IMO: The Artist’s Life and Masterclass

You have probably been surfing on Youtube and been interrupted by the commercial to sign up for a Master Class with a legend in the fields of creative passions whether that be films, art, photography, writing, design, sports, culinary– features the legends of their arena and offers lessons in a format that makes you feel like its the two of you in the room vis-a-vis. I get sucked into these commercials– seeing Margaret Atwood, Natalie Portman, Helen Mirren, David Lynch, screenwriters, sports figures, etcetera, offers 70 sessions. Curious enough, I followed to the site and discovered they are $180 for 2, 12 minutes selections. No, I’m not going to pay for that–but I thought how clever an idea.

I’m not advocating you should spend your money this way, and I have no affiliations with the company that’s doing this, but I have been tempted to sign up to watch my personal heroes.

I watched Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go, Bernadette, the other evening. The message is that the artistic life matters. While one loves family and friends, if you don’t attend to the creative side inside of you, you get snippy and lose your zest for living. That’s sure how I feel. Cate’s character was a famous architect who was derailed by her creativity and becomes a menace to society. Her exasperated hubby threatened to lock her up in the loony bin. She was derailed–not crazy.

I feel unbalanced when my life becomes monotonous with the boring routine of life. I don’t care to think about what’s for supper tonight. I don’t want to clean the bathroom or hang up my clothes or babysit or teach or make small talk with people. I wait, wait, wait for the time to jump into my head and create. Conversely, I am a dutiful woman who believes in order and being productive and the belief that people should behave. My teeter-totter drives me crazy.

So while I can’t say that Where’d You Go, Bernadette was a well-made film (implausible situations and dialogue), the message resonated at a profound level. It made me want to watch all those master class videos. But not enough to spend $180 for 24 minutes. But almost.  As Joyce Carol Oates says in her commercial, “The number one enemy of your writing is the distractions in your day.”  I suppose watching a master class episode would be a distraction, eh?


55 Comments on “IMO: The Artist’s Life and Masterclass

  1. The best ‘masterclass’ I ever watched was part of a BBC series on actors and their craft. Of all people, the often-derided Michael Caine gave a brilliant talk about his personal style of acting. I was enthralled watching it, and it was free too. I hope it plays for you in the US.

    I don’t think I want to watch million-selling authors talking about how they write though. It might make me even more disillusioned about my own writing abilities.

    Cate is a great actress, and the film looks good. I had never heard of it.
    Best wishes, Pete. x


  2. $180 gives you access to everything on Master Class for a full year and right now, gives you a second subscription to pass on to a friend. I have thoroughly enjoyed my year with them.


  3. Arguably, there are so many people making money by telling us that we must do things, how to do those things and the secrets of doing those things well (and presumably making money from them) that we may not actually have enough time to do them in the first place.
    The process is beautifully explained in The Young Ones when the hippy, Neil, goes to sit his first exam. A “gonk” by the way, is a little fluffy mascot like a fluffy chicken or a tiny elf.


  4. I think it is the best oicture of the year. what you found implausable, I found comic. And what was not comic was very plausible, very real. Far realer than todays movies ever get. And we see scenes here that we have not seen before, a sure test of originality and vision. I also think it is Blachettes finest hour as an actress. the young girl was very good as well, and i found her defense of her mother againt her father to be extremely moving. No sterotypical, generic crap in this script. The business with the neighbor was odd as hell, but refreshingly so..and the climax..way beyond believeability, but you know..this is actually the way things often happen in real life. real life does not follow scriptwriting templates and this movie, glory be, smashes the tablets that todays wannabes so devotedly adhere to.


    • Ha, ha. I like your defense. I did like the neighbor subplot. I thought Kristen Wiig was perfect. I thought the neurosis of Blanchett was perfect. A lot resonated with me. I enjoyed the trip to Antarctica. I liked the mother/father search. The sardonic humor was fine. The message profound. So what was implausible for me? Let’s see.
      Unlike you, I didn’t care much for the daughter. I just didn’t think she was that good. I would have preferred a stronger presense for a stronger chemistry between the two. Blanchett’s performance was at times over the top and the balance felt uneven when she was talking with her daughter. Her relationship felt awkward to me. My biggest complaint was the way Linklater handled the backstory. I thought it was cheezy and poorly done — the interviews, the documentary format that both Bernadette and the daughter hop on the laptop to see. There far more to like than dislike.


      • in real life, in a parent child relationship, the balance of the dynamic falls to th parent. a strong henistry between the two would be the cheesy way to go. it is only when the mother is gone that the daughter becomes strong. she is cmpensating for her mothers absence. i think linklater i directing the actress playing the daughter in the right way. a strong actress would have made for a less plausible character. blanchette over the top? well, that is what anxiety and depression will do do a person. make them behave over the top. it would have been difficult to make the scenes work if the director reigned in the actress. if you havent aalready seen it, check out gena rowlands in a woman under the influence. one of the finest performances in american film, and wh she goes over the tp, she really flies.


        • Thanks, Bill, I will. Watching Blancett being neurotic really hits home, trust me. I just didn’t like the mother daughter father relationship. Didn’t resonate. But who cares?


          • if i had been th dirctorm and i didnt like the way the family relationships were being played, i would care. and i think linklater is a good enough director that he would have changed things if he he didnt think the actors were playing it right. om and also, i really liked the way the chld played her scenes with her father. do you have favorites yet for the oscars? who should be nominated? who
            should win?


          • I didn’t see Joker, but all fingers are pointing at Phoenix. I didn’t see Jojo Rabbit. I am looking forward to seeing 1917. I didn’t see Renee Zell. play Judy, but I suspect she will be in the forefront. I haven’t seen enough yet to tell you. Any initial predictions?


          • i think superhero movies should be disqualified from the oscars. havent seen any of the ones you mention, but ill request digital copies and check them out. Aside from Cate, i really liked Florence Pugh in Midsommer, but that film is likely to be ignored.


          • just saw mariage story, you are right. it is the new kramer vs kramer. much better film, though. , some good acting, despite many self indulgent emotional wallows with no redeeming nnarrative value….disjointed sxript but there are some very good scenes, especially with the lawyers. its the first time i have liked scarlet johannson since ghost world. i enjoyed the picture, it suggested what prime time television n the 60s might have been like if woody allen had been at the helm.


  5. just saw judy. had no idea it was about judy garland. fabulous movie. my money s on renee for the oscar. thy always give oscars to impersonations of celebs, and she goes way beyond that, she made me feel what it was like to be judy. and the end had me sobbing uncontrollably.


      • a crowded theatre would be the best place to see judy, as the collective memory of audience members would intensify the experience. i wont ruin it for you now, but there is one particular moment when i knew that my anticipation would be shared by most of the people in the audience, and that is .likely to be what caused the outpouring of emotion to which you refer

        Liked by 1 person

          • in a theatre, you would be sitting there with all these people who knew she would have to sing over the rainbow at the end. you would probably even hear a few people muttering the title. and when she started come rain or come shine, there would be a collective sigh of disappointment. but her rendition gets stronger and stronger until it finally knocks every one out..and then she has to go because she agreed to do only one song. but the crowd wont let her go, and neither will the MOVIE Audience. the whispering gets louder and you look around, peope are whispring over the rainbow into their friends ears. and finally she starts to sinng. but her voice is weak and she is trembling. will she pull it off? we think she will, but she doesnt. everything falls apartm just as everything in her life has fallen apart. now the song is too much for her..and she stops. but the audience wont accept it. the soong must be sung. so they think they will help her out, and they start singing. we expect her to join in, her voive rising triumphantly above the crowds..but it doesnt. her life is the song now belogs to the people..and the pople in th audience start to sing along with it,, and the crying begins.. soon the whole place is a palace of tears….and they arent simply crying for judy. they are crying for themselves..for their country,,for the whole human race. it is a catharsis rarly exerienced in modern times. a cimmunal catharsis of empathetic woe. for judy, for hollywood, for everything, for every one. or, as dylan sang in one of his finest moments. for the countless, confused, accused, misused, strung out ones and worse. and for every hung up person in the whioe wide universe..we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing”


          • The song belongs to the people. She is the true epitome of an icon. She transcended beyond a person. She became more than the epitome of star power. Her song represents more to people than a canoncial chant. While she tragically ended her life as a mortal, her star power, with that song, transcended more vividly than any icon that I can think of. Even more than Elvis. The power of pop culture had a new queen.
            I always loved the artistry and talent of JUdy. I have read bios on her and she was always a personal hero. I don’t know what her kids think of her today, but I hope they know how much of a product she was and
            how trapped. When I saw that final scene, I was witnessing the capitulation of more than a woman. She had the aura of a queen. Not seen in films for a very long time. Bravo to Renee. I can’t fathom anyone else achieving the accolades she deserves this award season. I am exhausted.
            THANK YOU. It’s been awhile.

            Liked by 1 person

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