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Film & TV

Auditioning

Samuel L. Jackson

Lesson time 13:18 min

Don’t walk into a casting room thinking about the job; go in with the goal of demonstrating your skill as an actor. Sam gives you this and more time-tested rules for auditioning.

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Samuel L. Jackson
Teaches Acting
One of the most successful actors of our generation teaches you how to elevate your acting.
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I think actors, directors, and producers are sitting there waiting on the guy to walk in the door that they've visually seen in their minds in their movie. And if he's good enough, they'll cast him because it's the look that they want, because that's who they are, They're visual artists. When you go in a room, what you want to do is make a lasting impression. So no matter what you do when you go in there, you go in there, and you go in there with a vengeance artistically. Sometimes that can be extremely difficult because an audition is bullshit. I've been to those. I've been-- I auditioned for "My Cousin Vinny." I went in and auditioned. And the audition was seven words. Mud-- you got mud on your tires. Now, I don't know how you go in a room and you impress people by doing that. But you go in there, and that's when you go in there and hope you're the guy they were looking for when you walked in the door, because anybody can say that, mud-- you got mud on your tires. But there are some people who might go in there and say, mud? You got mud in your tires. Somebody'll do it wrong. And you hope that enough people go in there and did that wrong and you did it right that they'll cast you. But what you want to do when you go in that room is show them that you took the time to number one, learn that shit. Don't go in there with a piece of paper your hand reading it. Number two, you spent some time with it, and you want to know what's going on in that scene. That if you're connecting to somebody who's reading with you, then you connect with that person. Make eye contact with them. Be in that moment with that particular person. You also want to do it with a certain amount of energy and show them that you make choices, direct choices that mean something to that particular moment that you're acting in. That you're not just randomly throwing words around the room. That you're not just being loud or angry or crying. You know, take them on a roller coaster ride, go up and down, you know, start somewhere, have a middle, and an end. Know what that is. Know how you want to get there. Make them want to leave that room with you. Because when you're finished, you're going somewhere. And they might want to go with you because you're that interesting. Be that interesting when you go in and read. It's only OK to improvise in an audition if you're asked to. There's no need for you to change somebody's writing. They-- they gave you what they wanted to hear. Your-- your opportunity to improvise or fix something is after you get the job. You can say to the director, you know, I was sitting at home thinking about this and dah, dah, dah. It would sound better if I said it this way. And they'll either say to you know, no, do what's on the page, or let me hear what you want to do. But don't try and surprise people by coming in there proving to them that not only am I a great actor, I'm a brilliant writer. I changed your shit to make it better...


Get into Character

As a kid, Samuel L. Jackson stuttered so badly that he stopped talking for almost a year. Today he’s one of the world’s most successful actors, with roles in over 100 films, including Pulp Fiction and The Avengers. In his online acting class, the Oscar-nominated star shares how he creates memorable characters, powerful performances, and a long-lasting career. Learn to master auditions, analyze scripts, and find the truth in every role you play.



Reviews

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

excellent class!! a lot of very useful knowledge and practcal tips to take acting and career to another level! AWESOME!!

I really enjoyed this class a lot. I especially admired when Samuel worked with the actors and directed them. I learned so much from this class.

This course simply confirms the fact that we all, as individuals, have to observe the world, make it our own so we can be relatable.

There are so many things that are never said in this industry, and Samuel tells things in the most honest way possible. The tips on audition, how to behave on a set, but also the student sessions and how to imagine a whole history for the character were amazing. It definitely added so much more depth in how to get to connect to a character.


Comments

Wendy

I really enjoyed this lesson! I am fascinated buy his process in creating and exploring a character. Looking forward to watching the other actors on masterclass and seeing their process.

Edward F.

Question what does he mean by just "take your resume off of it and give them your picture... They know you're there because you're an actor, they don't have to know the last time you acted." Is this just for people who haven't worked in a while but are invited to an actual person to person audition, or do you guys think he's referring to all types of auditions? Many of the auditions I get are self-tape audtions. Just curious because I know he's talked about how directors have the character pictured in their heads and they'll pick someone that fits that role as long as they're "good enough".

A fellow student

Wonderful lesson and crucial about the essential part of acting. Not every job is for you like he said

Jenna L.

And yes, just give them your picture. That was a relieve to hear. A delightful sentence.

Jenna L.

You have to start somewhere with your acting career and auditioning is always a part of it and this advice is the best I can get, I've always been nervous about auditions but this helps so much. To learn from Samuel L Jackson is such a privilege and honour.

A fellow student

hahaha "you're character won't be doing that because you won't be getting that check"

Joshua J.

Great session on auditioning. Such valuable information. I have struggled in my auditions specifically when asked to do a commercial. I recently was turned down by a agency and their reasoning was I didn't show enough range. Watching this class helped me on how to approach auditions in the future. Also loved what he said about just giving them your picture.

A fellow student

Great class; just realized i am an acting student. When i go for an audition then i am an actor. Right? I need to learn how to memorize a script. Thanks. "If I can change; then you can change. Everybody can change"

Debbie D.

Been awhile I auditioned or called on one. Remember many times being real uptight and not sure of myself, also offered couches, chases round the table, to remove my blouse, and out for hours like cattle. U gotta be inside it not outside it. Gotta remember how important it is to the audience to be entertained or involved. Makes life exciting.

Stephanie B.

Yeah it depends on the kind of work you like doing it’s a personality thing