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Layla Acharya
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James Cameron masterclass review

James Cameron Masterclass Review – Detailed Review

MasterClass is an online course system where you learn from A-listers of various industries. Today, we’ll focus on James Cameron, who, as we all know, is one of the most legendary filmmakers. If you’re a fan or want to learn more about the art of filmmaking, This James Cameron Masterclass review course might be just the right one for you.

James Cameron is an award-winning director and filmmaker. He’s also one of the creators of the popular series Avatar. Being one of the best and most innovative creators in the filmmaking industry, he’s undoubtedly capable of teaching you a lot about the field. 

In this article, we will discuss James Cameron’s video classes on the MasterClass platform. We’ll present an overview of the class and discuss its pros and cons to help you decide if you should dedicate time to the course.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Who is James Cameron

James Cameron masterclass review

One of the heavyweights in the entertainment business, Director James Cameron has made some of our generation’s most ground-breaking commercial movies, such as Terminator 1 and 2, Judgment Day, True Lies, and  Aliens. He is also the man behind Hollywood’s two of the top-grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic.

In 1979, James Cameron started his career in the filmmaking industry when he became a production assistant in a film called Rock and Roll High School. He didn’t get any credit for the said movie, but working on the film set introduced him to filmmaking in a more structured environment. 

He immersed himself in low-budget projects and continued familiarizing himself with different filmmaking techniques. He got the job as an art director in a film called Beyond the Stars in 1980. From there, he went on to do set designs for movies like Galaxy of Terror (1981), Escape from New York (1981), and Android  (1982).

During his work as the special effects director for the film The Piranha 2- The Spawning (1981), Cameron was food poisoned, which led him to take a quick break for the said project. He had a nightmare with a preeminent robot hitman sent from the future to destroy him. Thus, Terminator was born. 

Cameron was then set to direct the sequel to Alien in 1979. The movie sequel Aliens (1986) was a hit and critically applauded, earning $90 million. From then on, award-winning movies like True Lies, Titanic and Avatar came to life through James Cameron’s outstanding directing skills, earning him over 30 awards at the time of writing. 

James Cameron’s journey in the entertainment industry indeed gives him the credibility of teaching rookies and even professionals how to better their craft. 

Overview of the Class

Masterclass Filmmaking with James Cameron

James Cameron’s Masterclass has 15 high-quality pre-video lessons that run for 3 hours and 20 minutes. Director James shares his filmmaking journey from nothing to something in this course. Also, he conveys his creative thought process alongside some explanation of the breakdown of video scenes from his renowned films.

The 15 topics discussed throughout the whole course are:

  1. Meet Your Instructor: James Cameron
  2. Pursuing and Developing the Idea
  3. Toying With the Audience: Building and Releasing Tension
  4. THE TERMINATOR Club Scene Breakdown
  5. ALIENS Egg Chamber Breakdown
  6. ALIENS Newt Introduction Scene Breakdown
  7. The Art of Low-Budget Filmmaking
  8. THE TERMINATOR Arm and Eye Repair Breakdown
  9. From Sketch to Spectacle: Creating Set Pieces
  10. THE TERMINATOR Future World Breakdown: Creating a Set Piece on a Budget
  11. Crafting and Introducing Compelling Characters
  12. TITANIC Rose Introduction Breakdown
  13. Developing Dread Through Adversaries
  14. AVATAR Creating Technology
  15. Making Your Way and Leading With Passion

With all the hard-earned knowledge that James shares in this course, you’re expected to learn the filmmaking rules, different techniques to produce a great movie, role explanations of the film score, sound design, lens selection, and lights, and some tips and tricks to master the trade of filmmaking. 

Pros and Cons

Are James Cameron Masterclass Lessons Worth it?


Some advantages to expect when taking this course are:

  • Learn from the Legend

It’s safe to say that James Cameron is a legend in the filmmaking industry. His outstanding remark as a movie director earned him over 30 plus awards at the time of writing. Who wouldn’t want to learn from an exceptional filmmaker like him?

  • Breaking down videos with an explanation of the thought process

James’ teaching style makes this course one of the most highly-rated courses on MasterClass. He shares many ideas, breaks down film scenes from movies he has directed, and carefully explains why and how he came up with that specific part of the movie.


On the other hand, there are also a few things about the course which could have been better, such as:

  • Demonstration videos are more on Terminator and The Alien

Yes, it’s undeniable that Terminator and The Alien are two of James Cameron’s best-directed films. However, they were both made in the ’80s, and production techniques have changed significantly since then. That said, it would have been helpful to include scenes from his later collection in the demonstration videos. 

  • Not for beginners

If you’re thinking of taking this course to start your filmmaking journey, this course might not be very suitable for you. James doesn’t teach filmmaking basics in his class. Take it only if you have some knowledge. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to chew all that information.

Who is This Class for

James Cameron Masterclass Lessons

As the quote says, “No one size fits all.” Having said that, this course might be a game-changer for some, yet not offer the same value to others. 

So, who should take this class?

If you’re a filmmaking rookie with basic knowledge in this field, you are eligible to take this course. This will help you widen your horizons and learn top-caliber guides to help upscale your craft.

For those who are advanced or professionals, you can still have great value in learning from this curriculum since it’s James Cameron we are talking about here. Thus, allowing you to gain new ideas and tips from the master. 

On the other hand, if you’re thinking of starting your journey in filmmaking but haven’t gone into basic training, this might not be suitable for you. As mentioned earlier, the topics discussed are focused on filmmaking technicalities. You can get external primary filmmaking training and learn the basics first.

How Much Does the Class Cost

With MasterClass, you have three options. You can avail of the solo plan, which allows one device to access the website for $180.

If you want to share the subscription with a friend, you should avail yourself of the duo plan that costs $20 per month, paid yearly. This enables two devices to access the website simultaneously. On top of that, you’re also eligible to download the videos and PDF workbooks provided on every course. 

The family plan, which is $23 per month on an annual contract, is ideal for family use as it allows six devices. Like the duo plan, it also lets you download videos and workbooks for future reference.

Each subscription plan mentioned above gives you one year of access to all the courses offered on the website under any field of expertise. In addition to James Cameron’s Masterclass, you can watch over a hundred more courses.

Users’ Experience 

Masterclass Lessons with James Cameron

Here’s what users have shared online rewarding James Cameron’s class on MasterClass.

I think, what stood out for me the most is that it is a combination of theory, like him sitting in a chair, talking about his advice tips. But, it’s pretty much connected and nicely wrapped together with practical things. So, he literally goes into the video editing room, plays his movies for us, takes a scene and breaks the scene down. I find this absolutely fascinating because I could see his thinking process. Also, he comments on every single decision he makes in that scene. I definitely recommend this class—10 out of 10 in my rating. Therefore, go, get it. 

-Nicole Ven (Comment from Youtube)

 I personally think it’s the strongest masterclass for filmmaking I’ve seen so far.

-Davy McCall (Comment from Facebook)

James Cameron’s MasterClass is very interesting so far. He takes you shot by shot into the editing of some of his sequences to break down how he builds those moments. 

-Bitter Script Reader (Comment from Twitter)

This James Cameron Masterclass, I swear, is the best video series on filmmaking I’ve ever seen. At least in terms of conventional time honored film making techniques!

-Comment from Twitter