Masterclass Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking, Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting,
I would like to thank the Estate of Bruce Davey, as well as the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, for providing the resources for me to take professional development courses this summer on creativity and movie-production, a subject which greatly interests me.
Martin Scorsese is the prolific director of films such as Goodfellas, The Departed, Cape Fear, and Gangs of New York. Scorsese’s class was in some regards a biographical re-telling of his life growing up in Little Italy in the 1950’s and how he started his career at NYU as an independent filmmaker. Helped along with personal anecdotes of Scorsese’s struggles, experimentations, successes, and failures, the class touched on various subjects of interest, from drawing inspiration from everyday life, to working with actors and crew and choosing locations, as well as the processes of editing and sound design.
Aaron Sorkin is the screen-writer of films such as Steve Jobs and The Social Network as well as the award-winning TV series, The West Wing. I found Sorkin’s class to be more personal and interesting than Scorsese’s. Sorkin emphasized a character driven approach to story-making and dialogue. “Intention and Obstacle,” he says. “What does each character want, what is standing in their way?” Anything besides that is either irrelevant or will reveal itself organically as a part of the story. Additionally, I found Sorkin’s description of his writing process, walking and driving around or listening to music to draw motivation for scenes, to be oddly relatable and greatly inspiring.
While I originally chose to take these courses out of an interest in independent film-making, I do not see myself pursuing a career in this field. As someone who grew up as an avid reader and movie-watcher, I felt compelled to learn more about the creative process of some of the things that I love and enjoy. Though I have not attempted to make (or planned to make) an amateur film, these classes have inspired me to partake more in creative writing.
I have always considered it important to develop one’s personality in the creative sense, whether through making or playing music, writing, or the arts. Both Scorsese’s and Sorkin’s classes have inspired me to write fiction more frequently and deliberately, and the skills I have learned, particularly from Aaron Sorkin’s screen-writing class, have given me a greater sense of confidence in my writing.
One again, I would like to thank the Estate of Bruce C. Davey, the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for providing me with this opportunity. I am grateful that this program exists and helps Williams students in pursuing their passions with career-advancing opportunities.