Chapter 12 of 18 from Jodie Foster

The Acting Process


Drawing from her own acting process, Jodie teaches you how to inspire a powerful and honest performance from an actor.

Topics include: The Actor-Director Collaboration · Acting Case Study: Nell · Using Structure to Support Freedom · Creating a Supportive Environment · Face Your Fears Head-On

Drawing from her own acting process, Jodie teaches you how to inspire a powerful and honest performance from an actor.

Topics include: The Actor-Director Collaboration · Acting Case Study: Nell · Using Structure to Support Freedom · Creating a Supportive Environment · Face Your Fears Head-On

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking

In her first-ever online class, Jodie Foster teaches you how to bring stories from page to screen with emotion and confidence.

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Storytelling in action

Go behind the scenes with two-time Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, star of Silence of the Lambs and director of Little Man Tate. In her first online class, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Jodie brings her experience on both sides of the camera to guide you through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to casting and camera coverage. Everyone has a story. Learn how to tell yours.

From storyboarding your vision to collaborating with actors, learn filmmaking from an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and access to exclusive supplemental materials from Jodie’s archive.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Jodie will also critique select student work.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I've watched the videos, taken a few notes, and I've downloaded most of the workbook. Next steps: I'm going to print off the workbook, review the subjects in order, watch the lessons one at a time, and start doing the exercises. Then, I'll let you know what I really think. So far, all I have to write is ... thank you, and Bravo!

As a female myself, I feel incredibly inspired and moved by Jodie, her story, and her perspective in filmmaking. I feel humbled to have the chance to hear her speak and I'm excited to incorporate what I've learned as I experiment with my own filmmaking as I learn the ropes and come to find my own voice.

This class has so much to offer, it's great! You can tell Jodie puts a lot of thought into what she does. She has so muck knowledge and experience to offer. This gave me a lot more information to think about in my own work.

Within the format, a very comprehensive overview with lots of technical notes and tools, but also some authentic, personal sharing. I learned tonnes!


Tess G.

I hope instead of laughing, her kids understand what a brilliant woman she is and admire her as much as we do.


LOVE this lesson on ACTING. Thanks for sharing all the tips as a Director & Actress.

Vartan N.

Loved this Lesson!!! Jodie Foster is so giving, open, and real. To sit on a floor and speak candidly to the camera and invoke the character of Nell on the spot for the sake of inspiring actors to take risks is absolutely beautiful, loving, and heroic. I Love Jodie Foster!!! :)

PoojithaReddy G.

I am in this acting, directing and writing business for a while now. May be what is shared by Jodie works for her in this class and may be not with all actors and directors. When a writer turns into director, she/he goes through certain emotion while developing a scene or story and while creating the whole characterization of characters. Technically and emotionally, director kind of want to demand certain things from actors. Because director sees the film in entirety not just from actor's perspective. Also, there a whole lot of actors, who expect inputs from directors to know the kind of emotion that works the best for the scene leading to the complete film in entirety. I would like to make difference with Jodie that not every director is an actor but a sensible director knows acting. Of course, we give the actors their space to evolve and express through the role but when we don't get what is needed we explain or we act and show. So, not every director is intimidated. :)


ohmygod, i just have to say, i'm not even through the entire lesson and i was crying by Jodi's single performance of Mae and Tae, sitting on the floor-- fascinating and moving even without set decoration. Ms. Foster, you are a-mazi-ng.


We learn processes and techniques thinking why am I doing it.... But it comes in handy. If we don’t remember or need assistance, coaches/instructors are clearly the right direction for the actor to rely on for our (the actors’) preparation process. Focus on the role/script is everything... Just live it. Great class!


Thank you Jodie for such an special masterclass, and you are a wonderful human being


Magical, effortless demonstration of Acting in the moment. Brilliant, the Yang of the Qi of the Acting process. Thank you is all I have, but inadequate. Words distort. Brilliant.

Paul T.

It is interesting to see and hear how different the needs of actors are from their directors. I watched the Mira Nair MC where she had to work with her actor by describing the feeling(s) she needed to evoke and how to access them. It comes down to the proficiency of your cast. Jodie can "get there" by being giving simplistic direction of "faster, slower, deeper, sadder." She has the well of experience and expertise to draw from. This may not always be the case with the actor(s) you are working with.


It's so fascinating from a social perspective watching Jodie goof off like that haha, its great. These barriers that we put between acceptable and unacceptable, which is fine and understandable, as we have humans that build technologies (i.e. film cameras haha) that allow us to turn those buttons off and on be redefining the context in which previously playful unacceptability is a point of liberty for those that participate and admiration for onlookers as they're given a license to recontemplate those boundaries in the future. Such a playful and yet seemingly trivial act is like a flame to understanding much more abstract concepts about how we're always riding on the push and pull wave of order and chaos in society, the balance of the past and future, does age old wisdom pave the way or does a simple act of play on the floor in front of a camera allow an entire culture to redefine its norms? Haha, Jodie has such an incredible amount to teach us all, I feel such resonance with her sheer devotion to what seems to be something that I would relay as being none other than meaning (i.e. purpose). Life is so short and here she is compressing her wisdom into authenticity, bravery and love. Thank you again :) .


I think, you know, the biggest problem that directors have with actors is that they just don't understand what acting is. And so they're intimidated by it. And they try all of these other ways to either prove that they are-- have power over you or that they know what they're doing, when the truth is they're just kind of intimidated by the process of what acting is. There's really three parts to acting. There's three layers. There's the part that the character is showing you, the part that they're communicating. There is the part that they're hiding. And there's the part that's completely unconscious, that they don't really realize is a part of their story. We're always working juggling those three different layers of meaning. In some characters, like Nell, you know, those layers are less severe. She's not hiding as much. She doesn't know that she's supposed to hide. The character like Clarice Starling in "Silence of the Lambs," you have somebody who's very aware that her words have effect. And she is presenting an image for Dr. Lecter to-- basically, to manipulate him, to get him to do what the FBI wants her to do. At the same time, she is begrudgingly revealing sides of herself. And at the same time, she's naive enough and young enough in some ways to not really 100% understand why she is on this mission, that there is a whole part of her story that's not understood even to her. I don't like preciousness. I don't like to be approached in a precious way. So I prefer somebody to be incredibly blunt and honest and tell me exactly what they mean. If they'd like me to be faster, I like to hear faster. If they'd like me to be slower, I like to hear slower. I tend to feel manipulated if somebody-- I can see somebody or notice that somebody is either trying to change the way they would speak in order to get a result from me. Actors tend to not like to be forced into result. They like to find the way themselves. I personally like directors to be prepared. I love them to be open to chance and open to spontaneity. But I want them to have a Plan A. There are too many things that can go wrong. And there's too many people's times that can be wasted. An actor's energy is important. The crew's energy is important. And so if somehow you're doing 25 takes for no reason, except that the director is unprepared, then there is a-- oh, you lose respect for the director. I don't like direction that's result-oriented, where the director tells you where he wants to get emotionally. You know, I'd like you to cry at the end, or I'd like you to laugh on this line. Or I'd like the audience to feel such and such. I want the audience to be sad or the audience to be happy. If you start making decisions-- if an actor starts making a decision about result, they'll immediately be blocked and never be able to get there. So that's an important one. Mostly, I like a director to include me in the process. I've been an actor for a really long time. I love-- ...