Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking

Our newest instructor, Ken Burns, is arguably America’s most celebrated filmmaker of historical documentaries with nearly 40 years of masterful storytelling. Now you can learn how his unique creative process captivates audiences, illuminates history, and sparks empathy from millions of viewers. Pre-enroll today:

Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; Jackie Robinson; Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War; and The Vietnam War, which has been seen by over 39 million people. His work has garnered numerous awards including 15 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Oscar nominations; and in 2008, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. His newest film, The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science, will air nationally on PBS on September 25, 2018.

In his MasterClass, Ken Burns teaches students how to uncover and highlight the natural “drama of truth,” and he will demonstrate how documentaries can match, and even exceed, the depth of fictional narrative. Burns deconstructs scenes from some of his most notable works to explain how he finds the “human story” in true events, and he’ll share the filmmaking techniques he utilizes to “wake the dead.” His class emboldens students to tell stories that interweave deep and difficult themes of the American experience—race, gender, power, politics and war—and teach them how to distill vast research into compelling narratives that embrace complex truths and multiple points of view. While millions of viewers have seen the final version of Burns’s The Vietnam War, students in his MasterClass will have the rare opportunity to access early rough cuts of the film as Burns walks them through the process of sculpting the story in the edit. While Burns is recognized for his mastery of documentary filmmaking, storytellers from all disciplines will learn from his nuanced approach to crafting a story.

“I realized very early on that the laws of storytelling also applied to documentaries. A documentary can be didactic, educational and politically advocating, but it could also just tell a story that is as dramatic and captivating as fictional feature film. Then you’ve got the possibility of moving people at that same level, and you have the added advantage of it being true. In my MasterClass, I explore the ways in which I strive to bring the same expositional tools of a feature film to documentary filmmaking along with many more lessons on how to master the art of storytelling in a way that activates your audience’s imagination.”—Ken Burns

“Ken has transformed not only the way documentary films are made, but also American history by telling the stories we remember, what makes him a remarkable storyteller is his gift for pushing the boundaries of art while honoring and celebrating the drama of truth. We’re thrilled to have him teach his first MasterClass for anyone who is curious about storytelling.” —David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass

Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

We’re thrilled to announce that our newest instructor is none other than the celebrated novelist, nonfiction writer, and poet Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood, arguably one of the world’s best fictional writers, is an award-winning and prolific author of more than fifty novels, books of poetry, and critical essays. Her 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, was adapted into the Emmy-winning TV series on Hulu, now in its second season, and was the best-selling book on Amazon in 2017. Atwood’s Booker Prize-nominated 1996 novel, Alias Grace, was also adapted to a TV series for Netflix. Her recent works include a book of short stories, Stone Mattress: Nine Tales; and the MaddAddam trilogy. Unrestricted by genre barriers, Atwood has explored nearly every form of writing – including comic books, with her 2016 superhero series Angel Catbird. She is the recipient of dozens of awards, including the Booker Prize for her novel, The Blind Assassin; the Giller Prize in Canada and Premio Mondello in Italy for Alias Grace; and lifetime-achievement awards from the National Book Critics Circle, PEN Center USA, and the Canadian Booksellers’ Association.  

In her MasterClass, Atwood shares her approach to fiction writing and her storytelling philosophy, which encourages students to look for inspiration in real events that have taken place throughout history. She teachs her process for writing speculative and historical fiction, and discuss novels based on dystopian societies. Students will learn techniques Atwood uses to keep readers engaged – how to developing compelling plots with complex structures, how to choose a narrative point of view, and how to create nuanced characters. The class gives students a glimpse of Atwood’s research materials and the first handwritten draft of The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as the manuscript draft materials of Alias Grace.

“Creativity is one of the most essential things about being human, Storytelling is very ancient; the novel is a more modern form of storytelling. Like every other creative endeavor, novel-writing is partly learn-by-doing. In my MasterClass, I’m happy to share how I wrote my stories, and my processes and tips, with people who want to write fiction themselves.”—Margaret Atwood

“Margaret roots her writing in reality, making readers believe even though they know it’s fiction, her stories are discussed at dinner tables all over the world because they feel eerily real and relevant, and her impact on fictional storytelling has been profound. We hope her class will help students translate what’s happening in the world today into their own works that readers will reflect on and critique for many years to come.”— David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass

Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker

Introducing our newest MasterClass, Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker.

Daniel Negreanu is one of the best and most influential poker players in the world, having amassed nearly $40 million in prize money over the span of his career, making him the highest-earning tournament player of all time. In addition to his six WSOP championships, Negreanu has won two World Poker Tour championship titles; is the only player to receive the WSOP Player of the Year award twice; and was named GPI (Global Poker Index) Player of the Decade. His success at the table is often attributed to his uncanny ability to read his opponents and correctly predict their hands.

In his MasterClass, Negreanu helps intermediate and advanced poker players deepen their understanding of the quantitative theory of poker and dynamics of human behavior behind winning tournament strategies.  He dives into poker strategy, the mathematics behind the game, and advanced betting tactics; share his secrets for reading the table and the best ways to spot and mask tells; and discuss how to train your mind and body for success at the table. Negreanu reviews live footage from televised tournaments and go in-depth on hands to break down what was played correctly and what mistakes might have been made. Students will learn skills to maximize value while playing, effective ways to detect and execute a believable bluff, how to keep emotions in check and use “tilt” as a weapon, and how to sharpen their mental game on and off the felt.

“The best poker players have three things in common: raw fundamentals and skill, understanding of the underlying mathematics, and disciplined focus. These are characteristics that I’ve learned and honed in my 20 years of playing this great game. In my MasterClass, I’m excited to share for the very first time all the lessons I’ve learned with people who share the love of the game and want to take it to the next level.”—Daniel Negreanu

“Poker is an intellectual endeavor that Daniel has mastered over decades playing at the highest level through disciplined focus, hard work, and by honing his unique ability to read his opponents. With this class, we’re excited to give students access to a comprehensive analysis of tournament strategy from the most successful live tournament player of all time.”—David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass

Learn anywhere with new MasterClass mobile app

Now take the world’s greatest minds with you wherever you go. Introducing the MasterClass mobile app—designed to make learning part of your daily life, whether on the bus, in the kitchen, or on the court. With 35 classes that dive into philosophies, processes and techniques, MasterClass helps students progress more rapidly towards their own mastery.

With the MasterClass app for iPhone and iPad, you can:

Discover Daily Lessons: Learn from every master through daily bite-sized lessons in the Discover Feed. Lessons include: Stephen Curry on how to achieve perfect aim, Jane Goodall on what animals feel, and Hans Zimmer on telling a hero’s story in just two musical notes.

Access Exclusive Content: Get exclusive access to lessons only available on the app, and get early previews of classes before they’re released online.

Explore Classes Anytime, Anywhere: Get unlimited access to all classes from all instructors for $180 per year, or purchase a single class for $90, and take them with you anywhere.

“The rate of change is happening faster than it has ever before, which means we have to keep learning just to keep up. Education has to adapt too. It can’t be stuck in a classroom or on a computer. It has to be everywhere you are.”—David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass.

Introducing Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration

We are excited to announce our newest class on Space Exploration from astronaut Chris Hadfield!

Pioneering astronaut Chris Hadfield spent a total of six months in orbit as the commander of the International Space Station (ISS). He has flown three space missions, conducted two spacewalks, and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. He is the first Canadian to command a spaceship and perform a spacewalk. Hadfield was NASA’s chief of ISS operations in Houston, director of operations in Russia, and chief CAPCOM in Mission Control for 25 shuttle missions. He was recently featured among an elite group of eight astronauts in the acclaimed National Geographic documentary series One Strange Rock.

In his MasterClass, Hadfield makes the marvels of space exploration tangible for enthusiasts and anyone who is curious about our universe, dives deep into the science and technology behind space travel, and teaches students about life as an astronaut and how flying in space will forever change the way you think about living on Earth. Students will learn about the human implications of space travel and its effects on an astronaut’s body and mind; the science of atmospheric drag, orbital mechanics, and capsule design; and the future of space travel, including the technical and societal challenges we face in getting to Mars — from ideal flight path and the physics of landing safely, to the risk of human life, and what it will take to survive on another planet. Hadfield teaches his greatest lessons from his most indelible moments in space: what it takes to lead the ISS through a crisis, how to prepare mentally for a spacewalk, and how to navigate using stars and planets.

“Exploration is our history. It’s the legacy that got us to where we are and the reason humans have settled nearly every part of our planet. Space exploration poses incredible challenges that require a large group of people to work together in order to push the edge of possibility. I wanted to do this MasterClass to give a glimpse into something that is barely possible, and to provide an understanding of what exploration of the world means and where it is taking us.” —Chris Hadfield

“Chris is one of the world’s greatest living explorers in every sense of the word. He has the profound ability to make you question what’s out there in the universe in a way that forever changes your perspective on the world. We’re honored to have Chris on our platform, and thrilled to introduce our first class in science with his MasterClass.”—David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass

R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences

From evil dummies to deadly babysitting jobs, our newest instructor’s books have thrilled kids and teens for decades. Starting today, you can learn writing from the best-selling author, R.L. Stine:

A master of the horror genre, Stine is a prolific author of more than 300 books for middle graders and young adults, which have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have garnered numerous awards. The author is a three-time recipient of both the Disney Adventures Kids’ Choice Award and the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award. Goosebumps is often credited with inspiring a generation of kids to love reading. Stine has a unique ability to captivate young minds with easy-to-grasp storylines, relatable characters, page-turning suspense, and ghostly narratives that give readers just enough of a thrill—without giving them nightmares. Many of Stine’s books have been adapted into television shows and film, including the upcoming Goosebumps: Slappy Halloween movie, to be released in October 2018.

In his MasterClass, Stine teaches his approach to writing for young audiences and dives into how he creates the thrills in his page-turner books, which he compares to a roller coaster ride—fast paced, exciting, and full of twists and turns, but always with a happy ending. The class is rooted in his belief that breaking the process down into manageable steps is the key to making writing achievable and fun. Students will learn the nuances of writing for different age groups, how to create terrifying monsters and build suspense, and how to surprise readers and keep them engaged—all while bringing his distinct sense of humor to his lessons.

“I have written a lot of scary books, but the process of writing those books wasn’t scary, you can create your own universe, and control people in that universe—you can make them funny or you can scare them. In my MasterClass, I hope to show students that writing doesn’t have to be scary; and in fact, it can be a lot of fun.”—R.L. Stine

“R.L. Stine is the master of creating riveting stories that make kids want to read… Ask anyone about R.L. and you’ll hear a story about how they would stay up past their bedtime, under their covers with flashlight in hand, glued to his books, reading page after page. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book for kids but have been hesitant to—this is your class.”—David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass

Spike Lee Teaches Filmmaking

Introducing our newest MasterClass, Spike Lee Teaches Filmmaking.

Lee is an auteur and master storyteller who has written, directed, produced, and acted in films ranging from big studio pictures to micro-budget independents. His work stands as a testament to cinema’s power to entertain, explore, celebrate, and critique American culture and social political issues—starting in 1983 with his Student Academy Award winning graduate thesis film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop – We Cut Heads, to Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated Do The Right Thing and 4 Little Girls, Emmy winning When The Levees Broke, Malcolm X, and more recently, the Netflix revival of She’s Gotta Have It. Lee has also helped integrate what has long been a homogenous industry through his production companies 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and Spike DDB.

In his MasterClass, Lee teaches students how to tell stories that need to be told. He analyzes his work both on the page and on the screen, and dives into the technicalities of writing stories, working with actors, camera angles, financing, and choosing music. He examines the hurdles facing first-time filmmakers, and shares learnings from his own experiences with overcoming obstacles in the film industry. Lee discusses how he has tried to impact culture with his movies, and urges students to be conscious of the relationship between their work and the world.

“There are no absolute truths in filmmaking and no one way to be a filmmaker,” said Lee, artistic director and professor of NYU’s Graduate Film Program. “I’ve learned in 30 years things that I can give back. I’m teaching this MasterClass because very few people get to sit in my classes at NYU, so this is an opportunity for me to share what I’ve learned with as many students as possible, no matter where they are in their film career.”

“Spike is one of the best in the world at telling stories that provoke and impact. His gift is using storytelling to tap into the heart of critical social and political issues, and still entertain. His films have changed American culture. They make us question ourselves and our values. They break rules and help launch careers of some of the world’s best actors and filmmakers. This class is for anyone who feels they have an important story to tell, and we’re honored to capture his mastery to continue to inspire generations to come.” —David Rogier, co-founder & CEO

Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy

Get ready to laugh while you learn with our newest MasterClass, Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy.

Judd Apatow has spent his entire life in pursuit of comedy—starting with his first job washing dishes at a local comedy club, just so he could watch the acts. Since then, he has become the producer, director, and writer behind the movies “Knocked Up”, “This is 40”, “Funny People,” and “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin” (co-written with Steve Carell). In addition, Apatow has produced many of Hollywood’s most successful comedic movies and TV shows including “Anchorman,” “Freaks and Geeks,” Oscar-nominated films “Bridesmaids” and “The Big Sick,” HBO’s Emmy Award-winning “Girls,” HBO’s “Crashing,” and Netflix’s “Love.” Judd’s signature comedic tone, which combines gut-busting raunchiness and heartfelt emotion, has left a lasting impression on comedy across stand-up, TV, and film. Apatow returned to his stand-up roots with the 2017 Netflix special, “The Return.”

In his first-ever online class, directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers films, Meet the Parents), Apatow will share lessons on how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct comedies that leave audiences laughing. Apatow’s creative process is rooted in treating comedies like dramas—with well-developed characters and storylines that can stand on their own without humor—and inserting them into hilarious situations. Students will learn his process through case studies and scene deconstructions, and get Apatow’s practical advice on how to pitch ideas and navigate the industry.

His class is currently available for pre-enrollment at

“I have been mentored by many great comedians in my life. If someone out there watches this class and it’s helpful in their development as a comic mind, and they can create something that makes the world a happier place, then I did something that I can be proud of.”—Judd Apatow

“Part of Judd’s genius is figuring out how to take that moment in your life where you wanted to hide, shrivel up, yell, or cry, and transform it into a story that makes you laugh and feel a little better about the world—and then helps you heal. He’s taught a generation of comedians how to do this, and is now teaching all of us.”—David Rogier, CEO and Co-Founder of MasterClass.

Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing

We are excited to announce our newest MasterClass, Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing!

Malcolm Gladwell, known for his non-fiction writing that captivates readers, has been a staff writer at The New Yorker for over two decades and has authored five New York Times Bestsellers: “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” “Outliers,” “What the Dog Saw,” and “David and Goliath.” Gladwell’s unique style of making unexpected connections across ordinary ideas has compelled millions of readers to devour complex topics like behavioral economics and performance prediction.

In his MasterClass, Gladwell shares the research and writing techniques that have made him a prolific non-fiction writer and master storyteller. Students will learn his approach to finding ideas in unusual places, structuring compelling narratives, and keeping readers engaged through every detail—including the art of the title and the role of semicolons. He also shares career tips for writers amassed over years in the industry—dealing with bad reviews, differentiating yourself as a writer, and identifying your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

His class is currently available for pre-enrollment at

“Writing has a higher purpose. It’s part of the way in which we fulfill ourselves as human beings, both in the words that we write and the words that we read. This class is a chance for me to reflect on my career and share the insights I’ve gleaned in a form that my students can use.”—Malcolm Gladwell

“Malcolm isn’t a scientist. He’s a storyteller who has been more effective in popularizing the social sciences than almost anyone else. His mastery is in weaving together facts with dramatic narratives to make any subject not just compelling, but perspective-altering. He’s a masterful writer and storyteller—and simply a brilliant teacher.” —David Rogier, MasterClass CEO and Co-Founder