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Arts & Entertainment

Enriching Your Acting Practice

Samuel L. Jackson

Lesson time 10:54 min

Sam encourages you to nurture a sense of curiosity and explore stories set in worlds that you are unfamiliar with, so that you have a more expansive view of the characters you take on throughout your acting career.

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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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There are things you can do other than traditionally going to acting school or whatever to make yourself a better actor that are just everyday, common things like, you know, being observant. Let's go sit in the park and watch people. You know, or engage or sit in a restaurant and watch people. Watch people eat. See how people eat. Different people eat different ways. You know, figure that out. Go to museums. Watch people in museums and interact. Or look at paintings of places and situations and, you know, imagine yourself inside that. Wow, yeah, galleries, dance concerts, I mean, go to things that are foreign to you. See what the dynamic is. Go to places where there are people that aren't like you specifically so that you can see who those people are. Look at how they dress. Look at how they carry themselves. Look and how they interact with each other. It's a life of observance so that you can pull something from somewhere. I mean, there are moments when I walk down the street. Or I remember when we were getting ready to do "Negotiator." My hairdresser's sister came to see him. And I looked, and I saw her hair. And I went, that's the hair I want for this movie. And that's the hair I ended up having. I ended up with that red hair because she had it. It's just little things like that that will pop into your head that you think will make your character interesting or change the dynamic of what you're trying to do. I read so much because I just like being outside of my reality, because I have one. I know what it is. I know what I do. You know, if I'm not working, I don't particularly want to just hang out in my world or do the honey-do's all day long. So I escape to another world and hang out with some other people that are doing exciting stuff, or living in a world of intrigue, or sitting and watching a movie from Korea somewhere, doing something, watching other people do what I do, telling a story that's foreign to my experience and wondering how I would be in that situation and figuring that out so when that situation does pop up on a page or somewhere, I have a reference point. Or I have a particular kind of person that I've seen do that thing and remember how that person existed in that dilemma or that situation so that I can apply myself to it. And that's what reading does. It just allows me to expand and figure out who all these people are. There are all these jobs that I'm never gonna do. But I can read about people who do specific kinds of jobs that are foreign to mine and learn something about them. And if I get a job, and somebody wants me to be a carpenter, then I can remember a movie that I've seen about a carpenter or a story that I read about a carpenter. Or I can pick up a book and read something about a carpenter and figure out what carpenters do. Carpenters, like everybody else, yeah, I build furniture, but my life is this. So I do this. I might be a carpenter, but I kill people, you know,...


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.

Hearing Sam talk about principles that I have learned in school was really special. He's made me believe in myself a bit more, and I'm excited to dive back into acting. Thank you.

Great information, amazing course, it is perfect for everybody who is into acting, who wants to become an skill actor, highly recommend this!

Interesting look at well developed self-awareness is beneficial to anything we do. And, an interesting, entertaining look at what it takes to create art in the form of acting. Overall, bitchin!

This class definitely helped me understand a lot of aspects about acting for film. Samuel pointed out numerous things we need to know as actors who don't have much experience on sets.


Comments

Antonia T.

Observe. Read, read & read. Go to the theater, museums, ballet, and concerts. Go to places where you wouldn't go and observe the people. Watch foreign films. Amazing lesson. Thanks!

Shanisa D.

Naturally, I observe individuals. I think it’s interesting to see how different we are as a human race. From our walks, smiles, and laughs to the way we sneeze and cough. I did do some performances in theater and ended up utilizing what I learned in film. Sometimes, it’s a bit too much, but I’m learning to do less. Also, my confidence during performances has actually boosted due to acting in theater. I’m known to be shy at times but once I’m playing a role, I get to be someone else. I have watched a few foreign films and they tell stories that I’ve never imagined being told. I like the way the writers think in ways that aren’t basic repetitive.

Henry

I spy a black actor ensconsed in a sea of white, even the aforementioned books have mostly white jackets! He widens his hands when convincing us that it is indeed beter to be a more broadband observer not only of the surface but to cheat a little and color outside the lines of first impression. The books are not hidden--he is being responsable for some content that might be misleading. HE is "leading". Only a confident person is going to nonchantly stroll up a very streamlined and tall stairway located with no arms to steady onesself--right next to tall windows that can (it seems) be fallen through to a jagged and perhaps lofty exterior impact...in the next scene. Sam invites us to begin right where we are-- peering in this fashion, and not to judge, but to connect with the demands that Real Acting can demand of your Real Being. By the way, this is not the place for my Viet Nam war stories...but those stairs scare me! Bingo--I have learned something about myself-- observed some of my own current limitations that could be translated by others as incongruities in my gait, hesitation in walking down the stairs, or even a false fear through body language (perhaps humorous)--depending on how the scenes and continuity get parked next to one another. Then we must consider that you can perhaps "tone it down a bit" by a director or other producer-- even it may represent better quality--so that the movie can be "compressed a bit" so as not to outshine another actors performance, causing the wave structure to jaggedly challenge the overall Arc of the story. Stairway to Heaven...

Debbie D.

Reminded me I don't have to always be stuck in a real world; but can imagine being inside a painting, go & watch the simple things in life like people eating their meals, going to the park and watching dogs interact or mothers or dads with their kids or observe how children treat each other with the play swings--I dont have to watch Trump all the time on the internet every place I go on that device.

Rahul S.

Can anyone please suggest me some good foreign films? Other than Hollywood & Bollywood.

CLAU

perfect i always say to myself that i want to direct and write scripts not just act in front of an audience

George B.

Absorb yourself in art, that way you can fully express what you're trying to convey.

Ocubox

These tips go for so many things in art. Audio work as an actor, music composition as a...you get it.

Denise

Great tips! ....yes I can and do give myself an honest assessment. Thats one of the reasons why I'm taking this class...to continue to perfect my craft, gain more knowledge about acting and become a better actress.

Kathy

Working on a museum horror script. You just gave me another angle for a scene, That's what makes these MASTER CLASSES, for those whose life is geared toward becoming masters in their field.