Want to break into the filmmaking industry? In this Issa Rae MasterClass review, we explain what you can learn and if it’ll help you reach your career goals.
Are you thinking about getting a job in the film industry? Or, maybe you’re a big dreamer, and you’re looking to become the next million-dollar filmmaker. If so, there are few people more qualified to help you reach your professional goals than Issa Rae.
She broke into the film industry in 2007, and today, she stars in movies such as Little, Barbie, and Spiderman. The best part is that she never had connections within the industry, nor did she rely on family fortunes to reach her filmmaking goals.
In her early career, Rae started creating shows in college and built an audience on her social channels. She leveraged this success to land a job in Hollywood to become the famous actor and filmmaker she is today.
So if you’re also looking to break into Hollywood but don’t know where to start, this Issa Rae MasterClass is for you. Below, I’ll talk about what sets this MasterClass apart from the rest and what lessons you can expect to learn. Wondering if it’s worth the money? Read our review to find out.
- Who Is Issa Rae and Why Should Take Her MasterClass?
- Who Is This MasterClass For?
- What Is Issa Rae’s MasterClass Like?
- How Much Does Her Course Cost?
- What I’ve Learnt From the Issa Rae MasterClass
- My Testing Criteria
- Why You Can Trust Me
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Who Is Issa Rae and Why Should Take Her MasterClass?
Born on January the 12th, 1985, Jo-Issa Rae Diop, also known as Issa Rae, is an American screenwriter, actress, comedian, and producer. Rae made a name for herself in 2007 when she created Dorm Diaries, a series about what it’s like to be black at Stanford University.
She released her second series in 2009, titled Fly Guys Represent “The ‘F’ Word,” and her popularity skyrocketed. This early success showed that she could communicate directly to a large audience through YouTube and Facebook. There was no need for a production company and millions of dollars in capital.
This is the primary message she’s trying to communicate in her MasterClass. If you’re an aspiring actor, writer, or producer, you shouldn’t wait for someone to notice your talent. With a basic camera and a few friends, you can create fantastic shows and promote them to millions of people on social media.
Who Is This MasterClass For?
This MasterClass is a must for anyone looking to enter the film industry. You’ll learn about Rae’s filmmaking journey, what she had to go through, and how she overcame common industry pitfalls. This means that whether you’re a writer, director, actor, or producer, you can take a lot of value away from Rae’s MasterClass.
What Is Issa Rae’s MasterClass Like?
This MasterClass is two hours and 17 minutes long and divided into 14 lessons. These lessons include:
- Meet Your Instructor: Issa Rae: 05:40
- Finding Your Voice & Inspiration: 12:19
- Developing Your Story: 14:55
- Insecure Plot Blueprint: Characters & The Why: 12:01
- Insecure Plot Blueprint: Conflict And Series Setup: 09:25
- Creating Characters Grounded In Reality: 11:07
- Constructing Multidimensional Characters: Insecure: 07:18
- Interpreting Feedback & Evolving Your Story: 12:11
- Getting Your Stories Out There: 10:37
- Resourcefulness Is Everything: 08:15
- Collaborating With Like-Minded Creatives: 09:57
- Empowering Yourself & Those Around You: 07:24
- Diversify Your Skills: 09:20
- Pep Talk: You Ready to Do This?: 07:20
You can also download her PDF class guide, which details her life lessons and secrets to success.
How Much Does Her Course Cost?
To watch the Issa Rae MasterClass, you’ll have to sign up for an annual MasterClass pass, which costs $180. With this annual pass, you can access courses from other famous writers and filmmakers like James Cameron, David Lynch, Jodie Foster, and Werner Herzog.
What I’ve Learnt From the Issa Rae MasterClass
Are you thinking about signing up for Rae’s MasterClass? Awesome! Here’s a teaser of the main lessons I learned from her.
Mine Your Life For Material
The first thing I learned from Rae is that we, content creators, should mine our lives for material. This has been the backbone behind her success. Most of her inspiration comes from experiences in her everyday life.
Writing a story doesn’t start when you sit down at your desk. It begins when you wake up every morning and go about your day. Maybe your friend told you something dramatic that happened in their personal life. Or, you overheard a conversation on the bus while traveling to work. Remember to note down these interactions and then use this as a starting point to build your own story. You could even combine two events from your day-to-day life and build a story around them.
For example, let’s say you meet someone new to your city, and they are struggling to make friends and find purpose in their lives. You could use this as inspiration and tell a story about a young adult moving to another city, but it doesn’t live up to their expectations when they get there.
Read Other People’s Work
Rae also mentions that reading other people’s work brought her the most success in her career. This is especially true if you’re new and trying to create a hit show or land a job at a Hollywood studio.
You’ll see from page to page how most scripts are similar in terms of when the rising action starts and how the conflict is set up. After reading enough successful scripts, you’ll start to notice a blueprint.
This blueprint will allow you to create movies that hook your audiences’ attention. You can deviate from this script and add your spin, but this template is often enough. Storytellers have been using it since the first movie was made in 1895 and will continue to use it hundreds of years from now.
Consistency Is Key
You’ve probably heard the cliche, “Consistency is key,” thousands of times. However, Rae gives you a different view of consistency and shows you how to use it to almost guarantee success. If you’re creating content that people would take time out of their day to watch, and you do this regularly, you’ll achieve your career goals much faster than you think.
The hardest part is creating content that people want to watch. So Rae recommends you keep learning by reading screenwriting books and improving daily. Rae’s favorites are Screenwriting for Dummies by Laura Schellhard and Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder.
Utilize Existing Contacts
Marketing your show is one of your biggest struggles, particularly at the beginning of your filmmaking career. Because you’re self-publishing, you can’t rely on studios to market your show. Rae suggests asking people in your social circle to watch your show and getting them to share it with their friends.
She also recommends using the internet to your advantage. There are hundreds of tutorials online showing you how to market your show. You could post it on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
Once your shows gain traction and you’ve landed a job, you’ll have to deal with professional actors. Before this stage, you probably asked friends and family to act in your show. So when you start working with professionals, it can seem intimidating, but Rae recommends being patient.
For example, when Rae ran auditions for Insecure, it took her almost two months to find the perfect actor to play Lawrence and Molly. She didn’t rush the audition process and continued to audition hundreds of actors. Always remember that it’s better to delay the shooting of your movie and find the right team to work with instead of dealing with a crew that doesn’t want to be there.
Expand Your Brand
A major part of being creative is trying new things. This is why Rae greatly advocates diversifying your skills and not putting everything in one basket. For instance, Rae started in filmmaking, acting, and screenwriting, but she founded a record label, and within that record label is a music supervision company. She also invested in a coffee shop because it’s where most of her writing takes place.
So don’t be afraid to pivot and find other areas where your creativity can thrive. If you’re a screenwriter, you could attend acting classes, and this new perspective of filmmaking can benefit your writing.
My Testing Criteria
I spent six hours reviewing this MasterClass and testing it to see how it can empower the lives of creatives. During this time, I used these criteria to make my decision easier:
Ease of learning: The first thing I considered when reviewing this MasterClass is how easygoing Rae’s teaching style is.
Knowledge: Next, I wrote down everything I learned from Rae and analyzed her lessons to understand if her advice benefited my creative process.
Real-world exercises: I completed all the assignments Rae prescribed in this MasterClass to gain screenwriting practice and discover how it translates into the real world.
Additional tips: This MasterClass is primarily for screenwriters, but I also reviewed how well her knowledge would transfer to other writing styles.
Why You Can Trust Me
MasterClass has been a fundamental part of my writing process for the last two years. My work improved significantly since I started watching MasterClass courses regularly, allowing me to complete more articles in less time.
During these classes, I learned about unique writing habits and techniques these creatives use that I won’t find anywhere else. This is why I watch at least a handful of MasterClass videos every week. This experience with MasterClass has given me an in-depth understanding of the platform and standard of teaching to expect.
Issa Rae Teaches Creating Outside the Lines
The Bottom Line
If you’re part of the filmmaking industry, then this MasterClass is a must. This is the first MasterClass I’d suggest watching because it covers all aspects of filmmaking. Rae also talks about how to build your career and deal with the corporate world.
However, if you’re an author, poet, or freelance writer, I won’t recommend watching Rae’s MasterClass. For instance, if you’re an author, I recommend watching James Patterson’s MasterClass instead.
- She covers many topics that can benefit writers, directors, actors, and filmmakers
- You’ll learn what brought her success and what mistakes she made
- The PDF workbook details Rae’s life lessons more thoroughly
- She talks about her screenwriting blueprint
- You’ll find out how she built her successful career
- I found her classes a little hard to follow because she tends to skips between points
- It’s most suited for those working in film