familiarity with filmmaking terms: Jodie assumes learners are already familiar with filmmaking terms and concepts. While the class guide covers them efficiently, this may be confusing for complete beginners in filmmaking who may need additional explanations.

Conclusion – Is Jodie Foster’s Filmmaking MasterClass Worth It?

Jodie Foster’s  Filmmaking MasterClass has been an inspirational journey for me, filled with passion, curiosity, and a deeper understanding of filmmaking. Jodie Foster’s teachings cover both the technical and emotional facets of storytelling in cinema, making this class an excellent investment for aspiring filmmakers, actors, and storytellers.

The course’s strengths lie in Jodie’s passionate guidance, practical exercises, and the many resources provided. It motivates you to learn and start applying your knowledge to create films.

As the course sparks your creativity and enhances your skills, you’ll find yourself inspired to write, direct, and bring your stories to life, which is why I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to share stories that “move” people emotionally and visually through one of the most captivating canvas—film.

As Jodie says, the only thing you really need is confidence, a pen, and a paper.

So don’t wait; enroll in Jodie Foster’s  Masterclass, and let your vision come to life on screen. The world of filmmaking awaits you!