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Martin Barrett
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Werner Herzog Masterclass

Werner Herzog MasterClass Review: Is It Worth It?

Werner Herzog is a world-renowned director, writer, actor, and producer – known for his work in the realms of dramatic and documentary filmmaking at the Cannes Film Festival, and most recently as the mysterious Imperial ‘Client’ in Disney’s The Mandalorian

Renowned for his forthright attitude, his relaxed, colorful German accent, and his commanding cinematic presence, Herzog is a living legend amongst filmmakers and one who has always boasted a unique, somewhat renegade approach to this popular art form. 

But what exactly can prospective students learn from his MasterClass, and is the whole process worth it? 

Let’s find out if this detailed Werner Herzog MasterClass review what Werner Herzog introduces during watching films, documentary films, and film production.

Who Is Werner Herzog?

Werner Herzog is a German film director, but an important film director alive who has worked within the industry for several decades – known perhaps most notably for his long-standing working relationship with the infamous, controversial actor Klaus Kinski. 

Herzog has consistently pushed the boundaries of modern cinema and has become somewhat notorious for his approach to filmmaking, which has often consisted of employing barely legal (or downright illegal, in some cases) tactics to get the shots and permissions he might require for the film in question. 

Renowned for his unconventional methods, and somewhat guerilla approach, in the very trailer for the course, Herzog states that he finds storyboarding to be the ‘instrument of the cowards’ – perhaps giving a subtle hint at his wider working ethos. 

What Does The Course Teach?

Students who embark upon Werner Herzog’s MasterClass course will learn many things from the famed director, many of which he claims will not be taught at conventional film schools – or in any other organized institution. 

The themes behind his lessons and what Werner Herzog’s masterclass offers are below: 

  • Learning to tell stories – by watching movies. 
  • Learning to tell stories – by reading books. 
  • Writing a script. 
  • Financing your first film – highlighting possible unconventional methods to do so. 
  • Negotiation skills – which Herzog himself has described almost as a heist, wherein it is your role as the filmmaker to get away with the ‘treasure’ of the film. 
  • Location scouting. 
  • Leading a large group of people effectively – something that isn’t taught in conventional film schools. 
  • Developing a shooting strategy. 
  • Learning basic cinematography. 
  • Learning basic camera techniques. 
  • Working with actors to create characters. 
  • Working on active sets. 
  • Recording sound effectively. 
  • Editing recorded film. 
  • Recognizing inspiration when it strikes. 
  • Editing documentaries. 
  • Effectively communicating ‘difficult’ stories. 
  • Truth in non-fiction. 
  • Life as a filmmaker. 
  • Planning a film career. 

What Are The Benefits Of This Course? 

Perhaps more than any other MasterClass, this one really seems to offer the most benefits to prospective filmmakers. 

Unconventional Wisdom

Herzog is known for his unconventional approach, and his wisdom is very much in the same vein. 

This course can be a great way of unlocking your inner filmmaker – not in the sense of recognizing talent for the role (as this should already be, and probably is, present), but instead learning how to navigate difficult societal systems that can often be the bane of the artist. 

Herzog states that his aim is not to create paint-by-numbers filmmakers, but rather create determined individuals who will move heaven and earth to get the shots they need. 

Plenty Of Content

Werner Herzog MasterClass Review: Is It Worth It? 1

Not only does Herzog offer one of the largest courses on MasterClass, but they are also fairly long compared to other speakers. Many of his lessons run for between 15-20 mins, which means you are getting far more content than you do for others. 

Better Value

With this, there also comes better value for money. This is because you are not only getting more lessons, but you are also getting longer sessions – meaning that you are getting far more than you would with other courses on MasterClass

This means that filmmakers with the inclination and the financial means could quite easily check out this course, and then cancel their subscription if they felt like it. 


As a course shared with like-minded people, there is also the potential for networking and collaboration with other students. While you might not be in the same geographical location, this could start something special that could one day lead to a shared project. 

A Master’s Class

Werner Herzog teaches filmmaking from his perspective, you would also be receiving expert tutelage from one of the most famous and revered filmmakers in the world – and not too many film students can say that. 

While this is by no means in person – nor is it a one-to-one experience – it is still a great chance to take advantage of the pearls of wisdom that Herzog is delivering. 

Are There Any Downsides To The Course?

The downsides of this course definitely seem to be outweighed by the positives, but there are still some things that should be considered. 

The Cost

Of course, there is still a cost for the course, and MasterClass does not offer a free trial period within which to sample classes of film school. 

They have a tiered payment scheme that seems to favor the family packages over the individual users – working out cheaper for groups rather than single users – which could be difficult for filmmakers who are low on funds, or who need to be careful with their money. 

While the information provided will undoubtedly be great, it is worth bearing in mind that no one person has the answers when it comes to achieving perceived greatness – nor will the course provide you with the magical opportunity for success that all creatives secretly long for. 

You are paying for a perspective, and it is down to the individual to consider whether the price for said perspective is too high for them. 

Content Duration

We know we discussed the duration as being positive – and it is, compared with other courses – however, it is still relatively short for a class, particularly one you have to pay a subscription fee for. 

This is where it might be worth working out your immediate goals, and what it is you want to get from the course. If it is something you can get elsewhere for cheaper, for free, or indeed work out yourself in your own way, then why not take those approaches instead? 

So, Is It Worth It? 

This is never an easy answer because it very much depends on what the individual student wants to get from the course. 

Speaking from the perspective of content, you could probably find similar (if not the same) information