If you’re curious about MasterClass but don’t want to pay $180 and spend dozens of hours watching videos, a new website can help you out. A number of MasterClass courses have been ripped off and turned into ugly, short-form WikiHow-style articles for the website MasterWiki. You can learn Spike Lee’s methods for making an independent film in 12 quick steps or have Anna Wintour teach you how to be a creative leader in under a dozen, all illustrated with remarkably bad cartoons.
The site comes from the creative group MSCHF, which has a remarkably good track record of launching apps, websites, and art projects that go viral online. The team is well aware that it’s completely ripping off MasterClass here. The website says the lessons are “stolen from MasterClass,” and that it “makes MasterClass’ content (ordinarily $180) available for free.” MasterClass did not immediately respond to an email asking about its feelings on the site.
MSCHF has used piracy as a hook for projects in the past. In March, it launched a pirate streaming service that aired shows from Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more. In May, the group aired recreations of episodes of The Office inside of a Slack channel.
MasterWiki is more a send-up of MasterClass’ aspirational, star-studded streaming service than it is a pirated alternative (though I’m sure MasterClass won’t be happy either way). Frank Gehry’s architecture course looks a lot more ridiculous when it’s filled with crude drawings and broken-out tips like “putting trees all over [buildings] helps retain their humanity,” and one has to imagine that RuPaul’s advice on being your true self is a lot more compelling when you hear it spoken aloud.
But if you’ve ever wondered what’s hidden behind MasterClass’ paywall, MasterWiki offers some strange semblance of a look inside.