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Ron Howard Masterclass Review 2024: Is It Worth It?



Ron Howard MasterClass

Embarking on a journey into the world of cinema can seem daunting, particularly without a mentor.

That’s where the opportunity to learn from the Oscar-winning director and legend like Ron Howard through his MasterClass comes into play.

With an impressive career spanning multiple decades and genres, Howard has etched his name into the annals of filmmaking history.

But the question remains: Is his MasterClass worth your time and investment?

In this comprehensive review, we aim to demystify the Ron Howard MasterClass, delving into its content, structure, and benefits.

We will explore the value it offers to aspiring filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts, the skills it imparts, and the unique insights it provides into Howard’s cinematic philosophy and techniques.

Whether you’re a seasoned film veteran looking to refresh your skills or a novice dreaming of your directorial debut, our review is designed to help you make an informed decision about this educational resource.

So, does this MasterClass hold up under the spotlight?

Let’s find out.

Pros and Cons of Ron Howard Masterclass


  • Learn from an acclaimed expert with great teaching skills​.
  • Gain insight into working relationships​​.
  • Understand the importance of story​.
  • Great case studies to learn from​​.
  • Captions in Spanish and German, making it accessible to a wider audience​​.
  • Ron Howard uses his movies and other people’s movies as examples, providing real-world context to the lessons​​.
  • Ron Howard is passionate about filmmaking, and it shows this in his teaching​​.
  • Provides in-depth analysis on “Frost/Nixon” which could be enlightening for students​.
  • Takes time to really teach you, ensuring you grasp the concepts thoroughly​​.


  • Occasionally uses unexplained jargon, which could be confusing for some students​.
  • Some lessons are longer and in a lecture style, which may not be engaging for all students​.
  • The length of the course might be too long for some people​​.
  • The workbook provided isn’t very detailed, which could affect the learning experience​.

Ron Howard Teaches Directing Masterclass Features & Benefits


  • 32 video lessons spanning 7 hours and 48 minutes of content covering different aspects of directing​​.
  • A 20-page workbook and a Community Hub for collaborative learning​​.
  • Lessons on finding a story you love, casting the right actors, refining a script, understanding camera techniques, and team collaboration​.
  • Detailed lessons on evaluating and refining a script, including asking valid questions about the script, using checklists to rate key components, testing ideas, understanding narrative and importance of the story, and collaborating on rewrites​​.
  • Case studies on story inspiration, with specific references to Ron Howard’s films, “Splash” and “Cinderella Man.”
  • A comprehensive guide on developing a film, from finding writers and building project momentum to overcoming hurdles and making strategic choices​.


  • Become great at understanding filmmaking by learning from a specialist renowned for exceptional instruction.
  • Delve into the intricacies of collaborations in movie production.
  • Understand the importance of storytelling in filmmaking, with practical examples from successful films.
  • Learn even more with access to great case studies for a deeper understanding of the filmmaking process​.
  • The class offers a great balance of theory and practical demonstrations, making it suitable for anyone interested in filmmaking, writing, or acting​​.

Who is Ron Howard?

Ron Howard sitting on a chair

Ron Howard, born Ronald William Howard on March 1, 1954, is a household name in the American film industry.

He is renowned for his work as an academy award-winning filmmaker, director, producer, screenwriter, and actor.

Howard first stepped into the limelight as a child actor, with notable roles including Opie Taylor in the sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show” and Richie Cunningham in “Happy Days.”

In 1980, Howard pivoted his career to focus more on directing, producing, and writing.

His directorial repertoire boasts a variety of genres, from comedies like “Night Shift” and “Splash” to biographical dramas like “A Beautiful Mind” and “Frost/Nixon.”

His forays into historical films, such as “Apollo 13” and “In the Heart of the Sea,” have also garnered widespread acclaim.

Howard is further recognized for directing the children’s fantasy film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and the Robert Langdon film series, including “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons.”

His work extends to the documentary genre too, with titles like “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” and “Pavarotti” under his belt​.

Howard’s achievements are well-decorated.

He received the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for “A Beautiful Mind,” and his work on “Frost/Nixon” landed him further nominations for the same awards.

In 2003, he was honored with the National Medal of Arts, and a decade later, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

With two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Howard’s contributions to the television and motion picture industries are unmistakably profound​​.

Beyond the Camera: Exploring Ron Howard Directing MasterClass

Ron howard explaining something to the crew

Ron Howard’s MasterClass offers an insightful exploration into the world of directing, illuminating various aspects of this complex and exciting field.

There are as many as 32 lessons in Ron Howard’s Masterclass.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll group these lessons into 5 main logical sections and provide their quick overview, drawing upon insights gleaned from Howard’s decades-long career in the film industry.

Introduction to directing

The Masterclass begins with an engaging and absorbing introduction, wherein Howard narrates his journey from child actor to acclaimed director.

He shares his love for directing films, referring to it as the “creative problem-solving” technique.

Howard emphasizes the importance of storytelling through filmmaking and posits that the director is the ultimate “keeper of the story.”

He insightfully remarks that every film is unique with its own set of challenges, making the job of a director one that can never be truly mastered​​.

How to choose a story

The second section is focused on guiding learners on how to select a story for their films.

He advises students to offer fresh content that would be worthy of the audience’s time and money.

Howard underscores the importance of originality and innovation in filmmaking.

He also shares tips on capturing the audience’s attention and understanding their perspective.

Using examples of hit films, he dissects the factors that contributed to their success.

Scripting, developing, and working with cinematographers and the crew

In the third section, Howard dives deep into the fundamentals of writing a script.

He provides tips on aligning scripts with audience expectations and discusses the development process of a film.

Howard emphasizes the vital role of the relationship between the director and cinematographer in the success of a film, explaining how the director’s vision and the cinematographer’s perspective combine to shape the final product.

His perspective reveals that filmmaking is truly a collaborative effort, contrary to the common belief that the director is the sole driving force behind a movie.

Collaboration & research

The subsequent section delves into the importance of collaboration and research in filmmaking.

Howard explains that a director needs to work closely with various departments, including the writing team, actors, and technical crew.

He encourages a culture of open dialogue and mutual respect to foster a positive working environment.

In terms of research, Howard underlines its role in ensuring the film’s authenticity and relatability.

Editing, designing, and scoring

In this section, Howard introduces students to the post-production process, including editing, designing, and scoring.

He emphasizes the importance of editing in shaping the narrative and pacing of the film.

He discusses how designing elements like costumes and sets contribute to the film’s aesthetic and mood.

Howard also explains how music scoring can enhance the emotional resonance of a movie.

In addition to the lessons, Howard’s Masterclass offers valuable practical knowledge, detailed explanations, and helpful suggestions.

It brings to light the importance of continuous learning and growth in the dynamic field of filmmaking.

Howard’s Masterclass, thus, serves as an enlightening journey into the world of directing, providing students with a nuanced understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking.

The Masterclass also includes resourceful workbooks in PDF formats to supplement your learning experience and provide fun tasks and assignments to apply what you’ve learned.

Additionally, it features a student-dedicated community forum, allowing participants to share feedback, ask questions, and engage in discussions about the course.

What I Liked About Ron Howard’s Masterclass on Directing

Ron Howard working with cameramen

Emphasis on collaboration

What resonated with me about this course was Ron’s clear emphasis on collaboration.

He offered insightful strategies on creating a balanced working environment, using examples from his own experiences when working on films like “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13″​​.

His unique perspective, influenced by his transition from an actor to a director, provided invaluable advice on managing relationships on set, particularly with cinematographers​.

Exploring cinematography

I appreciated how Ron dove into the world of cinematography, demonstrating his directorial approach and how he uses visual language to communicate with the audience.

This was brought to life through his case study on “A Beautiful Mind,” where he illuminated the process of creating a color palette to convey the film’s themes and characters​​.

Valuing production designers

His focus on the role of production designers was an unexpected but enlightening addition.

He demystified their responsibilities and shared ways directors could foster creative connections with them​​.

Case study: “Frost/Nixon”

The case study on “Frost/Nixon” was particularly compelling.

He explored how he and his team represented the 1970s on screen, discussed the benefits of shot lists, and provided practical advice on organizing a large project.

This dovetailed nicely into the importance of research, where Ron touted the benefits of “group intellect” and collaboration​​.

Scene analysis and cinematic hacks

Ron’s film scene analysis, including ones from “A Beautiful Mind,”Apollo 13,” and even Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” were valuable for understanding the mechanics of a scene.

His breakdown of these scenes and sharing his own cinematic “hacks” was a standout part of the course, proving highly useful for visual learners and film students​​.

Casting and protecting actors

Lastly, his emphasis on casting and “protecting” actors offered a fresh perspective on the filmmaking process.

He stressed the importance of empathy and collaboration in establishing creative relationships with actors, offering tips on how to achieve this delicate balance​.

Overall, the blend of theory, case studies, practical tips, and personal experiences make this course an enriching experience for aspiring filmmakers.

How Ron Howard Masterclass Could Be Improved

Unexplained terminology

While I largely enjoyed Ron’s MasterClass, one area that could use some enhancements is the use of unexplained jargon.

While Ron’s lessons are primarily straightforward to follow, there are moments where he employs industry-specific terminology without providing explanations.

This is not a significant issue for more experienced film students, but a glossary or brief explanations would be beneficial for individuals new to the field.

Despite MasterClass being marketed to learners of varying skill levels, some technical terms seemed incongruent with the beginner-style lessons Ron presents.

Complexity of lessons for beginners

Another area for improvement is tailoring the complexity of the lessons for beginners.

Given that MasterClass is meant for learners at all skill levels, it’s crucial that the course content is accessible to beginners.

This includes not only the terminology but also the overall complexity of the lessons.

It would be beneficial to have more beginner-focused lessons or perhaps even separate sections for beginners and advanced learners.

Clarity of course content

There could be more clarity regarding the course content.

Some students found that the actual course did not match their expectations based on the promotional material.

To remedy this, a more detailed course outline or syllabus could be provided at the start, clearly stating what is included and what is not.

Integration of case studies

While case studies are a great way to learn, they could be better integrated into the course content.

Currently, they stand as isolated pieces, which can be disorienting for some learners.

It would be beneficial if the case studies were woven into the lessons, providing a smoother learning experience.

Inclusion of diverse perspectives

The lack of diversity in the course content is a significant issue.

In addition to referencing more diverse filmmakers, the course could also include lessons or case studies from films that represent a broader range of perspectives.

This would not only make the course more inclusive but also enrich the learning experience by exposing students to a variety of filmmaking styles and narratives.

Who’s Ron Howard Masterclass Best for?

So, who’s the Ron Howard Masterclass best for?

In a nutshell, it’s a goldmine for anyone with a keen interest in filmmaking or writing.

While the class is listed under ‘directing,’ it’s so much more than that.

It’s an insider’s look into the entire process of filmmaking, from selecting a compelling story for your film, refining a script, collaborating with your cast and crew to understanding the nuances of sound design and music scoring.

It’s even got some great insight for actors.

However, it’s worth noting that this class assumes you have a basic knowledge of cameras, lens types, and film terms.

Some lessons might be challenging for absolute beginners due to occasional industry jargon.

If you’re completely new to the field, you might need to brush up on some basics before diving in.

So who’s it best for?

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being a beginner and 10 an experienced director, this course is ideal for those who fall between 3 and 8.

It’s geared towards those who have a fundamental understanding but are looking to deepen their knowledge and skills.

While Ron uses more advanced terms than other courses, he also shares valuable insights into a director’s working relationships, which might not be as relevant to those with more experience.

So, if you’re somewhere on the spectrum from an enthusiastic beginner to a seasoned professional seeking fresh perspectives, Ron Howard’s Masterclass could be the perfect next step in your filmmaking journey​​.

Ron Howard’s Masterclass Cost

Masterclass subscription packages

Ron Howard’s Masterclass is accessible with a Masterclass subscription, which starts at $10 per month.

It’s important to note that this subscription is billed annually, meaning you pay for a full year upfront.

With this subscription, you don’t just get access to Ron Howard’s class — you have access to all classes and sessions available on the platform.

If you’re a film enthusiast or an aspiring director, this could be a real bang for your buck, as you’ll have a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals at your fingertips​​.

It’s important to note that the “best” Masterclass will largely depend on your personal interests, goals, and existing knowledge level.

Is The Course Content Unique?

Ron Howard’s MasterClass is not the only online course on directing, but it is certainly one of the most comprehensive and engaging ones.

Ron shares his insights and experiences from his long and successful career, covering topics such as finding and developing a story, working with actors, choosing camera angles, editing, and sound design.

He also demonstrates his techniques and methods using scenes from his own films.

In my opinion, this MasterClass is a rare opportunity to learn from a master storyteller and filmmaker who has a passion for teaching and sharing his craft.

Ron Howard Teaches Directing Masterclass Preparation: The Key Items You May Need

To get the most out of this MasterClass, you will need a passion for filmmaking and a willingness to learn from one of the best directors in the industry.

You will also need access to a computer or a mobile device with an internet connection and a subscription to MasterClass.

You can watch the videos at your own pace and download the workbook for additional exercises and resources.

You don’t need any prior experience or equipment to take this course, but you may find it helpful to have some basic knowledge of film terms and techniques.

What Does Reddit Say About Ron Howard Masterclass?

According to some Reddit users, the quality of the Masterclass courses varies, but Ron Howard’s Masterclass on film directing is considered one of the best among the directors.

It has in-depth chapters showing how he directs on set.

Some users found his first couple of lessons, which are script-related, to have pretty good insights.

One user shared a screenwriting tip from Ron Howard’s Masterclass, where he rates various components of a screenplay on a scale from 1-10 after a second or third read to determine what might need work.

Overall, it seems that opinions on Ron Howard’s Masterclass are generally positive.

Many users found his lessons to be informative and insightful, particularly when it comes to script-related topics and directing on set.

His approach to rating various components of a screenplay is also considered helpful by some users.

If you’re interested in film directing or screenwriting, Ron Howard’s Masterclass might be worth checking out!

Other Courses Similar to Ron Howard Masterclass

If you’ve found Ron Howard’s Masterclass enlightening and are on the hunt for similar high-quality courses, you’re in luck.

The Masterclass platform offers several other courses taught by esteemed filmmakers and storytellers that could further fuel your passion for the cinematic arts.

  1. Werner Herzog’s Masterclass is frequently compared to Ron Howard’s. Herzog is another acclaimed director known for his unique approach to filmmaking, so his course could offer a different perspective to students interested in directing​.
  2. Martin Scorsese’s Masterclass is another course that comes up frequently in these discussions. Scorsese is a legendary director known for his distinctive style, and his course could be beneficial for students looking to learn more about his techniques​.
  3. David Lynch’s Masterclass seems to have left a strong impression on students. Lynch is known for his unconventional storytelling and deep dive into the art of filmmaking. This course may be less technical but offers insights into the creative process​​.
  4. Spike Lee’s Masterclass has been mentioned as well. Spike Lee is recognized for his films addressing social issues, and students might gain a different perspective on storytelling through his course​​.
  5. Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass, though not a filmmaking course per se, has been recommended for those interested in storytelling, a crucial aspect of filmmaking​​.
  6. James Cameron’s Masterclass has also garnered recommendations. The genius behind such masterpieces as “Titanic” and “Avatar,” Cameron pulls back the curtain on his methods for crafting epic cinematic tales. For those with a penchant for grand-scale filmmaking and a yearning to know the intricacies of world-building blockbusters, this course has been hailed as enlightening.
  7. Samuel L. Jackson’s Masterclass has been frequently cited by enthusiasts. As one of the most recognizable figures in Hollywood, Jackson delves deep into the art and subtleties of acting, recounting techniques and memorable moments from his vast career. For those passionate about the nuances of delivering powerful performances and learning the ropes of the actor’s journey, many have found his insights to be invaluable.


Ron Howard’s directing style is characterized by its heartfelt storytelling, attention to character development, and ability to capture the human spirit in diverse genres.

No, Ron Howard’s Masterclass is a paid course, and it’s not available for free legally.

Yes, Masterclass typically offers a 30-day refund policy if you’re unsatisfied with a course, but always check their current terms and conditions.

Ron Howard Masterclass Review: Conclusion

In conclusion, Ron Howard’s MasterClass is an impressive and comprehensive resource for anyone seeking to delve into the complex world of filmmaking.

With a perfect blend of theory, practical examples, and personal experiences, Howard masterfully guides students through the intricacies of the directing process.

The course offers invaluable insights into the entire filmmaking process, from story selection and script development, to collaboration, editing, and scoring.

While it’s not without its areas of potential improvement, such as the occasional unexplained industry jargon and lack of diversity in course content, these are minor hiccups in an otherwise well-structured and informative course.

The lessons taught by Howard are not only beneficial for aspiring filmmakers but also for writers and actors, thanks to the comprehensive exploration of the process.

At its core, Howard’s MasterClass is more than just a course—it’s an immersive journey into the heart of filmmaking, guided by a seasoned industry veteran.

The knowledge and wisdom Howard imparts are born from decades of experience, making this MasterClass an invaluable investment for anyone serious about filmmaking.

So, is Ron Howard MasterClass worth it?

Given the depth and breadth of content, the accessibility of the teaching, and the unique insights from a master filmmaker, the answer is a resounding yes.

Whether you’re a novice filmmaker or a seasoned professional seeking to refine your skills, Howard’s MasterClass offers something of value for everyone.

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Written by: Abigail Hoffman

Abigail Hoffman is a proud geek and lifelong learner with an unwavering passion for technology, science fiction, and all things nerdy. As an advocate for accessible education, Ab has dedicated herself to reviewing online educational platforms, using her keen eye for detail and in-depth knowledge of the digital landscape to provide invaluable insights to fellow knowledge-seekers.

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