Chapter 17 of 21 from Samuel L. Jackson

Auditioning

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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.

Topics include: Make a Lasting Impression • Don't Improvise Unless Asked • Rules to Audition By • Ditch Unflattering Resumes • Student Q&A: Auditioning

Samuel L. Jackson

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. For the first time, the Oscar nominated star teaches 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.

Watch, listen, and learn as Sam teaches his first-ever acting class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Sam will also answer select student questions.

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Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting