Is Masterclass worth it? Find out in this 2021 Masterclass review. Plus, watch a FREE preview of its online classes for students.
I joined Masterclass in 2016 and I've spent dozens of hours taking its courses. In this review, I share my thoughts about this online learning platform for creative professionals.
I completed over a dozen of the Masterclass courses over the past few years by teachers like Steve Martin, Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson.
Alongside reading my impressions, you can also watch a Masterclass course preview. I also offer tips to help you answer the important question, “Is Masterclass worth it?”
Let's dive in:
- What is Masterclass?
- Who Owns MasterClass?
- Who are the Masterclass Instructors?
- Who is Masterclass For?
- What is a Masterclass Like?
- 2021 Updates to Masterclass
- How Much Does Masterclass Cost?
- How Masterclass Works
- The Masterclass App
- What Are Masterclasses Like?
- Which Masterclass Courses Should You Take?
- Reviews of 9 of the Best Masterclass Courses
- 1. David Sedaris Teaches Storytelling and Humor Review
- 2. Steve Martin Masterclass Review
- 3. Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass Review
- 4. Neil Gaiman Masterclass Review
- 5. David Lynch Masterclass Review
- 6. Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ Review
- 7. Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy
- 8. Bill Collins Teaches Reading And Writing Poetry
- 9. Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
- Pros and Cons of Masterclass
- Cons of Masterclass
- Masterclass vs. Some of the Alternatives
- Masterclass for Writers
- Is Masterclass Worth It?
- Video Review
- Why You Can Trust Us
- Our Testing Criteria
- FAQs About Masterclass
- Masterclass Resources
What is Masterclass?
Masterclass is a San Francisco based online learning platform for creative professionals.
Of course, you don’t have to travel to San Francisco to take a Masterclass. You can watch Masterclass courses using your computer or phone and consume the materials on the go. Just open the online class and get started.
As a student, you can learn
- Writing thrillers from the James Patterson masterclass
- The art of comedy from Steve Martin
- Filmmaking from Martin Scorcese
- Dramatic writing from David Mamet
- Screenwriting from Aaron Sorkin
- Acting from Helen Mirren and Samuel L. Jackson
- Directing from Ron Howard
- Dance music from Armin Van Buuren
- Gardening from Ron Finley's Masterclass
- Photography from Annie Leibovitz
- Advertising from Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein
- Mixing Cocktails, including a spin on the classic Bloody Mary cocktails from Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana
- A cooking enthusiast can learn how to incorporate sea urchin and white truffle into scrambled eggs from a great chef in Gordon Ramsay's masterclass.
The list goes on.
It is a great online learning experience from top creators you would not usually have access to.
Who Owns MasterClass?
Entrepreneur Aaron Rasmussen and film editor and director David Rogier started Masterclass in 2015.
Who are the Masterclass Instructors?
Masterclass instructors are celebrities and world-renowned experts in their craft, from filmmakers like Martin Scorcese to advertising gurus like Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein.
Who is Masterclass For?
Masterclass is for writers, photography enthusiasts, chefs, artists, musicians, painters, and creative professionals. It’s ideal for students who are happy to learn at their own pace using a computer.
This is an exciting niche.
Many of the other online courses I’ve taken help students learn business skills like marketing or a more practical skill like coding or web development basics.
Masterclass isn’t ideal for people who thrive in classroom environments and prefer a more hands-on approach from teachers.
(More on that later.)
What is a Masterclass Like?
I've taken a lot Masterclasses since joining.
Each instructor video averaged between five and 10 minutes, which was digestible enough for me to watch at lunch.
I’ve admired Steve Martin’s comedy and films over the years and took his course first. In this online course, he condenses everything he has learned about the craft of comedy and draws on many anecdotes from his colorful career.
That’s a lot of insights, as he’s in his 70s!
In the real world, it’s difficult to get access to quality materials like this.
Steve Martin’s Masterclass course contains 25 lessons. It took me several weeks to get through this course, but that’s only because I took a break when I got the flu.
The recommended background reading was helpful, particularly Martin’s autobiography.
However, I got less value from the community. (More on that later.)
The online learning portal has undergone several changes recently.
Let’s look at what’s new.
2021 Updates to Masterclass
I’ve been a member of Masterclass for several years now. Since I joined, Masterclass has rolled out numerous updates that should help students.
When I first joined Masterclass, it focused mostly on the craft of writing and the creative arts. These days Masterclass covers a range of categories including:
- Cooking and culinary arts
- Film and TV
- Music and entertainment
- Sports and games
- Design, photography, and fashion
- Business, politics, and society
- Science and technology
The Masterclass instructors in all of these areas are high caliber and household names.
- Chris Voss teaches the art of negotiation.
- Bob Iger at Disney teaches business strategy and leadership.
- RuPaul teaches self-expression and authenticity.
- Ron Finley’s Masterclass is about gardening.
- Annie Liebowitz teaches photography.
- Spike Lee teaches independent filmmaking.
- Werner Herzog teaches filmmaking.
- Hans Zimmer teaches film scoring.
- Deadmau5 teaches electronic music production.
- Aaron Franklin teaches Texas-style BBQ.
- Stephen Curry teaches basketball.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson teaches scientific thinking and communication.
Masterclass continues to regularly invest in and add new content to the learning platform so you can work through a course without running out of something new.
Now, you’d be eager to know this:
How Much Does Masterclass Cost?
A Masterclass annual membership pass costs $180 per year.
With this, you can access every single class on the learning platform and any new one that launches that year.
The annual membership pass comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for unhappy students.
Does Masterclass offer a discount?
No, Masterclass doesn’t offer discounts.
It’ll be interesting to see how Masterclass compares to other alternatives like Skillshare and Khan Academy in terms of price.
Masterclass pricing vs. alternatives
I picked Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, and Khan Academy for comparison.
Skillshare is available via these options:
- For free: You sign up on Skillshare with an email address, and it gives you access to every single class that is free on Skillshare mobile (iOS) and web.
- Premium Skillshare subscription: Costs $99 for a year, and gives you access to 20k+ Skillshare classes in their premium catalog, along with other features like offline viewing.
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)
This portal offers a one-month free trial. An annual subscription costs $19.99 per month.
All courses are free for use.
How Masterclass Works
A Masterclass course typically contains 25 video lessons. Each video is between five and 30 minutes long (most are around 10 minutes long).
In some cases, the teacher speaks straight to the camera. In others, the instructor works with their students’ efforts in front of the camera. Some Masterclass videos also include extracts from the teachers’ works.
You can take a Masterclass lesson online, watch them on your computer or phone using the Masterclass app.
Each one comes with background material, downloadable worksheets, and reading lists to peruse. You may just find your new favorite story.
MasterClass Annual Membership benefits
With an annual membership pass, you’ll be able to access every single class in Masterclass, and any new ones. You can watch any Masterclass lesson as many times as you’d like.
All you need to do is
- Login to your account
- Go to the class enrollment page for the course you want to enroll in
- Click “Take the Class”
- Click on the instructor tiles to find the enrollment pages
Each lesson provides a workbook that helpfully summarizes the key points in each video. Plus, the workbook provides additional reading materials and provides space to write lesson notes on the craft.
Although Masterclass doesn’t offer a membership for lifetime access, they always allow users to access the lesson workbook to each of the courses they’ve taken.
Masterclass emphasizes the community aspect of its online learning. They’ve created a Hub where you can engage in discussions and ask questions about the classes with fellow students.
You can also post some of your work.
For example, one student posted his lesson notes and takeaways from David Mamet’s rules for screenwriting.
Although I spent little time in the Hub, it’s a useful resource for students who value learning from other students.
Since I joined Masterclass, the team has rolled out many improvements to the Hub.
Masterclass also features office hours. Here, students can ask their teachers questions. For example, one student, John Zucker, asked Martin how to find your voice and received a reply.
A specialty of the annual membership pass is that if you pause watching a video lesson, it shows you suggestions of related segments from other courses.
This feature is almost similar to that offered by NetFlix and is called a Quick List. Using a quick list, editors compile a few classes related to the same theme.
So, if you were watching chef Gabriela Camara’s lesson on cooking Tacos al Pastor, you may be recommended a cooking lesson from another chef. For example, a lesson on knife skills from Gordon Ramsay's Masterclass, or a Masterclass video on Sous Vide cooking by chef Thomas Keller.
Masterclass has a feature called Snapshots, where they present a single class or lesson from the chosen Masterclasses straight in the app.
This will give you an idea of what a Masterclass looks like and if the teacher is right for you before you decide to invest hours of your time in a particular craft.
One particular snapshot worth watching is Creating the Illusion of Control by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator.
Now, let’s see if the Masterclass app is user-friendly or not.
The Masterclass App
The Masterclass app feels polished.
- It works on an Android, iPhone, and even an Apple TV. I used it on my iPhone and iPad while researching this review.
- You can speed up or slow down the hours of videos.
- It supports closed captioning or subtitles.
- You can select whether you want to watch a video or listen to audio. Masterclass will indicate if a particular online class is best suited to a video or audio format. It depends on whether the instructor is demonstrating something in front of the camera or talking straight to the camera.
What Are Masterclasses Like?
I took “Steve Martin Teaches Comedy” first because I wanted to learn how to inject more color and comedy into my writing. I’ve no desire to become a stand-up comedian, but I’ve always admired Martin!
Next, I took David Mamet’s Masterclass because I was interested in learning from a dramatic writer, and Mamet is a writer’s writer.
He is a more direct teacher than Steve but just as knowledgeable. In the first video, Mamet revealed this gem for screenwriting:
- Who wants what?
- What happens if they don’t get it?
- Why not?
I’ve watched most of Aaron Sorkin’s shows and films over the years, and I was more than happy to watch him reveal how he writes.
As you can see, I took most of the Masterclass writing classes as this is where my area of interest lies. You can easily keep track of different classes too.
Confused as to where to start?
Which Masterclass Courses Should You Take?
Over the past few years, Masterclass has broken out into other areas beyond writing and the creative arts.
Here are plenty of them:
- American tennis sensation Serena Williams teaches tennis as part of her Masterclass.
- Academy award-winning Hans Zimmer teaches film score.
- Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese teach filmmaking.
- Annie Leibovitz teaches her philosophy of photography in her photography masterclass.
- Chris Hadfield teaches space exploration.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson teaches scientific thinking.
- Garry Kasparov teaches chess.
- Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy) teaches TV writing.
- Stephen Curry teaches basketball.
- Herbie Hancock teaches jazz.
- Jimmy Chin teaches how to take breathtaking shots in his adventure photography masterclass.
And, herein lies one of the other issues with Masterclass. It’s hard to imagine a student will have an interest in all of these Masterclasses, no matter how great the topics are.
So while I found the writing classes useful, I’m unlikely to learn country music from Reba McEntire anytime soon, no matter how talented she is.
If you’re a writer, consider how well you know James Patterson’s works and if you want to write thrillers before you sign up for his class.
While you could take the “James Patterson Teaches Writing” Masterclass without knowing much about his books, you will learn far more if you’ve read some of his thrillers.
So, which Masterclasses should you choose?
Start by exploring the classes by structure, by discipline, or by topic.
A writer, for example, should take the following on Masterclass:
- James Patterson Teaches Writing
- David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
- Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
- Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
You’ll get tips and advice about writing your story, and you will hear in Malcolm’s lecture that your account will surely change as you continue to develop it. After these classes, writing thrillers will no longer look like a feat.
Meanwhile, a musician looking to advance her skill set is more likely to take “Deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production”, “Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz”, “Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing”, or “Usher Teaches the Art of Performance.”
If you’re still unsure about what Masterclass to buy on this online learning platform, ask yourself, “Do I like this teacher and his or her materials?”
After this video, I review my preferred Masterclass courses.
Reviews of 9 of the Best Masterclass Courses
These nine masterclasses inspired me in different ways.
1. David Sedaris Teaches Storytelling and Humor Review
I’ve read several of David Sedaris’s books over the past few years, including the popular book Me Talk Pretty One Day and his 2018 book Calypso. I enjoy David Sedaris’ essays and the way he always inserts color and humor into personal stories.
So I was delighted to see he’s released a Masterclass where he gives insights into his writing process and into how he finds ideas for his stories.
It’s 13 classes long and covers topics like David’s influences, how he became a writer, his revision philosophy, and how he starts and ends stories.
David reads extracts from his work aloud in this Masterclass and, in a bonus lesson, narrates an entire essay.
In this Masterclass, David speaks straight to the camera in a casual and laid back manner and talks about his influences. He also introduces his sister.
She talks about David’s writing and how it impacted their family life, which was fascinating to hear about.
David struck me as a likable guy, but I was particularly interested to hear about some of the sacrifices he’s made during his writing career. For example, he explains about all the late nights out that he skipped and the parties that he didn’t go to so he could write his essays.
He also talks about what it was like to get rejected as a young writer and eventually find a book deal.
Verdict: If you’re interested in writing stories or colorful pieces, Sedaris’s Masterclass compliments what Steve Martin teaches.
2. Steve Martin Masterclass Review
I took this Masterclass at the end of 2017, before writing this review. I was familiar with Martin’s comedy. I’ve read his autobiography Born Standing Up and watched a lot of his stand-up shows.
Martin was a teacher I could learn from.
In his Masterclass, Martin talks about how to find your comedic voice and how he writes and delivers jokes.
It was fascinating to hear Martin talk about his early days in comedy and how he got started. The comedian also provides several practical takeaways. For example,
“Don’t be intimidated starting with nothing. In fact, if you start with nothing, the workaround can lead you to originality.”
Martin’s workshop includes materials from aspiring comedians and turns some 5/10 jokes into 9/10 laugh-out-loud jokes.
This Masterclass was a fun insight into how the comedian Steve Martin approaches comedy writing. He also reflects on his career on stage and screen.
Each lesson was relatively short and included supporting PDFs, reading materials, and next steps. Martin is an engaging instructor too. If you take this class, I’d recommend reading his book Born Standing Up, so you have some context to what he teaches.
My biggest takeaway from Steve Martin’s Masterclass was how he learned to make peace with his failures and successes. He says:
“It was only until the late 80s, I kept thinking I was going to go away. But I never went away. So why am I wasting all that grief? I survived somehow by the skin of my teeth. Some of that is luck.”
Verdict: I recommend taking this masterclass if you want to improve your comedy writing skills or are a fan of Steve Martin’s work.
Read our Steve Martin Masterclass review
3. Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass Review
I took the Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing Masterclass almost as soon as they released it earlier in 2018. I write a lot of non-fiction and am a big fan of Gladwell’s work, including his books Blink and Outliers.
Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass is structured similarly to Steve Martin’s. I learned a lot about how Gladwell approaches his research and how he markets his writing and books. (Tip: don’t over-rely on Google!)
My biggest takeaway is what creatives put out into the world doesn’t belong to them once they press publish!
Gladwell said he found himself in a curious position when others often misconstrued the book’s ideas and arguments.
“Once you’ve written something, it no longer belongs to you. It belongs to your readers. When your readers buy your book, they really buy your ideas and your ideas become theirs.”
Verdict: I recommend taking this Masterclass class if you want to improve your research and non-fiction writing skills.
Read our Malcolm Gladwell Masterclass review
4. Neil Gaiman Masterclass Review
I started taking this writing Masterclass class earlier in 2019.
Amusingly, it’s set in a secluded cabin in the woods.
What better place to write a great novel than somewhere holed way from society with no interruptions?
Ok, so that’s not real life, but I enjoyed the look and feel of this class.
Anyhow, in the first lecture of the Masterclass class, Gaiman sums up exactly why I like Masterclass.
Gaiman is a professor of the arts at Bard College in New York, where he lectures about writing. Gaiman teaches 24-26 students a year, which he “loves.”
However, through Masterclass:
“I can say the same things that I would say to them to millions of people. I know there are millions of people who want to write because they come to me and they ask me…I try and answer those questions on Tumblr and on Twitter and on my blog. [Masterclass] just seems to me like an incredibly efficient way to say everything I have to say to everybody.”
Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling contains 19 lectures that cover everything from writer’s block (a myth!) to editing to the rules for writers.
The classes average between 14 and 25 minutes long. They also come with downloadable PDFs, writing exercises, and supplementary reading materials.
For example, one exercise in this Masterclass class offers the following task to students:
“Choose a page of writing you did recently—or use the story you rewrote in the first writing exercise of this chapter—and condense it by at least a third. If necessary, rewrite it completely, imagining a more economical way to tell the story.”
Verdict: If you want to write a novel or hone your storytelling or just enjoy Neil Gaiman’s baritone voice and ideas (what writer doesn’t?), start here.
Read our Neil Gaiman Masterclass review
5. David Lynch Masterclass Review
In 2019, Masterclass released this course with David Lynch. Each lesson in this Masterclass averages between fifteen and twenty-five minutes in length.
Although I’m not a filmmaker, I was interested to hear where Lynch, director of films like Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive, gets his ideas from.
David Lynch’s Masterclass is shot in a film studio that looks a little like one of his offbeat films (with creepy music and all).
Lynch is an upbeat teacher with an intriguing insight into the creative process. The Masterclass is broken up with snippets from his films and TV shows and art.
He covers topics like:
- Catching Ideas
- Creativity and the Writing Process
- Staying Through to Your Ideas
Verdict: David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film had less downloadable materials and PDFs than other Masterclasses.
However, I particularly enjoyed his bonus lecture about the power of transcendental meditation, even if he was short on specifics about how to get started with this practice.
Want to learn more? Read our full David Lynch Masterclass review.
6. Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ Review
In 2019, I traveled to Austin, Texas. The queue for the famous Franklin’s BBQ restaurant was over 90-minutes long. Over there, I tried beef brisket.
When back in Ireland, I took this Masterclass out of curiosity. I learned what goes into a good BBQ, what wood to use, and how to cook a decent steak on a grill.
Franklin prepares and cooks in front of the camera and even cracks open a beer at one point.
Verdict: It was a great cooking class, was fun, and a good alternative to the writing classes I usually take.
7. Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy
I enjoyed hearing about how Judd Apatow transitioned from writing stand-up comedy to screenwriting. He recounts how he came up with ideas for hit film like Trainwreck and Knocked Up and goes through his iterative writing process for each film.
Apatow also provides guidance about ideal writing habits for aspiring screenwriters and is a big believer in the vomit draft. I ended up watching a documentary about Garry Shandling after learning that he was Apatow's mentor.
He's one of the warmer, funnier teachers on Masterclass. Much like his films, this is a long one with some 32 lessons to watch!
Verdict: Ideal for comedy and screenwriters. An appreciation or understanding of Apatow's films helps.
8. Bill Collins Teaches Reading And Writing Poetry
I hadn't heard of Collins till enrolling and it took me a few weeks to get through all twenty video lessons. I learnt he wanted to be a poet since high school and began his career by following around with words.
I also enjoyed hearing about Collins' journey as a poet over the years. He offers some good advice about rejection and what to do when you finally get published.
I used some insights from Collins to write Haiku for my next book.
Verdict: an accessible poetry course for beginners.
9. Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
This is one of the shorter Masterclass video courses. I got through all 13 lessons in just over a week, by watching them at lunch.
Iger's Masterclass covers similar ground to his book. He recounts acquisitions of companies like Marvel and Pixar and properties like Star Wars.
I'm not sure if I learn much about becoming a corporate CEO (hardly my dream). I got more from his advice about the importance of brand value and how Disney views its identity. He also talks a little about focus and goal setting.
Verdict: a lot like Iger's autobiography. Also, quite short.
Now, what did I like and dislike?
Pros and Cons of Masterclass
Here’s my view on both sides of the coin.
Pros of Masterclass
I felt inspired to watch many of these great professionals talk about the creative process, their techniques, art, books, and more. In some cases, they were condensing a lifetime’s experiences.
Masterclass videos are also produced first-rate and are of high quality.
They are shot in high definition and tightly edited. If you’ve taken online courses, you know the quality of each Masterclass video and lesson materials vary. That’s not something you need to worry about here. It aims to become the Netflix of e-learning.
It regularly adds new materials from people at the top of their game, like the great course “Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing”, which I immediately added to my watch list.
However, they did remove “Dustin Hoffman Teaches Acting”, a great course in which this Oscar-winning actor gives you all of his best acting techniques.
Some of the best Masterclass courses for writers include:
- Neil Gaiman Teaches The Art of Storytelling
- Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
- Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
The best part?
Each online class and lecture is unique to the techniques and methods of the instructor.
I also liked the Masterclass App for the iPhone. It was easy to use, and I was able to save lessons as favorites, adjust the playback speed, and watch them over a cup of coffee at lunch.
Compared with other creative courses, Masterclass is also affordable. For example, you can spend thousands of dollars on an MFA.
Or you can spend several hundred dollars taking online writing classes. With Masterclass, you can start learning for as little as $180 a year.
Cons of Masterclass
The creators are going after a broad audience.
In some cases, I felt like the teachers were speaking to many people with different interests. Some of the classes felt like the teacher was riffing on the topic.
I’ve taken several in-person writing classes, and although I’m a believer in online learning’s power, it’s difficult to replace the one-to-one feedback you can get from a teacher in a classroom environment.
Unlike some online courses, it doesn’t allow users to download any video lesson. Still, for just $180 a year, I can’t complain.
Takeaway: Masterclass is a complement to, rather than a replacement for, other kinds of learning.
But, how does it compare to other alternatives available today?
Masterclass vs. Some of the Alternatives
I compared Masterclass with three of its competitors.
A. Masterclass vs. The Great Courses
The Great Courses offers college-level courses from noted professors and lecturers.
I’ve taken several of their courses over the years including:
- How to Listen to and Understand Great Music
- Great Masters: Beethoven – His Life and Music
- The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World’s Great Intellectual Traditions
I took these classes as I was researching my book The Power of Creativity and wanted to learn more about Beethoven (he’s featured in my book).
The Great Courses also offer several writing and storytelling courses.
- Like Masterclass, you can buy individual Great Courses from their site for approximately $39.99. They also offer a dedicated app.
- Unlike Masterclass, you can also purchase from Great Courses as part of your Audible annual subscription.
- Masterclass features celebrity instructors and creative professionals like Neil Gaiman. The Great Courses, on the other hand, features lecturers and academics who you probably won’t know.
- The courses in Great Courses are more academic.
- The courses on Great Courses are also much longer. A typical lecture on this online education platform is 35 to 40 minutes. I purchased one course from them that was over 35 hours long! A Masterclass lecture, on the other hand, is usually around five minutes long while the entire class takes an hour or two to complete.
B. Masterclass vs. CreativeLive
CreativeLive is an online education alternative to Masterclass for bloggers and entrepreneurs.
- CreativeLive offers more courses.
- However, Master class has higher profile instructors like Steve Martin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Neil Gaiman.
- Masterclass also covers topics like DJing with Roger Sanchez and cooking with chef Gordon Ramsay, which you’re unlikely to find on CreativeLive.
For more, read my CreativeLive review.
C. Masterclass vs. Udemy
If Udemy is the supermarket of online education portals, Masterclass is the Michelin restaurant.
- Udemy offers bargain-priced courses that cover everything from entrepreneurship to psychology to creative work.
- Anyone can create and sell a course on this online education platform. This means their materials vary in quality. Master class, on the other hand, features only celebrity instructors. They cover fewer topics than Udemy, but the quality of their materials is higher.
- Udemy also regularly discounts its courses, much like a supermarket. For example, I searched for writing classes on this online education platform and found several dozen discounted, even over 90%. On the other hand, Master class rarely has a sale.
And, if you’re a writer, Masterclass is an ideal investment in your craft.
Masterclass for Writers
On this online education platform, you get access to dozens of hours of training from creatives across genres and industries. And, the library of courses is regularly updated. I typically take one new Masterclass for writers course every three months.
This online education platform is targeted at creative professionals and breaks up the classes into several areas, including music and entertainment, photography, culinary arts, sports, and games.
They also have a dedicated section for writing classes. This section includes 12 writing Masterclasses. These are
- Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
- Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
- Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
- R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences
- Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
- Judy Blume Teaches Writing
- David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
- James Patterson Teaches Writing
- David Sedaris Teaches Storytelling and Humor (my next course for this review)
- Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of the Short Story
- David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
- Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry
- Judd Adatow Teaches Comedy
You’ll also find a specific niche topic like writing for TV in a course by Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy).
With an annual membership pass, you’ll have more than enough top writing classes to last the entire year.
Now for the million-dollar question:
Is Masterclass Worth It?
Over the past ten years, I’ve taken writing classes in a traditional classroom environment taking notes in a physical workbook, participated in weekly writing groups, and taken several online courses on topics like blogging. I even studied journalism in college.
In other words, I’ve tried lots of different kinds of online and offline learning classes to enhance my planning method and writing process.
Each style has its pros and cons. What you get out of them depends on how much time and money you can invest and what kind of learner you are.
Is Masterclass worth it for creatives?
Yes. I recommend Masterclass to creatives and professionals who utilize the creative process but are on a budget. Pick one course and see if this method is right for you.
The annual membership pass is useful if you plan to take more than one class this year, though it is a yearly Masterclass subscription and does not give you lifetime access.
If you don’t like it, take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee and not choose the subscription.
For a modest amount, you can invest in your craft and learn from current experts and Hollywood icons without spending thousands of dollars in a fancy MFA.
Masterclass is also useful for creative professionals who are further along in their careers but want to keep up by learning from the masters of their professions.
Whether you are a chef looking for new ways to use white truffle, part of a band of musicians interested in dance music, or a writer seeking a lecture on writing thrillers, Master class has a variety of courses to offer, each with a workbook for your benefit.
Think of it as a blend of YouTube, a structured online education platform, and NetFlix – you get a great learning experience that is highly entertaining as well!
Why You Can Trust Us
I’ve written and published dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications including, Forbes and Lifehacker. I'm also a best-selling non-fiction author, a trained journalist and copywriter.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars taking writing courses in college and online. I consider taking courses on platforms like Masterclass a key part of my development as a writer and online entrepreneur. I also sometimes commission other writers to review these courses to get another point of view.
Our Testing Criteria
We became a Masterclass customer in 2017. We regularly update this Masterclass review as new courses are released. Along with the help of a team of writers, we take and review popular Masterclass courses on mobile and desktop devices and even on TV. We take notes about these courses, consider who they’re for and their strengths and weaknesses.
FAQs About Masterclass
Can I watch Masterclass on my TV?
Yes. Use a Google Chromecast with the Masterclass app or the dedicated Apple TV app. Masterclass is also available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku devices.
Can I watch Masterclass on an Apple TV?
Yes, Masterclass has a dedicated app for 4th Generation Apple TV devices.
How long is each class on Masterclass?
Some of the older Masterclass lectures last for five to ten minutes. A class lasts one to four hours. You can adjust the playback speed of a lecture. The newer ones, like Neil Gaiman’s, are longer. One lesson I took was approximately 30 minutes.
Is there any writing Masterclass for children?
R.L. Steine teaches how to write for young audiences.
Does Masterclass offer classes in basic programming or coding?
No. They emphasize softer creative skills, like writing, music, cooking, and so on.
Why is Masterclass so expensive?
Arguably, it’s not. An annual membership pass costs about $180. Many premium online courses costs over $2000.
How can I cancel Masterclass?
You can cancel via your account settings before your annual membership pass expires. They also have a 30-day refund policy. Email support at email@example.com or cancel via the settings section in your account.
Can you pay for Masterclass monthly?
Masterclass offers an annual membership pass that costs $180 per year.
The Bottom Line
Masterclass is worth it if you want to learn from creative professionals at the top of their game, at a pace that suits you. The materials are first-class and you'll learn a lot.
- Offers access to top-level creators, writers and artists
- Includes succinct materials
- Produces high-quality video
- Posts new courses regularly
- High-calibre instructors
- Excellent Masterclass mobile app
- Not all classes are relevant to everyone
- Technical students should stay away
- Community forums are hit and miss
- Students need an affinity with their teacher