(This review contains affiliate links which means we earn a commission if you sign up — at no extra cost to you. However, it’s an honest review about my personal experience with MasterClass).
I’ve recently come out of 14 days of self-isolation down in Australia.
During my isolation, I needed something constructive to do. I couldn’t be a couch potato all day.
So I signed up to MasterClass to see what all the fuss was about — and to hopefully pick up some inspiration along the way.
You’ve probably heard of MasterClass: it’s a platform where masters of their craft give curated video lessons, allowing you to learn from some of the brightest minds in the world.
I decided to take three totally different classes: Judd Apatow for comedy, Billy Collins for poetry, and Dominique Ansel for pastry making (I like eating pastries), and give you my feedback on how I found them.
In my epic MasterClass review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the platform (including the good and the bad) and walk you through my experience taking these 3 classes.
I’ll also give my verdict on whether MasterClass is worth it for you.
Let’s get started.
- 1 What is MasterClass?
- 2 About the instructors
- 3 How MasterClass works
- 4 Who is Masterclass for?
- 5 Who is MasterClass not for?
- 6 Will these classes turn YOU into a celebrity?
- 7 The cost of MasterClass
- 8 Is MasterClass worth your money?
- 9 The pros and cons of MasterClass
- 10 My review of 3 classes
- 10.1 Judd Apatow MasterClass review
- 10.2 Billy Collins MasterClass review
- 10.3 Who is this class not for?
- 10.4 Dominique Ansel MasterClass review
- 11 What’s the best way to watch MasterClass?
- 12 The 10 best classes in 2021
- 12.1 Neil Gaiman: Storytelling
- 12.2 Garry Kasparov: Chess
- 12.3 Gordon Ramsay: Cooking
- 12.4 Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness
- 12.5 Shonda Rhimes: Writing For Television
- 12.6 Chris Hadfield: Space Exploration
- 12.7 Dominique Ansell: Baking
- 12.8 Apollonia Poilane: Bread Baking
- 12.9 Penn & Teller: Magic
- 12.10 Judd Apatow: Comedy
- 13 What makes MasterClass different to its competitors?
- 14 Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- 15 How much does MasterClass cost?
- 16 Is MasterClass worth the money?
- 17 How many MasterClasses are there?
- 18 Does MasterClass have a free trial?
- 19 Who owns MasterClass?
- 20 Does MasterClass offer a student discount?
- 21 Can I buy just one MasterClass?
- 22 How can I watch MasterClass?
- 23 Can I watch MasterClass offline?
- 24 My MasterClass review verdict: Is it worth it?
What is MasterClass?
MasterClass is an online learning platform that allows you to take classes from some of the biggest names in the business.
I’m talking celebrities like Gordon Ramsay, Samuel L. Jackson, Judy Blume, Natalie Portman — and the list gets bigger every month. Each class comprises video lessons and a workbook. It’s completely go-at-your-own-pace.
MasterClass is special for two reasons:
- The instructors. The world’s most successful people teach the thing that made them famous. Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking. Neil Gaiman teaches writing. Helen Mirren teaches acting. All the instructors are household names.
- The video production quality is mind blowing. The classes consist of video tutorials and the Hollywood-level production quality of these videos are an absolute standout feature.
For me, this is more than education. It’s entertainment with a twist.
You can binge-watch MasterClass just like you’d do with Netflix. But instead of numbing your mind, you’ll learn some incredible skills along the way.
About the instructors
There are 100+ famous instructors on MasterClass, covering everything from writing, to cooking, to poker. They’re adding new classes all the time too.
Some of the most popular instructors include:
The caliber of the teachers is just mind blowing. No where else could I gain access to the teachings of such incredible people.
While the instructors are being paid to teach classes on MasterClass, they aren’t doing it just for the money. You get the sense they all get as much of a kick out of sharing the inner-working of their craft with us as we do watching it.
How MasterClass works
Once you’re logged into MasterClass, everything is extremely intuitive and easy to follow.
Most courses have 20 to 25 video lessons. You can also download worksheets and other items to help you learn alongside the instructor.
The video lessons can be watched at your own pace. They are relatively short, so you will never be overwhelmed with the information and anecdotes of the instructors. You don’t need to commit to watching anything for hours at a time — unlike other education platforms.
You can expect the following from a typical MasterClass course:
- Video lessons from the legendary teacher. Most classes have around 2 to 5 hours of video content in total.
- Course notes on each video summarizing the key points.
- Additional reading resources
- A space to log down your own notes.
- Access to the community. You can join discussions, share your own work, and connect with other students taking this class.
Who is Masterclass for?
MasterClass is primarily for creative types.
Most of the courses focus on teaching you a creative skill — such as photography, writing, filmmaking, etc. If you’re looking to brush up on your novel-writing skills, then Salman Rushdie’s writing class is perfect for you.
Additionally, MasterClass can be great if you’re really into certain celebrities and want to learn more about them.
For example, I was really intrigued by the artist Jeff Koonz, and wanted to learn more about him. His class was definitely a mix between art philosophy and a Jeff Koonz documentary. I liked it a lot, though it didn’t have as many hands-on lessons.
Who is MasterClass not for?
Masterclass is not for someone who is looking for live instruction or education that’s accredited.
These classes are all pre-recorded, and don’t offer Q&A sessions or 1 on 1 lessons. You won’t be interacting directly with the instructor.
MasterClass is also not for someone who is hoping to use these classes to replace college-level courses. These aren’t accredited courses and shouldn’t be confused with them.
Additionally, MasterClass isn’t great for people trying to learn hard skills or professional skills. You’re not going to learn how to use excel (admit it, none of us really know how to use excel) on MasterClass. If you’re looking for something to add to your resume, MasterClass might leave you unsatisfied.
Lastly, it’s also not for people who don’t want to learn. Yes, the classes are entertaining and some of the lessons are a joy to watch, but I think the main attraction of MasterClass is to learn new things.
And learning requires a bit of effort.
Will these classes turn YOU into a celebrity?
Perhaps not. But that’s not really the point.
How practical these MasterClasses are is an open question and probably depends on the person asking it.
MasterClass won’t necessarily turn you into the understudy of the instructor. Taking Dan Brown’s thriller writing class doesn’t mean you’ll start writing a best-selling novel next week. Taking Helen Mirren’s acting class may not set you up for a career on Broadway.
(However, taking Dominique Ansell’s class will teach you how to make some bomb desserts – more on that below!)
But that’s okay. I don’t think many people sign up to MasterClass with the expectation that they will become a star themselves soon afterwards.
MasterClass is more relevant for people looking for inspiration or a springboard to further pursue their own creativity. You get an insider’s feel of what it takes to be successful — and there are numerous ways you can apply these teachings in your own life.
The cost of MasterClass
The MasterClass annual membership costs $180. This gives you access to all the classes on the platform for one year as well as any new ones that launch.
$180 isn’t pocket change.
But given the caliber of the instructors, and production quality of every video, I think it’s still great value.
A question that gets asked a lot is whether you can just buy an individual class? The answer is no. The annual membership is the only way to access to MasterClass.
What’s included in the MasterClass membership?
When you enroll in MasterClass, you get:
- Unlimited access to all 100+ classes
- Downloadable workbooks for each class
- Access to the MasterClass class discussion boards
- Access to new classes that are added monthly.
New classes are being added constantly, which means that the value of your MasterClass membership only goes up. You’ll never have to worry about running out of classes to take.
Is there a free trial?
There is no free trial available for MasterClass.
If you see websites offering MasterClass free trials then these are fake and you’re best to move on.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t try before you buy. MasterClass offer a 30-day money back guarantee. So, if you find that MasterClass isn’t for you for any reason, you can get your money back.
Do they offer a discount?
MasterClass do not generally offer discounts on the purchase price.
The $180 annual membership is the same for everyone.
However, several times throughout the year MasterClass run a special promotion featuring a 2-for-1 deal. This means you can buy one annual membership and gift another to someone else.
I’ll update this review when the next promotion is running.
Is MasterClass worth your money?
When I first went to sign up for MasterClass, I was surprised at how affordable it is. $180 for the year. Given that the instructors are all celebrities in their field, I thought the price would be a lot higher.
Sure, $180 isn’t cheap. But it’s $15 a month. That’s less than the Netflix premium plan! And it’s way less than you’ll pay for many online education platforms or even going to take a single college class in person.
Considering you get access to over 100 classes, filled with video lessons, workbooks, and discussion boards, $180 is very competitive.
So yes, I think MasterClass is absolutely worth the money.
The pros and cons of MasterClass
My MasterClass review wouldn’t be complete without a good pro/con breakdown. And MasterClass isn’t exempt from a few cons.
Let’s first take a look at what I found pretty great about MasterClass.
- Legendary teachers. It goes without saying that these teachers are no slouches. And it never feels like they don’t live up to their reputation, nor does it feel like they’re phoning it in. It’s a pretty big deal to have so many legends on the one platform explaining their craft.
- Video quality. This is a real standout feature of MasterClass. The videos are incredibly well produced. The camerawork, the lighting, the sound, and even the music makes the videos a joy to watch. I think the video quality not only adds to the spectacle of the videos, but makes everything more intimate and the teachings easy to absorb.
- Quick Lists. This is an incredible feature of MasterClass. Basically, you get lessons recommended to you based on what you’re interested in. So, you can jump from one lesson by Neil Gaiman on finding inspiration to a related lesson from David Baldacci on generating story ideas. The best bit? You don’t need to complete each class in a linear fashion. You can move seamlessly between instructors based on topics that interest you.
- Variety of classes. The MasterClasses are broken down into nine categories, with each category have plenty of different classes underneath them. There are MasterClasses for writers, home cooks, musicians, journalists, actors, athletes, and more. Plus, Masterclass is adding new content on an almost weekly basis.
- The mobile app. I preferred to watch the MasterClass videos on my laptop, but they worked just as well on my phone. The MasterClass mobile app is an impressive feature and worked seamlessly for me.
- Approachable. The difficulty of the classes does vary, but the classes are overall very approachable in the sense that anyone (even novices on the subject matter) can enter into the class and learn new skills from the instructor.
As much as I enjoyed my experience with MasterClass, here are the things I didn’t like as much about the platform.
- Not a replacement for traditional education. These aren’t semester-long classes. Each one has probably a few hours of learning in total. You shouldn’t think of them as substitutes for traditional education, but rather as springboards on your learning journey.
- Pre-taped classes. These classes are self-paced. They don’t start/stop on a schedule. As a result, there isn’t any live Q&A element with these classes nor any unpredictability. Ron Howard’s class will be the same every time you take it.
- Community feature. MasterClass has created a community called The Hub where you can chat to other class members and discuss the teachings from the instructor. In theory, it’s a nice addition. In practice, I found the discussions barren and uninspiring. I quickly skipped this aspect of MasterClass.
Those are the big cons for me, and they’re not really that big. These are great classes that give you a good knowledge base to expand your learning. They’re just not huge deep-dives into each subject.
As long as you understand that you’re not getting a literal, collegiate class when you take a Masterclass, then you’ll be perfectly content.
My review of 3 classes
Now that you have an overview of what MasterClass is about, let’s dive into my personal experience taking 3 totally different classes.
Judd Apatow MasterClass review
Who among us hasn’t had a secret desire to do stand up comedy? It can’t be just me?
What’s standing in our way? Our fear of bombing!
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at stand up, so I figured I’d sit down and learn from the master: legendary comedian Judd Apatow.
Judd Apatow (for those who don’t know) is an awesome writer, producer, and comedian. He is famous for having written The Forty Year-old Virgin and Knocked Up, movies which changed the comedy paradigm, moving away from the goofy-character movies (like Austin Powers) to the funny, but realistic situation movies (like Knocked Up).
How is the class structured?
Judd Apatow’s MasterClass consists of 32 videos that take up a whopping 6 hours and 34 minutes. Hey, comedy is serious business, so take some notes folks!
Once you download the 55-page PDF accompaniment, you’ll see that the class is actually structured around 3 different tracks: the stand up track, the writer track, and the director track. While the videos stay the same, the assignments differ. Each track has a project that you’ll work on throughout the class. If you do the stand up track, you’ll create a tight 10 minute comedy routine. If you do the writing track (my choice), you’ll craft a comedy screenplay (I’m still working on it!!). If you do the director track, you’ll ultimately create a short film.
The trick, of course, is getting someone to pay attention to your work after, right?
Who is this class for?
This class is great for people who are trying to understand the ins and outs of comedy, and hoping to create some comedic material.
Judd Apatow helps you understand yourself, mine your life story for comedy (you gotta get personal!), and then shows you how to structure film, characters, how to workshop scripts — it’s very exhaustive. Apatow also takes time to give a lesson on “a life in comedy,” which I think speaks to the practicality of this class.
Look: so many of us want to be comedians. Comedy is hard! Apatow’s class is such a great resource because it’s honest, helpful, and encouraging. Aspiring comedians will take a lot out of it.
Who is this class not for?
Kidding. Sort of.
This class is a journeyman class for aspiring comedians. If you’re not interested at all in learning comedy — be it for stand up, for writing, or for just being a better joke teller at parties, then sure, you shouldn’t take this class.
Thankfully, I don’t know many people in this category. But if you’re one of those few, I’d stay away.
Judd Apatow’s MasterClass on comedy is a funny and very personal (and encouraging), exhaustive class on comedy that helps any aspiring comedian build a solid understanding of comedy, create a good base of comedic material, and then get the courage to perform that comedy.
The use of three tracks (and the encouragement to get that work done) is unique on MasterClass, and provides you three different ways to get the most out of the MasterClass.
With 32 lessons and over 6.5 hours of video content, Judd Apatow’s MasterClass is a great resource. Any comedian should dive into this MasterClass if they’re hoping to start out or improve their comedy game.
Billy Collins MasterClass review
Billy Collins was the Poet Laureate of the US from 2001-2003.
He’s a very popular and approachable poet with a knack for getting any reader hooked with his casual tone before reeling them in with his deeper, more philosophical thoughts later in each of his poems.
My third-grade teacher also read us a lot of Billy Collins poems. So I’ve been a B.C. fan for a while.
Anyway, that’s actually what got me excited about MasterClass — the chance to learn from Billy Collins. He’s the modern master of poetry — who better to learn from than him?
How is the class structured?
Billy Collins divides his class into twenty lessons that run from around 10-20 minutes in length.
These classes cover topics from “working with form” to “finding your voice” and everything in between. The video segments are quite casual, allowing you to get interested in the topic at hand without feeling like you’re being lectured to.
The class comes with a 60-page workbook that has fun exercises, musings, and an appendix of referenced poetry.
Beyond this, his class comes with a community forum feature where you can share and upload work. The poetry class seems to create a class book every year or so which students can contribute poetry to.
Who is this class for?
Billy Collins’s poetry class is great for anyone who is interested in poetry.
While this MasterClass is probably geared more to writers who are just beginning to get into poetry (many of his lessons are things like “write a Shakespearean sonnet,” or “write a list of 20 things you did during the evening but not in order), these lessons are applicable for any poet at any level of their craft — it’s never too late to learn from the master!
Once you get immersed into the class, you realise that there is a great deal of wisdom, depth, and eloquence that any writer can learn a great deal from.
If you’re interested in poetry, this class is for you.
Who is this class not for?
This class is not for analysts who want to (to borrow from Billy) “beat the poem with a hose.” By that, I mean analyze literature to death.
This is not a class where you examine every rhyme, every foot of each line, and agonize over the potential symbolism until you’re finding non-existent imagery hidden in the humps of the letters themselves.
Instead Billy teaches poetry shouldn’t be stuffy, so he encourages you to let your guard down.
If you’re a poet who angrily demands that all poetry must rhyme, must lock in its meter, and cannot deviate from “thee, thine, thou,” then you’re gonna have a rough time.
I was really delighted by Billy Collins’s class. He’s a gentle expert who casually guides his class through the art of poetry without ever making it feel intimidating.
People who think they hate poetry will take this class and perhaps come away thinking “you know, this poetry stuff isn’t half bad.”
I’d encourage anyone who thinks that poetry is “stuffy” or written by “dead old men” to give Collins’s class a shot — you may discover the hidden poet within you!
Dominique Ansel MasterClass review
Ah! Dominique! The legend! The Cronut inventor! It’s him (in the digital flesh), teaching us how to become a world-class pastry chef.
After waiting years for a Cronut before casually strolling in and surprisingly finding them in stock in 2019, I’ve been an Ansel convert.
So, when I found myself with more free time on my hands because of my 14-day isolation, I thought: I need to eat.
And what do we eat when we’re stressed? Tasty treats. What better way to kill time and fill my anxiety belly than by learning how to bake a few of Ansel’s treats.
Dominique Ansel is a world-renowned pastry chef. He was the pastry Chef at Daniel, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City (I believe it had three when Dominique worked there), before he opened up Dominique Ansel Bakery in the SoHo neighborhood of New York.
While he has invented such tasty treats as the Cookie Shot, Blossoming Hot Chocolate, and the Frozen S’more; he is well known for the “cronut” a croissant-doughnut hybrid he invented in 2013.
7 years later, don’t tell me that the cronut isn’t worth the hype!
Also, in 2017, he was named the Best Pastry Chef in the World.
In short, he’s a master of his pastry craft.
How is the class structured?
Dominique Ansel’s MasterClass contains 17 video lessons. The first few are intro videos, along with his story of how he came to run his pastry shop.
After these intros, the Masterclass takes an interesting turn. Dominique walks you through how to create five recipes of varying complexity.
This is interesting, as each lesson is often simply a component of a greater recipe. For example, in the fruit tart, one lesson is on the shell, while another is on the strawberry jam.
A lot of the lesson is on the technique itself — and he structures the videos so that you can follow along at home. Because of this, it’s a lot less of a theoretical or philosophical style Masterclass than say, the writing classes.
Instead, you’re actively working and learning along with Dominique. It’s nice.
Dominique teaches you how to make madeleines, a fruit tart, a chocolate cake, bonbons, and the perfect pastry. He wraps up the MasterClass by doing a case study on the Cronut, and teaching you how to think creatively about pastries.
As someone who is tired of seeing “ice cream” as the sole dessert on too many restaurant menus, it’s nice to have Dominique champion the cause of the pastry chef.
It’s inspiring for a pastry nut.
Who is this class for?
This class is for people who want to cook. Specifically, this class is for people who want to cook desserts and baked goods.
It’s high-end French pastry making, so it’s technically challenging. In fact, I’d peg it as the most technically challenging of any of the classes I’ve taken so far.
Dominique Ansel’s MasterClass is for those who relish a challenge.
If you’re looking to make a dessert that will wow your friends and family, then let Dominique teach you how to make his chocolate cake. If you’re looking to replicate those flaky Parisian pastries, then jump on this Masterclass!
Who is this class not for?
This class is not for those who don’t have access to a kitchen (unfortunately). You really need to follow along with Dominique to get the most out of this class.
It doesn’t require a ton of specialized equipment, but you’re going to need a stove, an oven, plenty of mixing equipment, baking sheets and tins, pastry/frosting bags, and other similar supplies. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to get there, but if you’re just looking to whip up a cupcake, this isn’t the class for you.
Likewise, this isn’t the class for people put off by a challenge. These are multi-element, time-consuming recipes with a focus on presentation. Sure, they taste phenomenal, but they look gorgeous. You need to be someone who can at least take a moment to slow down and up the ante on plating.
Similarly, you need to be able to follow directions. If you can’t follow along with Dominique, you’ll wind up with an inedible mess.
Master the techniques first, then go off on your own.
Dominique Ansel offers a challenging, but engaging Masterclass that centers around creating five signature recipes. These recipes highlight a variety of different important pastry techniques that will allow you to build a great base of knowledge for trying out new recipes on your own.
Plus, the recipes are delicious. So freaking delicious.
The first one you get to try is the mini-madeleines recipe.
Never underestimate a good madeleine. The recipe may make 100, but you’ll plow through those like a kid and a bag of potato chips.
What’s the best way to watch MasterClass?
Masterclass is great because they offer you so many different ways to watch the classes.
You can watch them on:
- Laptop or desktop
- iPhone or Android
- Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Roku TV.
I don’t know if there’s any best one way to watch it, because it totally depends upon your class and your preferences. If you’re following along with a cooking class, then watching on a TV is a great way to tune in.
On the other hand, if you’re watching a clip on negotiation right before you jump into a job interview, your iPhone makes perfect sense.
MasterClass gives you options. The streaming is high-quality (we’re talking Netflix level), and the quality doesn’t drop when you change streaming devices.
How I watched MasterClass
I watched all of my classes from my laptop. The streaming was flawless, and it was easy to navigate between all the different video lessons.
How many did I watch a day?
It totally depended upon the class. For some classes, like Dominique Ansel, I’d watch a couple at a time, because I was following along with a recipe.
For others like Billy Collins, I’d typically watch only one a day. That way, after watching his 20 minute video, I’d take another 20 minutes to work on my own writing.
Some of the classes definitely have a nice “lesson-a-day” rhythm, while others are more “bingeable”. I don’t think there’s any one perfect way to do it. Just follow along at your own pace!
The classes were all really engaging, and I felt great knowing that I was learning new skills as opposed to just mindlessly browsing YouTube.
The 10 best classes in 2021
There are a lot of great classes available on Masterclass taught by pretty incredible instructors.
However, after careful digging and sampling dozens of different classes using my annual membership, here are my top 10 classes to take in 2021.
Neil Gaiman: Storytelling
Neil’s an expert storyteller, who has written legendary books like Coraline and American Gods. He brings his signature fantasy and world-building expertise to his Masterclass, where he gives you 19 lessons on writing as varied as “truth in fiction” to “dealing with writer’s block.”
I personally loved the lesson on “writer’s responsibilities.” Write like you’re paying for each word, not the other way around!
Garry Kasparov: Chess
Grandmaster and Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov gives a beautiful class in the basics, tactics, strategies, and artistry of chess.
It’s a mesmerizing class to watch as he gracefully explains the advantages of each position he draws onto the board. As a chess fan, I felt honored just to be watching his class.
Gordon Ramsay: Cooking
Gordon Ramsay has such a larger than life personality, that sometimes it’s easy to forget he’s an incredible cook and a great teacher.
He really comes to life in this masterclass, where he takes you on a culinary journey from setting up your kitchen to learning how to poach an egg to making the quintessentially British Beef Wellington.
Gordon Ramsay now has multiple MasterClasses available, each one building upon the lessons you’ve previously learned. It’s great that MasterClass is offering classes that go beyond the beginner level, and I’m excited to see what else they come up with!
Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness
We’re all stressed all the time. Jon Kabat-Zinn is looking to change that. He’s the pioneer of the Western Mindfulness movement, which has helped demystify meditation and help bring mindfulness practices to millions of people around the world.
If you’re looking to help clear your mind, but meditation has seemed confusing or “woo-woo,” then you need to take a look at Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MasterClass.
Shonda Rhimes: Writing For Television
I liked this class because of its specificity. Shonda focuses on a specific subset of writing: TV writing, which is a beast with a very particular formula.
Shonda, creator of legendary hits like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, knows these formulas to the point of memorization, and walks you through crafting TV story arcs with confidence and ease. It’s a detailed and comprehensive class that will help you understand plot, character, and theme.
Chris Hadfield: Space Exploration
A bit more of an intellectual class than some of the more craft-based masterclasses, Chris Hadfield (astronaut) walks you through all elements of space exploration — past and future.
You learn what it’s like to be launched from a rocket, how orbital mechanics function, and what a Mission to Mars will look like. You even learn a bit of rocket science (it’s actually a lot of fun even for a non-rocket scientist like me).
Dominique Ansell: Baking
As I explain in my mini-review above, Dominique offers a hands-on pastry-making class that targets a few key recipes that feature multiple challenging technical components. The end result is a lifetime’s worth of key baking knowledge — and delicious treats in the meantime!
Apollonia Poilane: Bread Baking
Raise your hand if you spent quarantine trying to bake bread. Just me? I doubt it!
Bread baking has experienced a huge cultural renaissance since 2020, and Apollonia Poilaine’s bread baking class is a great way to learn from a master. Over the course of 17 videos, Poliane teaches you how to make a sourdough starter (and maintain it!), how to work with different flours, how to make fresh bread (yum!), and how to work with stale bread (spoiler: it’s still good!).
It’s a fun and engaging MasterClass for the baker in all of us!
Penn & Teller: Magic
This was probably the most outright fun class I sampled on Masterclass.
Legendary magicians Penn & Teller spill the beans on the foundations of magic, allowing you to finally master all of those “how did they do that” tricks you’ve seen over the years. They couple their lessons with some real-life magic novices, allowing for you to see how a trick is built from the ground up.
Judd Apatow: Comedy
Raw, vulnerable, charming. Judd Apatow’s MasterClass offers a peek into his own psyche while providing you with a roadmap to open yourself up to others. Apatow’s MasterClass provides assignments for three different comedy tracks, allowing you to somewhat customize your MasterClass experience.
If you’ve wanted to try your hand at stand up or comedy writing, but never knew how to get started, then this MasterClass is the one for you!
What makes MasterClass different to its competitors?
There are a lot of big names in the online learning space, and it can be a little confusing to figure out what each platform offers and which one is best for you.
For mine, the main alternatives to Masterclass are websites like Udemy, Mindvalley, Skillshare, and The Great Courses.
These companies are (typically) web-based learning platforms that are structured more like college classes. They teach classes like Beginner Italian, International Politics, Statistics, etc.
Basically, they teach free college-level classes.
That’s great, and you really should check them out if you want a more rigorous academic experience.
But, they don’t teach craft like MasterClass does. MasterClass focuses on (typically artistic) craft like fiction writing, directing, cooking. Then, they get world-renowned experts in these fields to teach you what they know.
No one else is doing that. That is what makes Masterclass different. The masters themselves.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most common questions people are asking about MasterClass, and my answers to them.
How much does MasterClass cost?
MasterClass costs $180 for an annual membership. This gives you unlimited access to all classes on MasterClass for one year. This is the only membership level that MasterClass offers.
Is MasterClass worth the money?
Definitely. MasterClass is worth the money. When I signed up, I took three classes within the first month. I also browsed videos from a dozen other classes with the help of the intuitive “Quick Lists” feature. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.
How many MasterClasses are there?
MasterClass has over 100 different courses available (at the time of this writing) with more being added all the time.
Does MasterClass have a free trial?
No. MasterClass does not offer a free trial. They do have a great 30-day money back guarantee though. If you cancel within 30 days, you’ll get your money back, no questions asked.
Who owns MasterClass?
MasterClass was founded in 2014 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen. Based out of San Francisco, they have recently raised over $100 million in investment and have delivered their courses to over one million students.
Does MasterClass offer a student discount?
Yes and no. On 17 September 2020, students could sign up to MasterClass for only $1. The catch? It was for 24 hours only. At the time of writing this review students have to stump up the full price.
Can I buy just one MasterClass?
No. They used to offer single classes for $90 but stopped doing this earlier in the year.
How can I watch MasterClass?
You can watch MasterClass on your desktop, laptop, iOS, android device, or smart TV. For your personal computer, you can watch the videos directly from your web browser. For all other devices, you’ll need to download the MasterClass app.
Can I watch MasterClass offline?
Not really. MasterClass is easy to watch on any device with an internet connection. There are a few classes that allow you to download videos onto iOS for offline viewing, but it’s not all classes. This isn’t available for Android devices yet.
My MasterClass review verdict: Is it worth it?
Masterclass really surprised me. I dived into it with an open mind and was impressed by the variety of classes available and the knowledge and enthusiasm that each teacher brought to their classes.
Was MasterClass worth it?
For me, MasterClass was definitely worth it. I found each class to be inspiring. Each teacher does a great job of showing you how to make the craft your own, which really helps the new learner gain a passion for the skill.
Dominique Ansel’s lessons on ingenuity helped me view pastry making in a very different way (it’s not an unchanging artform, but alive with innovation), while I was enthused by Ron Howard’s assignment to just go and PA on a film shoot (brave!).
I also found the class poetry book for Billy Collins’s to be a really sweet touch. I hadn’t seen anything like that.
Although I didn’t find a whole lot of value in the community portion of the classes, in general, that is not what draws me to any form of online learning. So I don’t view that as a negative — just a personal preference.
By joining MasterClass, you’ll come out the other side with some impressive know-how on a huge variety of different skills.
And that, without a doubt, is worth it in my book.